During an era when most new hotel-style lodging in Asheville has veered toward the higher end, a downtown business is poised to open a decidedly cheaper opportunity for overnight visitors: Sweet Peas Hostel, at 23 Rankin Ave., is slated to open on Saturday, Dec. 26.
The hostel was inspired by the kind of establishments frequented by budget travelers in Europe, says Steve Wilmans, who, along with fellow co-owner Mike Healy, is helping put the finishing touches on Sweet Peas, which is upstairs from the Lexington Avenue Brewery and performance space currently under construction.
"We're definitely looking to cater to people who are visiting for hiking, mountain biking, white water, concerts, the beer scene," Wilmans said during a recent tour of the almost-completed hostel. "Or anyone who's looking for a cheap, clean place to stay."
Sweet Peas is outfitted with a range of bunking options: 16 beds are in shared rooms, which cost $28 per night; 24 are in personal "pods," which cost $35; and there are two private rooms, which sleep two people each and cost $60. There's a sizable shared kitchen with full cooking facilities and a large dining area, washers and dryers, high-speed Internet, a community room and private showers.
The hostel will stress keeping things clean and in good order. "We're definitely trying to avoid it being a flophouse," Wilmans says. At a designated hour in the evening, guests will be asked to observe a "quiet time," and there will be a curfew so that visitors don't arrive in the wee hours.
Wilmans, who also co-owns the Lexington Avenue Brewery downstairs, says he hopes to have that pub-and-performance space up and running in January.
Sweet Peas Hostel will hold an open house on Monday, Dec. 21, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 285-8488 or visit www.sweetpeashostel.com.