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Travel & Holiday

Posh dorm targets 'flashpackers'

Travellers who are seeking comfort on a budget, Adler Hostel might be your ideal choice.
December 13, 2012
By: David Ee
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Posh dorm targets 'flashpackers' Mr Adler Poh took a $500,000 loan from his parents to start Adler Hostel in Chinatown. It charges $60 for a dorm bed and caters to "flashpackers", who are travellers seeking comfortable accommodation at budget prices. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

A NIGHT'S stay here features personalised service, a hot breakfast, down pillows and quilts, and even teak furniture in the lobby.

But this is no boutique hotel. Adler Hostel in Chinatown is the latest in a recent procession of hostels opening in the area to cater to "flashpackers" - travellers seeking comfort on a budget.

At $60 for a dormitory bed, it is possibly Singapore's most expensive. Beds at The InnCrowd, a Little India hostel, start at $20.

But Adler Hostel's young founder, Mr Adler Poh, 25, is confident that savvy travellers will plump for his hostel over no-frills budget hotels in the area, some of which cost between $120 and $180 a night.

The beds here, housed in two 16-bed dorms, each have privacy curtains, storage cabinets, bedside mantlepieces and a reading light.

Mr Poh decided to have a conservative 32 beds when he could have squeezed in 46 beds in the hostel, located in a 3,500 sq ft shophouse. It is a decision he hopes will pay off, as the extra space will give his guests more privacy and quiet, he said.

Besides Adler, launched yesterday, other hostels offering luxe facilities, such as Wink, Matchbox the Concept and 5footway Inn, have popped up in Chinatown in recent years.

At Wink, where dorm beds start at $50 a night, the beds have mood lighting and come enclosed like a pod to provide privacy. Beds at Matchbox, which resemble Japanese capsule beds, cost $45 nightly. Guests can also use a spacious lounge with beanbags, books and massage chairs.

The flashpacker trend is set to stay as travellers become more savvy, said Ngee Ann Polytechnic's senior tourism lecturer Michael Chiam.

Many of them are professionals who have money to spend, but while they want comfort, they also want it on a budget, he said. He does not expect rates for such luxury dorms to rise unless Singapore experiences "a severe room crunch". But he added: "If the hostel provides amenities that others do not have, there may be travellers willing to pay for it."

For now, Mr Poh, who took a $500,000 loan from his parents to start Adler Hostel, said he is optimistic about its future. Since its soft opening last month, occupancy rates have hovered at around 70 per cent.

davidee@sph.com.sg

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