Millennials are leading the experience economy and hostels are following suit
Too often, hostels are associated with the woes of budget travelling: unreliable Wi-Fi, broken showerheads and cramped 16-bunk sleeping quarters. Yet the rise of the party hostel suggests travellers are willing to suffer discomforts to benefit from a hostel’s social edge – at least, to a degree. In China, studio Say Architects proposes Little Nap, a luxury hostel nestled in Hangzhou's scenic Xihu district, as a compromise.
In today’s experience economy, a hostel’s on-site bars, fun staff and packed events calendar reflect the sort of social travel experiences millennials crave. For Chinese millennials especially, a generation that prefers spending to saving, budget travel may strike as an unnecessary inconvenience. Luxury hostels offer all the comfort of hotel living with the communal pleasures of the hostel.
Originally, Little Nap’s 600 sq-m was spread over two three-storey buildings and one single-storey side building. Say combined the main two buildings into one, reinforced the original structure with steel framing and pierced arched door openings where walls previously stood to create a large dining area. Across from this enfilade another series of arched floor-to-ceiling openings, this time functioning as windows on the façade, provide diners with views of the surrounding Xihu landscape.
Taking a cue from hotel hospitality, Little Nap is made only of private suites. Eleven rooms to be exact, the keys to each cradled in exhibition-like niches in the reception wall. Window views from each suite carefully frame panoramas to the outdoors.
Adjacent to the main three-storey complex is a single-storey building – day-to-day it operates as a private suite, but at request can convert into an art gallery and space for special events. Little Nap’s ground floor, with amenities such as a gift shop, restaurant and an art gallery, suggests the company’s targeted travellers aren’t just social or affluent, but also cultural enthusiasts looking to connect with the like-minded.