Renovations to the old Tokyo Hotel in River North began early this summer, and now the dingy old place is set to reopen as a Freehand Hostel sometime next spring. The hostel's interiors were designed by the New York based outfit Roman & Williams, and they certainly have a young hip vibe going. The Tribune called it a "hipster hostel" in their piece from yesterday. Crain's also called it a hipster hostel. You get the point.
Beyond it's apparent "hipsterness", the hostel will feature 217 rooms, with nearly half set aside for shared bunk bed style lodging — 336 hostel beds to be exact. However, 60 percent of the Freehand's rooms will be private rooms, as the company hopes to attract business travelers as well as seasonal tourists and younger travelers. It'll also feature a cocktail bar called The Broken Shaker, which has been a popular fixture in the Miami beverage scene.
No doubt the hostel is aiming for a younger crowd, and a more "hip" vibe, but it certainly helps fill a void in the city's ongoing hotel boom, adding affordable shared lodging space to Chicago's growing inventory of high-end boutique hotel rooms. Private rooms at the Freehand will likely compete with rooms at places like the Soho House, the PUBLIC Hotel, the ACME Hotel and the upcoming Virgin Hotel and Ace Hotel. However one demographic it'll dominate in attracting is the budget-minded seasonal traveler — you know, the hipster as some people like to say.
·New hipster Freehand hostel planned for downtown [Tribune]
·Super Dingy Tokyo Hotel Set To Undergo Major Renovation [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous hotel boom coverage [Curbed Chicago]