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Our primary mission is education. We want our guests to leave with their unique viewpoint on and more profound understanding of our city. By linking visitors with Ambassadors, passionate neighbors, fascinating events, and Detroit’s unique resources when they are visiting the city. Specifically, we said that Hostel Detroit would be much more proactive than a normal hostel. We want to be sure that every single visitor has the opportunity to receive a thorough understanding of the city and region which will allow them to more fully appreciate what the city has to offer as a vacation destination as well as a potential site for future residential and commercial activities. Through understanding the history, geography and culture of Detroit, a visitor can begin to change the assumptions they have made about Detroit and the people who live here, and begin to grasp the impact of Detroit as a city that changed the world.
Hostel Detroit was born out of the vibrant Detroit couchsurfing community that came together in May 2009 to host the first Detroit Couch Crash over Memorial Day weekend, which also is known world wide as the weekend of the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. After seeing such an incredible response from visitors, couchsurfing host Emily Doerr began conversations about the possibility for a hostel in Detroit that was open year-round and would encourage more visitors in a very intentional way. A year later, conversations had begun about location, feasibility, and funding. When the hostel opening process began in November 2010, it was very deliberately planted as something that would grow out of the community, representing the community, and engaging the community. From that, there was the idea that a way to make Hostel Detroit extra special was to incorporate the idea of having local "ambassadors" who could provide additional information and resources to hostel guests beyond the orientation that we were planning to be provided by the hostel manager/staff.
About Us Our Story:
Hostel Detroit truly began in November 2010, when founder Emily Doerr realized there was a need for a space where curious travelers could come stay, explore, and learn about Detroit. As an avid traveler and Couchsurfer, Emily often hosted guests in her Corktown neighborhood condominium - practically every weekend. The influx of visitors gave her an idea: "Let’s open a hostel in Detroit!"
Emily leased a building, reached out to everyone she knew, and started putting it all together. After countless volunteer hours spent building, painting, planting, and cleaning, it was ready. Hostel Detroit hosted its first guests on April 17th, 2011.
Hostel Detroit is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit. Our goal is to teach each of our visitors about the history and evolving future of our city. We want our guests to leave Detroit with the perspective of someone who has experienced it first-hand. We want them to eat from our urban farms, cycle our streets, enjoy our locally owned boutiques and eateries, and take in our festive atmosphere. We help Hostel guests tap-into what’s happening around town. We offer maps, "adventure-planning", self-guided explorations, and personalized tours led by local ambassadors.
Why do we do this? Because you were probably told not to come here. Because even the border crossing guard told you not to come here. Because your friend will look at you wide-eyed on the bus and say "There’s nobody left in Detroit. Why would you go there? It’s like a war-zone, a third-world country."
In spite of those reasons, this is our home. Detroit undeniably holds a unique place in our country’s history, and the millennial generation would benefit from knowing that. Detroit is more than one thing. Like all big cities, it is a complex organism. There are as many Detroits as there are Detroiters. We can’t give you our experience of the city, but we can help you have yours. We can only work and hope for new stories in the long narrative of our town. Because Detroit needs new stories too.
- Hostel Detroit
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