Editor’s note: Dream of Italy usually covers 3-star and above Italy accommodations as that’s where our demographic stays. But we were intrigued by how this new Venice hostel is marketing itself to Baby Boomers.
Renovated and reopened in June 2013, the urban chic Generator Hostel sits on the island of Giudecca and across the lagoon from St. Mark’s Square, just a vaporetto ride away from the main attractions of Venice. The building is a 19th-century grain warehouse converted into a 36-room hostel with 240 beds and restored to show off the building’s beautiful stone columns, floor tile, wooden beams and grand staircases.
Canadian designer Anwar Mekhayech scoured the northern Italian countryside to collect antiques, including apothecary shelves, from antique fairs and trade shows in the surrounding area. Filling the hostel with local antiques highlights pieces of Italian history while sustainably reusing furnishings, breathing new life into the historic building.
With a stylish and artsy vibe, Generator welcomes travelers of all ages, including both the usual backpacker crowd and older travelers — though typically, hostels’ main demographic is young adults, Generator is extending its clientele to reach Baby Boomers as well. By providing more private rooms with en suite bathrooms and offering special events for hostel guests such as scavenger hunts in the city, the hostel combines a welcoming, community feel with the privacy that many Boomers want.
Generator, which was founded in 2007 and has since expanded to several European cities, attracts travelers through aggressive marketing via social media; the company also plans to open several locations in the U.S and a Rome location in 2014. All of its hostels are designed in accordance with the local culture with a fun, fresh, energetic look.
The Venice location offers a hostel bar with happy hour, onsite laundry, Wi-Fi and computers, and 24-hour reception. While breakfast isn’t included in the room rate, a continental breakfast is served every morning for 3.50 euros, and the hostel even serves dinner at night with a focus on the local cuisine and local ingredients — a rare offering for Western European hostels.
Female-only and mixed-gender dorm rooms can accommodate up to 16 guests in clean, spacious, and modern rooms with shared or en suite bathrooms. Guests wanting more privacy and luxury can book twin, triple, or quadruple private rooms, penthouses, or even the attic room with excellent views of Venice (private rooms have twin beds that zip together to form one double bed for couples). All rooms are equipped with full-length mirrors and locked storage receptacles, while private rooms also have table and chairs. — Elaine Murphy
Generator Hostel Venice
Fondamenta Zitelle, 86
(39) 41 877 8288
Rates: Dorms from 17 euros per person per night; private rooms from 45 euros