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By Deborah LeggateFebruary 15th 2011

The best hostel in Europe in 2010, and second equal in the world – that's Islesburgh House in Lerwick, according to the website HiHostel.com which has 4000 hostels affiliated to it.

Beaten only by HI Ban Dinso in Bangkok, Thailand, with a 97 per cent customer satisfaction rating, and equal with Hyannis in the USA, Islesburgh, with 96 per cent, knocked Reyjavik in Iceland into second place (93 per cent) to take the European crown.

The HiHostel site describes Islesburgh as “a beautiful 5 star hostel” offering “the perfect base from which to explore the Shetland Islands.” It praises the “excellent facilities and many en-suite rooms” and its proximity to restaurants, local amenities, historical sites and wildlife centres.

Councillor Florence Grains, Shetland Islands Council spokeswoman for culture and recreation, welcomed the award: "There have always been good reports about the Islesburgh Hostel, but this really is very flattering. It just shows I think not only how good the facilities are, but how friendly, approachable and welcoming Shetland can be to its visitors."

In fact the friendliness of the Islesburgh staff gained a massive 98 per cent rating from visitors. Individual comments included Annalies from the Netherlands saying “helpful and friendly staff that show a genuine pro-active interest in the guests. The building is beautiful and well maintained and kept very clean.” John, from England, said: “This was my first experience of a Youth Hostel and I thought it excellent. We had to stay one night in a hotel in another part of the island but the hostel was much better in all respects.”

Dale Smith of Islesburgh said the result was “staggering”. “This is a fantastic result for us, and the comments on the website show just how impressed individual customers were.”

The HiHostel page for Islesburgh is here:

Islesburgh's own website is here: