Tag Archives: Accommodation

Yorkshire Real Ale at Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant

We are always keen to champion Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant, located next door to The Fort, as it offers amazing food and a great selection of drinks. In fact they have just teamed up with The Great Yorkshire Brewery and are proud suppliers of Yorkshire Lager.

After many years of experimenting, with help from around the globe, The Great Yorkshire Brewery produces the UK’s first Yorkshire lager: made from Yorkshire water, British barley, malt, yeast and whole hops.

As a guest at The Fort we’d like to remind you that you receive a complimentary 20% discount of all food at Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant, so why not head over when you’ve unpacked and try not only their locally sourced food but now locally sourced lager.

If you fancy heading over to The Great Yorkshire Brewery’s website you will see that they have kindly provided a link to not only Kennedy’s, but also us here at The Fort. Thanks guys!

One year on…

As we begin to prepare for The Fort’s first birthday, we look ahead with a great sense of achievement after our fantastic first year of business.

If you follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter, you will have no doubt noticed that we have been featured in some incredible articles; highlighting just how quirky our accommodation is, and ultimately the continued rise in popularity of boutique hostels.

As we endeavor to continue bringing you our latest news, we will be entertaining reviewers from various publication over the next month to ensure that you receive an unbiased opinion regarding our ‘little gem’.

We will be posting the links to the various articles via our own social media accounts, but look out for Urban Coco, Shoestring Magazine, Gr8 Life Magazine, and also Plush Magazine.

A few weeks ago we received a fantastic surprise as a television personality stayed in our ‘ocean room’ as part of her tour of the best the UK has to offer. You may not have heard of Astrid Sudarwanto, but apparently in her native country of Indonesia she is quite the star! Her photographer has promised us images of their time in York, so we will get them up on here as soon as we receive them.

On a side note, we received a comment on the blog from a reader that was keen to tell us about something we could alter (travel info) so we looked into it, and discovered that you can indeed take a more direct route from York to Manchester airport than we had mentioned. If you have any suggestions or things you’d like to see, then please feel free to leave us a comment.

Please don’t forget to check out our ‘Things to do in York‘, if you are heading on over to York soon, and please feel free to leave your own suggestions.

Reviewing your reviews

We mentioned last week that we would address the concerns raised in any of our reviews left on our booking providers website, Hostelworld.

We have done this in the past and it has proven to be a popular way of engaging with our visitors, and also ensuring that we continue to provide a unique experience.

With an 89% rating on Hostelworld, we are currently the highest rated hostel in the city of York, but that doesn’t mean that all those that stay leave without a suggestion to push our percentile even higher.

Firstly we’d like to thanks to the reviewer from the US, who stayed with us in May, who commented on our amenities, and happened to state that she wasn’t keen on the seating in the communal area. Well, this has been duly noted, and we are looking into providing bespoke furniture for the area, to maximise the space available. As for the amenities, we’d like to say that if you ask any member of staff all the essentials will be provided; including iron, hairdryer etc.

A female traveller left a review from the UK in April, and she mentioned that the bathrooms in the private rooms have a curtain, rather than a door. We can announce that this issue is being dealt with and we will update with photos as soon as possible.

We also accommodate those on business, and one Italian reviewer who joined us whilst on a work trip happened to mention the issue of lockers in the dorm room. We are currently sourcing some quirky secure storage, and we’ll have pictures as soon as we receive them.

We also have to thank all the lovely reviews left by other guests, including Ricardo Messano from Uruguay, who said that The Fort was everything he wanted to be, and that if he comes to our lovely city again, that he will be sure to book into The Fort – Thanks Ricardo!

To all those who have stayed with us over the last year, many thanks for your reviews and we look forward to seeing lots of you again. If you check out our latest coverage in the York Press, you can see that The Fort is only in its first phase of development, and that as we prepare for stage two you all have plenty to look forward to!

Freebies with The Fort

The Fort recently ran a competition in Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant’s e-newsletter, where one lucky entrant could win a night’s stay in a double room of their choice here at The Fort. We can now announce that the winner of the competition was Shannon Potts from York.

