Out With The Old, In With The New
Just over a year ago when the first UK lockdown came into force we, like so many other hospitality businesses across the country and the world, had to close our doors. For a hostel that had welcomed travellers 365 days a year since our opening all those years ago, it was a strange feeling. But we knew we all had to do our bit and saw the closure of Clink78 and our other hostels as a painful but necessary action that would help to curb the spread of the virus. Of course, we soon realised that the virus wasn’t going away anytime soon and that the global travel industry would be heavily impacted for many more months – extending far beyond the reach of the initial government lockdown last spring.
We knew that operating a hostel under these conditions would be incredibly challenging and so decided to change tack, planning a much-needed refurbishment of the hostel. Finding opportunity under difficult circumstances is something that we always strive for at Clink. Creating a fresh, modern hostel whilst visitor numbers to London were low felt like the best way to serve our guests (and the Clink team) when we could eventually welcome them back.
Changing with the times
The refurbishment of Clink78 has the needs and expectations of the modern backpacker firmly in mind, using technology to streamline the check-in and hostel experience, creating dedicated spaces for ‘digital nomads’ and prioritising the provision of more en-suite bathrooms. The average traveller of 2021 is very different from the backpackers of yesteryear. As the needs of travellers change so too must the design of the spaces they inhabit whilst on the road.’’ (Liam Hope Operations Director at Clink Hostels).
Heating & Cooling
Through the refurbishment, we have placed significant emphasis on improving ventilation and implementing a full heating and cooling system throughout the building which, let it be known, is no mean feat in a 150-year-old courthouse! Our lobby area will be transformed into a welcoming reception-come-cafe where guests can check-in, order drinks and food and chill-out in a new seating area.
Food & Beverage
A selection of pastries, porridge pots, and sandwiches will be available in the ‘grab and go’ fridge. Fans of our existing pizza, curry and macaroni cheese offering will be pleased to hear that these are likely to remain on the menu too.
Guests will be encouraged to use Goki, our easy pre-arrival self-check-in app, but will also be able to do this on arrival using one of the tablets or Ipads mounted in the reception area.
Shaun Clarkson, lead designer for the Clink78 refurbishment, describes the approach to the refurbishment as “Self-expressionism meets future pop – adding a new layer to Clink’s Cultural heritage.’’
There are two courtrooms within the old courthouse building that are accessed directly from the reception area. The ‘yellow’ courtroom will be used for larger groups to gather before and after their days exploring the city. Other guests are also welcome to hang out here to enjoy their coffees, work on their laptops or test their skills on one of our retro arcade games. The ‘red courtroom’ will have chilled, loungey vibes with regular movie screenings and space to relax and chat to friends.
Dorms, Private Rooms and POD beds
Staying in dorms can be tough for even the most seasoned of backpackers – lack of privacy, noisy neighbours, nowhere to hang things or safely store your valuables, it’s either too hot or too cold … These are but a few issues highlighted by some Clink guests that we talked to prior to starting the refurbishment.
Features in our new ‘POD’ rooms aim to address the key issues. Each bed has its own adjustable ventilation system, smoke detector and sound insulation. There’s a black-out curtain for privacy and a multi-coloured mood light to create some ambience. A reading light, USB + power socket at the head of the bed will keep both book worms and tech lovers happy. Under-the-bed lockers, a couple of hooks and a metal towel rail will make finding a spot to keep belongings that much easier.
With Shaun’s characteristic creative and confident approach to interiors, we know that Clink78 is in safe hands.
With a hopeful reopening date of June 2021 we can’t wait to welcome guests back to London to experience the new and improved Clink78.