Ostello Bello has been home to millions of backpackers across the world. Today we are going to show you why staying at this Milan hostel is an experience not to be missed.
A group of friends, an uncontrollable dose of wanderlust, a city where originality is at home. Today the hostel in Milan, Ostello Bello, has more than 50 employees and 700 beds, but the dream of the first hostel in Milan began as a bet, in the name of love for travel.
Accompanying us in the history of this Italian property is Luca Perolo, reception manager at the Bello Grande Hostel in Milan.
A Milan hostel: where it all began for Ostello Bello, the firstborn
"We wanted it to be the most beautiful hostel in Milan, at a time when there were very few hostels in the city."
We are in 2010 and a young group of friends choose the perfect name for the perfect project: open a hostel in Milan. And not just a simple hostel, but a nice hostel, or in Italian, 'Ostello Bello'. At the time, the city still lived under the protective wing of luxury hotels: a tourist industry made up of large businesses with little originality.
And so it was, taking advantage of this rare gap in the marekt within the progressive push of Milan, that the former furniture store in Via Medici became one of the coolest meeting points (and crossroads) of the entire metropolis.
" A hostel in Milan, Ostello Bello, became the ideal solution for both the Milanese residents and tourists: a rare opportunity for locals to breathe international air without having to move from the city centre and an equally precious opportunity for all backpackers to experience a more original, 100% genuine Milan"
Large rooms, luxury services, modern design and incredible staff, but above all, a 24/7 bar that serves cocktails and plays music (almost always in English, as an the international atmosphere commands): strengths that have helped to make Ostello Bello a success without comparison, that still today guides and anchors the values and ethics of what has now become a chain of hostels that attract and pamper tourists from all over the world.
Ostello Bello preserves the same free spirit in its style and furnishing that defined it from birth: that of total, genuine and affectionate sharing.
If you are ever in the common area of Ostello Bello in Milan ( and if it was not clear yet, you absolutely have to go there, without any 'ifs' and 'buts'!) give yourself five minutes to look around: mismatched chairs, a library full of books, guitars hanging on the walls, contrasting colours, wood on metal and paints on fabrics ... yet, the feeling is that every element, in some mysterious and inexplicable way, is in perfect harmony with everything around it.
"We invite you to look in your cellars, garages, attics, offices, houses of your friends and family - to see if, by chance, you have something that the hostel needs that you no longer need."
It was with these words, published with a very unusual shopping list on social media, that the guys at Ostello Bello asked for help in furnishing their new accommodation. And the Milanese community replied, offering unique pieces of furniture and decorations, inspired by the idea of sharing what they no longer needed. And this is exactly the glue that today still holds everything in the hostel together, and why everything seems to blend: making you always feel at home.
Ostello Bello: the winning recipe for a shared space
"The added value of Ostello Bello is providing travel experiences that go beyond a single room to sleep in for an evening. A shared breakfast, a beer with friends, a spontaneous chat ... it's the climate of sharing that we want to reign sovereign in our hostels'
Feeling at home away from home, this is Ostello Bello's mission.
The secret? Replicating the same quantity - and quality - of services, comforts and advantages that make us love our daily habitat.
So here is the shared kitchen, one of the neatest (and cleanest) of any hostel, fully equipped and ready to prepare a quick lunch or the inevitable midnight snack. But even here, Ostello Bello enriches its offer as no hostel has ever done before: pasta, rice, sauce, cereals, milk, soft drinks ... an entire pantry is at your disposal.
And of course, was it not food that was one of the first points of union between human beings? Ostello Bello welcomes you into their homes with a welcome drink (beer, wine, coffee or tea) and invites you to share your dinner with your fellow adventurers: a free buffet (from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm) - just what low-cost travellers and backpackers love.
And breakfast? Forget a hotel's strict time slots: whatever your time of awakening, be it four o'clock in the afternoon or at dawn, bread, yoghurt, cereal, scrambled eggs, coffee and milk await you in the kitchen. Perfect.
And then there is ample space for conversation, for the mutual exchange of experiences, cultures and lives.
All the common areas designed for sharing: a spacious living room with sofas and armchairs, board games, outdoor spaces and the ever-present bar, a place where you can share your greatest travel stories (and not only!). Because, as Luca reminds us, "so you come home richer: with stories of people, as well as trips, to tell".
The hostel in Milan thus provides a more human experience, therefore, than the soulless large hotels, but it never forgets to remain faithful to its primary objective: to help you discover the city of Milan. Even in this respect, seeing the world through a hostel is the most genuine and dynamic way you can possibly choose.
Talking to Luca about the choice of Milan as the city of origin of the Ostello Bello project, he told us that, for the DOC Milanese, the idea of opening a hostel in the Lombard capital meant "returning a favor to the city that had given us so much and that had seen us grow and form friendships and bonds that united us ".
Ostello Bello, in fact, in its twin versions of Ostello Bello Milano and Ostello Bello Grande Milano, speak to Milan on a level of deep affection and complicity. The advice of the staff, the city guides and, more trivially, even the central location of the hostels offer you the opportunity to experience Milan to the full, beyond the most superficial patina of tourist destinations.
On the other hand, it is Milan itself that enters into the hostel in all it's multiculturalism. Exhibitions, debates, live music, tastings, literary events, concerts, presentations ... all held in the hostel itself.
This is, in a nutshell, is the added value of the hostel: a series of services and experiences tailored to travellers, a wealth of activities that are difficult to find elsewhere.
Ostello Bello ... Como, Umbria, Myanmar: the family grows
"What started as a bet soon became a true business reality, as atypical as it was successful."
Ostello Bello had never been a game, but it had never been considered a case of entrepreneurial international importance: yet, within a few years, the model multiplied with the same speed with which it grew its success, coming to conquer the whole of Italy ... and more!
Today Ostello Bello counts, beyond its original establishment in Via Medici, a Milanese twin a little further away, Ostello Bello Grande, just 100 meters from the Central Station and with an external garden that is the envy of the neighbourhood.
Ostello Bello Lake Como, on the other hand, is the ideal investment in one of the most popular holiday destinations in Northern Italy. With the waters of the lake just a few meters away, it certainly could not miss the opportunity of a wonderful outdoor space, complete with a BBQ and hammocks: the perfect summer garden.
Ostello Bello Assisi Bevagna takes you instead to a completely different atmosphere, that of the sweet Umbrian countryside. The hostel demonstrates the talent and attention that the guys of Ostello Bello dedicated in their choice of location. Perched on a mountain a short distance from Assisi, the hostel extends through independent houses that spread throughout the medieval village of Bevagna. Private houses, shared rooms, a panoramic turret and an exclusive outdoor pool make this hostel the perfect example of a convivial experience: a common home within the most sought-after Italian natural and artistic heritage.
Finally, in 2014 the stars aligned and Ostello Bello had the precious opportunity to cross national borders. The choice fell on Burma, whose tourist potential (still,for the most part, undervalued at the time) and wealth of natural heritage fitted harmoniously with the enterprising spirit of Ostello Bello.
And it was magic once again: 4 hostels in a few years, a resounding success.
Ostello Bello Bagan, Ostello Bello Bagan Pool, Ostello Bello Mandalay, Ostello Bello Inle Lake: voices, sounds, international scents that mix with the customs and traditions of a land.
Here then is a range of services designed specifically to make you live the most genuine Burma, with a bit of home: the restaurant serves both local and Western dishes, Burmese cigars and tamarind candies await you on your arrival, while in the evening, between a game of Trivia and Bingo, you can try your hand at free Burmese lessons or let loose with some traditional dances with the locals!
Professional staff, lovers of life in the hostel as much as the guests (for whom they so lovingly care for) and a breathtaking location with refined decor: families, friends, young people who mix without troubles ... it is impossible not to give in to the charm of Ostello Bello!
Waiting for the next, inevitable and equally magical chapter, we thank Luca Perolo for his time and we really do recommend booking your stay in an Ostello Bello, so your experience begins today!
Photo Credits: @ostellobello.com and @ostellobellomilanohostel