Catering to the Gen Y Set

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Generator Barcelona. (Photo courtesy of Anwar Mekhayech.)
Generator Barcelona.
(Photo courtesy of Anwar Mekhayech.)

The boutique hotel trend is nothing new with travelers, but what about boutique hostels? A new generation of luxury hostels and budget-friendly properties catering to Gen Y are cropping up throughout Europe, attracting more than just backpackers. And here’s how you fit in: By catering to this set now, you’ll learn more about their tastes and have them in your back pocket forever.

“In the U.S., the whole hostel concept is being reappraised. It’s as if travelers there have suddenly discovered something new,” says Generator’s executive chairman, Carl Michel. “At the same time, today’s consumer is growing more heterogeneous—seeking out what is unique or out of the ordinary, and ultimately, desiring an authentic experience, factors which have all contributed to the current rise in popularity of boutique hostels.”

The European boutique hostel brand Generator operates on the concept of creating stylish and social spaces that are centrally located in key cities throughout Europe, such as its new hostel in Barcelona, all while maintaining an affordable price point for travelers.

“Generator has created an elevated experience for travelers, which closely mirrors what a boutique hotel offers its guests—design, curated public spaces, and a chance to meet and socialize with other travelers in a fun and hip environment,” Michel says.

Generator Barcelona took over a building from 1963, set 15 minutes from the beach in the Gracia district, bringing new life to the space with bright colors, modern designs and plenty of opportunities to socialize. Guests have access to free WiFi, can sip margaritas at the Fiesta Gracia Bar or relax in the lounge, open all day long.

Generator also combined the hostel and hotel feel here with both dorms and private rooms. Guests can book private twins, triples, quads and dorms, with an option of a ladies-only room. If your client is seeking privacy and city views, recommend the top floor suite with a wrap-around balcony, hot tub and views over the Sagrada Familia and Barcelona skyline.

Rates start at $17 pp for a dorm room with six or eight beds; $18 pp for a 6-bed female room; $37 for private twin rooms (single or dbl); and $54 for Hot Hotel Rooms located on the top three floors. For more information, visit

After opening other properties in Paris and Marseille, Mama Shelter opened in Lyon playing on its urban surroundings in this French city, but also capitalizing on an area projected to be up-and-coming.

The hotel, or shelter as they call it, is set at the intersection of the industrial Gerland district, University Lumiere near the docks and the Guillotiere area, a more cosmopolitan sector. The brand’s concept also has three influences: the Trigano family (the former owner of Club Med), Cyril Aouizerate (a philosopher and expert on urban development) and the designer Philippe Starck.

“Mama Shelter is a crossroad for people from all ages, countries, cultures, creativities and ethnical background. Each of our hotels was designed in collaboration with the famous designer, Philippe Starck, who made sure our hotel guests felt comfortable, as if they were staying in a sensual refuge adorned with an urban twist,” says Jeremie Trigano, one of the founders. “It is not only a place to sleep, it is a place where locals and foreigners come together to share delicious local dishes imagined by our chefs, Alain Senderens and Jerome Banctel. The atmosphere is casual and there is no formal dress code or stuffiness. Guests can eat on our gigantic communal tables, at our bar or in our comfy couches.”

The restaurant incorporates touches of traditional Lyon cuisine in a fun setting, depending on your clients’ tastes, with dishes prepared by chefs Alain Senderens and Jerome Banctel. Or, they can head over to the Island Bar, adorned with plastic inner tubes overhead, for a cocktail.

The 156-room hotel offers a variety of room types as well, ranging from luxe twin to deluxe terrace and suites. Your clients can also go all out with the Big Mama Terrace Corner suite, which features a terrace sofa, iMac, free WiFi and movies on-demand, and a bath, accommodating up to three people.

As far as what the brand hopes to accomplish with its unique positioning on the hotel landscape, Trigano says, “Mama wants to create a network of homes, for the nomad travelers, as well as for the local resident just living close to a location and just coming for a dinner. And most of all, Mama wants those people to have a chance to meet and spend time together.”

Rates start at $63 per night, and agents earn 8 percent commission. From now through Aug. 31, travelers can get a Mama Luxe Double or Mama Luxe Twin starting at $64. For more information, visit