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We've written about the Generator hybrid hostel/hotel brand before, particularly when looking for affordable places to stay in big European cities. But now we might get our very own Generator here in the states in New York City.
A while ago we heard whispers of a Generator for Manhattan and when we reached out to the hotel's PR reps they told us that yes, an NYC property is very much in the works. Elaborating, the rep said, "The team is exploring a few different options around the city."
That is good news for anyone who's trying to find a decent night's stay for around $100 in the Big Apple (and not just when it's freezing cold out.) And the Generator NYC will probably go under $50 or less than that for a shared room. But aside from being a doable price point, Generator puts a lot of emphasis on design, technology and socializing, a combination you don't always get when you're looking for an affordable stay.
Most Generators, like the recently opened Generator Berlin Mitte, features a bar that's open nightly, a library & cafe where breakfast and snacks are served, thoughtful room design and decor touches, free WiFi and lots of colorful in-house local art. Yes, it's the perfect spot for Millennials but we'd totally crash here for a night or two. In a private room, of course.
Have you stayed at a Generator hostel before? Let us know what you thought in comments below!
[Photo: Generator Hostels]
It's been a while since we've heard of hotelier Klaus Ortlieb, the man behind several hip NYC hotels like Cooper Square-now-Standard East Village Hotel, the excellent LES spot, THOR and even the super skinny Gotham Hotel on 46th Street. But at last we've got some new chatter on KO.
We've learned he's taken his hotel magic to Reykjavik in Iceland for the Hlemmur Square Hotel.
The hotel is described as "affordable yet stylish hostel accommodations" but the joint also promises "luxurious hotel rooms" under the same roof. Bu-bu-but how can that possibly be? Well, it just simply is. The hotel explains on their website:
To us it makes perfect sense, we are able to bring a little luxury to the world of hosteling and a bit of that “get to know your fellow man and buy him a drink” feeling to an upscale hotel. Iceland is the best place for it, always willing to experiment with pushing boundaries.
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Inside an 8-bed room
No one ever got anywhere by calling something a "revolutionary concept." That phrase is played out right along with "funky fresh." Instead let us say this: if Freehand Miami plays its cards right and doesn't get too big for its britches (double idiom sentence!), it has the real potential to be crazy awesome and quickly multiply to conquer cities beyond Miami. Oh wait, that's exactly their plan (for 10 properties!), so what you're about to read is the future, baby.
The Freehand is a hostel with some private rooms and it's not trying to hide that fact. It is, however, a fancy hostel with an interior by Roman & Williams, staff uniforms designed by Timo Weiland, artwork by local Miami artists, and cocktails by Bar Lab.
Shared bunk rooms start at $21 a night (per person), while private rooms begin at $109 (per room). Beyond the rooms (8-bunk, 4-bunk, private king) the Freehand benefits from an inviting lobby, a bar (The Broken Shaker), back garden courtyard, a lovely pool, a side garden of table tennis and other yard games and, eventually, there'll even be a restaurant.
We stayed for three nights at the beginning of Art Basel, the week of their debut, paying a total of $122 for two people in the coed 8-bed room. We were however "upgraded" to a 4-bed room as the 8-beds weren't totally ready.
Just the other week, we called out Tribeca Blu in
Chinatown uh, Tribeca as an affordable option in downtown at a time when NYC hotels are regularly asking, and receiving, $300 a night for an average-looking room.
We did forewarn any interested guests by saying that the spot is more like an "upmarket hostel" with no restaurant, no bar, no business center, no refrigerators and no fitness center. However, WiFi is included. And the recent reviews on TripAdvisor were pretty decent.
But a FOH (Friend of HotelChatter) who checked into the Tribeca Blu promptly checked out after getting up to his room. (And it wasn't just because of the cramped space. That photo above is pretty much the entire hotel room, minus the bathroom.) The bad experience actually started from the moment he walked into the hotel.
If you want to talk about one NYC neighborhood finally getting the development love it deserves, then it's gotta be the north end of Long Island City. Fresh highrises have sprouted up in just the last year, including the Z Hotel, and there are other we're eyeing daily for an answer on if they'll be hotels or condos. Add to this the addition of JetBlue's headquarters to the area (in a building with a history as an old Rolls Royce plant) and it's plain that the area around both the Queensboro Plaza and Queens Plaza subway stops is hot stuff.
So, it really comes as no surprise that the 3-story former bank building at Queens Plaza Northnext to a newly completed pedestrian park plaza and bike path and just down from a site that once had plans for an Aloft Hotelis about to enter a new era as a budget hotel/hostel.
