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Group bookings at The Fort Boutique Hostel

We recently added space to The Fort Boutique Hostel by converting luxury apartments that were situated next door and turning them into accommodation perfect for larger parties.

We have been inundated with group bookings and thanks to the extra room we can now accommodate them in the new dorm rooms that not only boast the same quirky feel as the double rooms, but also provide guests with a kitchen and en-suite bathroom. We are particularly happy with the largest dorm room, which even has its own relaxation area – perfect for deciding on the day’s activity, watching TV, or simply relaxing after a day in one of the UK’s best loved cities.

If you fancy booking a dorm for a group, then please head over to our website and contact our team to not only discuss a possible discount, but also organise breakfast at Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant next door.

Of course, the extra room isn’t just for group bookings, and we are thrilled to be able to offer even more room to York’s number one hostel ensuring our guests have a memorable stay.

You may have also seen on The Fort Boutique Hostel’s Facebook page that we were featured in the Guardian’s travel supplement. Well, the reviewer loved his time with us and we can now boast a third of a page write up in a national publication with great photos!

All you need to know about York in the palm of your hand

Our computer hub is already proving popular with guests wanting to find out more about what they can do whilst visiting York, and although our website does highlight what we feel you can’t miss out on we also want to give you something tangible to use on your visit to York; something to keep for future use, or to pass on to a friend. So, we are proud to announce the development The Fort’s ultimate guide of things to see and do.

Known technically as a ‘z-card’ our complimentary guide, that will be provided upon check-in, will allow you the chance to find your feet thanks to the map it will feature, and also give an insight into all York has to offer; from bars to restaurants, shops to tourist attractions, we plan to condense it all into a wallet-friendly guide.

As we championed fresh talent through the design of our rooms our design of the guide is no different, and we look forward to working with a talented young designer brimming with creative ideas.

Each of the specific locations will have been handpicked by our team to ensure that you receive an unbiased guide to the places we know will provide you with the ultimate York experience on a budget.

As a work in progress we expect the guides to be ready for print sometime in November, although we’ll be featuring the design process via our numerous online sites.

We hope that by offering guests a guide to York, we should help alleviate the problems that can arise though not knowing what to do or where to go, and we appreciate that time is precious.

Until we have the guides ready for distribution upon your arrival, please visit our website for up-to-date information on what to do in York. Not forgetting that all guests are entitled to 20% off food and drink at Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant next door to The Fort.

Going Solo?

As we review the visitors to The Fort, we can’t help notice the number of solo travellers. Being a hostel it is to be expected that we will attract guests either travelling alone, or needing accommodation for business purposes.

We’d like to highlight the things that previous guests have stated to ensure you have a full and enjoyable experience whilst staying with. Jennifer Ryder who stayed with us in August all the way from Australia, said:

This place was lovely, really like a hotel more than anything. There aren’t any laundry facilities but the staff were more than accommodating with helping us out. You also get a discount on meals at the restaurant next door and it is close enough to absolutely everything you need. Awesome rooms and super comfy beds.

Ricardo Messano from Uruguay was thrilled with his experience earlier in the year, and a UK guest who stayed with us in July echoed this:

An amazing, well positioned hostel and fantastic as a base for sight-seeing/shopping/business trips! The lounge area is also great as it means that if funds are tight, you can easily just rustle up a ready meal or just chill out to avoid the weather! I will definitely be back later this year!

The communal area now has the added benefit of a computer hub with complimentary Wi-Fi, so you are also able to access the Internet and update your friends on your activity.

We endeavor to post the latest news and useful links on our Twitter page and also use our Facebook page to highlight the latest updates.

The Fort readies itself for the festivals

The past year has flown by, and we are only weeks away from one of our favourite of all York’s festivals: Illuminating York.

If you are unfamiliar with this particular festival of lights, then let us enlighten you on just why we love it. To begin with it is spread across the city, incorporating many of York’s finest buildings. Now in its seventh year the festival responsible for illuminating our historic treasures is set to continue its mission to enable both residents and visitors alike to look at York in a different light  – quite literally.

Using multi-coloured lights to add a contemporary twist to the illumination of buildings such as Clifford’s Tower and York Minster, we eagerly await the ingenious methods used to provide entertainment simply using different lighting techniques. Last year we were enthralled by the work of two French artists whose work was highlighted through light in real time.

The Fort was chosen as the accommodation provider for a number of the talented artists involved in last year’s festival, and we are proud to say that it has once again been chosen as a base for those who will be working their magic across the city.

If you’d like to see York in all its illuminated glory, then please feel free to head over to the city from 26-29 October. If you’re looking for accommodation at The Fort then we suggest you book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

We will be featuring our own images of the festival on Facebook along with a blog entry, so if you don’t get the chance to head over and see it you can check in with us online to see what you missed.

