Downtown Fort Myers hostel has highly-rated cheap space | news-press.co... Page 1 of 3
district, Hough Street holds many old houses. Some
Downtown Fort Myers hostel have been renovated; others sit with peeling paint
has highly-rated cheap and listing porches.
space Nicholas Schiber and Craig Dorfman bought their
Cape Cod-style home and the bungalow behind it
for $260,000 in 2007, property records show. The
Drew Sterwald • email@example.com • land is part of the original 140-acre homestead of
July 22, 2010 city founding father James Evans.
Daniel Hoogervorst of Dusseldorf, Germany, has “We saw the potential,” said Schiber, 43. “I’ve had
slept in hostels all over Europe, New Zealand, this dream ever since I was little. I like meeting
Australia and Thailand. people and building relationships with people all
over the world.”
So when the 34-year-old decided to visit the United
States in June, he sought similar accommodations in Hardwood floors were restored, fencing installed
cities on his itinerary, including Fort Myers. and interior safety features added as the structure
transformed into a licensed boarding house.
He found the River District Youth Hostel. Schiber nurtured a lush, shady yard fringed by
teddy bear palms, bamboo and flowering trees. A
Yes, downtown Fort Myers boasts a hostel — a $25- hand-painted sign was posted over the outdoor
a-night inn for backpackers and other travelers of a shower: “River District Bath & Spa.”
certain breed. A sign the city is coming up in the
world of travel meccas? Such cozy touches are uncommon in the world of
hostels, where dormitory-style accommodations are
The two-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage at 1631 more the norm. The word typically conjures images
Hough St. is better than most hostels, Hoogervorst of regal old buildings in Prague with sketchy
said in an e-mail. Amenities include a fully heating and plumbing.
furnished kitchen, cable TV, WiFi, hot tub, laundry
facilities and gas grill. Single-family homes? Not so much.
Bars, restaurants and art galleries lie within strolling “We don’t see a lot of those,” said Mark Vidalin,
distance. marketing director for the American arm of
Hostelling International, a nonprofit networking
“It’s clean, you have space, different choices (of group for 4,000 hostels worldwide. “The old
things) to do,” Hoogervorst said. “After this hostel I barracks with bunks is not completely a thing of the
went to in New Orleans. That was a horror. They had
bed bugs” and it was located on a noisy street.
Like most hostel guests, Hoogervorst enjoys
meeting people from all over the world. He’s still in
contact on Facebook with a Chicagoan he met at the
Fort Myers hostel.
Sharing space — bathrooms, kitchens, even
bedrooms with bunks — brings guests together.
International bonds are forged and e-mail
It’s all part of a tradition traced to 1909, when the
first permanent hostel opened in a converted castle
in Altena, Germany.
A far cry from castle status, the River District hostel
welcomes guests to a modest beige house with
white trim built around 1925. Sandwiched between
historic Dean Park and the downtown entertainment
Downtown Fort Myers hostel has highly-rated cheap space | news-press.co... Page 2 of 3
Although about 80 percent of Schiber’s guests are
German travelers, the hostel also is a popular spot
for American spring training fans, he said. Reviews
have been good: The hostel has a 98 percent
approval rating on the booking website
Hope and Steve Cudd of Friendsville, Tenn., have
stayed in many European hostels because they
prefer the amiable atmosphere over institutional
hotel rooms. They checked into the River District
hostel in February 2008 after finding it on
Facebook. Alexander Schmitz, 35, left and Brita Biskupek, 35, both of
Koblenz, Germany, are vacationing for a week and staying at the
“They were on the smaller side compared to most River District Youth Hostel. The hostel features two bedrooms, a
hostels, but a lot more comfortable and charming,” small kitchen, full bathroom, a Jacuzzi, an outdoor shower, patio
Hope Cudd, 49, wrote in an e-mail. “The owner went with hammock, and washer and dryer.
above and beyond to make us feel at home.”
Nicolas Schiber is the
owner of the River District
Youth Hostel in Fort
Myers. Youth hostels are
common in Europe and
some big American cities.
The River District may
have the world’s smallest.
(Photos by Lindsay
Purchase this Photo
Downtown Fort Myers hostel has highly-rated cheap space | news-press.co... Page 3 of 3
River District's Youth Hostel
Lindsay Terry/The News-Press The River District Youth Hostel on
Hough St. in Fort Myers features two bedrooms, a small kitchen,
full bathroom, a jacuzzi, an outdoor shower, a patio with
hammock, and a washer and dryer. It accommodates up to six
What is a youth hostel?
A youth hostel is a quality budget accommodation
that offers a comfortable night’s sleep in friendly
surroundings at an affordable price. In Florida, youth
hostels are licensed through the Department of
Business and Professional Regulations.
• What: River District Youth Hostel
• Where: 1631 Hough St., Fort Myers
• Rates: $25 a night for ages 18-38 or $22 for bunk
beds; $10 more for older guests.
• Information: 362-2799 or riverdistrictyouthhostel.