How One Brand Is Reinventing the Hostel

Generator offers a more grown-up take on the classic backpacker accommodations.

How One Brand Is Reinventing the Hostel

A room at Generator Rome

Courtesy of Generator

Fredrik Korallus, the CEO of lifestyle-focused Generator, offers a primer for first-time guests.

What makes Generator different from a traditional hostel?

What most people think of when they think of hostels is small spaces for students on a budget. Ever since 2007, when the first Generator opened in London, we’ve emphasized the lifestyle experience. We recently put a stronger focus on restaurants and bars that bring locals in. We opened a nightclub in Amsterdam and a rooftop restaurant in Paris, an ice bar in Copenhagen, and a freestanding restaurant next to Generator Stockholm. At all of our properties, you’re going to get a brilliant cup of coffee for the same price as you’d pay at a local coffee shop, and our dining concepts are more akin to street food than to gourmet.

What’s it like to sleep at a Generator hostel?

We typically have 70 percent shared rooms and 30 percent private rooms. We also have rooms for women only. In the shared rooms, each of the beds has a USB plug, a locker underneath, and privacy lights so you can read at night.

Who is your typical guest?

The average age of our customers is 24, but we also have older travelers and even business travelers from creative industries, such as music or software or fashion. And these aren’t necessarily cheap travelers—they just have different priorities for how they spend their money. It’s funny: At the Generator in Copenhagen, a city with some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world, we have people stay with us very affordably, and then they go off and eat in a three-Michelin-star restaurant.

What’s the vibe like at your properties?

One of the first things you’ll notice is that you make new friends quickly. In normal hotels, it’s harder to meet people because you’ve got your own private space, and everybody does their own thing at breakfast. When you come to Generator, you’re meeting people all the time in shared spaces. You’ll also find that guests are quite nomadic in how they travel. When they’re in Paris, they make new friends, and off they go to London with people they just met. It’s a highly sociable, highly mobile, highly impulsive group of people just out to discover the world.

Here are our favorite next-generation hostels around the world:

>>Next: 59 of the World’s Best Hostels

Jennifer Flowers is an award-winning journalist and the senior deputy editor of Afar.
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