A new breed of Colorado hostels are luring travelers with cheaper stays and boutique amenities

On his first visit to Denver several years ago, Tony Maiden stayed at a downtown hotel and had a great vacation. But something was missing.

As a frequent solo traveler, Maiden found his travels lacked the social interaction he craved. On his next trip here, he tried his luck and entered Hostel Fish, a modern hostel in LoDo. Admittedly, he felt a bit uncomfortable – it was his first time staying at a hostel – but the amenities, planned social events and friendly fellow travelers won him over.

He continues to travel regularly to Denver for long weekends and has met people from all over the world at Hostel Fish.

“I never thought I’d like this type of setup, but it was awesome,” said Maiden, a 35-year-old wine consultant who lives in Houston. ” I’m a sociable person. I’m very sociable, so staying in a traditional hotel really limited me. Normally I travel alone and that doesn’t stop me from traveling. I learned that I like being in a more open social environment, not just limited to your own space and room.

Long popular in Europe, South America and beyond, hostels are now gaining popularity in Colorado, with many new sites opening in the past five years – and a new boutique hotel and hostel in the works. at LoHi. Along the Front Range and in the mountains, hostel owners say they’re filling a void for travelers exploring Colorado on their own, visiting on a budget (rates per night tend to range from $30 $ to $200, depending on room type) or just want a more social experience than a hotel or vacation rental.

RELATED: North Denver’s first boutique hotel and hostel opens next year — and it wants to compete with Airbnb prices

Colorado’s newest hostel is Hostel at Ranch House, a 17-bed lodge at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park that opened September 26. The new inn, located in a renovated 1920s lodge, has five shared rooms. bedrooms, two shared bathrooms, a porch and a shared kitchen, living room and dining room.

Although families and groups flock to the YMCA of the Rockies, which offers a range of cabins, vacation homes and lodge rooms, the center did not offer an ideal option for budget-conscious travelers or those on a budget. solo.

Now there’s an affordable place to stay for travelers exploring Estes Park’s wide range of outdoor recreation options, from mountain biking and fly fishing in the summer to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. in winter. Hostel guests also have access to all the amenities of the massive YMCA, including dozens of daily activities ranging from archery to rock climbing.

“For so long we’ve been serving traditional family vacations, groups and conferences, and it’s very similar to other Estes Park properties, so we’ve spent time thinking and figuring out what would work best for solo travelers who are looking to meet people, rather than just coming with family or doing their own thing,” said Kellen Toulouse, spokesperson for the YMCA of the Rockies.

Since September 2018, visitors to Colorado Springs have been staying at the ColoRADo Adventure Hostel, a 1950s motel that owner Erin Welch transformed into a 51-bed hostel.

Guests can retreat to their private or shared bedroom or relax in the shared kitchen, workspace, lounge and garden. Regular social gatherings including movie nights, drum circles, yoga, bonfires, hikes and volunteer outings. Welch hopes to launch a program soon that will encourage guests to volunteer with local nonprofits in exchange for hostel discounts and other perks.

“I wanted to create a space with a summer camp vibe where people from all over the world could meet and build friendships, expand their worldview, and share the best of Colorado,” Welch said.

While many hostel guests in Colorado are indeed in their 20s and 30s, these aren’t the so-called “hostels” of years past. They attract visitors of all ages from all over the world.

Since opening The Bunkhouse in 2016, owner Nancy Richards has welcomed visitors from all walks of life to her 40-bed hostel in Minturn, eight miles from Vail.

“Because we serve so many skiers and snowboarders, we really see a wide range – I’ve seen people in their 60s and 70s sitting at the counter drinking coffee with younger people,” he said. she declared. “The High Rockies are very expensive, and we get a ton of solo travelers who just don’t want a very expensive hotel room. Hostels have large common areas where you can meet people and go skiing together. Most people come here with an open mind, and it’s that instant camaraderie.

Many Colorado hostels are more upscale and artsy than you might first imagine when you think of hostels, a trend that even has its own nickname: “poshtels.”

Hostel Fish, which opened in 2015 in the historic Airedale building in Denver, features rotating artwork on its walls and hosts monthly art meetups where visitors can get to know local artists around a wine. The hostel also hosts intimate pop-up concerts and has an on-site bar.

“It’s very different from your hostel,” said owner Chad Fish.

Want to visit a Colorado hostel? Here are a few more to check out:

  • The Bivvi Hostel, which opened in Breckenridge in December 2013. There is an outdoor hot tub for 10 people, a bar and storage for skis, snowboards and bikes. The Bivvi has private or shared rooms, as well as suites and a private apartment. 9511 CO-9, Breckenridge, (970) 423-6553,
  • ember inn, which opened in Denver in 2017. The hostel is a historic 9,000 square foot mansion in Cap Hill with shared and private rooms, a fire pit, and a 12-person outdoor hot tub. 857 Grant St., Denver, 303-942-1633,
  • Fernweh Hostel and Inn, which opened in Fort Collins in 2014. The Fernweh has private and shared rooms, bikes to borrow, outdoor barbecue, fire pit, hammock, yard games, piano, a guitar and other musical instruments, as well as a garden and a patio. . Oh, and we should also mention the hostel dog, Cash. 616 W. Mulberry St., Fort Collins, 970-219-9493,
  • Boulder A-Lodge, which has private rooms, campsites, a cabin, and a 12-bed shared bunk room. The lodge also offers several #vanlife motorhome packages. 91 Fourmile Canyon Drive, Boulder, 303-444-0882,
  • The Wanderlust Inn, which opened in Gunnison in 2009. The hostel has private and shared rooms, an outdoor barbecue, fire pit, front and back patios, and storage for skis, snowboards, bikes, and more. equipment. 221 N. Boulevard St., Gunnison, 970-901-1599,
  • Simple lodge and inn, a small hostel in Salida with private rooms, suites and shared rooms. 224 E 1st St., Salida, 719-650-7381,
  • Auberge the Clouds Hostel & Inn, formerly the Leadville Hostel. Inn the Clouds has private and shared bedrooms, gear storage, slackline, courtyard and patio for relaxing. 500 E 7th St., Leadville, 719-486-9334,
  • The Salida Inn, located in a remodeled Victorian home built in 1900. The Inn features private and shared rooms, direct access to the Arkansas River, gas fireplaces, and mountain views. 225 Grand Ave., Salida, 719-530-1116,
  • Solarium International Hostel, which opened in Fort Collins in 2014. The Solarium offers private rooms, shared rooms and suites, bike rentals, and a marijuana-friendly teepee. 706 E Stuart St., Fort Collins, 970-599-3817,
  • 11th Avenue Inn, which opened as a hotel in 1903 before later becoming an inn. The hostel has shared rooms, European rooms (a private room with a shared bathroom), bathrooms and artists’ studios. 1112 Broadway, Denver, 303-894-0529,
  • Inn by the fireside, a Breckenridge Bed & Breakfast with private and shared rooms, a hot tub, fireplaces, and ski and bike storage. 114 N. French St., Breckenridge, 970-453-6456,
  • Estes Park Adventure Hostel, located above the Colorado Mountain School classroom. The hostel has 16 beds in three shared rooms. 341 Moraine Ave., Estes Park, 720-387-8944,
  • The dormitory in Minturn markets itself as a boutique inn offering “a unique lodging experience for mountain enthusiasts who value affordability and community,” according to its website. There are semi-private bunk beds and two private bedrooms, as well as an outdoor fire pit and beer and wine bar. 175 Williams Street #102, Minturn, 970-827-4165,

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