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Motel Durango aspires to be outdoor hub with hostel rooms

Big renovations planned for the inn owned by Mountain Capital Partners
Bunk beds are lined up inside the Durango Motel hostel on Tuesday afternoon. The estimated $100,000 renovation has welcomed a new crowd of outdoor enthusiasts to the motel. (Tyler Brown/Durango Herald)

Finding affordable lodging in Durango can be tough during the summer months, with nightly rates normally reaching the $100 mark.

However, Motel Durango at 2202 Main Ave., is attempting to create a more economically friendly option for people who want to spend less time in their hotel room and more time out on the trails during the summer months.

The motel, which was a Days Inn until purchased by Mountain Capital Partners in 2017, has brought a hostel back to Durango. Durango’s previous hostel on Goeglein Gulch Road closed in 2007. The hostel rooms are located in the east building and connected to the motel check-in office.

The hostel rooms are part of a much bigger rebranding of the motel, which will include a name change, said General Manager Josh Benson. But for younger people who want to visit Durango on a budget, the hostels can be an affordable option.

The Durango Motel pool area will be remodeled, along with a change in the motel's name. (Tyler Brown/Durango Herald)

“We’re the closest to the Colorado Trail’s southern terminus, and we’re becoming more of an outdoor enthusiast hub,” Benson said.

Built in 2022, the hostel has garnered attention from the outdoor community and all over the country. It has had 15 to 20 hostel visitors a week but hopes to see 15 to 20 visitors per night once peak summer season hits.

The rooms cost around $39 per night with three bunk beds. This means those staying at the hostel could have up to five other roommates during their stay. The hostel rooms also feature a locker where visitors can store their belongings.

Benson said the hostels are a great way for people to meet others and talk about their outdoor experiences. The rooms are stripped down to the bare essentials, with a night light and a phone charging port at each bunk bed. The rooms also offer a bathroom and shower.

If visitors get hungry, they can head upstairs to the community kitchen, which is located in the same building as the motel check-in office, where they can cook.

The Durango Motel hostel has a community kitchen. General Manager Josh Benson says those staying in the hostel often want a place to sleep and cook a quick meal. (Tyler Brown/Durango Herald)

“Most people who visit the hostel just want a place to sleep and maybe make some food after hitting trails or rafting,” Benson said.

From a price standpoint, staying at the hostel does make staying in Durango exponentially cheaper. A Durango Motel room costs around $100 per night during summer, according to Benson. Hotel room rates as of Tuesday ranged from $62 to $193 per night in Durango.

To some, this may not sound like a huge chunk of change but when factoring the cost of everything that goes into a Durango vacation, the numbers can really add up.

In addition to the community kitchen, there’s also a social room next door, where visitors can watch TV, play games and hangout.

The hostel is not only popular among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts but also musical artists who are performing at iAMMUSIC events.

He said bands often will have all of its members stay in one room because they’re just using the room to sleep, and it’s better than sleeping on a tour bus or at a hotel.

The Durango Motel hostel has common rooms, where travelers can talk about their outdoor adventures or work. (Tyler Brown/Durango Herald)

Benson estimates the cost of the hostel renovations was around $100,000, which he says was a relatively cheap transition. Motel management also has plans to offer more outdoor seating options near Junction Creek to the north of the building.

In addition, management will be redoing the pool area to add a hot tub, awnings and places to hang hammocks. It will also include encasing the area with a cinder block wall.

“As we continue to transform it, we ultimately want to have a good vibe and feeling for all the guests here,” Benson said.

The hostel rooms are purposely located away from the hotel rooms so that those who may not want to deal with the noise coming from hostel rooms can have their peace.

The hotel rooms are located in the west building of the complex. But Benson said the hostels are usually not loud, but the motel wants to continue to offer both options for people who would like more privacy.


One of six hostel beds in a room at the Durango Motel. (Tyler Brown/Durango Herald)
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