Hostel Takeover: Lovett Inn B&B To Be Sold, Turned Over to Youngsters

The Lovett Inn bed and breakfast may soon become a Montrose crash pad for globetrotting youngsters. Owner Dan Lueken tells Swamplot that he’s in negotiations to sell the 1923 home of former Houston Mayor Joseph C. Hutcheson to Hostelling International.

Lueken says the property at 501 Lovett St. is under contract, but that a closing date has not been determined, and that certain negotiations about the property are “ongoing.” Lueken has owned and lived in the Lovett Inn for 7 years. “They approached me,” he says, “And I decided to move on and do other things.” If the sale goes through, this will be Hostelling International’s second hostel in Texas. The organization manages a network of 60 properties in the U.S. and many more around the world; the nearest location is in Austin. Visitors of all ages are allowed to stay at HI properties (a membership is required), but the organization says the majority of its guests are between 18 and 30.


Neartown Superneighborhood Association President David Robinson said assembled Montrose residents greeted a Hostelling International presentation last night about the sale mostly with “curiosity, and a little bit of concern” — especially about a parking variance the new owners will seek from the planning commission next Thursday. He said Hostelling representatives Barbara Wein and Doug Markham showed the mostly approving group “a bunch of slides, showing some of the gorgeous places they have around the world.”

Photo: Bart Vis [license]

28 Comment

  • Awesome! It seems as good a place as any for a youth hostel in Houston. I mean you really still need a car but the Montrose District seems as good as any.

  • I see this place becoming the staging ground for the kids at Covenant House who can’t make curfew. All those kids are gonna meet up at the hostel and plan their crime spree’s for the evening.

  • This is NOT a good thing for Montrose. In other cities that are a destination for travel, a youth hostel is a great way for students to be able to afford to travel. In Houston, this is going to be a haven for castoffs from Covenant House and Interfaith Ministries. I am tired of the multiple “good intention” organizations that just attract an element to our neighborhood that is undesireable.

  • what jay said!

  • If it was a fly by night or independent organization I’d agree, but Hosteling International generally has their stuff together. They might not attract the exact upscale demographic you’d prefer, but strongly suspect that they won’t let themselves be a haven for the undesirables…and in any case if you got a beef with those folks, you should take on the do-gooders who are already attracting them here, instead of just fretting about what might happen with this new addition to our neighborhood.

  • It is astounding that such comments would be coming from Montrose, the land of the free and equal. I spent the better part of 2 years hitchiking throughout Eurpoe and stayed in many Hosteling International sites and all were an asset to their respective communities. As long as these fellow commentors just leave the folks alone and don’t prey on them, there should be no problems. The beauty of Montrose is the inclusive minds that exists and the idea of having international travellers that have the intellect and inquisive minds to explore this earth can only add to the community.

  • Why do they need a parking variance? Wouldn’t most young people who would stay in a hostel be using public transportation rather than cars?

  • Yeah but the hostel is still required to provide the mandated amount of parking unless they get that variance and I imagine that reasoning will be part of their application.

  • @kevpat…welcome to the world of gentrification, we’ve got some “get off my lawn” types ’round here now.

  • As someone who has had their car broken into more than once, I’m not a fan. I also see it as extra bedding for the Covenant kids.

  • what kind of fabricated reality have you people traveled in where hostels are lower-class mob-dens (hello, see the uptown article please)? i really doubt anyone staying in a hostel in the montrose of all places is coming here to spread their socioeconomic ills around and the covenant kids already have their well-established battlegrounds and meeting places and would not pay to sleep in a hostel. just keep making love to your guns at night folks and i’m sure we’ll all get through this.

  • The Covenant House and Interfaith Ministries kids are trouble. I seem them fight ALL the time behind Kroger.

    That being said, his Hostel has a curfew (as does the one in the MD) and will keep the poor and sad Covenant House and Interfaith Ministries punks far away.

  • Alas, not good news. Lovett Inn is my favorite place to house family members who are visiting for the holidays. I’m sure Mom won’t be eager to hang out with teens.

    I guess it’s time to move to Katy and get one of those 6 bedroom Tuscan villas. Nooooo…

  • Some of these posts show a lack of understanding of Hostelling International and its policies. Anyone under 18 would have to be with a parent or school, Girl Scout troop, or youth group guardian to enter. Anyone who lives in the Houston metro area would also be ineligible to stay. Anyone without a photo ID would be turned away. Most travelers would be presenting their passports as their ID. No alcohol is allowed on the premises. There would be a limit to how many days a guest could stay.

