Hostal de Sammy, Santiago
This is one of those hostels that makes you think: "why can't every city have a hostel like this?" It's just so warm and friendly, and the fellow guests are such great people, and there really aren't too many more freebies that they could possibly offer. They have a games room (with pool table, fussball, and even an Xbox), they have an Internet room, they have a DVD room. They have a lovely patio out the back. They have Aussies, and Kiwis, and all the rest of us. They have it all. Don't even consider staying anywhere else in Santiago.
As you can read on their site, Hostal de Sammy is named after the (late) dog of the (American ex-pat) owner and founder of the place. That alone gives you an idea of what a homely place this is: like Sunny Days in Arica, it really feels like you're just crashing at some dude's private residence. Sammy is with us no longer: but his successor, Sausage, is a very cute and playful little fella as well, and he makes a great addition to the household. And he doesn't seem to get on too bad with the cat, either.
Rooms: neat and comfortable, and quite a few of them.
People: perfect bunch of fellow travellers, great people to hang around.
Staff: really easy-going, and really accommodating. Quite a few Aussies and Kiwis among them, too, at the moment.
Location: a 5-minute walk and 3 metro stops from downtown Santiago. The hostel is in a university neighbourhood, and the streets around it are full of students sleeping on grassy lawns all day long.
Food: the breakfast is sensational — unlimited cereal, fruit, bread, yoghurt, juice, tea / coffee, etc. More on the cereal later. They also throw a free dinner several times a week.
Internet: no less than five good PCs, with a fast broadband connection, that are available 24/7 for unlimited use. Wow!
Hot water: no probs.