York hostel named the best in the country for second year

Hostel high: Karen Waugh celebrates The Fort's double triumph with Jeremy Oliver of Garbutt & Elliott. Photograph: Daniel Oxtoby
25 Mar 2015 @ 4.24 pm
| Business

Double congratulations are in order – The Fort has been voted the best hostel in England for the second year running.

The boutique hostel off Stonegate in York took the title after users of website hostelworld.com gave it the highest rating of any in the country.

Karen Waugh, the owner of the 60-bed Fort, as well as Kennedy’s Bar & Restaurant, said that she was “thrilled and honoured” by the award.

More than a thousand guests have left a rating of their stay at the Fort – and with an average of 87% nowhere could beat it.

In a review, the Guardian wrote:

The room has character. It is clean. The Yorkshire Bed Company mattress is thick and firm. The shower is powerful.

In the modern hotel world, £70 doesn’t buy you a lot; £58 even less. Pound-for-pound, The Fort is very good value.

The Fort’s story

The building was originally occupied by Kennedy’s, but there were apartments above the bar which were empty.

Karen decided to make the most of the space by creating The Fort. Each room was individually crafted to create a specific ambience.

It boasts en-suite wetrooms, flat screen TVs and wi-fi connectivity, while its location couldn’t be more central.

“My aim is to have a fresh take on affordable accommodation and offer the discerning traveller an opportunity to economise without compromising on quality.”

– Karen Waugh

With some help from her friends

One of the funky Fort bedrooms
One of the funky Fort bedrooms
“There are many people I’d like to thank, but one of the most crucial are my business advisers Garbutt & Elliott who have been with me every step of the way,” Karen said.

The Monks Cross business advisers helped her with the financial information that funders needed to agree to lend Karen the money.

They also provided payroll, bookkeeping VAT and management accounts, and gave advice to support her expansion.

“We have supported Karen for several years as her business interests have grown to now include Sotano Charcuterie & Bar in the basement of the Hostel next door to Kennedy’s Bar,” said Jeremy Oliver, partner with Garbutt & Elliott.