Boutique hostel Safehouse, which is located in a sympathetically restored Victorian listed building close to the Millennium Stadium, will open at the beginning of March. It will have 32 beds in shared bedrooms and a further three double rooms, plus free wifi throughout, memory foam mattresses and a stylish lounge area.
In the same month, the Youth Hostels Association (YHA) will unveil a new £4m 92-bedroom hostel in the Welsh capital, housed in a three-storey former Mercure hotel 15 minutes’ walk from the city centre.
All rooms will have en suite facilities and free wifi. It will also house a licensed restaurant and self-catering kitchen, while the upper floor will be dedicated to premium bedrooms, featuring queen-size beds and TVs. Prices start at £16 a night.
The new openings confirm the sector’s growing maturity with luxury hostels now increasingly seen as viable alternatives to budget hotels in city centres. Research company Euromonitor recently predicted that poshtels would be a major new trend in 2015, highlighting operators such as Clink, St Christopher’s Inn-Village, Safestay, The Dictionary and Generator.
Since 2011 the YHA in England and Wales has invested more than £25million in its network of properties, investing £1.2m in a new 181-bed hostel in Brighton in November, featuring 51 en suite rooms, bar and restaurant. Last year also saw international hostel group Generator revamp its flagship London site with quirky design features including a lounge with a piano and a London bus DJ booth.
In 2013 Hoax, a luxury hostel featuring a design-led restaurant and bar, opened in Liverpool with 244 beds across 49 rooms with plans to expand the concept to other cities.
Hotel consultant Melvin Gold told BigHospitality that that there was a “blurring at the edges” between upmarket hostels and budget hotels.
“These new hostels have free wifi, double rooms and en suite options - they sit somewhere between traditional hostels and budget hotels. They are well established in Europe, especially in Germany, and it’s going that way in the UK with families and tourists increasingly using them as well as younger people.”
Safehouse Hostel’s co-owner Daniel Wimpleberg said the recession had played its part in the growing popularity of poshtels in the UK, but the social aspect was also an important factor.
“Staying in a hotel can be a cold and sterile experience, but at a hostel you get to meet people and there is a fun atmosphere,” he said. “Our hostel sleeps under 40 people so you also get much more of a personal service. We will get to know our customers in a way that doesn’t happen in a hotel and that will hopefully encourage them to come back.”