Hostel – communal showers, bunk beds, bitter coffee and that inevitable and inexplicable funny smell. For all the fun and fond memories of youth, hostel remains just that – accommodation for young travellers with little cash to spare.
Well, here’s a brave trio on a mission to change it all. Gwangpil Lim, Wonho Choi, and Jaehyuk Yang, best buddies since high school, got together to open what they hope will be the beginning of a new genre of travel accommodation – design hostel. DARAMJI went down to Suncheon to meet the three men behind Baguni Hostel.
Let’s begin with the name – why baguni (basket in Korean)?
It’s not just a name; it’s a concept which can be found in just about every corner of this place. From the very shape of the building to capsule beds, amenities and interior design, we really wanted our place to be a basket – and a very special basket at that.
Be it a shopping basket, flower basket or fruit basket, basket is used to hold things that are useful and special. And we wanted our hostel to do exactly that – a place full of useful things for our guests. So we’ve made sure that our look, as well as our service, take shape after the idea of basket.
For example, when you check in, you get a small yellow basket. In it, you’ll find a custom-designed travel map of Suncheon, an information leaflet about the hostel and amenities. So the very first moment you become a guest at Baguni hostel is with a basket.
Interesting stuff. How did you three come to start a hostel?
We are friends from high school, but we’d all been working in different fields until we got together again to start this project. Wonho used to be a customs agent; he now leads our café-pub The Basterds. Jaehyuk ran a PC café for over ten years, so he welcomes our guests and takes care of rooms. Gwangpil is a practising emergency room doctor; he’s our idea man. So this is a new adventure for us all.
So other than the great design, how is Baguni Hostel different to other hostels out there?
We want to change the image of hostel. While a shared dormitory might not be everyone’s pick of accommodation, it’s a great way to meet new people and enrich your travelling experience – and at an affordable place.
The thing is, we believe that all of that can be delivered with quality. Here at Baguni, you can choose from different types of pillows. Lady guests love the powder room, complete with curler, manicures, and even steam iron. Even your breakfast toast comes out of a Balmuda toaster! Of course, hostel is not really about luxury, but we want to do our very best to fill our basket with things that are as special, comfortable and memorable as possible.
Coin service is another thing that our guests seem to enjoy. When you check in, you get a small pouch of yellow coins. You can use these coins to pay for breakfast, get a cup of coffee or a pint, or buy amenities. If you have any coin left by the end of your stay, you can give it to your friends or donate it to a charity.
If you had to pick your favorite space in the hostel?
We’ve put a great deal of thought and effort into making the café-pub The Basterds. It has its own identity (we’re the basterds, obviously!), but more importantly, we wanted it to be a place which connects the hostel and our guests to the wider community of Suncheon. It’s a place not just for our guests but also our neighbours; so from specialty coffee to craft beer from Ark Beer, we made sure that the food and drinks served there can stand for their own quality.
Any plans for the future? Baguni 2?
Interestingly enough, many of our guests appear to be creative people who run their own brands; writers, upcycling craft artists, painters, and so on. We think it’d be nice to for Baguni to be a place for the talents of our guests as well of local artists and makers. So perhaps a curated shop would be our next project; maybe we can even collaborate with them to develop Baguni design products. That would add another layer to the meaning of Baguni, of course!
EXPLORE with DARAMJI – Book your stay at Baguni hostel in Suncehon with DARAMJI for a special discount and much more. DARAMJI offers a personal itinerary tailored to your interests and professional DARAMJI guide service with the option to arrange transport and other activities en-route.