If you or someone you know plans to travel this summer and is looking for a different kind of venue to stay — individuals as well as families — numerous hostels are reopening after being shut down due to the pandemic.

According to Hostelling International USA, one of the larger hostel networks will begin a phased reopening of its hostels beginning with the reopening of HI Chicago Hostel and HI Santa Monica Hostel on May 19.

These hostels join the already reopened HI NYC and HI Boston as well as its CA Bay area properties which are currently operating as vacation rentals. HI USA closed all of its hostels last April due to COVID-19 restrictions, according to a news release.

Following the Chicago and Santa Monica reopenings will be HI San Francisco Downtown and HI San Diego Downtown hostels on May 26, HI Truro and HI Martha’s Vineyard hostels in June, and HI NOLA over Labor Day weekend. The remaining HI USA hostels will reopen in the fall.

In September 2020, HI USA reopened its flagship New York hostel as well as its historic Boston property.

The organization instituted new policies during COVID, including reconfiguring their guest rooms and public spaces to allow for more distancing, and creating new health and safety procedures—its “Let’s Stay Safe, Together” program—to welcome guests back to its hostels. Currently, all dorm rooms are being rented at 50% capacity or to groups traveling together. HI USA has also adapted various hostel properties to best meet the needs of travelers.

The vacation rentals are good for groups or families. They can be rented as private units or the entire hostel facilities, including their kitchens and indoor and outdoor public areas, for a completely private and expansive stay. They also offer abundant outdoor activities, making them an ideal vacation this summer.  Rates vary by rental unit and date.

When HI Truro and HI Martha’s Vineyard reopen in June they will also be offered as vacation rentals. HI, Truro offers a six-person dorm room with three sets of bunks, and a three-person dorm with a bunk bed and twin bed accommodating 9 people total. The hostel also offers a full kitchen, spacious living room, large back deck and is just five minutes from the beaches of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Rates start at $750 for the property.

On Martha’s Vineyard, the hostel, which can accommodate up to 32 people, making it the ideal site for extended family gatherings, is located in serene Vineyard Haven. There are four dorm rooms:

  • Small Dorm, which accommodates five people with two sets of bunks and a twin bed
  • Large Dorm, which accommodates 10 people in five sets of bunks
  • Large Dorm 2, which accommodates 12 people in six sets of bunks
  • Private en suite room which offers a set of bunks and twin bed plus private bathroom

There is also a full kitchen and dining area, a large living room, and an outside picnic area.  The property is close to the beach and has a bus stop right in front, for easy access to the town and other parts of the Vineyard.  Rates start at $750 for the property.

Guests at HI Chicago can experience the ultimate pod or “stay within a stay” vacation. The hostel’s 7th floor has rentable apartments with four, two, and one-bedroom options as well as full kitchens, living rooms, and a full bathroom. These are also ideal for families, groups, or couples traveling together who want a private stay with ample space as well as the flexibility to prepare their own meals while also enjoying great savings.  Rates for “pods” start at $150 for the one-bedroom apartment and can be reserved through Booking.com.

At HI Boston and HI NOLA, dorm rooms are configured railroad style – with bunk beds aligned on one side of the room facing the wall, so no guests face each other in their bunks. Each bunk has a locker, personal shelf with docking station and charger, outlets, and reading lights. Each dorm room has a hallway bathroom located directly outside for room occupants to use exclusively.

Four, six, seven, and eight-bedded dorms are available, making them ideal for groups of friends or families traveling this summer. HI NYC offers privacy panels, so each bunk has a curtain surrounding it to give guests more privacy. All the city hostels, including HI Santa Monica, HI SF Downtown, and HI San Diego Downtown, offer private single and double rooms in addition to dorms. Rates for the city hostels start at $49.

Let’s Stay Safe, Together

To give guests and staff added comfort upon reopening, HI USA has introduced its “Let’s Stay Safe, Together” program, which includes safe distancing guidelines, mask requirements for all staff and guests, temperature checks at check-in and for all staff daily, enhanced cleaning, and contact tracing. Initially, hostel kitchens will have limited services, cafes will be closed, and kitchens, lounges, and public areas will have reduced capacity.

Hostels’ dorm rooms will be sold at very reduced occupancy, so individual guests and small travel parties will have exclusive use of their dorm rooms. Organized group social activities remain suspended until further notice. For more information about HI USA or to make a reservation at one of its hostels that are reopening, stay updated on the openings of additional hostels, or learn about their new vacation rental units, visit www.hiusa.org or @hiusa.

Source: Hostelling International USA