The word hostel conjures up different memories for different people. First thing that comes to mind for me is low-budget, backpackers and dormitory rooms with one shared bathroom. For those of us who have been there, done that (ie., loved it, but don’t need to do it again), traditional hostels don’t appeal as much as they used to when I was pinching pennies. Eklo, however, is a hotel in Bordeaux that is reimagining the modern day hostel.
Discover Eklo, French Eco Hotels
Anything French is (usually) inherently cool. France-based Eklo Hotels are taking the hostel concept to the next level. They’ve taken everything we like about hostels (the communal vibe, social opportunities and affordable prices) and upgraded them with eco-design, onsite gardens, swanky bars and DJs in their open-air garden bars (or guinguettes).
Launched in 2017, Eklo Hotels are located in 11 locations across France, from Lille to Bordeaux. Whereas the hostels of our past were geared towards budget travelers, Eklo targets travelers who still appreciate a good deal, but also value things like sustainability, supporting the local community and having a nice craft beer or high-end glass of wine with their dinner in a restaurant that is more than a last resort.
Each location is the result of careful consideration of proximity to public transportation in a mixed environment where they can be a pillar of the local community.
A Responsible Ethos
As a conscious hotel brand, we love that from construction to operation, everything at Eklo is designed to reduce the environmental impact of their hotels. Low-consumption eco-construction, modular wooden construction, 100% green electricity, energy savers, LED bulbs and water aerators enable Eklo to use half the water and electricity of a conventional hotel.
At their properties in Lille and Clermont-Ferrand, they partnered with specialists in urban beekeeping, BeeCity, to install rooftop beehives on their hotels to respect the local nature and protect biodiversity. The honey produced is also available for purchase by the guests of these hotels.
To fight against food waste, each hotel has partnered with the Too Good To Go app to redistribute uneaten food. Toiletries are organic and cleaning products from a local partner are non-toxic, and they collaborate with local businesses to ensure supply chains are as short as possible.
So what’s it like to stay at Eklo Bordeaux? Once you hop off the tram you know you’re already out of the touristy area, so for me, that’s a plus. The open air garden bar (or la guinguette as the French say), is the first thing you see with string lights, bunting flags and rustic tables spread throughout. Bocce ball, table tennis and fire pits surround the bar where you can dine on a casual menu or simply enjoy (adult) beverages.
In keeping with hostel roots, check-in is located at the bar, which is front and center when you enter the hotel. Taking it up a notch is the modern design by Studio Janréji, complete with chesterfield sofas, tungsten lights and a vintage illuminated EKLO sign by the front door.
Each floor features art by a local artist. In Bordeaux, the talent of young graffitti artist Rébecca Bourbigot brightens up the walls of hotel corridors.
Ranked the 5th greenest hotel in France by Betterfly Tourism, Eklo Bordeaux has photovoltaic panels installed on the slate roof that supply the hotel’s own electricity needs. Their location also benefits from the urban heating network of the surrounding Bastide-Niel eco-district, which is supplied by geothermal energy.
Eklo hotels were designed for gathering. From communal dining to live music and events in their bars (indoor or outdoors), Eklo has nailed the modern day hostel vibe with an upgraded twist.
The Bordeaux location in particular is located walking distance from the trendy Darwin district, also known as the Darwin ecosystem, a creative hub for sustainable and regenerative businesses.
Located on the site of the former Niel military barracks, the Darwin ecosystem is an innovative project that focuses on circular economy with repurposed buildings, conscious businesses and workshops for things like permaculture and regenerative agriculture.
Read our guide to Bordeaux to learn more about the area and help inspire your next trip!
MICHELLE ARELLANO MARTIN