As part of the prize, we request the winner offers a few words about their stay, so we look forward to Shannon’s words when she takes advantage of her night here at The Fort.

If you fancy spending a night here at The Fort, then click the link and head over to our booking provider, Hostelworld.

Next week we are planning to run through the latest comments and address any issues that have arisen, so if you’d like to ask us a question or raise a point about your stay, then please feel free to email us at contact@kennedysbaryork, and watch out for our next blog post!

We actively encourage all the visitors that read our blog to head over to our Facebook site and Twitter account, where if you ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ us, you will receive the latest info delivered to your newsfeed.

If you fancy being added to Kennedy’s e-newsletter and benefiting from the various freebies, including a night’s stay at The Fort, then simply email contact@kennedybaryork.co.uk to let us know!

Honeymoon in a hostel

Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant (next door to The Fort, and the essential venue to visit if you want gorgeous food or a fun night out) recently welcomed a wedding party.

As a reception venue, the partying to celebrate Katie and Lee’s union continued long into the night, with guests from further afield needing accommodation. Now, with one of the UK’s leading boutique hostels right next door, numerous guests booked a night with us.

You may be thinking, ‘Why would a wedding party want to sleep in a hostel?’ But if you view the images on our website, or throughout this blog, then you will see we offer more than just a dorm. The double rooms offer four star hotel standard luxuries, each with en-suite wetrooms.

We recently tweeted about people turning to boutique hostels for their honeymoon now although we haven’t had a couple on their honeymoon as of yet, we would thoroughly recommend it if you are travelling across the UK and fancy something different.

So, if you are planning your big day, don’t hesitate to contact Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant; or us here at The Fort for your accommodation needs.

Don’t forget to check us out on Twitter, as we offer tweets that will not only keep you updated about us here at The Fort, but also offer something a little quirky – just like our accommodation!

Oh, and if you have visited our blog before you may notice that it’s had a complete overhaul (along with our to do page) so now you can link straight to the options available on the website!

Reaching a milestone in record time

We are getting pretty excited here at The Fort, as we are about to welcome our one thousandth (yes, 1000th!) guest via our lovely booking provider, Hostelworld.

Although we knew that boutique hostels were the way forward, affording you luxury on a budget, we didn’t expect to surpass our projection for the first year so soon.

From Australia to Argentina, China to Canada, we have welcomed guests from across the globe, leading to an average rating of 89%, and also ‘Top Rated’ hostel in York, by HostelWorld.

If you scan through the blog, you can track our journey from conception to completion, followed our trials and tribulations during our first year.

None of what we have achieved would have been possible if it weren’t for a concerted effort by the owner, Karen Waugh, and not forgetting the designers who brought inspiration through interior design to The Fort’s various rooms.

We have been featured in numerous press articles: from the Independent to York’s local paper, online magazines to iPhone apps, we are proclaimed as one of the best boutique hostels in the UK – and we agree!

Of course, as we live in an age where the Internet plays a vital role in communication, and our presence on Facebook, Twitter and here on WordPress, have not gone unnoticed by the guests that have frequented The Fort. With a plethora of information, we have kept all of you up-to-date with all the latest news, reviews and quirky stories that have caught our attention.

So, if you have previously stayed at The Fort, thank you, and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

Everyone deserves a bit of luxury, don’t we?

If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, then you my have well seen us highlight that we were recently featured in a rather fabulous article in the Independent. The feature piece was focused on how hostels have become far more desirable places to stay, and that how this trend is now a worldwide trend.

We have heard various terms used in association with boutique hostels; including flashpacking, glostel and poshtel, but what has been confirmed through articles like the one in the Independent, and from our own experience, is that people still want the backpacking travel experience but aren’t prepared to compromise on quality.

Now we aren’t saying that traditional hostels aren’t nice places to stay; but what we are experiencing is that the austerity measures that are taking affect are causing people to search out accommodation that affords the feel of a hotel, but won’t make a large hole in your pocket. Benji Ladyano of the Guardian supports this argument, and says that the entrepreneurial spirit of the hostel owners, coupled with the desire to find holiday on a budget, is leading to this new breed of accommodation.

