May The Student In You Never Die

  • Student life is traditionally tucked away in isolated corners of university campuses; in barren, uninspiring towers of life. This notorious cliché of no-frills living has been passed down over generations as simply a “part of the university experience”. Charlie MacGregor, founder of The Student Hotel, sees things a bit differently; placing great faith in this demographic as the market-drivers of tomorrow.

    As we have been tracking in our series thus far, people are willing to pay more to live better, and Charlie has proven that students are no exception to this growing community. MacGregor opened the first Student Hotel in the Netherlands, alongside Frank Uffen, in 2012 to wide excitement and success. Within the two years following, additional locations with as many as 700 rooms opened throughout the country, with all projects benefiting from 100% occupancy at opening date.

    The Student Hotel focuses mainly on university housing, revolving around the semester schedule. However, the hotel also saves a certain percentage of rooms to be rented as either short-term stays or hotel rooms, accounting individually for about 10% each during the academic year. This way their rooms stay buzzing and full all year round filled with a mix of students and students-at-heart.

    The Student Hotel lobby in Amsterdam East

    The Student Hotel lobby in Amsterdam East

    Bedroom in The Student Hotel

    Bedroom in The Student Hotel

    Designing for Community

    Walking around the ground level of the Student Hotel’s Amsterdam flagship hotel located just east of the Amstel River, the space is an unrecognizable comparison to the typical student lounges found among university campuses. The open floor plan is incredibly spacious and diverse, broken up by platforms and clustered spaces amenable for both socializing and work. Communal work counters, reading rooms, ping pong tables and board games are all scattered throughout, in addition to the multiple entrances to the attached cafe’s and bars. This entrance space is meant to be shared by everyone in the hotel and does not separate students from the other hotel or short-term guests.

    Frank Uffen, Director of Marketing and Partnerships, understands the growing market of international students and young professionals who often come to cities with a lack of network, roots, or knowledge about their new home. Be it just for a night, or for the whole year, The Student Hotel wants to be a landing spot for bright minds during their stay.

    The Student Hotel The Student Hotel
    The Student Hotel's characteristic yellow-black identity is a strong element in the company's branding

    The Student Hotel’s characteristic yellow-black identity is a strong element in the company’s branding

    Paving the Way for Modern Co-Living

    While The Student Hotel provides the necessary environment to facilitate experiences and friendships, it is really the students who are the community drivers of the environment. Through its own online platform, residents are able to connect with one another online to create events and match similar interests before arriving. “Co-living is already in our DNA. It’s just a matter of updating it,” says Uffen.

    Updated and upgraded, The Student Hotel offers a variety of amenities and services available to guests such as bike rentals, laundry, room cleaning, and meal plans. Although enjoyable, Uffen does not feel as if these luxuries are essential for co-living platforms to succeed. “Co-living as a product and as a phenomenon has seen so much recent development and improvement in the last few years. We want to professionalize it and scale it, which will make room for innovative and diverse projects to succeed.”

    The Student Hotel
    The Student Hotel in The Hague

    The Student Hotel in The Hague

    Their hotels offer a wide array of services and amenities which vary depending on the type of guest. i.e. hotel guests get daily room cleaning, while students are responsible for cleaning up after themselves. Prices range depending on location, but student rooms run at about €700 per month, while short stay accommodation, with more amenities, is available for €1,500. At present, The Student Hotel has eight locations throughout six European cities (2,750 rooms) and plans to expand to 40 hotels by 2020 (10,000 rooms). It will be exciting to see what the future holds for The Student Hotel.

    This article is a part of our series on micro-metropolitan living concepts around the world. We have recently received a grant from the Dutch Creative Industries Fund to explore this trend further and will be sharing our findings via Pop-Up City throughout the upcoming months.