What is a good online source for Hostels? A reliable rating system and preferably reviews would be great. I tried HostelWorld, HostelCentral and a couple of others but none of them seem to have contact information. It would be nice to contact them to ask questions.
Specifically I am looking for accomadations in Milan.
www.hostels.com has a rating system for hostels. www.hiayh.org lists HI affiliated hostels. Non rating system, but HI affiliated hostels are generally held to some kind of standard by the various national hostel associations.
Their hostels do have to live up to a certain standard, and you'll be assured to get a place that isn't a hole in the wall.
Plus when you get the membership, you can get all sorts of coupons and discounts for travel-related things like museums, zoos, and other attractions .... just don't forget to ask if your HI membership will get you a discount because they won't ask you if you have one. I got in the habit of asking everywhere and some places told me, "Well, we don't usually accept it, but we will this time."
In Australia the "Backpackers" places were often the same places as HI, or sometimes they were their own separate places, so we had to check for both. It might be the same situation in other parts of the world. However, at either place they accepted our HI membership. http://www.vipbackpackers.com/