If you follow us on Twitter you may have noticed we like to keep our tweets as quirky as our accommodation, and one tweet that went out was ‘are you ready for the boutique hostel experience’. Now that may sound rather pretentious, as if staying in a hostel requires oodles of forethought, but we think there is an element of truth in it (that’s why we tweeted it!).

We believe that boutique hostels offer something for everyone: regardless if you are over 21 and demand more from your hostel; a hardened backpacker who fancies sleeping in a comfier bed with easy access to the heart of the city;  or if you are simply a student who has a limited budget, but want a creative space to inspire you but that has easy access to the universities, then you are all ready.

At the end of the day, aren’t we all ready for a little boutique experience? The team at The Fort encourage anyone who is thinking of traveling to the UK’s favourite city (as revealed by Rough Guides) to check out The Fort and see if you can resist our luxurious, creative delights!

We’ve included a few images of the street party that recently took place outside The Fort; it was a collaboration between Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant (the fabulous place next door) and Mulberry Hall to celebrate the wedding of Kate and Wills.

For further info then please visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Essential York (on a budget)

Can you believe that we are already in March?!

Regardless of the time of year (or where it seems to be going) we are keen to make sure that our guests enjoy their stay at The Fort.

We are aware that our guests choose to stay with us, not simply because of our creative use of space, but that they are looking for affordable accommodation. Therefore we feel it our responsibility to give you the inside info about what there is to do in this fabulous city – especially activities that are either free, or easy on the pocket.

We regularly check out reviews on Hostelworld (our booking site) and have noticed that the ‘fun’ aspect of The Fort is not as high as we would like. As we are situated in the hub of the city, only a stone’s throw from many amazing places, we feel that giving you an insight into what there is to do will enable you to maximise your time and enjoyment of city – and your stay with us.

Here then are our top tips for the discerning guest at The Fort:

1.     The Yorkshire Pass: This offers you the opportunity to save money with unlimited access to York’s top attractions for 1, 2 or 3 days. Click here for more info and to purchase your pass!

Kennedy's Bar & Restaurant offers 20% discount to all those at The Fort

2.     Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant (next door to The Fort): The premier nightspot offers all guests staying at The Fort 20% off all food and drink during their stay. So, if you fancy a hearty breakfast or a round of cocktails, then head next door to Kennedy’s and start saving.

3.     To maximise your time during the day (and if you don’t get a Yorkshire Pass) make sure you call the Jorvik Viking Centre in advance to avoid the queue. The number is 01904 543402  (have your method of payment ready).

4.     Money saving vouchers: If you follow this link you will see an array of vouchers that are redeemable at various locations across York; from 2for1 entry to The York Dungeon to money off Yorkshire food. Simply print out and start saving!

5.     Rowntree Park: As York’s first municipal park offering numerous activities throughout the year, this is a fantastic and award-winning space to explore on sunny days.

6.     Castle Museum: Recent winners at the 2010 York Tourism Awards, this unique museum celebrates York’s colourful past that has pleased countless visitors to the city; free after your first visit, it is certainly worth a making a beeline for.

7.     National Railway Museum: Attracting over 1 million visitors a year, one of the largest collections of restored steam trains (and those in service today) is a definite crowd pleaser. With free entry, the NRM offers something for everyone more (not just the budding train enthusiast!).

The lift at The Fort offers you the chance to find your bearings

8.     York Art Gallery: Displaying work by William Etty (one of Britain’s most influential artists) the York Art Gallery is showing David Hockney’s work (from Feb-June) called ‘Bigger Trees Near Warter’. Free to enter, this recently refurbished gallery offers a reflective space to while away the hours.

Before we go we just thought we would say that we attended the ‘Hoscars’ the other week (if you follow The Fort on Twitter you may have seen that, BTW it’s @thefortyork if you’d like to join us). The Hoscars are the Oscars of the hostel industry (as the name suggests) and the big trend at the moment is boutique hostels. Not that we didn’t already know that, especially from the lovely comments and influx of guests from all corners of the globe!

