DC Metro Hostel

Open Alexandria's first hostel at 216 S. Peyton St.


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Dear Hostel Supporters,

I have some unfortunate news concerning our hostel project in Old Town Alexandria. We were about to sign the lease after a few rounds of negotiating certain non-monetary details, and the owner of the building came back with an email stating that he is accepting another offer to lease the property to a big business with a better credit rating.

This unethical move by the property owner will set us back at least another year because the Special Use Permit approved and issued by the City of Alexandria is based off of the specific property at 216 S. Peyton St. We will have to go through the entire public hearing process again if we wish to open at another location in Alexandria. Or we may opt to move across the river to the District or out to the Delaware shore.

I am cancelling our crowdfunding campaign, and you will not be charged for the pledge that you made in support of our hostel. We had nearly $11,000 in pledges so far! Thank you, and be assured that we are not giving up! Feel free to keep up with our progress on Facebook.

In the meantime, we will continue providing stellar shuttle service to hostels in Harpers Ferry, D.C., and Baltimore through HostelHiker. And we will soon venture into organizing day and overnight road trips along with our private charter service.

Thanks for your support.


Paul S. Cianciolo
Founder & President
Capital Hostels, LLC

Follow me on Twitter at @CapitalHostels.

Quick Pitch

No longer are hostels the drab, sparsely furnished dormitories of yesteryear. Hostels have finally come of age. Previously a secret confined to those in the know, everyone is now catching on that hostels have turned from bleak to chic. It's time for Old Town Alexandria to get's its very first boutique hostel!

Our proposed front lobby area.

Our proposed upper floor common area with surrounding guest rooms.

What's a Hostel?

Hostels are social hotels that provide budget-oriented accommodation for travelers. All hostels offer beds in a dormitory-style room and share a bathroom, common area, and kitchen. They are designed to encourage interaction among guests as much as possible. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex; private rooms may also be available. Hostels are generally cheaper for both the operator and the occupant. And many hostels employ their long-term residents as desk clerks or housekeeping staff in exchange for free accommodation.

There are several differences between hostels and hotels. Some major advantages of hostels include:

  • Hostels tend to be budget-oriented. Rates are considerably lower, and many hostels have programs to share books, DVDs and other items.
  • For those who prefer an informal environment, hostels do not usually have the same level of formality as hotels.
  • For those who prefer to socialize with their fellow guests, hostels usually have more common areas and opportunities to socialize.
  • Hostels usually have a higher average income per room than hotels.

History of Hostelling

The term "hostel" comes from the Latin "hospes" for guests and has been applied to lodging houses of all standards throughout the ages. It became synonymous with cheap, no-frills accommodation when youth hostelling became popular after WWII and into the 1960s when students needed affordable rooms while travelling around Europe on tight budgets.

In 1912, in Altena Castle, Germany, Richard Schirrmann created the first permanent Jugendherberge or “Youth Hostel.” These first Youth Hostels were an exponent of the ideology of the German Youth Movement to let poor city youngsters breathe fresh air outdoors. The youths were supposed to manage the hostel themselves as much as possible, doing chores to keep the costs down and build character as well as being physically active outdoors. Because of this, many Youth Hostels closed during the middle part of the day. Very few hostels still require chores beyond washing up after self-catered meals or have a “lockout.”

Traction & Accomplishments

Capital Hostels, LLC, is a veteran owned small business founded in Virginia in 2008. Alexandria was determined as the jurisdiction in the D.C. metro area that would be the best fit for a new hostel. But after many setbacks with the city — mainly not having a hostel defined in the city code — the hostel had to wait while a building that met all the required safety and code requirements was found.

In 2011, HostelHiker was formed under the LLC as a transportation and tour service to connect local hostels and raise awareness of hostelling. HostelHiker provides shuttle service between hostels in D.C., Baltimore, and Harpers Ferry, a route along the Appalachian Trail, and offers private charters to small groups. This has kept the company as an integral part of the hostelling community.

Use of Funds

The cost to lease the building, complete renovations and purchase needed equipment is approximately $350,000. We need to raise an additional $15k to secure the SBA loan with the money already invested by Capital Hostels, LLC.

About the Team

Paul Cianciolo

Paul is an Air Force veteran and current volunteer for the Civil Air Patrol. He founded Capital Hostels, LLC, in late 2008 to open a hostel in Old Town Alexandria. But after many setbacks with the city — mainly not having a hostel defined in the city code — he started HostelHiker in 2011 under the LLC to connect local hostels, and raise awareness of hostelling. Paul also serves on the Board of Directors to the Potomac Area Council of Hostelling International-USA. 

James Brogan

James currently serves as the chief of a federal government program, where he has responsibility for contributing to defense and national policy development. He also serves as a volunteer squadron commander with the Civil Air Patrol in Fairfax. 

Ashton Giese

Ashton is currently traveling abroad experiencing the hostel community in Asia and Europe. He formerly worked for a major Democratic political campaign and as a DIA liaison to the State Department. Ashton hold's a master’s degree in strategic intelligence and bachelor’s degree in international affairs. 

Katie Cianciolo

Katie owns DreamCatcher Destinations, LLC, which is a travel agency that specializes in cruises, tours, all-inclusive resorts, religious travel and meetings with specialists located throughout the U.S.  

Ashley Smith

Ashley works for a major hotel in Crystal City, Va. He has also managed a 625 unit property, including leasing, customer service, property maintenance, and capital budgeting. Ashley has interviewed, hired, trained, and supervised a team of 27 property management professionals, which led to exceeding the leasing, budget, service and company brand goals. He has also managed hotel openings; set-up telecommunications, purchasing, hiring, vendor relations, furniture, and equipment; and managed transitioning hotel properties.  

Jane Davies

Jane is an editor for the Retired Military Police Officers Association. She is also a colonel in the Civil Air Patrol and served as a wing commander (senior corporate officer) from 2004 to 2009.  


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