Thursday, November 26, 2015   

Hostel brings new life to estate block

Qi Luo

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A building from Hong Kong's first public housing estate has been converted into a youth hostel in a "pioneering renovation project."

Youth Hostels Association Mei Ho House Youth Hostel will be open for business on Thursday, charging HK$330 to HK$1,800 per night.

The 29-block Shek Kip Mei Estate built in the 1950s was torn down in 2007, except for Block 41, known as Mei Ho House.

It is the last remaining example of the "Mark II" building in a single-block configuration.

It has been listed as a Grade I historic building.

In 2009, the government announced that the building will be used by the YHA as a city hostel, open to locals and visitors, with the project's capital cost estimated at HK$192.3 million. The hostel has 129 rooms, ranging from dormitories to family suites. Association members will enjoy a 10percent discount after paying HK$130 annual membership fee.

Officiating at the opening, Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet- ngor described it as a "pioneering renovation project" for a public housing estate and "very meaningful."

"The hostel combines accommodation, exhibition, culture and history reservation and enriches the tourism resources in Hong Kong. It not only offers accommodation to visitors, but lets them understand Hong Kong's history and culture," Lam said.

Mei Ho House marked the development of the public housing system in the territory, museum working group adviser Joseph Ting Sun-pao said.

The hostel not only re-enginee
red Mei Ho House's accommodation, but houses a museum that catalogs the history of the first resettlement estate and recreates the living conditions of former residents.

The museum was built after exhaustive research and hours of oral history recounted by those who lived on the estate.

"The former residents embraced challenges with tenacious spirit, the spirit of Meo Ho House generation, Lion Rock and Hong Kong," YHA chairman Michael Wong Yick-kam said.

Sham Shui Po District Council chairman Jimmy Kwok Chun- wah said: "I am confident that Mei Ho House will endure as a significant project of preservation of the history ... I believe YHA Mei Ho House will soon emerge to be a new cultural landmark as well as a tourist attraction for the district."

A dormitory room with four bunk beds costs HK$330 per person. A double room costs HK$748 per night while a family room costs HK$1,800.

Like many other youth hostels around the world, guests are required to take sheets and pillow cases to the counter to get full refunds of their deposits.

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