Time and again, studies say Millennials value experiences above things. If your business involves youthful employees, is it time to rethink the place for a corporate retreat?
Many a mountain, beach, or lake house has been marketed to business folk as a place for brainstorming, team-building, and entertaining clients. But the Millennial generation’s concept of a gathering spot is more likely to be a coffeehouse or music club in a buzzy urban area than a boring hotel, staid golf resort, or remote house. Taking a cue from co-op work spaces, an Austin-based group has opened a stylish “experiential” luxury hostel and event space that just might assist you to”go native,” and adopt the customs of of the newest generation for your next company summit or bash.
In case you’re wondering, the concept of a “luxury hostel” is not unique, but a recent global trend. The website hostels.com even sponsors “the Hoscars” awards recognizing the best. The latest iteration incorporates co-working space, catering to digital nomads engaged in tech and creative pursuits. This particular stand-out adds an event space component, making it suitable for groups.
Envisioned as “an incubator for thinkers, makers, and creators,” the boutique version of a hostel, Native, opened in the Texas capitol this past May. Its setting is an artsy, renovated circa-1890s railroader hotel and an adjoining old warehouse at 807 E. 4th Street. The 14,000-plus-square-foot complex houses 13 luxury multi-bed bunk suites with communal spaces for groups; a lounge, bar, coffee shop cafe, and restaurant; a 3,500-square foot event space; daily activities such as DJ and musician performances and film screenings; and a 24-hour concierge. The concept’s edgy tagline: “We are Native, an experiential hostel, curating a culture of f*ck yes.” (Their version does not contain an asterisk, needless to say. I have included the statement to give you a feel for Native’s unbridled vibe.)
The venue is set in the neighborhood known as “East Side”, abutting what’s called “downtown,” separated by I-35. It’s near the lively music and nightlife scene of East 6th Street, Rainey Street, and Red River Street, the epicenter of events such as Austin City Limits and SXSW. Unlike the more refined downtown on the opposite side of the interstate, East Austin is a transitional neighborhood, a rising arts district that’s still urban and rustic, with cutting-edge restaurants, bike shops, breweries, and galleries elbowing taco joints, dive bars, and tattoo parlors for space.
Whether or not Native is suitable for your group, it’s interesting to see the property’s features designed to appeal to the millennial set. Especially if your team includes young talent, check out this hot new hospitality concept.
Icon Design+Build (owned by Native co-developer Michael Dickson) partnered with Jared Haas of Un.box Studio, and Joel Mozersky, whose interior design work includes the acclaimed restaurant Uchi, and an 1890s-era fire station converted to a boutique hotel, Palazzo Lavaca, in the renovation and rustic, industrial design:
The “parlor” lounge within Native is a co-working space during daytime hours. Adjacent is a coffee shop and cafe:
Executive chef Virginia Pharr oversees the restaurant, which serves a diner-inspired American menu of breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner fare, including late-night service. Think breakfast tacos, burgers, sandwiches and salads, enhanced with craft cocktails, picking up on another Millennial trend.
Native has 12 four- and six-bed suites outfitted with a total of 65 oversized, single bunk beds outfitted with privacy curtains, lamps, and electrical outlets. Each suite has its own private bath and locking storage space for each guest. Options include four- and six-bunk “dorm rooms” as well as suites with four bunks plus a king-size bed. There’s also one “Romper Room” suite, 1000 square feet of space featuring eight single bunks, a California king bed, three full baths, and a lounge-y living area.
Guests have access to a residential-style kitchen:
And guest-only co-working areas:
Interested in booking? Native’s rates fluctuate by date, but as a benchmark, rates this weekend start at $49-59 per night per single bed and around $1,000 for the Romper Room suite. See the Native website for details.