Sisters Chelsea and Elly Gressman were introduced to a life of travel by their mother, Sally Thoms at an early age. They quickly learned that the best education is found by exploring the world, immersion in other cultures and welcoming new adventures. At the age of 19, Chelsea took off for Hawaii and stayed at her very first hostel, which sparked her desire to travel. Eventually, she headed to Australia and found herself in Africa in 2009. It wasn’t long before Elly followed suit and together, they embarked on one of the most important trips of their lives.
“Traveling has shaped and changed me in so many ways,” Elly says, “Things that mattered once no longer do and my idea of life and what it is about has completely changed. I feel a real sense of calmness and gratitude in my life and for the things I have.”
Driven by their passion for travel, the savvy Gressman sisters embraced the opportunity to buy The Atrium on Stuart Street in Fort Collins, Colorado. Along with their ever-supportive mother, Chelsea and Elly’s long-time dream to own a hostel came to fruition in 2014 with The Solarium International Hostel.
“When we bought the building, we weren’t sure exactly what it was going to end up being – all we knew was that it was beautiful and something we wanted to share with the world,” Elly says. “The more we thought about it and thought about what we love to do, it made sense to turn the space into a place for travelers to connect and enjoy. We chose a hostel over a hotel because we wanted to provide the same services that were given to us around the world.”
Throughout all of their many adventures – whether in Vietnam, England, India or Africa – the common thread was always the warm experiences they had staying at hostels. Elly and Chelsea would eat locally and truly immerse themselves in local culture, which is something they encourage travelers that stay with them to do. They also made new friends, learned about local traditions and gained a fresh perspective on the world.
The community-centered atmosphere and affordable prices of the international hostels made traveling a breeze. The Solarium International Hostel of Fort Collins strives to give international travelers the same opportunities. The Gressman sisters predict their hostel will become the premier tourist accommodations for travelers worldwide.
Traveling has shaped and changed me in so many ways, things that mattered once no longer do and my idea of life and what it is about has completely changed. I feel a sense of calmness and gratitude in my life and for the things I have.”