Archive for Giudecca

Jan
26

Hostel 2.0

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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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