Of all the things I’ve done in my travels, nothing holds a higher place in my heart than the month I spent on the Thai island of Ko Lipe in 2006. Lounging on beaches, snorkeling, and playing backgammon by day and eating fish and gazing at stars at night remains my version of The Beach.
During those halcyon days on the island, my friends Paul and Jane and I would talk longingly about opening a hostel in New Zealand. We would call it The Greenhouse, and it would be an awesome, eco-friendly hostel all travelers would love.
As the years passed, I never forgot about those conversations nor my desire to open a hostel, which only increased as I dove into travel writing.
After having stayed in probably close to a thousand hostels since I started traveling, I’ve seen what makes a good (and bad) hostel…and I’ve also seen what makes for a truly mind-blowing one. I’ve been wanting to help make a world class hostel that gives travelers an amazing experience and a good night’s sleep for years now and today, I’m announcing that dream has come true:
I FINALLY OPENED A HOSTEL!
(Well, co-opened with some friends of mine from Austin who approached me last year. It’s not all me.)
It’s called HK Austin and it’s located in Austin, Texas (and it’s part of the reason I moved there).
Being part of it is incredible. I can finally help make the perfect hostel!
Last year, my friend Brent approached me about opening one in Austin and I quickly agreed. He ran a hostel for years in NYC and working together made sense. We closed on a historic property in the up-and-coming area of East Austin neighborhood and got to work converting it into a hostel. Last month, we finally opened our doors to guests.
With 13 beds (two six-bed dorms and a private double room), our hostel is something I’m very proud of. It has all the things that make a hostel extraordinary: brand new comfy mattresses that I’d sleep on in my own home (in our Hostelworld reviews, everyone says how great our mattresses are!), amazing showers, a large indoor common space, free Wi-Fi, free laundry facilities, a modern kitchen, free on-site secured parking, and events for guests.
Its central location is within a block of most things people love about Austin. You’re near the famous 6th Street, the best food trucks, bars, and parks. You can paddle board, see the bats as they exit their cave at night, or visit the Cathedral of Junk. Austin is one of my favorite cities in the United States, and its beauty is why I decided to move there.
Moreover, the hostel also small, so it has a homey and intimate feel to it that really allows guests to bond with each other. My favorite hostels are the ones that made people feel part of a community and encouraged social interaction and were more than just a bed.
Other features include:
- Security lockers
- Daily housekeeping
- Linens and towels
- A free weekly BBQ
- Free pancake breakfast on Sundays
- Free coffee and tea all day
- An organized bar crawl
- Discounts at nearby bars
- A free local guide (written by the hostel)
- LOTS of board games
- A library
- A local events board
As we get more into the swing of things and get some staff, we’ll eventually offer breakfast and organized excursions.
Here are some photos of the hostel and some of the guests:
My partners and I are working hard to build not only the best hostel in Austin but one of the best in the country. I will accept nothing less! We already have a 95% rating on Hostelworld and quickly became the #1 hostel in Austin.
Owning a hostel has been a dream of mine, and I’m finally glad to share this secret with you. I’m super excited about this place and will be hosting events there whenever I’m in town.
So the next time you visit Austin, come stay at HK Austin! It will be one of the best hostels you’ve ever stayed in!