York’s Fort Triumphs – With a Little Help From Its Friends

The Fort, the award-winning boutique hostel off Stonegate in central York, has been voted the best hostel in the UK for the second year running.

This prestigious accolade has come from the leading on-line hostel website Hostelworld.com, and was voted for by the website’s users.

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.

She said: “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 on the Fort’s exciting and successful journey. They have been exceptional.

“Ever since I established The Fort in July 2010, Garbutt & Elliott have provided superb support and advice. I’m a great believer in working with local businesses wherever possible, as Yorkshire is full of talent, and it has helped immensely that Garbutt & Elliott are just down the road at Monk’s Cross.”

Jeremy Oliver, partner with Garbutt & Elliott, who also have offices in Leeds, explained: “We were first introduced to Karen when she originally purchased the Fort building in Stonegate. Our role was to help with the financial information that the funders needed to agree to lend Karen the money
“The building was originally occupied by Karen’s other business Kennedy’s Bar & Restaurant, but there were dwellings and an apartment above the bar which were empty. The Fort, an absolutely splendid hostel, was the answer.

“Once Karen had decided on creating The Fort Boutique Hostel, we worked with her on her business plans and provided a fully out-sourced finance function providing payroll, bookkeeping VAT and management accounts, as well as her annual year-end accounts and various business and financial 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.

He added: “The en-suite wetrooms, flat screen televisions and Wi-Fi connectivity epitomise its contemporary values whilst its location is perfect for accessing the city’s landmarks, attractions and sampling the social culture on offer”. The Fort is York’s first boutique hostel. Each room has been individually crafted to create a specific ambience that is very different from the average hostel.

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

In a recent review, the Guardian commented: “The fundamentals of the Fort are sound. 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.”