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Backpacker accommodation can be much more than just a place to rest your head, as this project shows


Budget accommodation is no longer the sole domain of young people carrying backpacks. Inexpensive hotels that provide clean, comfortable and safe accommodation are growing increasingly popular with older travellers too.

Recognising this, the owner of the Hangout Hotel @ Mt Emily asked DP Design to turn this once Chinese-themed budget hotel into a bright, welcoming place that would attract travellers of all ages and backgrounds.

DP Design director Lydia Fong says the design team had to work within a tight budget, retaining the original floor plan and architectural fabric.

"Our challenge was to give it a fresh, modern look and create an easy-going, unpretentious environment," she says. "We wanted to move away from the cottage-comfort style evident in backpacker accommodation in the 1980s."

The design brief was to create welcoming spaces where people were able to network.


Guests are greeted on arrival by a silhouette-like graphic of fellow travellers in bright yellow, green and orange. The walls of the entrance foyer are lined with some of the owner's collection of international travel photographs.

Fong says these additions are designed to invoke thoughts of happy travels and be a conversation piece for guests.

Comfortable seating inspired by contemporary European designs is also provided.

The reception area flows into a cafe, decorated in bright pink and green, and a lounge decorated in red, orange and black. A circular theme is evident in the foyer and continued in the glass wall panels, floor rug, tables and stools in the lounge.

"We wanted these downstairs areas to have a seamless flow. There are no hard edges or broken lines," says Fong.

The second floor of the building includes a number of chill-out spaces suitable for activities such as reading, playing pool, watching television, and internet access. They include comfortable cushions and bean bags and are conducive to small-group conversation and activities.

In keeping with the use of vivid colours, each level of the building includes a payphone lobby featuring a mural created by students at the Lasalle-Sia College of the Arts.

The hotel offers a variety of private rooms as well as dormitory accommodation, all of which are painted in bold, cheery colours and feature European-inspired, custom-made furniture designed to withstand heavy use.

Dormitories feature single beds, rather than bunk beds, and individual pull-out writing desks and closet spaces.

The hotel's piece de resistance is a tropical roof-top terrace offering views over Mt Emily Park and the city.

It features a Balinese-style timber deck with dipping pool, outdoor showers, loungers, sun umbrellas and barbecue facilities.

A tropical feel is created with climbing flowers and potted plants, lanterns, niches with candles and ornate garden statues.

First published date: 23 August 2004

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Credit List

Location Hangout Hotel @ Mt Emily (Singapore)
Architect DP Architects
Interior design DP Design
Construction company Shanghai Chong Kee Furniture & Construction
Civil engineer T Y Lin Sea
Mechanical and electrical engineer Bescon Consulting Engineers
Quantity surveyor WT Partnership
Tiling Bathroom floors and mosaics by Polybuilding, shower pool mosaic flooring by Unlimited Enterprises
Flooring Duality carpet by Patcraft Commercial Carpet and Imari by Designweave supplied by Shaw Industries, Artcraft carpet tiles supplied by Umi Carpeting
Paint Nippon
Lighting Cheng Seng Electric
Furniture Custom made by DP Design
Bathrooms Sanitus Building Supplies
Security system Cheng Seng Electric
Signage Lin Keong Advertising Studio
Graphic design Lizardstorm