Lazy Tiger Hostel Review in Asheville, North Carolina
Local Business Reviews,  Where to Stay

Lazy Tiger Hostel Review: Adventure Awaits

I get the appeal of the luxury hotel – the smooth sheets, the sumptuous meals, and the general splendor of everything. The tough part is that hotels come with a hefty price tag, and even vacation rentals these days are rarely offering substantial savings. 

The other trick is that in hotels, people tend to be walled off from each other. Maybe you have travel companions, but if you’re solo or in a small group, you won’t often meet people in a hotel atmosphere. 

One place where truly affordable lodging that builds community still thrives, however, is hostels. These no-frills or low-frills accommodations are meant to provide you with somewhere to sleep while you’re on an adventure but not a huge amount of personal space, keeping costs down. They rely on an attitude of respect and community-building to keep communal spaces desirable and pleasant. 

Lazy Tiger Hostel Review
All images courtesy of Dan Castillo

I loved hostels when I was a young twentysomething living in Europe, and for the most part, that’s the crew they cater to, despite many people realizing that great hostels are a boon at any age. These accommodations were designed to let you purchase one bunk’s worth of space, maybe a locker for your luggage, and access to some common areas and bathrooms, rather than a whole suite or room for yourself. 

The price was always incredibly low, and the camaraderie in some of these spots was lovely. Life is pretty compartmentalizing these days, and I think that hostels are a great way to get some gentle mixing into your life, seeing people and chatting with them in ways you simply wouldn’t if you were focused on individual accommodations. 

That’s why I was overjoyed to see a new hostel come to North Asheville/Woodfin, The Lazy Tiger Hostel. Right on Weaverville Highway, it’s convenient to quite a lot that our area has to offer, but outside of the “most parking is paid parking” zone of downtown, a nice combination of out of the built-up area and still close to quite a few Woodfin businesses.

Lazy Tiger Hostel Asheville NC

Ryan’s story of his own adventures around the world is inspiring and you can check out some of it on the website. His own travels brought this passion into his life, and he purposefully traveled and stayed in many lodgings to note the useful features of hostels. He incorporated them into his own design for a space that would be as comfortable, convenient, and useful as possible. 

He told us here at About Asheville that he’d been dreaming of this hostel opportunity for years, scoping out the right city that would keep him in the part of the country where he wanted to live but which would also be a great spot for the hostel culture. 

Asheville had two hostels, but with so many hikers, outdoor enthusiasts, and general tourism traffic, he saw room for another. He even thought of the name before he had the property. He wanted it to have a mascot and he was an Auburn alum, so a tiger made sense, and lazy was meant to convey the relaxation and vibe of “a rest stop between adventures” that he had in mind. 

The journey to launch The Lazy Tiger wasn’t without challenge. Ryan kept his eyes open for properties for a while, finally finding land where he’d need to build from scratch rather than renovating an existing structure, only to deal with challenges in construction due to the upheavals of COVID. 

Lazy Tiger Hostel Bedroom

When he did open the doors on September 21, 2023, though, he found that people really responded to the concept. He opened into peak leaf-peeping season, and one of the niches he hadn’t expected was that a wide array of folks chose his hostel for spontaneous trips to the mountains when everything else in the Asheville area was booked up. 

This means that rather than a more traditional hostel crowd of single travelers who are fairly young adults, he’s seen visitors of all kinds, an enrichment that he was happy to discover.

The early reviews are incredible – some people claim this isn’t just one of the best hostels that the visitors have ever been to, but actually one of the best accommodations they’ve ever been to. This is high praise for a type of lodging specifically known for being no-nonsense, just-the-basics so that it is an affordable way to travel. 

Reviewers praise the cozy feeling of the space, the meticulous cleanliness, the convenience to the interstate as well as to restaurants and other attractions, and the generosity with which the staff think of everything. 

Now, I’ve stayed in my fair share of hostels that my quippy best friend would call “hostile hostels for hostile youth,” not only no-frills but genuinely irritating in their lack of amenities. That’s not what you’ll find at The Lazy Tiger – this place has attention to detail down to a science!

