The luxury of the four-star hotel, a night in a cloud bed we had trouble leaving, a family room perfect for your tribe, improbable encounters just like in hostels: ho36 gathers all these experiences, and a lot more. La Guillotière, a neighbourhood in Lyon, wakes up and now prides itself on having its hotel. In this warm place where (already) regular customers, locals and tourists meet, Frank Delafon and his team succeeded in stopping time. No formalities there. And no concept either: they wanted the place this way. Actually, ho36 makes you feel like it has always been there, in the heart of rue Montesquieu. An illusion maintained by the vintage decoration made by Frank’s sister, Alexandra Malgrain. She salvaged furniture from the previous hotel and bargain-hunted objects from elsewhere and original creations. Above all else, ho36 offers a vibrating setting to its customers. A melting spot that is a hotel, a hostel, a home and a house where large families and party-animals live together and share life experiences. Lyon thanks the restaurant owner for having brought this model with him. Since, yes, ho36 is also his story. The story of a trip with his family in San Francisco of which he made the best. An appropriate difference we’ll remember next time we come to the City of Light.
ho36 hostel, 36 rue Montesquieu – 69007 Lyon.
Frank, why ho36?
For a lot of reasons. 36 is my lucky number. I’ve been living with friends for 9 years at the 36 of a street in Lille and we kept saying that we were “going to the 36”. It comes from that time. And “ho” because we are a hotel, a hostel, a home, a house…
How did you get the idea of creating a place like this one?
By travelling! I realised something simple. I have three children and finding places that suit us all is never easy. If I visit a city, I want to meet locals, discover places that are not always referenced in touristic guides and find places where the children can relax and play. I lived a wonderful experience in a hostel in the centre of San Francisco. Everything was there – well, not the bar. So, I wanted to create a place where I would want to go myself. As a restaurant owner, it was easy for me to imagine and realise this project.
Can you tell us a bit more about the spirit of ho36?
Collective areas, bedrooms adapted to everyone’s needs and everything related to hostelry such as the reception and service. I wanted a place that would be lively, where the staff would be present – not just standing behind the reception desk -, with a real follow-up for the people of the hotel. In parallel, we wanted to break the formalities, and keep the “no concept” side of the project. There is an atmosphere, a neighbourhood café where everyone meets in a happy mix: local families, tourists and people from the neighbourhood.
How did you design the spaces?
We have five types of rooms with three categories. The “Ho My God!” and its range, for those who want the experience of a true hotel, while enjoying the atmosphere of the collective areas. These rooms are separated from the hostel part. We understand that a customer who wants a hotel service is not willing to run into someone wrapped into a towel in the corridor. Then you have the part with the “Family Rooms”, with a double bed and two bunk beds. And then, you have the shared rooms, for 2, 4 or 8 people in the hostel. No TV in the bedrooms: togetherness is downstairs. You then have the collective areas with the bar, the internet place and board games. The basement has been equipped and it can welcome groups of about thirty people. There is also the kitchenette part with the micro-waves, fridges, etc. for those who want to do things on their own.
What’s your offer in terms of food?
The idea was to have a menu with the breakfast as common thread. So there is always a base of bread: toasts, croque-monsieur and brunch on weekends! The produces are fresh. We have a tiny menu with a daily special. We don’t have the restrictive part of the restaurant. Of course, we also have something for dinner for the customers of the hotel.
Can you tell us more about the decoration?
The goal was not to open a brand-new hotel, so we wanted to keep this vintage side. My sister, Alexandra Malgrain, is an interior designer and she was in charge of it. We got furniture from the previous hotel and a lot of things have been bargain-hunted. We kept the letters of the hotel before and the bar canopy is made with an old door. The cement tiles of the bar are popham design and Alexandra made the sofas. In some rooms, we put juju hats, which are Cameroonian ceremonial hats. I feel like the whole is a quite warm industrial-salvaging mix.
How do you imagine the future?
I’ll let the place live! We opened only six months ago. What matters to us is that people in Lyon adopt ho36, and it seems to be the case. It’s very lively at night and most of the time it’s very festive. Well, we would like people to leave this place with a big smile!
Credits : Eve Campestrini @thesocialitefamily