Today is a milestone for those who know and enjoy independent travel – the first-day opening of a world class hostel in Boston.
As I waited this morning with hostel staff eager for City permission to open our doors, the true essence of hostel travel was confirmed yet again. It’s all about people –the travelers who experience the magic of a hostel stay, and the staff who help to deliver it.
Make no mistake, the Boston building’s pedigree as a hostel has been evident from the start – plenty of windows, an ideal location, and a historic structure. The months of construction revealed an inspiring design: two floors of common space for conversation, well-planned sleeping rooms for a good night’s rest, and a community meeting room for connecting with the neighborhood. And with a $40 million investment, a first class hostel awaited.
Yet opening a six storey, 450 bed hostel is not a simple task, with furniture to be moved in and assembled, displays to be installed, programs to be planned, and an IT network to be configured, to name a few.
An extraordinary push of energy and commitment was required, and the Boston-based staff delivered. For extra support, critical reinforcements arrived from New York City and Washington DC. With plenty of teamwork, the building stood ready today to receive travelers.
Then, at 2 pm in the afternoon, the City completed all approvals for the hostel to open. As word went out, staff gathered at the front desk poised to receive arrivals. They didn’t need to wait long.
A young traveler from Israel, Lior, was the first to check in. (See photo) And then, a bus load more arrived from the old hostel, which will now be closed down. The stream of backpacks surprised pedestrians who were peering inquisitively through the large front windows.
Soon the first floor filled with activity. Conversations in a score of languages could be heard.
You could feel it. At that instant, the new Boston hostel had come alive.
+ + +
Visit Boston and the new HI-Boston hostel. It’s part of the Hostelling International USA network, which promotes intercultural understanding through travel. Learn more about our mission and programs today.