An Updated Design Hostel for the Belgian Socialists of Yesteryear

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By Kelsey Keith / Published by Dwell
An old Art Deco building in Ghent, Belgium—and former headquarters for a Socialist newspaper—sees new life as a design-y hostel for travelers on the cheap.

Backstay Hostel 
backstayhostels.com
Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 128
9000 Ghent, Belgium
Phone: 0032 9 395 96 60
Email: ghent@backstayhostels.com
Dormitory beds from €20.50 a night; double rooms from €68

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Backstay Hostel is located in the former office of Dagblad Vooruit (socialist newspaper) inside an Art Deco-style building in Ghent, Belgium, dating from 1930. The striking frosted glass facade is courtesy of an architect named Brunfaut; the renovation of the landmarked building was undertaken by designers Nele Van Damme and Yannick Baeyens.

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The hostel is located in Ghent's university district in the center of town, opposite the renowned art center Vooruit. The Art Deco lobby and stairwells are painted in a vibrant yellow.

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In the ground-floor bar area adjacent to the lobby, furniture was upholstered with hundreds of wooden typesetting letters from the collection of printing house Strobbe (Izegem). During the renovation, the entire ceiling had to be replaced due to dry rot fungus so a minimalist interior was added, so as not to interfere with the building's historic spaces.

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The Backstory Bar is open all day, ideal for travelers or Ghent locals.

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With 108 beds and 15 rooms, it's one of the largest hotels in Ghent. In a nod to its past as a newspaper office, the rooms are all named after famous international newspapers: Le Monde, the New York Times, Die Zeit, El País, La Stampa, the Guardian, and more.

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A brick-lined lounge space in Backstay Hostel is outfitted with Ligne Roset's Togo sofas.