Selina is a very popular hostel chain. It’s mainly known in Central and South America, but you can find some branches in the USA, Europe or Israel as well. What makes it so unique, why does everybody love Selina and why do we stay here?
What is Selina
Selina is basically a high-end hostel, which is trying to offer something extra to travelers. It’s hardly the cheapest hostel on the market. Yet, it’s still one of the most popular hostels in Latin America. What makes Selina so special?
- Certainity of a good internet connection and a place to work
- Different types of accomodation for every budget
- You always know what to expect (more or less)
- Perfect location at the most popular places
- Meeting people on the same wavelength
- Branches in a big part of the world
- The possibility of long stays
- Many activities and events
- Amazing design
The location of Selina
You can find a Selina branch at many popular places and the address is always the best. Or tries to be. The question is, what is best for you. For example, the Selina in Playa del Carmen is located just above 5th Avenue: The main party street. Which means a nonstop party with very loud music. Unfortunately not really the good kind.
The comunity in Selina
One of the main reasons we decided to try out Selina was to meet new people. We only had one experience with coliving from Rome, where we met some pretty amazing people. Before we flew over the ocean, we wanted to find something similar to make meeting people easier. And that’s how we found Selina.
Even though it wasn’t exactly what were we looking for, we decided to give Selina a chance. And we met many great people from all around the world. Some of them became our friends and some just made a quick stop in our lives. Of course, it depends on the season and size of Selina, but it can easily happen that you live in one big house with 100+ people. It would be a miracle if you love everybody. It rarely happened to us we would meet someone we wouldn’t be able to chat with for five minutes in the kitchen or at the bar. In general, nice and open people stay there.
The accommodation in Selina
Well, I’m not sure if “accommodation for every budget” really fits. If you try to travel super low cost, you can find a better deal. If you want what Selina offers then you can choose from many different types of rooms according to your budget. They have everything from bunk beds in a 20-bed community room to fancy lofts with a huge terrace.
Unfortunately (or fortunately?), the rooms are not really at the same level in each Selina. If you come to the brand new Selina on Isla Mujeres, the facilities are much nicer than in the mentioned party Selina in Playa. When you’re lucky, you get a pretty nice and spacious Micro room. When not, you get a black hole. Sometimes it’s a bunk bed with a curtain, sometimes without.
I should probably mention that the room you can see in the main picture is not the typical accommodation we’ll review. It’s the best room in Selina Playa del Carmen. We got it as a surprise when we came back for a weekend and I showed up with a broken big toe ?.
Cowork space in Selina
The coworking space and stable internet connection are one of the main reasons Selina is so popular amongst digital nomads. Of course, if you travel in Europe or the US, you won’t have a hard time getting a good connection. When you stay in a jungle in Costa Rica or in a surf town in Mexico, that’s a different story. Also, there is always an office space in Selina. Equipped with a good desk, chair, sockets, and even better internet connection than in the rest of the hostel.
It needs to be said: The “perfect equipment” (and internet connection) isn’t always as perfect as it should be. For example, cowork in Puerto Escondido hardly offers ideal conditions for a productive day. But it’s still (almost) the only place to work from in Puerto Escondido.
This is connected with the last two points. You always know what to expect. Or better: You should always know what to expect. You expect some level of service, facilities, equipment, activities, and events. Usually, you get it, sometimes it’s better, sometimes worse though. That involves the quality of the cowork space, internet connection, yoga, or other promised events. Anyhow, that is why we are here: To review at least some of the Selinas, so you know what to count on.
Selina is everywhere
Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. But it’s true, you can find Selina in many places. When we first came to Mexico, we build our travel plan around the Selina locations. It made sense especially because we use the Colive program.
Activities and events in Selina
Often there are great events in Selina, which many people even outside of Selina visit. And the best part is, they are usually over latest at midnight. That means you can sleep if you need to work early in the morning. And it’s not just the usual parties, but also live music, Latin dance classes, karaoke, or movie nights.
The standard is daily yoga, sometimes other workouts as well. It happened in some Selinas that the class was lead by a volunteer who didn’t really have much experience and it would be almost better to do a YouTube class. Usually, we were lucky though and the lessons were great. There are always yoga mats to borrow (lighter backpack, yeey), sometimes even things like yoga blocks or dumbbells.
