Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes
MAASTRICHT. “And this is where the lobby will be. Imagine students with laptops and pizzas.” The guide giving the tour through the Sphinx building, points around him. At the moment, it is a construction site with wooden planks, dust, and cement everywhere. The only thing that is recognisable, is the lift shaft. In just over three months from now, it should look very different. That is when Student Hotel Maastricht will open its doors. This hotel – the ninth branch of a chain with accommodations in cities such as Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Paris – combines student rooms with studios for expats and regular hotel rooms. There will be 378 rooms in the former factory building. The exact division is not known yet, but it is expected to be 160 student rooms, 100 short-stay rooms and some 10 hotel rooms.
The students have their own bathrooms and share a kitchen with ten others. The rooms are furnished – although there is room to add personal stuff – and have free Wi-Fi. The students will also receive a bicycle and the rooms will be cleaned every six weeks. They will rent their rooms for 5 or 10 months. The short-stay studios – for people who want to stay for a few weeks – have their own kitchens and are cleaned more frequently. Exactly how much the rent will be, is not known yet. To give an idea: in Eindhoven, a standard room of 18 m2 costs €714 per month, against €927 in Amsterdam.
The Student Hotel is also open for people who do not stay there. There are so-called ‘classrooms’, meeting rooms and an auditorium, which can be rented, a restaurant and a bar on the roof.
There were some problems regarding the renovations of this preserved building. “The building was in poor condition, there was concrete cancer, and it hadn't been insulated yet,” says architect Olivier Graeven. “We added the insulation to the exterior, which is unusual in the case of a preserved building, and we then drew the old exterior onto the new outer wall.” The history of the building – which was used by the Sphinx bathroom factory until 2006 – remains visible in several places. The drawings on the walls to indicate on which floor you are, will remain, just like the patina on the pipes.