Throughout various studies of hostels around the world, the architecture and design can have an extensive impact on the sense of well-being for the youth travellers resigning for the short periods of time. Trends in tourism and hospitality design have been rapidly changing that impact how a modern day hostel should be designed for maximum comfort, safety, security along with having the personal space required. This study investigated which design factors contribute to a sense of well-being and how these can be implemented in the design guidelines for future designs. Three case studies were examined, combining the most recent evidence from the literature collected.The results collected in abstract implications for the private space, public space, the look and feel of the hostel and the security required. Furthermore, this research was used for the future design of a hostel to be built in the Southern Ontario Cottage Community.
A hostel is an accommodation, common for youth backpackers travelling on a budget, a place to connect among others with similar desires. Statistics Canada defines youth tourists as those between 15 and 25 years of age (Tourism, 2003). The youth tourist backpacker is looking for a hostel that provides an exciting environment with opportunities to meet other backpackers while enjoying their own independence (Ariyakula, 2016). Originally a hostel was considered a place for short term accommodation, throughout the 20, and 21
century, design trends have altered the perception and reality of this experience, spanning over 80 countries worldwide. Parallel with globalization it has spurred millennials to travel and reach out with the world, in which hostels are a key mediator. Currently hostels are upgrading their infrastructures and making improvements in both features and social activities (Martin, 2006). Hostelworld, a popular hostel-booking website, shows 275 active hostels in the U.S., compared with 3,570 in Europe (Craig, 2013). Modern trends in design are translating into the current construction of hostels. The modern hostels can now offer having a rooftop yoga area, offer dance lessons, and specialty cocktails. These lodging are a far cry from what travelling college students on a shoestring budget may recall years ago, when youth hostels meant sharing bare, cramped quarters with a communal bathroom down the hall (Craig, 2013). The youth will share rooms such as their sleeping corridors with other travellers accommodating at the hostel. Facilities such as kitchenette, and washrooms are along many spaces that are also shared among travellers resigning at a hostel, this being much different than the modern day hotel room. The main purpose of this is for the traveller to stay budget oriented and optimize their experience within their active travelling time. While there are similarities between hostels and hotel accommodations, hostels will surely provide a more interactive and communal atmosphere where patrons will be able to socialize in common spaces that empower friendships and new relations amongst other travellers. It is a common perception that, hostel life has a unique impact on the pattern of youth life. Living in the hostel makes the youth socially and behaviourally different. Hostel life is a combination of different cultural backgrounds, in which students learn to interact with people of different culture (Shah, 2010). Staying in hostels the occupant can face many difficulties including racial issues and difficulties of adjustment, helplessness, distress, changes in eating along with sleep patterns. The incorporation of culture in the overall social experience is an aspect for future consideration (Rontos, 2017). In general, the Australians and Europeans backpacked for both cultural and social reasons, more so than their Asian and North/South American counterparts did (Hospitality Net, 2003). Additionally is how social interaction can have an impact on the traveller. Social interaction appeared as a detrimental reason in choosing backpacking as a means of travel in Australia and the results confirmed that social interaction is an integral part of backpacking (Murphy, 2001). There are social, economical, and cultural aspects that create a balance in which hostels can create a sense of space and place. The demand of space by users is one aspect, however there are different types of hostels along with various room accommodations to consider. Users view hostels as an experience rather than a form of accommodation. The backpackers are looking for hostels that provide a variety of different room types to suit their budgets (Ariyakula, 2016). Information obtained from ‘Hostel Geek’, there are 7 types of hostels, each having their own unique style and look, most notably the Cheap Hostel. Cheap Hostel refers to the one(s) with the lowest price. Most likely the service and facilities are of poor standard, and generally their location tends not to be in the city center (Ariyakula, 2016). Homely & Cosy Hostels represent their selves as a place that feels “like home” rather than just a night stay at a paid accommodation. It includes a full kitchen along with a detailed living room where travellers can kick their feet up and truly feel at home. Boutique-type Hostels tend to go the extra mile and are consciously designed to provide as much as possible, however travellers on a stricter budget may find it easier to accommodate elsewhere. “Party Hostels” usually organize special events, which