It doesn't have a name quite yet, but we've spotted bunkbed frames in the rooms and small chandeliers on the ceilings. An online registry only gives the operation company as "2909 Queens Plaza North Hostel Management Inc," but it shouldn't be too much longer until the flashy color-changing exterior lights are paired with a sign. And don't worrywe'll keep you updated as to when that happens and how much opening rates will be.
Reykjavik is getting a new place to stay, and for once it won't cost you every crown of your vacation budget. The Kex Hostel, set to open this April, will offer 138 beds on three floors, as well as private rooms with en suite bathrooms that make this an appealing place to stay even if you've given up your Rough Guide.
The name Kex is Icelandic for cookie, a fitting name for a place set in a retired cookie factory on the Saebraut waterfront. A release has more:
The owners, including Icelandic football stars Hermann Hreidarsson, a Portsmouth FC player and Eidur Gudjonssen, a Fulham FC player, aim to retain many of the factory's original features while adding a contemporary touch. Much of the hostel is even styled from original fixtures, with the furniture created from salvaged materials and objects.
Kex will offer more than just a bed, with a café and bar, breakfast buffet, lounge area, heated outdoor patio, laundry room, kitchenettes, free Wifi and a gym.
Let’s start with a New York analogy, shall we? Finding a hotel for $100 a night in Manhattan is like… trying to hail a taxi during rush hour in the rain. Elusive, but not impossible.
We picked a weekend – July 24–25 – and did some sleuthing to see what we could find for a Benjamin (and change). The highlights were off-the-radar rooftops and newfound Euro-backpacker friends; the lowlights were shared bathrooms and ghastly floral bedspreads.
No, no, the SoFla folks aren’t coming west, just heading north. The self-described “hip hotel group” The South Beach Group has just announced a new property in Hollywood Beach, Florida. But don’t look to their Miami Beach boutique hotels—Catalina, Riveria South Beach, Whitelaw, et. al—for clues to the new digs: this baby is a two-in-one, the Hollywood Beach Hotel + Hostel.
IKEA furniture, an eye-assaulting color scheme, and a bongo drum can mean only one thing: we're in an American hostel. It's Apple Hostel, a member of Hostelling International in Philadelphia's Old City, to be more precise. Unimpressed with the hotel offerings in Philly and determined to keep our entire weekend trip under $100, we revisited this institution of responsibility-free youth and got in touch with our inner vagabond.
Everyone may be familiar with European hostels, those dens of Aussie accents and pub crawls, but American ones done right turn out like Christian youth centers; in fact some of our roommates were in town for anti-gun protests. Overall, this was the quietest and least-partying hostel we've ever stayed at, and we've slept across the rainbow of hostels in our day, from bedbugs in Brooklyn to luxury in Luxembourg.
It might look like a Pier 1 Imports display or a Pottery Barn catalog. But the bedroom window display in the Downtown Los Angeles with living, breathing people in it is a hotel. Or at least a peek of a new hotel/hostel hybrid.
That's right. Five actor/model/personalities will be living--on display--in two storefront model hotel rooms as part of new and hot Stay's "Stay in a Bubble" Promotion.
How do we know it's hot? Well, from the press release which included descriptors like youthful, high-energy, high-tech, simple, stylish, and inexpensive for the hip and spend-thrify traveler. Also, because they have a wacky marketing campaign. (This is also secret code for "decorated by Ikea.")
We've all salivated over those fancy first class airplane seats up front that fold down into a bed, but unless we come into an inheritance soon, we'll never get out of the back of the plane.
However, there is a novel way of sleeping on a 747--by spending a night at the Jumbo Hostel.
Gizmodo reports that Oscar Diös--a hostel owner in Sweden--managed to purchase a grounded Boeing 747, finagle all the necessary red tape, and convert the plane into a hostel anchored at the entrance to Arlanda airport (north of Stockholm, in case you're wondering).
If you're headed to Sweden in December or later, you should book one of the 25 rooms. WiFi and flat screens (showing departure times) are included in the 6-square-meter rooms. Private facilities, for the most part, aren't.
If you're feeling splurgey though, you should definitely try to nab the pilot's digs -- the luxury suite in the converted cockpit with a panoramic view of the airport.
We hope Oscar has better luck with his hostel than the plane's last owner, the bankrupt Transjet.
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Combine "loft" and "hostel" and you have the pretty-tricky-to-pronounce Loftstel Philadelphia, a neat looking hostel that caught our attention because they have a Nintendo Wii you can use for free in the communal living room.
Beyond the Wii, there are other reasons to crash at the Loftstel if you're traveling on a budget. They cater mostly for long-term guests--the average length of stay is five weeks--so it's the kind of place you might want to stay if you're moving to Philly and looking around for a place to rent, or if you're interning there for the summer.