Design in Selina
No doubts about that: Selina is always beautiful. At least before you notice all the things that don’t work ?. It’s designed by professionals, you can admire beautiful murals all around the place and even the small rooms usually have some stylish touch.
What I like the most though, is the fact that something typical for the location is usually reflected in the design. It’s not a typical chain, therefore every Selina is a bit different. It could be just the decoration or the facilities.
How much does Selina cost
Let’s be honest: Selina is not cheap. Especially at some places of Central and South America, you feel they just have to be kidding. Still, it’s one of the favorite hostels around here. Because it offers something extra. It might be the movie room, the swimming pool, awesome design, or good WiFi. During the season, it can get full easily. The price differed throughout the year, obviously. You can even get a special price when out of season. Still: How could you afford to live long term in Selina?
Selina CoLive is the answer. It’s a program which we use and which is sort of affordable. Although it got over the edge at some places. Especially after the last price increase. Anyhow, how does it work? Right now, there are two different CoLive packages:
- The CoLive Program
- CoLive Flex
The classic CoLive is cheaper with very straightforward rules: You get thirty nights in a row, in a room of your choice, and you can switch Selina up to three times. Which is great when you find out you actually don’t like the place. Or when you’re in a surfing paradise, break your big toe, and get stuck with a fracture boot for a month. Been there, done that.
CoLive Flex is more expensive but gives you absolute freedom. You get thirty nighs again, but you can use them with breaks and stay in up to ten different Selinas. No need to care when you want to go somewhere without Selina in between or when the transport from one place to another takes you more than one day. You need to pay 25 % extra though.
But! There is one extra thing you should know. Selina introduced “premium locations”. There used to be just a couple of them and it almost made sense. Now there are much more of those and… Well, sometimes you pay an unreasonable amount of money for the deal.
For whom is Selina good
I’ve got a couple of questions via Instagram about Selina. Usually from travelers who were thinking about the CoLive pass. One very typical was: “What kind of people live in Selina?” My answer is: It’s not really possible to generalize. It depends on the location a lot. Very different people come to Puerto Escondido and to Mexico City or Tulum. Why? Because very different people visit those places.
Selina is great for everybody who wants to connect with people. It doesn’t really matter if you are a single traveler, travel couple, female or male. People are often surprised why don’t we rather get an Airbnb, which would be the same price in the end. Or even cheaper. But we would lose the community. The simplicity of meeting people. The proper place for work.
That’s why Selina is so popular amongst digital nomads. Of course, you can work from an Airbnb, just use a kitchen table. Or go to another cowork, when there is some in the town. But for us, we know we are never as productive, as when we work in a cowork space. And having it just ten meters away makes life much easier.
Why do we stay in Selina
The question was already pretty much answered in previous paragraphs. To sum it up:
- It’s easier: We don’t need to spend hours looking for the perfect Airbnb
- The cowork space: No, wooden chair at the kitchen table is not sufficient long term
- We can move quicker: When you stay in Airbnb, the better offers start with monthly stays
- We have company: We would probably easily forget to talk to other people if we stay in Airbnb
- Yoga and other activities: There are yoga classes included in the price and we can use the space during the rest of the day
- Events and facilities: It’s pretty awesome to take dance classes, jump in the swimming pool or borrow a movie room whenever we feel like it
But honestly: We have a love-hate relationship with Seina. You don’t always get what you pay for. Staff is sometimes amazing and sometimes very much useless. When things don’t work, nobody does anything until you send an official complaint. And Selina went even higher with the prices recently (we still pay the original price and still haven’t decided if we would go on with the CoLive if we’re asked to pay the new one.)
Therefore we often look for another place. From time to time, it’s nice to have something of our own. Usually, we target the CoLive places though. Last month for example we had a room with a bathroom in a shared house. The problem was it was out of the season and we met almost nobody over there. Add the lack of proper working space and we were really looking forward to coming back to Selina.
On the other hand, we found a perfect place in San Cristobal in Mexico. And we already picked another coliving in our next destination. Which seems to be a great competition to Selina in every possible way.
What is Selina like?
It’s different every time. Hence, we prepare a new section on the blog: Selina reviews. Soon you’ll find our input about every Selina we’ve stayed at. What did we like and what we didn’t like. How was the internet connection, the events, or the facilities? Anything you might need to know to decide if you want to stay there.