are usually age restricted. Generally aimed at a younger demographic of travellers, which connect people to specific events, bars, catered to the local nightlife in such setting, potential travellers can find this information on platforms such as booking websites and blogs (Ariyakula, 2016). Traditional youth hostels have maintained their focus on providing a cheap yet social experience, fit for larger groups such as school excursions and team-building weekends. This is an ideal option to meet new people as an individual traveller. Travellers may also choose to stay in areas that they are able to enjoy a more active lifestyle with sports such as skiing, users undoubtedly are able to choose a venue that will meet their specific demands. The focus on the youth hostel and how to create a space that offers both comfort and safety for the youth traveller will be explored through literature and evident case studies as followed. There are also different room types that are available, which include dorms rooms, which provide a single bed and shares facilities with others. It is common for dorms to be separated by gender as is the universal standard, however there are co-ed options available. Anna from Hostel Greek stated “With just girls in the room it’s easier to get changed in the dorm without guys looking, and you don’t have to feel self-conscious wearing something skintight to bed, or sleeping in your underwear”. You will also find hostels offering dorms without the typical bunk bed. Instead they will have single beds, creating a more “classy” vibe (M, 2017). Historically the “pod style” design begun in Japan, which has transcended across the world and becoming more popular. They offer more privacy, included with outlets and a curtain. Alternatively hostels do offer private rooms with a single bed, which is not the traditional model, however meant to accommodate certain individuals. A Twin Room in a hostel means a room that comes with two separated single beds whereas the double room is a private room with a double bed or king size bed for two people. Moving forward there is a demand to incorporate a universal design to help such travellers from different countries integrate into this lifestyle more freely. Major factors that play a role in the design of a hostel would include the following; local cultural differences, needs of patrons, privacy and safety of the patrons, as well as the social differences of todays youth.
This study consisted of examining three evident case studies of existing youth hostels around the world. By focusing on the main design elements that are obtained through the needs of the youth, privacy, safety, social spaces, along with culture the case studies have obtained valid design indicators for how to create a modern youth hostel. The first case study was; Ccasa Hostel located in Vietnam. With a hope to bring memorable moments, CCASA is enriched with big family vibes and familial values, welcoming people from all walks of life. They treasure diversity no matter what culture you are from, what language you speak or what colour your skin is. This hostel has an area of 2098 sq.ft which consisted of having four floors, three different types of sleeping corridors, shared washroom facilities, along with shared kitchen space (Figures 1-4). Social spaces are also included which consist of a rooftop lounge suitable for many activities (Figure 5). Cccasa hostel has a unique environmental approach by reusing existing shipping containers to use for the sleeping areas, along with using local materials, and bringing in nature with trees and pergolas within the space.The sleeping block is painted in the three primary colours that symbolize the three type of bedrooms, 6 bed dorm, 4 bed dorm, and family rooms (Figure 6). The overall floor-plans had great use of space, along with sufficient way-finding provided. The second case study is Flow Hostel, located in Hungary with 7100 sq.ft of space. Flow Hostel is a premium quality accommodation in the downtown of Budapest (Figure 7). The concept is to synthesize high quality living spaces with social life and activities. The hostel opened in October of 2016, with brand new facilities, and extra services for guests. Having a taste of the real Budapest feeling in a classical old town building, along with experiencing the new wave of hostel services. Creating a social environment consisted of having a games room, karaoke, yoga classes and communal kitchen space. The third case study was Drift San Jose Hostel located in Mexico. This hostel is 47900 sq.ft consisting of two floor building surrounding a courtyard. Drift San Jose is for independent travellers who value adventure and culture over all-inclusive package holidays – with a social atmosphere and minimalist living concept, guests are provided just the essentials – free to make their own coffee, enjoy self-serve beverages poolside, meet other guests by the evening fire or relax on the rooftop deck. A design hostel inspired by modern Baja ranch life – guest rooms have rustic concrete finishes and industrial style windows that open onto a palm filled courtyard (Figure 8). The concept is to provide a youthful, social and do-it-yourself experience with no frills, perfect accommodation for independent travellers who prefer adventure and culture over all inclusive. Through these three case studies evident information was obtained in order to know the design guidelines for designing a Modern Youth Hostel.
