Day #025: A Richmond hostel

Air BNB and Couch Surfing are popular, but what other affordable options are there for staying in Richmond?

Inspired by Michael Bierut’s 100 Day Project, 100 Days to a Better RVA strives to introduce and investigate unique ideas to improving the city of Richmond. View the entire project here and the intro here.

  • Idea: An affordable hostel in an interesting part of town.
  • Difficulty: 2 — Laws for hostels are identical to hotels. If done in tandem with a bar/restaurant in an interesting part of town, it could be successful.

Richmond is within a half-day drive of 50% of the country’s population, has a thriving arts scene, and is preparing to host the 2015 UCI World Road Cycling Championships. Despite all of this and Richmond’s energetic population, the city lacks a hostel or economical place to stay within the city limits.

Affordable options for accommodations in interesting parts of town are very limited. A hostel in Carytown, the arts district around First Friday’s, or Shockoe Bottom could conveniently open those areas up to an entirely different class of “tourists”. Richmond is building a trendy reputation, there’s no reason why young people from Baltimore, Washington DC, or central North Carolina wouldn’t spend time here during one of the numerous festivals or events.

I found three hostels that already exist in the state Virginia. Bear’s Den Hostel is in Bluemont, Alexander House Inn and Hostel is in Charlottesville, and Hi-Angie’s Guest Cottage and Hostel is in Virginia Beach. Knowing this, it’s a little bizarre that the state’s capitol lacks one.

Luckily, that may soon change. Demolition began at the old Otis Elevator building in Jackson Ward on 2nd Street last month in preparation for the construction of RVA’s first hostel. The project, which has been in the works for what seems like forever, is slated to open next year (although back in 2011 it was set to open in 2012).

Considering Richmond’s art scene and young population around VCU, it’s surprising Richmond doesn’t currently have a hostel and only has immediate plans for one. If properly executed, the planned and future hostels would open up the city to a new class of people while being another valuable asset in the rise of Richmond.

Love this idea? Think it’s terrible? Have one that’s ten times better? Head over to the 100 Days to a Better RVA Facebook page and join in the conversation.

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Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams loves music, basketball (follow @rvaramnews!), family, learning, and barbecue sauce.

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