    The typical guest is more likely to be a young schoolteacher from Europe or an Australian who has taken a year off from work than an at-risk youth.

  • Agreed with Doug–HI Hostels are some of the most well-run hostels in the world and generally have a policy of how long guests can stay. You can’t just live there indefinitely.

    There are plenty of US hostels, including ones in San Francisco, Chicago and NY, and they’re not overrun with vagrants. I know because I’ve stayed in them!

  • I which they’d turn those Montrose Skylane properties into Hostels.

  • obviously you people posting negative comments here have never stayed in a hostel. people who stay in hostels are adults and business travelers as well. they are more educated and well-traveled than people who stay in hotels. they would never associate with the likes of covenant house.

    you should have some experience about what you’re talking about before posting such negative nonsense.

    the lovett inn is going to make a great hostel for people of all ages — with restrictions on quiet times as well as no smoking or alcohol. and that’s the truth.

  • Those kids in the Covenant House probably couldn’t afford to stay there. The organization has policies in place to weed out any undesirables.

    I think this is a good thing for Montrose. It’s very popular for the rich European kids to backpack through America. What a better place for them to visit than our diverse Montrose area. This could give our city and neighborhood international exposure. These kids will go home and tell their friends and family what a great place this is to visit.
    I mean, do you think they’d have a good experience if they stayed in a hostel in some place like Katy or some other suburb?

    Montrose is known for accepting and welcoming people from various walks of life. I think that is exactly the part of Houstonians that we need to show these Hostel guests.

    Kudos to the owners for being forward thinking and selling it to a unique group that will add more diversity to our already diverse neighborhood while maintaining it’s historic character!

  • The lovett inn will always remain an architectural treasure of Houston. Best of all, its beauty and history will now be shared and appreciated with up and comming generations.

  • I’ve stayed in Hostel International’s Properties all over Europe and even did some temp work at the one in Paris. They were always well run, clean and safe. I’m not sure how many people here have stayed in one but many of these hostels have strict rules about non-guests hanging around inside and people loitering. Often they have security on site to ensure the safety of their guests and to keep undesirables out. I can’t think of a better place for a HI location than the Lovett inn.

  • I have never stayed in a hostel, but did have one in my nieghborhood for a few years. They were good nieghbors, quiet, not disruptive, really unnoticeable at day’s end.

  • Do Craig and Jay have no idea what hostels are or what Interfaith Ministries does? Evidently.

  • This is a great way to welcome travelers to Houston. Montrose is a very diverse area and we should be proud to be show off all we have to offer our guest!

  • i hear some neighbors don’t appreciate the finer qualities of a hostel, so the sellers are pissed and are going to tear it down and make it a parking lot. ha. is this true? we certainly need more parking in the area, but what a bummer, it’s a pretty house. sort of funny though. anyone confirm this?

  • my daughter was married there. where did you hear this? montrose needs parking, but hostels are great. we can’t let this happen. who can help with this? why doesn’t someone else offer the sellers more money and save it then?

  • are you serious? does the city know this? don’t the neighborhood bars have enough parking? keeping an old home like this for a wonderful hostel would be much better than a parking lot. who are these idiot neighbors?

  • confirmed. oh my gosh, i got an ear-full at a party last night. one of the seller’s said he is very disappointed at somebody. something about politics. apparently the city approved the hostel’s permitting, but then suddenly reversed themselves with no explanation. if this sale doesn’t go through, then he said they are just going to raze the home and make it more parking for the restaurants and gay bars. they love the old home and want to save it, but neighbors and politics have kicked in and don’t appreciate the virtues of the non-profit hostel keeping the home just the way it is. he said there’s no laws against tearing your own home down and they had no idea there was so much money in parking, so they’ll have the last word with what they do with their own property. darn it all. i feel bad for them. they were trying to do the right thing by selling it to a nice non-profit organization. besides, i voted there and showed up for charity functions the owners gave to the community for so many years. i’d buy it and save the building if i had the money. any fellow montrosites chip in with me?

  • I know the sellers personally and they told me. I would hate to lose the home, but I know what they’re going through. I’ve done real estate in Houston for years and the planning department is annoying as hell. I’d rather see some nice new townhomes than a parking lot, however. I’ll see if I can make some calls to some builders who are in the market.