Our modern world has brought us together. It has allowed for the exchange of information and ideas, and pushed the limits of expectation and design.
Our technology-driven culture has given rise to the "flashpacker" movement - basically, it's backpacking 2.0 Even though our packs are much lighter, today we travel with
massive libraries of friends, books, movies and music...right there in our pockets, and anywhere in the world.
The modern traveler needs an updated approach to the hostel model. They need a safe place to recharge their batteries (figuratively and literally). They want to connect with each other, but perhaps more importantly, with their friends and family all over the world.
One more thing. They have all the tools and resources to make the most of their money, and they expect it to go far...very far.
More than just a place to lay their heads after a long day of exploring, these travelers want a nice backdrop for their Instagram selfies. Smart business owners understand that if they play their cards right and provide their customers with wifi, they will promote for them - and for free.
A creative example of this is a set of giant angel-wings painted onto a wall under a hostel's logo. Guests will line up to stand in front of the wings, "putting them on" for a photo. Then they are posted to FB and IG, where they inspire all sorts of friend-envy.
Anyhow, speaking of inspiration, I was inspired to write this post after visiting the newly opened Z Hostel in Makati, Philippines. It is perfect example of what I'm talking about. They have struck a nice balance between design, functionality, and affordability.
Due to their hip vibe and innovative user-experience, word-of-mouth has done a lot of the promoting for them!
750 pesos ($18USD) might seem like a lot for a bed in a SE Asian dorm, but when you take a closer look, you'll see why it's such a great value (Makati is also notoriously expensive by SE Asian standards). Each room is well-lit and cooled with strong air-con. Each bed-bunk is semi-private, comfortable, and thoughtfully designed.
There are individual "charging stations" integrated right onto the wall, with private reading lamps as well. It seems we flashpackers never have enough outlets when we travel, and Z Hostel has addressed this issue in a big way. They are literally all over the place!
I was very pleased to find a covered outlet next to the sink in the bathroom. Guys with electric shavers will love this, as will anybody who travels with a hair dryer.
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When I think back on my hosteling experiences years ago, I think of cold, dirty showers in dimly-lit mosquito-infested bathrooms. This couldn't be any further from the Z Hostel experience. The
bathrooms are clean, bright, and equipped with relaxing hot-water showers.
Even the lockers in the rooms are strategically designed. They automatically light when you open them, and come with outlets in each one - so you don't have to worry about another traveler stealing your device while you leave it charging! Well planned.
The private rooms on the upper floors have the same functional design elements, and the views of the Makati skyline can't be beat.
Z Hostel has generated quite a buzz by offering their guests RFID bracelets to make purchases at their cafe and roofdeck bar. Personally, I love the idea of cashless transactions...I'll never forget the first time I ordered a tasty "Z-Brew" coffee and just touched my bracelet to the ipad screen to complete the transaction. So cool!
You request a bracelet at the front desk and load a 150 peso minimum, which includes a 50 peso deposit to be returned when you give the bracelet back. This is especially good for the backpackers who love to party (you know who you are), because they won't have to worry about losing or keeping track of their cash during a hazy night of drinking on the roof deck.
Speaking of which, the roofdeck is pretty epic. The hostel hosts events and frequently features local artists, DJs, and musicians. As most hostels are, the upper rooms can be noisy during these weekend events. Just something to keep in mind - the hostel conveniently offers earplugs upon request.
I never imagined a hostel could be the "place to be seen"...but Z has accomplished this. It's not just for overnight guests, but perfect for those who want to mingle with rooftop drinks after a
stressful work week as well.
The upper rooms come with a thoughtfully prepared breakfast buffet…coffee included! As for other items on the menu, I recommend the burger and fries, as well as the pandesal and cheese. I also tried some traditional Filipino dishes that might pop up on the menu soon, and I can tell you that there is a lot to look forward to!
Most international travelers have no idea that the Philippines has such a sleek and modern side to it. They would be surprised to learn that the country is the "social media capital of
the world", too! Z Hostel embodies this social media savvy spirit.
Just so you know, the property is quite large, and can accommodate group and corporate bookings as well.
Overall, I'm quite impressed with what Z Hostel has accomplished. The prices are just right, and the service and contemporary decor is spot-on. It has a classy, upscale feel to it, but with more of a hip, artistic flair. This is definitely not just another corporate hotel chain.
It is located on a quiet side-street...just far enough from the red light district, which thankfully doesn't have the same sleazy feel. I believe it's appropriately named "Williamsburgos", and I felt very safe there.
If this is the new face of Philippine tourism, the future's looking bright! I'd like to thank Agoda and Z Hostel for extending an invitation to experience it. I'd come back in a heartbeat!
You can search options and find the best deal on a room HERE.
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