Bed and breaking news: Ghents newspaper hostel - Halong Junk Cruises

Bed and breaking news: Ghents newspaper hostel

Bar and lobby area. Backstay Hostel Ghent
The bar and lobby area of Backstay Hostel Ghent

A new hostel in the Belgian city of Ghent is looking to put an inky spin on budget travel by allowing guests to stay in dorms and bedrooms named after famous newspapers. And, yes, you can choose to show your allegiance by staying in the Guardian dorm – with the paper’s name, in its idiosyncratic typeface, on the exterior of the room. Suggestions that authenticity extends to comical subediting inaccuracy are yet to be confirmed …

The reason for the newspaper theme at Backstay Hostel Ghent comes from the building that houses it: a superb 1930s art-deco design which was once the home of the socialist newspaper, Vooruit. Re-opened at the end of June, this heritage building has been transformed into a series of pod-style dormitories with 108 beds, plus several double rooms that aim to be as comfortable as a B&B – though guests here do have to share a bathroom.

Backstay Hostel Ghent. New York Times dorm rooms
The New York Times dorm room

Although Vooruit has long since closed down as a paper, its spirit is still present, with each bedroom and dorm named after a famous newspaper: Le Monde, the New York Times, Die Zeit, El País, and the Guardian. And up in the lighthouse turret, at the top of the building, there is the Blog Room, which is open to hostel visitors and locals to sit down and post their thoughts and traveller’s tales, either on their laptops or vintage typewriters. The hostel is designed to be a meeting place for visitors and the local Gantois, with a bar fashioned from wooden typesetting letters that is open to all. There is also a restaurant and a summer terrace, as well as a chill-out zone on the ground floor featuring table football, a library and comfy sofas, plus a piano and guitars for evening jam sessions.

Bar area. Backstay Hostel Ghent
The bar area on the ground floor

The Backstay is 15 minutes’ walk from the historic centre of Ghent, opposite the main Vooruit building, a former socialist workers’ centre that is now one of the city’s cultural centres for concerts and film screenings, along with Terras, a popular new restaurant and bar.

+32 9 395 96 60, Dormitory beds from €20.50 a night B&B, double rooms from €68 B&B

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Travel | The Guardian
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