With the Ghost Festival (22-31 October), York Early Music Christmas Festival (30 November – 10 December), not forgetting the Festival of Angels (10-11 December), there is plenty to see and do in York over the coming months.

For further info on the Illuminating York Festival, please head over to their official website.

New delivery at The Fort

We recently decided to invest in a computer for use in The Fort’s communal area the other week, and we are thrilled to announce that it has been delivered and is being prepared for installation.

As we are so keen on shouting about The Fort online we felt it only right that you should be able to have a free access point to the internet at The Fort. Although we offer complimentary WiFi, you may not have a laptop or smartphone with you so we hope our new edition will provide you with the opportunity to access our website, designed by the very talented team at York’s digital design agency Nugenko. From the website you can find out what’s happening in York along with access to our various social media sites (including this blog!).

As soon as the computer is linked up we’ll send a tweet and put a picture on here and Facebook.

Just to note that our beautifully designed lift is currently undergoing some TLC, so if you are heading over to stay with us in the next few weeks you’ll have to bare with us. As soon as it is brought back to life we’ll let you know. (You can read the interview with Simon Gornall on how he came up with his concept for the lift’s interior by clicking here.)

The Fort wows reviewers from across the UK

The Fort was featured in a review by Yorkshire Living Magazine earlier in the year, although with the growing importance of reviews offering an impartial insight into accommodation rapidly gaining momentum, we felt it time to invite various travel journalists to stay the night and give you their view of The Fort.

Of course the media exposure is good for us, and also helps us to make any improvements that are raised (as we do with any concerns that you highlight).

Earlier in the month we were thrilled to receive a visit from Urban Coco, an online fashion and lifestyle magazine, who are using their stay as a feature piece on their new website. You may have seen the review already, thanks to the link placed on our Facebook page, but if not you can check it out here

September will see the arrival of three more magazines: Lush Magazine, focusing on fashion and lifestyle; Shoestring magazine, an online magazine written for those travelling on a budget; and finally Gr8 Life, a lifestyle magazine distributed across the south of the UK.

We also have to mention that we recently received a visit from a BBC journalist who loved The Fort and was keen to feature it in Olive Magazine. This will be out later in the year, although from his comments on his visit we can expect a glowing review!

If you received an online newsletter from Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant this month, you will no doubt have seen The Fort mentioned, along with the fact that they had a makeover in their downstairs area. We just love the new wallpaper, and have included a few pictures here on our blog.

As ever, we fully encourage you to leave any comments and suggestions via our numerous social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Hostelworld, and right here on our blog.

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.

Viva Espana!

Our business development manager – Andrew Elcock – recently took a tour of Spain; staying in boutique hostels as he made his way from Valencia to Madrid, and finally on to Barcelona. He has come back full of ideas and some rather fabulous images. You may have seen them highlighted on our Facebook page, but Andrew had a few words and links that he wanted to highlight in regards to our continental counterparts.

First on the stop was a 3 night stay in Valencia’s Rooms Deluxe; advertising itself as the evolution of the traditional hostel, it affords rooms that are individually designed by local artists, including a science room, a legendary room, and an enchanted forest. On a larger scale to The Fort (with 28 rooms in total) it boasts all the facilities that we look to embrace as we enter our second stage of development. Although it advertised the attractions that were within a short distance, it failed to mention that we were a taxi ride away from the city centre!

Following on from Rooms Deluxe in Valencia, it was time to take advantage of Spain’s brilliant high-speed train network, the AVE, which recently connected Valencia to Madrid in 2010. We departed Valencia and headed towards Madrid, and aboard the AVE it we were given the chance to check out some spectacular scenery travelling at speeds over 200 miles per hour.

Thanks to the AVE, the journey from Madrid to Barcelona was only two hours and thirty minutes. This meant that we were able to get more done in the day than we would have prior to the rail link opening. As Barcelona is a one of Europe’s most vibrant cosmopolitan cities we had a number of options to get our fix of the boutique experience, eventually opting for the Paraiso Hostel; with a sun terrace and individual rooms, it was great for location to the city and the numerous services it afforded. Although not as edgy as Rooms Deluxe in Valencia, it provided us with a clean and friendly central location to drop our bags and venture off to explore the city.

As we arrived at Paraiso Hostel we were offered sangria on their roof terrace, and as I chatted to more of the hostel workers I realised just how important the social space was in ensuring that visitors enjoyed their stay. Admittedly at The Fort we don’t have the luxury of a roof terrace (Kennedy’s bar does next door) but the emphasis needs to be on social space; stage two of The Fort looks to increase the size of the communal area, along with offering a laundry room, a fully fitted kitchen, and plenty more quirky rooms. Check out our piece in the press recently regarding our first year and plans for the future!

You can find more of Andrew’s images on our Facebook page.

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!

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!

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