A Tour of Baton Rouge’s First Inn with Owner Melanie Bennett

A Tour of Baton Rouge’s First Inn with Owner Melanie Bennett

It’s like feeling you return to mom’s house, stopping at the modest pink house at 4232 North Blvd. The streets are familiar – centrally located in Mid City, close to downtown.

But it’s Melanie Bennett, owner of The Hostel Baton Rouge, who warmly welcomes you with wide arms, who immediately puts you at ease.

Bennett was born and raised in Baton Rouge, and this “Mid City cat” calls the area her playground. Before owning an inn, she worked for more than 20 years as a housewife, machinist , tour guide and even Uber driver for newcomers to the Baton Rouge area. She loves the Red Stick, which is why she bought this house which was to become the first hostel in town.

When she traveled, she usually stayed in one, and once she discovered the old daycare building, she knew this was the place.

“It made it a perfect transition, I think. It was already properly zoned and it was just a lovely, warm little place,” Bennett says.

Inside the hostel, which opened this fall, visitors are welcomed in a bunk room. Custom built bunk beds can sleep up to nine people. Guests traveling together can also stay in a private suite with a king-size bed and closet. And, like a hostel, there is a shared bathroom, which includes a bath and possibly a shower. The walls of each space in the hostel are painted a different color, and the rooms are awash with antique furniture and eclectic art.

The smell of coffee attracts customers to the common room, where they can find games, laundry, food, and everything you need to make a sandwich.

Bennett is determined to make it a creative space that not only welcomes outsiders, but also brings the Baton Rouge community together. She plans to hold regular events, like live music, book clubs, yoga classes, and even various language classes – every club and meeting is welcome at the hostel.

Bennett had its first guests this fall in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, despite ongoing renovations. She hosted Habitat for Humanity volunteers in the city to help hurricane victims. She says the experience made them lifelong friends.

Bennett hopes her guests will feel amazed and welcomed by the inn, and she’s excited to see what the future holds. Guests will soon have access to a treehouse, Southern-style rocking chairs and even a space for musicians.

It’s a blank canvas, and Bennett is Picasso. The sky is the limit for The Hostel, she says, especially when she imagines all the visitors who can meet and spend time together in the space. It’s all part of Bennett’s slogan: “Bring the world to Baton Rouge and share Baton Rouge with the world.” »

“At the end of the day,” she says, “I just imagine the whole place is lit up by a lot of people, and it’s going to be even better.”

Quotes have been edited for clarity and conciseness.


Contact Melanie Bennett at 288-6915 to book your stay. Online reservations will soon be available at thehostel.la.

This article originally appeared in the December 2021 issue of 225 magazine.

The grand (re)opening, sponsored by Black & Blanc Aesthetics
Style for chilly December nights and bright lights

Linda G. Ibarra