Well then, how about the façade of Backstay Hostel for an opening statement? The property in the Flemish city of Ghent owes its splendid facial features to a chap called Maxime Brunfaut, who was the original architect of the 1930s building. The striking frontage on Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat, which is particularly brilliant when the sun goes down, carries the name of the original occupier, the Vooruit newspaper. When that business packed up in the 1980s, the Backstage arts centre took over, and the locally-recognisable name has been retained in part at this latest incarnation. The adjoining property on the corner — formerly the Hof van Beroep pub — has been assimilated into the new business too.
Nele Van Damme and Yannick Baeyens reimagined the interior with help from a conservation architect, and the project took a full year to complete. Decorative vintage typewriters and a bar clad in wooden type are among the tributes to past occupants. The street has been designated as an important connection between the city centre and Ghent’s art quarter, and art remains an essential part of the vibe here through the work of local creatives which grace the guest rooms and public areas. In the old pub there’s a recreation zone with a piano and guitars for musical travellers to jam with, while the more literary minded may enjoy the Blog Room. Situated in the building’s tower, the quarters were in the past rented to notable Flemish authors and are now open to guests and the public alike as a haven to pursue their own writing.