Sweet Peas Hostel set to open in downtown Asheville

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.

Bunks on the cheap: Steve Wilmans, co-owner, shows off some of the beds at the soon-to-open Sweet Peas Hostel on Rankin Avenue. Photo by Jason Sandford

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.

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About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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7 thoughts on “Sweet Peas Hostel set to open in downtown Asheville

  1. ContextGuy

    Would this be a good place to give some context on hostels in Asheville? Are there many hostels in Asheville? How are they faring?

  2. orulz

    It would be a good place for some context. There are at least 2 other hostels in Asheville: Art Haus on Ravenscroft downtown, and Bon Paul & Sharky’s on Haywood Street. I have no idea how they’re doing. A friend of mine stayed at Art Haus with his girlfriend for a couple days, and thought it was pretty awesome for the money.

    I’m surprised that this style of lodging isn’t more commonplace. Though there are 2, soon to be 3 hostels in Asheville, there are only a handful elsewhere in the state. Maybe they mostly work in places that are popular with young tourists, but then in that case I’d at least expect to see a few near the beach.

    I went to Hawaii last year. There are hostels all over the place there. Loved it. I guess that in order to manage a place like that you have to be willing to put up with “colorful” characters but some people just love that.

  3. killarue

    There are not more hostels because americans are difficult travelers. We want everything at our fingers tips and the comforts of home, but we want to treat the room like a pig sty. We want value for our buck and the right to disrespect other’s property. Go stay in a motel room or rent a car. It is an eye opening experience. Basically, americans are inconsiderate travelers, although it seems we may be getting better. I would also call attention to a line in the article, “We’re definitely trying to avoid it being a flophouse,”. He knows the purpose of a hostel is to provide clean, safe and convenient lodging at an affordable price. I hope that it starts a trend for Asheville and hope that it does well!

  4. Ham

    Great idea. Prices seem a little high for a hostel, though. I’ve paid $5 a night for them before. I suppose something like $15-$20 a night for a nonprivate bed is a bit more reasonable, but whatever.

  5. ARTICLE QUOTE

    “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.” END

    As a new sponsor of the 10th annual 12k Trail Race Benefit for the Dupont Forest (coming March, 2010)Sweet Peas Hostel is definitely serious about being an integral part of the Asheville area green/outdoors scene. It’s really awesome to see this level of community outreach from such a new establishment. We’re encouraging all of our visiting Dupont 12k trail racers to contact them first about a place to stay.

  6. Hostel Management Software

    Nice article on Sweet Peas Hostel set to open in downtown Asheville…………………………

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