Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Hostel to Open in Grand Rapids

Photo by Sierra Savela

An old, blue and white Victorian home sits on the corner of Paige St. and Plainfield Avenue just a mile from downtown Grand Rapids. For years, it’s been a rental space, but the historic building, built in 1878, is no longer a home for few but a temporary home for many. Grand Rapids is getting its very first hostel.

Owners Mark and Phil Bouman expect the hostel to open in Spring 2015 with a maximum occupancy of 30 guests. The Boumans, who are cousins and Calvin graduates, first dreamed of opening a hostel about eight months ago.

The two cousins have traveled all over the world and found they truly enjoy and treasure the hostel experience. The idea to open a hostel of their own occurred to them on a visit to Rio de Janiero.

“We were laying in our bunk bed cots surrounded by other travelers. Mark peered over the edge and said ‘We need to bring this back to GR,’” Phil Bouman explained.

The cousins purchased the house soon after returning home, and they have been working on opening the hostel’s doors ever since.

According to the pair, the home is very well-preserved. They made next-to-no changes to the original interior and woodwork in their renovations and hope to take this as an opportunity to preserve the history of Grand Rapids.

However, before the hostel can open, the cousins need city approval. There is no category or set of rules for a hostel to be opened in Grand Rapids because it has never been done before.

Once they get approval to open the hostel, the Bouman cousins look forward to sharing their passion for both travel and for Grand Rapids through the hostel.

 “We love traveling, seeing new places and meeting new people in different parts of the world and the United States,” Mark Bouman said. “I think that Grand Rapids is growing as an international destination city.”

 Both Boumans grew up in Grand Rapids, and they believe this hostel will give them a chance to show off a city they are incredibly proud of.

 Mark Bouman explained that the breweries, art culture and Lake Michigan coastline have made Grand Rapids a travel destination that is perfect for the college-aged students. Phil Bouman explained they love experiencing new cultures, and they have made life-long friends from traveling, which hostels tend to produce due to the intimate setting.

 Other than some work on the website and final furniture additions, the cousins are ready to open the doors.

 The two cousins plan to run the hostel while living in it in order to make a connection with their guests. By promoting events in the city each night, hosting house dinners, providing bike rentals and providing kitchen access, they hope to give their guests a memorable experience and share their city with other travelers.

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