Travelers have nothing to be Hostel about
Arriving in a foreign land, sleeping in an unknown bed and sharing a room with someone you’ve never met can be unnerving for most. But when greeted with the comforts of home and a warm smile, like what Houston’s new Morty Rich Hostel offers, a weary head can rest at ease.
Nestled down a tree-lined street and housed in a historic home, the Morty Rich Hostel – formerly the Lovett Inn Bed and Breakfast – has opened its doors, laid out its welcome mats and gave the residents of Houston a first-hand look at Montrose’s newest edition with a grand-opening held Sunday.
Open nearly a week, the hostel treated its guests, donors, patrons and anyone else interested with an afternoon filled with music, food and giveaways. Sunday’s grand opening began with an early afternoon lunch. Visitors freely walked around, surveyed the new property and munched on catered snacks accompanied by a four-string quartet.
The Morty Rich Staff, who has worked tirelessly these past few months to get things up and running, greeted open-house visitors and showed them around.
Elizabeth Perkins, a former bartender who recently joined the staff, hopes future guests will see all the great things that our city has to offer.
“I have always loved hostels,” Perkins said when asked about working at Morty Rich.
“Just like bartending, it’s a great way to meet people and to show that Houston really is a cool place to visit.”
One of Morty Rich’s recent guests, Katia, also participated in Sunday’s events. An 18-year-old from Vienna, Austria, Katia is visiting Houston for the first time.
A yoga student studying for her instructor license, she came to Houston to take an intensive four-week program offered at Yoga One Houston and chose the Morty Rich Hostel as her home away from home.
“I’ve never stayed in a hostel before,” Katia said. “I got really lucky here. It’s so nice and clean and the neighborhood is very easy to get around.”
After spending a week in Houston, Katia has found her stay here enjoyable – even taking a trip to Space Center Houston – but finds Houston’s intense heat a bit unbearable.
“It’s like a concrete desert here,” she said. “I’m very grateful they have a pool. I’ve used it everyday.”
Built in 1917 by former Houston mayor and federal Judge Joseph C. Hutcheson, this colonial-style home-turned-hostel houses 55 beds separated into dorm rooms with bunk beds furnished with fluffy down comforters and pillows, and a single room for those travelers looking for more privacy.
It’s comfortable, charming and offers a guest many entertaining options such as Katia’s favorite pool, a game room with walls lined with antique wood from England, a third floor attic that has been converted into a media room and a self-catered kitchen with a pantry filled with everything a hungry heart could desire.
Open 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, guests can come and go as they please and take in the many coffee shops, restaurants and some of the most popular bars that the Montrose area has to offer.
The hostel is conveniently located behind one of Montrose’s longest operating bars, Avant Garden.
Morty Rich, the hostel’s namesake, was a native Houstonian who loved to travel and was a consummate hostel supporter. Rich passed away in a 1993 plane crash and left a bequest to HI-USA to help fund a youth hostel in Houston.
The Morty Rich Hostel, its staff and its counterparts Hostelling International USA and Hostelling International are committed to bringing a level of understanding about the world, the country and the city through the hostel experience.
General Manager Grace Dodier, a Corpus Christi native and a life-long hosteler, hopes that the opening of HI-USA’s newest location will be as successful and enjoyable as her past hostel experiences have been.
“I travel quite frequently and I always stay in hostels,” Dodier said. “I know that I will be able to meet other travelers that will want to explore the city with me and Houston is a great city.”