Jan
26

Hostel 2.0

By

 

I suppose one small drawback is that it's on the Giudecca, but some people may see that as an advantage.

Nothing like a palazzo, but something that was much more useful: A converted 19th-century grain warehouse.

Up to now, my idea of the average hostel has been deduced from the average hostel-dweller, at least as seen around here in the summer.

Every sweltering day the vaporettos carry payloads of dauntless wayfarers and their gear, 80-pound backpacks that look as if they’d just arrived via the Old Silk Road lashed to the chassis of a 2 1/2-ton 6×6 truck.  Their owners don’t look much better, pounded like Swiss steaks by summer heat and malnutrition and the cumulative effect of too many languages and sleepless nights during their seemingly free-form peregrinations.  Their clothes appear to have forgotten what it ever meant to be clean.  These travelers might have credit cards and laptops and tablets these days, but going to a hostel still struck me as meaning they were essentially going to be sleeping in a multi-bed hangar, with a bucket by their heads to catch the rainwater coming through the roof.

Wrong again.

There has been a hostel in Venice since the Fifties, and it was (I’ve been told) of the Old School. I never visited it, but I read its rules once somewhere and was sorry to learn that in addition to everything else that seemed to suggest the aftermath of a festival as painted by Brueghel, the paying guests were required to get out by 11:00 AM and take their stuff with them. That seemed harsh.

But no more.  Not long ago I got an e-mail from Generator Hostels, alerting me that they had re-done the “Ostello” on the Giudecca, and inviting me to take a look at it.

I have never written about a commercial operation on my blog. It’s been a point of pride. But this philosophy, to which I am still faithful, runs head-first into my desire to be useful.  If the new hostel is a good thing, I ought to know about it.

So I went. I was shown around by Operations Manager Keti Camillo, and even if she hadn’t been so helpful, I’d have been impressed.

Bear in mind that I’m not risking the claim that this is the best hostel on the planet, because I don’t know.  But I do know that for Venice, this is a remarkable lodging resource.

This is not an infomercial.  I haven’t been paid anything by anybody.  I am merely letting you know about this place because I think it’s amazing, and I would happily stay here myself.

Naturally I consider that the maximum compliment.

I recommend visiting a new place on a grey, foggy, rainy day.  If it can overcome that, you can assume it will be even warmer and more appealing on sunny days.  Here, the bar faces the entrance. Makes an excellent first impression.

I recommend visiting a new place on a grey, foggy, rainy day. If it can overcome that, you can assume it will be even warmer and more appealing on sunny days. Here, the bar faces the entrance. Makes an excellent first impression.

There's something mysterious about how chairs salvaged from somebody's backyard heap come to look so cool.

There’s something mysterious about how chairs salvaged from somebody’s backyard heap come to look so cool.

 

Most of the ground floor is just one warm, eclectic little nook after another.

Most of the ground floor is just one warm, eclectic little nook after another.

This nook between two other nooks is occupied by this re-worked four-poster bed which evidently has power to draw people onto it and keep them there, prone, for hours.  Certain hours, anyway.

This nook between two other nooks is occupied by this reworked four-poster bed which evidently has power to draw people onto it and keep them there, prone, for hours. Certain hours, anyway.

This is dining room, done up refectory style.

This is the dining room, done up refectory style.

So you're ready to sleep.  The landings/floors are color-coded and given Venetian names.

So you’re ready to sleep. The landings/floors are color-coded and given Venetian names.

Hallways: wide, bright and clean.  Like everywhere else in the building. These are not words I normally associate with "hostel."

Hallways: Wide, bright and clean. Like everywhere else in the building. These are not words I normally associate with “hostel.”

Of course there are shared rooms and bathrooms.  But they're really clean, and there appears to be enough for everybody.  By which I mean: Not just one toilet for 40 people.  Bonus point: The mattresses are wider than usual for single beds.  There may still be a snorer in the room, but nobody can help that.

Of course there are shared rooms and bathrooms. But they’re really clean, and there appear to be enough for everybody. By which I mean: Not just one toilet for 40 people. Bonus point: The mattresses are wider than usual for single beds. There may still be a snorer in the room, but nobody can help that.

But there is a private double room with private bath. There are also some private triples and quads, but I didn't see them.

But there is a private double room with private bath. There are also some private triples and quads, but I didn’t see them.

It's not exactly an order.  More like a strong suggestion.

It’s not exactly an order. More like a strong suggestion.

 

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Categories : Tourism

Comments

  1. Mary Ann DeVlieg says:

    we have always thought that it must be one of the best places to stay in Venice. Certainly the best view and a lot better than Danieli etc who only get to look at kiosks selling Kiss -Me Quick -I’m-Venetian hats.

    But ti’s great to know that they’ve refurbished. We’ll tell our friends. Only……it still costs a fortune to get to/fro from the Zattere every day, does’t it?

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      The transport prices remain exorbitant. However, travelers up to 29 years old get discounts on lots of things, including transport, via the “Rolling Venice” program. http://www.hellovenezia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=178&Itemid=158&lang=en If even that’s too much money for transport, I don’t know what to advise because they’d be traveling with so many constrictions that the whole trip would require exceptional planning in every way. If someone over 29 wants to stay at the hostel, I would hope they could manage the money for at least the 3-day unlimited-ride ticket.

  2. Erla….thanks so much! I had no idea that there was a Hostel in Venice….much less one that is so nice!
    Is it located on the fondementa facing the Zattere? Which vaporetto stop?
    I think my hostel days are over…..but it’s great to have the info to pass on to others.
    Linda Bailey Zimmerman recently posted..Preview of my 2014 trip to Venezia……

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      Yes, it’s on the fondamenta facing the Zattere — Giudecca, in other words — and the nearest stop is “Zitelle.”

  3. Carey
    Twitter: ohsocosie
    says:

    Looks lovely, no wonder the young ones get about so these days. I’m afraid I am a bit too old to do this mode of travel. The place still shouts Venetian, can’t say why… As usual a great post!

  4. Steve Rauworth says:

    Thanks for the heads up. It’s a very cool looking place, but I went to their website and plugged in a few dates to get rates, and the prices are not typical for hostels. I’ve paid less for decent lodging a few blocks off St. Mark’s Square. Might be worth it though.

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      I’m intrigued by this information. You have found decent lodging a few blocks from San Marco for less than 17 euros per night? (Dorm price, clearly). As far as I can see, their double room would cost each occupant 18.60 euros per night — or if you were alone, 37.20 per night. Of course those prices vary according to season, but this is given as their base price, so I am guessing that the increase is not exorbitant. But never mind. I believe you when you say you’ve found somewhere good near San Marco for less. If you feel like it, please reveal the name of this amazing place!

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