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					Downtown Fort Myers hostel has highly-rated cheap space | 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 • •                 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
  addresses exchanged.

  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 07/27/2010
Downtown Fort Myers hostel has highly-rated cheap space | 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 07/27/2010
Downtown Fort Myers hostel has highly-rated cheap space | Page 3 of 3


                                                                    Photo Galleries
                                                                             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. 07/27/2010

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