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Sunday, Jun 16, 2024

Hong Kong’s second combination hotel and youth hostel opens for applications

Hong Kong’s second combination hotel and youth hostel opens for applications

Scheme is expected to accommodate more than 200 residents in double-bed or twin-bed rooms that average 350 to 400 sq ft.

The Nina Hotel in Tsuen Wan has become Hong Kong’s second combination youth hostel with the prospect of offering 100 rooms for adults under 30 who will share the building with visitors amid a recent increase in tourism.

The project falls under the “Youth Development Blueprint”, which was a highlight of the city leader’s first policy address in 2022, in which he vowed to provide 3,000 hostel spaces in the next five years for young people to enjoy cheaper rents.

Despite the border reopening, the managing director of Nina Hospitality, Simon Manning, said revamping rooms into youth hostels was complementary to the operator’s business model.

(Left to right) Lawrence Lam, Clarence Ling, chairman of Y.Elites Association, Donald Choi, Jaime Sze, founding and honorary life chairman of Y.Elites Association, and Simon Manning.

“We hope to create a communal space for both parties to interact with each other, possibly for the youth to learn from the professionals,” said Donald Choi, executive director and CEO of developer Chinachem Group, which owns the hotel.

Choi said the project named “Home² Youth Hostel” was a collaboration with youth group Y.Elites Association and aimed at integrating future tenants and tourists.

The scheme is expected to house more than 200 residents on the lower floors. Applicants can choose double-bed or twin-bed rooms that average 350 to 400 sq ft and cost HK$4,680 (US$596) and HK$4,980 for city or sea views, respectively.

The 42-storey hotel is about a five-minute walk from Tsuen Wan West station and right next to Nina and Citywalk shopping centres.

The project has received more than 1,000 pre-registrations and began to accept applications on Monday, according to Lawrence Lam, executive vice-chairman of the Y.Elites Association. He added that the first phase ends on May 31 and tenants could move in during the second quarter of this year.

Choi said the residents, with government subsidies, would pay less than the equivalent of half of a one-night stay at the hotel in off-peak periods.

But to be eligible to stay, tenants must complete a range of social outreach activities of no less than 200 hours a year. According to the Y. Elites Association, residents were likely to take part in district-based cultural and creative projects.

Applicants must be Hong Kong permanent residents whose monthly income and net assets do not exceed HK$25,000 and HK$380,000, respectively. Those who are queuing for public housing are also eligible to apply.

They will also be interviewed about their education, work experience and willingness to engage in community services.

“We hope the tenants can benefit from saving time and money from shortening their commute to work,” Lam said, adding that helping young people to grow was a top priority for the scheme.

Kenneth Leung Yuk-wai, lawmaker and vice-chairman of the Youth Development Commission, said further projects would launch later on, but stopped short of disclosing their start dates or locations.

“Another two projects are coming on the way. It will be located in the city centre with good public transport,” he said.

While Leung also acknowledged tenants would have to pass through the Nina Hotel’s lobby and share facilities with tourists during peak seasons, he believed it was not a major concern and the venue would make the appropriate arrangements, such as placing residents and guests on separate floors.

Astronomical rents have long been a housing issue in Hong Kong, especially among young people in the early stage of their careers.

According to a survey by the Institute of Future Cities at Chinese University, tenants pay HK$5,000 a month for 121 sq ft in subdivided flats on average.

The first similar project was launched in Butterfly on Morrison in Causeway Bay. The hotel released 97 rooms and charged HK$3,800 to HK$4,800 a month for rooms ranging from 176 to 324 sq ft.


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