In the middle of 2017, we were approached to work on a very exciting project. Portland's first hostel. In a town full of hotels, it is odd that we didn't already have one but here it was.
What is a hostel, you ask? A hostel is a budget-friendly type of accommodation that focuses on a shared social experience. Hostelling offers many benefits. Not only can you save money, but you get to meet many different kinds of people from all over the world. You never know who you’ll meet while staying in a hostel, which adds an element of excitement that’s hard to get if you’re holed up on your own in a hotel room.
This particular project involves a turn of the century, four story building in Portland's booming east end. As a matter of fact, the fourth floor offers views of the beautiful Casco Bay. It is located at the bottom of Munjoy Hill making the dining, shopping and adventuring opportunities, endless.
For us, this project presented lots of unique challenges. First and foremost, creating a space that is both private and shared. Typically projects are residential (private) or commercial (public). The hostel needs to be commercial but feel residential. We achieved this by manipulating the layout to offer an open concept in shared areas and variety of sleeping chambers from en suites, to rooms that sleep up to 10 people.
Also, we wanted to make sure that the space has a welcoming vibe and a unique personality. Fortunately for us, the owner of the hostel has a great grasp on hospitality and brings plenty of personality to the table. Wallpaper on the ceilings, custom built beds, themed rooms, colorful flooring on the walls....these are a few of her favorite things.
The name of the hostel will be The Black Elephant and we are shooting for a June 1 opening. If this place turns out 1/10th as cool as our plans, you will have to swing by and check it out. Or stay a night. You never know who you might meet.