The themes and quotes of the case studies were combined, and three “design elements” were identified, which reflect the state of the youth staying at a hostel.The built environment includes the layout of a space, its interior design, and the surroundings. Results from the literature and qualitative studies show that the following factors contribute to a universal design : Needs of Patrons, Privacy, and Safety.
3.1 Needs of Patrons
The youth tourist placed greater emphasis on hostels being more flexible with their policies including hostel rules, check in and reservation processes (Prystal, 2004). Exploring the three case studies, each hostel had easy-online check ins, along with websites with all the policies and regulations that made the traveller aware of rules. Different variations including private rooms and dorms, were evident in Ccasa, and Flow Hostel as this gave the occupant a choice of which room was best suitable for their travel needs (Figure 9,10). Internet access along with parking were extra amenities found in all three case studies that are beneficial for the traveller. The internet is especially key as the traveller may be international and would need a menes to communicate to home. Bowan and Daniels refer to three main tourist expectations regarding hostels; geographical, functional, and social. Most important is location since hostels must be located in an attractive tourism area. The location of Ccasa hostel is on the north of the city, about 3km from the center, 3 minutes walking from the beach along with being close to famous sights in Nha Trang. Flow Hostel occupies the second floor of a more than hundred-year-old downtown historic building in Budapest, which is in a central area for travellers. They also need to provide, safe and clean amenities to ensure comfort. Flow Hostel offers the most amenities which include the following; shuttle service, shared lounge/ tv area, airport shuttle, shuttle service, air conditioning, heating, safety deposit box, yoga classes, bicycle rental, games room, and outdoor terrace. The third component which ties in to safety, travellers expect a friendly environment where they can feel comfortable and be themselves (Bowan and Daniels, 2011). Modern innovations include having electrical outlets accessible from each bedside in the hostel, along with a shelf next to the bedside to store personal belongings (Figure 11). A personal storage area secured with a lock and key to store main luggage and any other belongings the traveller may wish to keep safely stored and insured from any theft or misplacement (Figure 12). Curtains or a way of providing privacy at certain hours should be expected in the sleeping corridors. Ideally washrooms should provide more space and privacy then you would expect in a public setting as people are sharing space. The design and concept should always support and represent the locations culture and history. Providing original art, authentic cuisine, and local music will enhance the traveller’s experience. Drift San Jose Hostel uses local materials, an onsite shop features a collection of up-and-coming contemporary Mexican designers. The Mezcal Tasting Bar features a large selection of rare artisanal mezcal, Mexican micro beers and Baja wines. Laundry facilities that are available are a selling point as travellers only carry a fixed amount of baggage. A common area where people can play games and interact with each other is also beneficial, along with including games such as pool, foosball, or activities associated with the local culture. Amenities such as, having a swimming pool, stunning views or even a cinema can help shape the stay at the hostel. Ccasa hostel included having a rooftop net area, Flow hostel included a games room, and Drift San Jose hostel offered a pool, outdoor fire area, and roof top terrace (Figure 13).There are many design details, facilities, installations, and touches that can make a hostel stand out.
