Solarium International Hostel Owners Cultivate Neighborly Love


by  Rebecca LaPole

Friends, visitors, tourists, and all locals are welcome to come meet their neighbors at Solarium International Hostel’s Open House and Neighborhood Party on August 29th and 30th. If you haven’t been there since they opened last December, now is the time to visit and get a tour, grab a bite to eat at a food truck, and do yoga (for free) on the well-manicured grounds surrounding the property.

Solarium is owned by Fort Collins natives and sisters, Chelsea and Elly Gressman, with a staff that includes their mother, Sally. The former family home and photography studio of a local photographer has become the family business of the sisters.

The property, at 706 E Stuart Street, located on the Spring Creek Bike Trail and adjacent to The Shire CSA, was built in 1978 by local photographer, John Clarke. Current businesses housed on site include yoga, meditation, and spa services.

The epicenter is the Solarium room, or “garden room;” a tranquil sunroom full of lush tropical plants, including an indoor rain forest full of trees, beautiful hibiscus, bougainvillea, a koi pond, sitting areas for reading or relaxing with a beverage of your choice (you can BYOB), with huge windows and French doors looking out to the landscape.

There are private rooms and dorm/family style rooms to choose from. Chelsea wants visitors to know, “Many hostels are very rustic, simple, and not comfortable. Ours is very welcoming, clean, well-appointed, and we go beyond most in that we’re trying to offer an introduction to Fort Collins. We want to be indicative of the culture here, focusing on warmth, biking, local neighborhoods, and comfortable surroundings.”

Not only do you have a whole property full of greenery to roam around on, there are other amenities that make it a nice alternative to a FoCo hotel. Chelsea mentions a few of them, “We have special touches like good coffee, handmade furniture, new bedding, and sometimes mom (Sally) will make waffles for guests in the mornings! It’s very comfortable and welcoming here.”

The Gressman’s are working with the City on further zoning as they expand to make the space available for on-site camping, bigger weddings, special events, concerts, parties, and “farm to fork” family-style dinners presented by local chefs featuring locally grown ingredients, beer and wine from the region, all accompanied by live music.

They are also 420 tourism-centric; a marijuana- friendly property for people who really want to come to Fort Collins and experience the culture and low key vibe of our city. It is nestled in the heart of an up-and-coming Midtown residential neighborhood and the Gressman’s are working hard to kick it up a notch.

Chelsea says, “We are born & raised Fort Collins people. We love this community and we are dedicated to strengthening our presence, including focusing on our neighborhood. This is a great place to live and we want to showcase Fort Collins in its best light.”

Because of this focus, Solarium is truly becoming a “wonderful landing spot in Fort Collins for an affordable price.”

Stop by the open house Saturday, August 29th from 12-6 p.m. and 2-6 p.m. on Sunday, August 30th. Free yoga classes will be held every hour on the hour; bring your own mat. No pets allowed on site; biking is encouraged.

Rates: Dorms are $29/person/night. Private rooms are $59/night. Website: Email: [email protected] Phone: 970-599-3817.

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