Hostel brings new life to old estate

Revamped building offers good value for guests and a glimpse of city's history for all who visit

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 October, 2013, 4:32am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 October, 2013, 4:32am

A stay at the city's newest youth hostel in a revitalised Shek Kip Mei estate will cost as little as HK$300 a night, the Youth Hostel Association said yesterday.

Announcing its rates for the hostel in the grade-two historic building that was once Mei Ho House, it said prices were "very reasonable" given the hostel's urban location, accessibility and historical value.

Dormitory beds start from HK$300 a night for association members, with a double room costing HK$680. A family room sleeping four costs HK$1,620. All overnight guests will be provided with free breakfasts.

"The prices of youth hostels in other international cities like Sydney, Boston, New York and London were taken into account when we set our prices,'' association chairman Michael Wong Yik-kam said.

In comparison, a stay at the YHA's Sydney Harbour hostel cost from HK$370 for a dormitory bed to HK$1,200 for a twin-bed room, while London's Oxford Street hostel charged from HK$347 for dormitory beds to HK$990 for a twin-bed room.

The new Mei Ho House hostel has two identical wings linked by a cross-piece to form an H-shaped complex and offers 129 rooms. It also has a public housing museum, a cafe, a communal space and a garden.

Each dormitory has two shared bathrooms, four sets of bunk beds and secure lockers, while double and family rooms have en-suite bathrooms.

Tsui Lin-foon, 60, who grew up at the Mei Ho Public Housing Estate and lived there for 23 years said it was exciting to see her old home become useful again.

She said although the six people in her family had to cram into their 120 sq ft unit, it was not inconvenient, but full of happiness, caring and warmth.

"Mei Ho is part of our lives. I hope the young generation can learn about our past experience from all the displays featured in the museum," she said. "No matter how hard our lives were, we were able to keep up our fighting spirit to cope with stress and catastrophe, and we looked after each other and our neighbours."

The hostel will start taking guests from October 24, but is open for public visits starting from this afternoon.