Christmas is coming…

Here is just one of the ice sculptures from last year's Festival of Angels in York

As we always like to bring you insider information on what’s happening at The Fort we tracked down Andrew Elcock – The Fort’s main man. As someone definitely in the know and a long time resident of York, who better to ask about what’s been happening in the great city over the last month and more importantly, what’s happening with The Fort, now and in 2011.

With a plethora of events happening at Kennedy’s (the bar next door to The Fort) and numerous festive revelries to partake in, we asked Andrew for an update!

How is business at The Fort?

Great, it has been a success story from the opening night. We have had bookings from around the world and have advanced bookings through until next June. We recently welcomed our 500th guest the other day – people may have spotted that on our Twitter updates. The new website has certainly helped with bookings and allows future arrivals, a real feel of what has been achieved.

We always keep an eye on the comments that are placed on Hostelworld (and thank people for them) and we are currently looking at adjusting the double rooms to match the dorm room in regards to its bathroom door; we want to provide the ultimate in hostel experience and have some brilliant ideas up our sleeve!

York Minster was central to this year's festival, Illuminating York

York is a hive of festival activity at the moment, how have you found them this year?

A few weeks ago we celebrated Illuminating York, which has been going from strength to strength for the past three years. You can see various images of York Minster, creatively illuminated at this amazing festival on our Facebook page. There has also been St Nicholas Fayre, which certainly adds to the festive feel of the city. Finally we are looking forward to the Festival of Angels this weekend. With a hog roast, Mulled wine, Winter Pimms planned at Kennedy’s, we invite all those at The Fort to join us at this event.

Now the snow has been pretty bad in Yorkshire, has it had an impact on The Fort?

The weather has been pretty troublesome as people have been unable to move around the country and therefore they have been unable to reach us, but people have been popping into Kennedy’s and taking full advantage of our winter warmers!

Kennedy's: the perfect setting for festive fun

What can The Fort look forward to in 2011?

The Fort is only stage one of an ongoing project. We aim to create an even bigger and better experience for our guests that will include a larger communal area. Of course with expansion comes the need for fresh design talent to enable us to keep The Fort so unique.

Thanks, Andrew!

Check out a few images of last year’s Festival of Angels (and the recent snow!). Make sure you check out The Fort’s Facebook Page with updates of the Festival activity and events of what’s happening at Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant.

The Fort…online!

We have mentioned in a number of blog posts and tweets recently that The Fort’s website was under development, well we are now pleased to report that it is live! The creative team at Nugenko have done an amazing job to showcase the rooms on a fully interactive site that not only provides information on the city of York, but also links to all our social media sites that we have worked so hard on over the last eight months.

We also have a few recent images of The Fort’s kitchen area that display the new microwave and fridge that have been provided as a result of the comments that we read and reviewed on Hostelword. As we take what we read to heart, we aim to ensure that all our guests enjoy their stay and so any improvements we can make we will do so (we would love to provide more equipment, but due to regulations, we are limited!).

A recent guest, Erin Hiashi, allowed us to interview her about her stay at the hostel as she scoured the city looking for accommodation in preparation for enrolment at York University. From Toronto in Canada, the marine biology student is staying in the dorm room; here is what she had to say:

So, Erin, why did you choose to come and stay at The Fort?

I needed somewhere that provided me with good access to the university and that was affordable. The Fort is perfect being situated where it is, and the dorm room is certainly affordable.

What were your first impressions when you arrived?

It’s obviously new, that’s for sure! I love the decor and it’s really clean.

Do you usually Stay in hostels?

Yes, I try to. I think that I will continue to.   

Had you seen any information about The Fort before you came to stay?

I booked it through Hostelworld so I got the opportunity to read up about it online before I booked. I read the reviews which were all really positive so I was confident I’d enjoy my stay.

Have you had a chance to explore York?

I think I would have more to say if I were a tourist, but from what I have seen the town is absolutlely beautiful. I’m glad I moved here – I just need to find somewhere to live before I start university!

So, a big thanks to Erin, who allowed us to disturb her from her studies (and take a picture!). if you fancy checking out our new website, please click The Fort logo below.

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