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Dolores Bike Hostel ready to welcome visitors in 2024

The Dolores Bike Hostel offers many styles of rooms for those who stay in Southwest Colorado. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)
The hostel opened in the old Dolores medical building

In September, the Dolores Bike Hostel was opened to welcome visitors from all over the world to Southwest Colorado and all that is offered in the area.

Jake Carloni said he bought the 4,000-square-foot building in August 2022 and spent about 14 months to turn the old Dolores medical building into the bike hostel.

“We had to basically completely gut it out and redo the inside,” Carloni said. “It was a pretty extensive remodel.”

Siblings Hannah and Jacob Carloni are the owners and operators of the Dolores Bike Hostel. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)

Now, instead of the empty and dilapidated building that it once was, the bike hostel owned and operated by Jacob Carloni and his sister Hannah Carloni boasts 22 skylights, a six-person bunk room and four private rooms, one which is a suite with its own bathroom.

The hostel also has four shared bathrooms and four shared showers.

In the front of the building, there is a working space with tables, chairs and a coffee/snack bar with drip coffee, tea, cereal and more. The back of the building has a lounge area for relaxing and a full kitchen for those who wish to make their own food while on vacation.

Dolores Bike Hostel. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)
The bunks in the shared room offer comfort and privacy. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)
The bunk room. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)
One of the hostel’s private suites. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)

Carloni said that he has been a carpenter for 10 years, and this is his first attempt at owning real estate.

“I was looking around at different options, looking for fixer-uppers or different ways to make some passive income, and this property came up for sale and had been sitting on the market for like half a year,” he said.

This passion project would require anyone who was buying it to be able to completely redo the space. Carloni admitted the building ended up needing more work than originally thought, but over the next 14 months, he and some friends were able to revamp the building.

Through the process of building, the idea for the bike hostel was born.

“A buddy of mine and I were chatting about what it could possibly be, and he was actually the one who first said, ‘Dolores bike hostel,’ and I was like, ‘I don’t know anything about hostels, but I love to bike and I love the name. And from there, it just kind of spiraled in the direction of making it happen,” Carloni said. “Doors started to open and things started to happen, and all of a sudden I owned the property and it was real.”

So far, in just a few short months since their opening, the hostel has hosted people from eight to 10 different countries. And while many are traveling in the area to bike, Carloni also shared that anyone who needs a place to stay is welcome at the hostel, biker or not.

“It’s been really fun to meet people traveling from all over doing all kinds of different things,” he said. “Everybody has their own story.”

Behind the hostel, there is a small apartment that is now occupied by a local massage therapist who has set up her office there after renovations from Carloni.

As an added benefit to those who stay at the hostel, they can book a massage session, that even includes a sauna and cold tub, with the hopes to add a hot tub in 2024.

Though the hostel opened Sept. 30, right before cold weather set in, Carloni said they had a great October with many people using the hostel as a place to stay. While they have had some people come through during the winter, Carloni said they are looking forward to warm weather traffic, as they anticipate those will be their busiest months at the hostel.

In the meantime, they are hosting fun, small events in the area to help build community through the cold winter months.

“We have been spending our time doing more events over here and trying to plan some community-building type events,” Carloni said. “Dolores can be a little insular in the wintertime for sure.”

So far this winter, they have had a backcountry avalanche awareness class (where 40 people attended) and ski tuning event where Scott Darling from Kokopelli showed the public how to properly tune skis and how to wax and tune the edges of their snowboard.

The Sunday before Halloween, the hostel hosted an obstacle course and craft evening for kids as a fundraiser for the Dolores Middle School Lego robotics team.

“Around 40 kids showed up, and it was really cute,” Carloni said.

On Feb. 1, the hostel had a speed puzzle competition where 12 teams of two competed to try to be the first to finish a 550-piece puzzle.

“We have lots of local prizes,” he said. “We’ve got a few other things that we’re working on down the line. We wanted to help keep everyone entertained this winter more than anything else.”

Carloni said he hopes that those who stay at the hostel learn more about Dolores as its community, rather than just as a gateway to the outdoors.

“This town has a really great sense of community and it has some great local businesses that are fun to support and we kind of have everything that you need right here,” he said. “And we’re hoping that with the hostel, we can lengthen the stay for visitors who would come stay here for one night and pass through.”

He added that he has a lot of plans for the hostel’s future.

“We have a lot of plans in the future to make this even more of a space where fun things will be happening,” he said. “We really want this to be a community space where we can host events and just kind of drive more commerce in Dolores.”

The hostel will be adding a patio and an astro turf side patio. Carloni said they are also going to turn a 20-foot shipping container into a pop-up bar for events and fundraisers that will take place in the summer.

“We’ll be hosting film showings with projector screens and that kind of thing,” Carloni said. “We’ve already had people renting out the whole space just for wedding parties and stuff this summer. We’d love this to be a meeting place and a gathering place, kind of a space for spontaneous collaboration and just meeting cool folks doing cool things.”

More information can be found online at the hostel’s website at www.doloresbikehostel.com.