India’s first shipping container hostel located in the stunning Sahyadri range on the hills of Panchgani.
In the design world where there is a rise in general awareness of re-using and re-purposing materials, a number of unorthodox, yet ingenious structures are being introduced nearly every day. Zostel is a known brand of youth hostels located all over India. The one in Panchgani however, stands out in design and innovation – Paying homage to the coastal charms of Mumbai, this Indian youth hostel creates an extremely chic architectural marvel that is built almost solely on up-cycled shipping containers plotted partly off the cliff.
As is the mantra of all the Zostels’, the theme is to design the interiors in accordance with the specific location. Every shipping container has an exclusive view of the picturesque Krishna valley and the common areas are flooded with local artist impressions that also resonate with the local calm of the hill station.
Also, as a precaution, each container has a maximum load capacity reminder painted in bold for the guests’ safety. Young entrepreneurs Chetan Dalvi and Ajinkya took a couple of years to complete the unique cantilever design after a lengthy round of research and six solid months of mock trials. Keeping in mind the mindset and age of the average visiting traveller, the mid-size container private rooms pack in a queen bed along with all modern amenities.
The compact rooms have a cozy bed, bath and a balcony for two, overlooking the plush surroundings. It also has a private container dorm, six-bed mixed dorms and a six-bed only female dorm all joined to the common and game area thus creating social liaisons as expected in a youth hostel.
In totality, this 48 bed hostel is a hidden gem tucked away into the misty hills of Panchgani. While the warm and welcoming café serves a mix of modern Indian as well as Continental cuisine, they retain the true charm of the hill station by serving local dishes all day long. The nights are made ambient with mood lights and high-spirited repartees in the common area that is always buzzing with millennials enjoying the chilly weather and laughing the night away.
Text By Neerja Kapadia