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Hostel to open in Grand Rapids next year

August 26, 2014
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A 150-year-old Victorian home in Grand Rapids' Creston neighborhood, at 117 Page St. NE, will become the city's first hostel come 2015.

A 150-year-old Victorian home located in the Creston neighborhood at 117 Page St. NE will become the city’s first hostel come 2015.

Cousins Mark and Phil Bouman recently purchased the five-bedroom and four-bathroom house, which was built in 1878 by a lumber baron. The pair is finalizing renovation plans for the home, which will be transformed during the next several months into the Grand Rapids International Hostel, accommodating up to 30 guests per night.

The Boumans are longtime Grand Rapids residents, Calvin College graduates and passionate travelers who plan to live in the home and operate the hostel full time.

In addition to offering an affordable place to stay, the Grand Rapids International Hostel will offer travelers a simple breakfast and communal dinners. Bikes also will be available for rental and activities will be coordinated each week for travelers wishing to participate.

Stays at the hostel will cost between $20-30 per night.

Who are the Boumans?

Mark Bouman graduated from Calvin College in 2009. He spent four years in residential and commercial real estate management before moving to Colorado to work for Young Life and the YMCA of the Rockies.

He then moved to La Paz, Bolivia, where he worked as an English teacher and soccer coach.

He has stayed in hostels across the world, including facilities in North America, South America and Europe.

Phil Bouman also graduated from Calvin College in 2009. He worked at Gentex Corp. for two years, where he focused on sales forecasting, business planning and supply chain management for the Asian market.

He then moved to Santiago, Chile, to teach English. He has spent a significant amount of time traveling throughout the U.S. and Latin America.

He currently works as a residential real estate agent in West Michigan.

“This has been a dream for Phil and I for some time,” said Mark Bouman. “Both of our experiences traveling and working in other communities and countries inspired this venture.”

“The hostel experience is really one of community,” Phil Bouman added. “It’s about sharing space, food, knowledge and experience. Mark and I believe Grand Rapids has a lot to offer, and we want to share it with others.”

The Boumans have received the full support of the Creston Neighborhood Association. They hope to reinvest in that community over time, building a community garden and contributing to the neighborhood’s long-term goals.

The pair hopes to see its first guests check in by spring of next year.

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