Dolores Bike Hostel

Ride, Rest, and Connect at the Dolores Bike Hostel in Colorado
By Denise Leslie

Nestled in the scenic town of Dolores, Colorado, the Dolores Bike Hostel has quickly become a favorite spot for adventure seekers and travelers alike. Managed by siblings Jacob and Hannah Carloni, this vibrant hostel has, in just nine months, become the ultimate base camp for exploring the stunning landscapes and thrilling trails of Southwest Colorado.

Starting the Dolores Bike Hostel was no small feat. Jacob took on the massive task of transforming an old building into a cozy retreat. The structure was gutted to its studs and rebuilt creatively and resourcefully, transforming it into a warm, inviting space. Furniture was sourced from Facebook Marketplace, and recycled materials from leftover projects were used. Despite the hefty renovation costs of around $250,000, the focus remained on creating a comfortable and affordable haven for guests, ensuring every detail had both form and function.

Jacob’s sister, Hannah, arrived a couple of months before opening to assist with the final preparations and worked on back-end operations like booking platforms, lock systems, property management systems, and the website. She is the General Manager, and Jacob says, “It’s been super fun figuring out how to run the business with her.”

The renovation journey was a blend of planning, problem-solving, and laughter. Each step, from installing fire suppression systems to ensuring ADA compliance, was a valuable learning experience. Jacob focused on making thoughtful investments where they mattered most, such as insulation, heating, and cooling systems, to ensure a comfortable stay for guests. These upgrades were driven by a commitment to energy efficiency. Jacob says, “I think it’s important for new businesses, especially brick-and-mortar businesses, to do whatever they can afford to make their spaces as energy efficient as possible.” Next summer, approximately 50 solar panels will be added to achieve net-zero electricity impact.

Navigating the financial ups and downs of a seasonal business can be daunting. The hostel’s income ebbs and flows with the tourist seasons, presenting ongoing challenges. Jacob and Hannah found a reliable partner in the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC provided essential support, helping them craft a solid business plan and connect with mentors who offered invaluable advice. This guidance was crucial in helping the hostel survive and thrive through its early stages.

But at the Dolores Bike Hostel, it’s not just about providing a place to sleep; it’s about fostering a community and sharing adventures. Jacob and Hannah have created a space where guests can connect over shared experiences, from hiking to dizzying heights to biking through deep canyons. The hostel’s Tuesday run club is a big hit, bringing together locals and visitors for a fun run followed by camaraderie and cold brews.

The Dolores Beer Mile is one of the hostel’s quirkiest and most beloved traditions. Imagine a crowd of runners chugging beers and sprinting through laps, all for the sheer joy of it. This fun event and other lively gatherings showcase the hostel’s vibrant spirit and commitment to building a sense of community among its guests.

The occasional appearance of Boots and Bat, the two resident cats, makes everyone feel at home. Whether sharing a meal in the communal kitchen or swapping stories over coffee, every guest becomes part of the hostel’s family. Looking to the future, Jacob and Hannah remain dedicated to making each guest’s stay as memorable as possible. With over 100 five-star reviews and counting, they focus on creating a space where adventure meets comfort, and every guest leaves with a smile.

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