While travelers are already leaving positive feedback and recommeding the space to their friends, Susan Angel’s Ghettopia will be fully open for business soon. Ghettopia OTR Bunk Haus
is a 22-bed, dormitory-style hostel for travelers—there’s a kitchenette, three showers, a common room and steam room.
“I travel a lot—I’ve been to Europe, India, Hawaii—and I always stay at bunkhouses,” says Angel. “I wanted to bring some of that onto Main Street for the travelers that come through here.”
Angel started as a couch surfing host, and she met people from all over the world. After doing that for a while, she began to go through the process of opening a legal bunkhouse in Cincinnati.
And Ghettopia isn’t a ghetto. The name comes from the “ghettos” German immigrants lived in Germany and when they came to the United States. Since Over-the-Rhine (and much of Cincinnati) was founded by Germans, Angel thought the name was perfect.
Angel bought the building at 1424 Main Street in 2005. She applied for a “city beautification” grant, in which she paid 20 percent and the City paid 80 percent for updating the space. She’s done all of the renovations herself, using materials that would normally go to the landfill. For example, the floors are mosaics of mismatched tiles Angel collected from builders, contractors and Ohio Tile and Marble.
“I wanted to create an organic, Earth-friendly atmosphere,” says Angel.
Plus, Angel is an artist—she had a gallery at 1409 Main Street and taught classes at Rothenberg
. The walls of her dorms are covered in art, and there’s a mural on one of the outer walls of the building that was done by local artist Douglas Smith.
Not only is Angel opening a bunkhouse in OTR, but part of her business plan includes a bunkhouse route across the U.S. She’s currently looking for a second bunkhouse location in Louisville.
“We’re looking for certain things when we’re looking to open a bunkhouse,” she says. “We want them to be on or near Main Street; we want to support the local arts; we want to renovate the building with materials that normally go to the landfill; and we want to be a green or environmentally conscious place to stay.”
Cincinnati’s Ghettopia is still undergoing renovations, but is already operating at about 30 percent capacity. Angel is currently working on the steam room, and hopes to have the bunkhouse fully operational by the end of the year.
If you’re interested in bunking at Ghettopia, check out the availability at airbnb.com
. Beds are $25 per night, $120 per week or $420 per month, with a maximum stay of three months.
You can also check out Ghettopia on OTR's Final Friday
. There will be live music and movies projected on the walls of the building.
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter