The Generator, in Amsterdam, is outfitted with furniture from the au courant British designer Tom Dixon and hometown star Marcel Wanders. Its walls are festooned with whimsical wallpaper from the design-art duo Studio Job. Curated antiques and artwork add a quirky element to the lobby and guest rooms. Sounds like a recipe for the newest spendy boutique hotel, but a bed at the hostel will only set you back $15.
For the past few years hostels—once the domain of twenty-something backpackers looking for cheap accommodations, design damned—have undergone a makeover and are touting the same amenities and aesthetic considerations as fancy hotels. Gone are the days of lumpy beds and questionable cleanliness. For its Chicago hotel and hostel, the Freehand—which also has a location in Miami—worked with celebrated designers (and members of Fast Company's 2016 class of the Most Creative People in Business) Roman & Williams. The Backstay Hostel, in Belgium, boasts accommodations in a gorgeous Art Deco structure. Grupo Habita—a luxury hotel developer—opened Downtown Beds in Mexico City. And the list goes on.
One of the companies that has been most aggressive in this new era of budget-friendly high design is Generator, which has recently opened outposts in Paris, London, and Venice, and is set to open hostels in Rome and Stockholm this summer.
The Toronto-based studio DesignAgency oversees the Generator's aesthetic and taps into local influences and vernaculars for each hostel while ensuring that it still represents the brand's chic sensibility. For the Amsterdam location, which is adjacent to a park in the city's Oost neighborhood, DesignAgency recast a former school building into a traveler's hub, complete with bars, restaurants, lounging areas, and, of course, comfortable beds.
Glimpse the hostel in the slide show above.