Privacy is both a process by which we control access to ourselves or our group and a condition of selective distance or isolation (Altman, 1975). Privacy is an important factor for hostels due to the interactive setting they provide. High-density environments require a careful balance between interaction and controllability to meet needs (Pollack, 2015). When staying at a hostel the user is required specific privacy needs, however they may not always be available depending on the conditions. Drift San Jose hostel offered the most amount of privacy as this hostel featured private rooms with private washrooms for the users ( Figure 14,15). One advantage of this growing industry is ensuring that these needs are met due to the competitiveness in the industry alone. Both personal space and territoriality allow us to personalize and position the environment to regulate interaction and communication (Pollack, 2015). At Flow hostel there are a variety of social spaces with closed doors to allow for more privacy rather then having large open spaces like Cccasa hostel offers. The stress associated with the load new environments and uncontrollable interaction with strangers can take its toll on our physical and psychological well-being (Pollack, 2015). When staying in a hostel the traveller will be surrounded by many people from different cultural backgrounds, these differences may play a role in the level of acceptance to embrace differences by certain individuals. The energy, anticipation, and excitement associated with arrival in a new place, the movement and activities of various types of people, and the interaction with new people arouses our senses and can be pleasurable if the environment is designed to accommodate these experiences (Pollack, 2015). In each case study there were designated areas for social interactions along with having areas with closed doors for privacy and personal needs. There are four types of privacies required in hospitality design and translate to the design of hostels. The first two being Solitude and Intimacy in guest rooms, restaurant, lounge, or any other areas designed for personal use. Solitude is found in each guest room found in the case studies, as they offer privacy curtains, and sense of place. Anonymity in the busy common areas such as the lobby, and Reserve which is accommodated by staff, private circulation paths, and ability to maintain desired social spaces. Drift San Jose hostel has large designated staff areas which are closed off from the guests to offer the staff a safe reserved place.
Safety is a major concern for travellers, especially people travelling for the first time, staying at a hostel can be considered pushing the comfort zone of these people travelling for an extended period for the first time. In particular females desired the following, front desk to be open 24 hours, must be located in an area where they would feel safe walking alone at night, and within walking distance of bus/train station (Skelton, 2004). In each case study there was a 24 hour reception service offered, along with the location of the hostels being in safe areas for young youth. Women travelling need the extra assurance in order to feel safe. Having staff present, locks on all doors, cameras, etc. all go a long way into providing such assurance. Drift San Jose hostel offered the most amount of safety for the female traveller having the locked personal rooms, along with the private washroom and terrace, this being said both Ccasa along with Flow offered safety and security with locks on the shared sleeping corridors, and washrooms (Figures 16-18). In addition, buddy systems should be established, and female backpackers should be provided with escort service from the bus/train station to the hostel (McCullough, 2003). Different cultures also have safety concerns of their own. Safety starts with the location of the hostel, secure doors, trusted staff, and a secure area for personal property. Asians and North/South Americans were more security conscious than their counterparts. They preferred hostels that had a front desk open 24 hours a day, with the front door only accessible through key and also included safety deposit boxes (Jogaratnam, 2003).
4. Discussion, Conclusions, and Implications for Design Practice
Living in a globalized and technologically dependent world, peaks the interest of youth to travel and experience new social settings in hostels. The hostel industry is evolving around the world, along with design trends that follow. There are social, economical, and cultural aspects that create a balance in which hostels can create a sense of space and place. Moving forward hostels should provide all the main needs of the youth traveller, along with comfort, privacy and safety in mind (Figures 19-23). Major key design factors found and addressed through literature and the case studies are as followed; hostels being more flexible with their policies including hostel rules, check in and reservation processes, different variations including private rooms and dorms, internet access along with parking, location along with safe and clean amenities to ensure comfort ,the design and concept should always support and represent the locations culture and history, designated areas for social interactions, solitude and Intimacy in guest rooms, restaurant, lounge, or any other areas designed for personal use, electrical outlets accessible from each bedside in the hostel, along with a shelf next to the bedside to store personal belongings, finally washrooms should provide more space and privacy then you would expect in a public setting as people are sharing space. With these Interior Design Factors Influencing the Modern Day Design of Youth Hostels was achieved.