Their shared dorms are the most affordable place to stay, with options for both female-only or co-ed dorm rooms that feature either 4 or 8 bunks in total. These bunks, however, are built so as to give you your own little nook against the wall, and each one is equipped with a privacy curtain.

To be sure, no one sees a twin-size bed as a huge “room of one’s own,” but for the less well-traveled, you might not quite appreciate being able to have your own little corner of a hostel until you’re in a European 24-person dorm full of squeaky metal bunk beds with zero privacy, where people are changing clothes, chatting loudly after a night on the town, and just generally making you feel like you are really sharing all your space. 

Lazy Tiger Hostel Bunk Beds

These dorm rooms with only 4 or 8 beds, equipped with curtains so that you can keep sleeping even if someone has to turn a light on, are really a great balance between efficiency and comfort. 

Your personal bunk also comes with thoughtful amenities like a lamp that you can use to read by, a little shelf to put your items on, and power outlets that you don’t have to share – always nice when recharging, literally and figuratively, after a big day of exploring. 

While I’ve stayed at hostels that house dozens of guests, Ryan opted for a home-away-from-home vibe, with only three dorms and two private rooms, meaning that the whole place only holds 24 guests when at full occupancy. This means the space feels much more like a home than it might otherwise, especially with homey touches like the friendly hostel dog Chloe and shelves in the living room full of board games and books. 

While the bunk life is a truly affordable way to go, this hostel also features a couple of private rooms. These well-appointed spaces cost a small premium but are a chance to have your own room while experiencing hostel life, and they’d compete with any vacation rental room in the Asheville area on price, all while offering the professionalism and amenities of a hostel. 

One room even features its own private bathroom, and both rooms are quite spacious. I once stayed in a hostel in Germany that had a queen-size bed and one foot of clearance around the whole thing with basically no additional furniture! These are a far cry from that and are likely to thrill visitors. 

The life of the hostel, though, is really out in the common spaces. You get to the lovely kitchen and dining area – the main kitchen has a bar area where those who aren’t cooking can drink a mug of tea while their brand-new friends work on a meal and chat together. 

Lazy Tiger Hostel Toilet

I think some of my favorite hostel memories are of sharing a kitchen with strangers, dancing around the kitchen to get everyone’s food prepared, or choosing to share what we have and have someone else cook the next night… it’s the kind of serendipitous community that I think travelers come to crave because the traveling life can often be a little lonely or at least very bound up in a select few traveling companions. 

Hostels are a great place to bond, even if briefly, over the joys of Asheville, and since all the pots, pans, and spices are provided at The Lazy Tiger, you just bring your prowess in the kitchen and a few ingredients from one of a few very close-by grocery stores and markets. They also provide basic breakfast supplies and what is reviewed to be very good coffee, a real boon given how much you spend per night at a hostel. 

When I spoke with the owner about the early weeks of being open, he mentioned that early on, it makes sense that he’s the main point of contact for the guests, but he really savored a great moment when three guests were chatting with him and then somewhat broke off into their own get-to-know-you conversation, migrating to the kitchen together and leaving the owner to his work. 

Lazy Tiger Hostel Interior

It felt like he was actually getting to cultivate the atmosphere that he found so valuable when he himself was traveling, and that was great to see. 

There’s a living room area and a big back porch that are meant for sharing space with others, with board games available and comfy furniture. I can see how these spaces, which are lovely and have useful items now, will be shaped by the coming years of community building that will happen here.

It’s neat to see the start of something that is going to be full of memories for so many down the road. Particularly true is the expansive backyard going down to a creek, which Ryan intends to continue to build out as outdoor gathering spaces, since so many visitors come to the mountains for the outdoors in the first place. 

While Weaverville Highway isn’t walking distance to downtown, it’s walking distance to at least two coffee shops and a variety of other shops, restaurants, and businesses, and an easy drive to both the natural splendor around Asheville and the hopping fun of downtown. 

The Lazy Tiger’s team realized that they’d be a natural option for people who wanted to do long hikes in this area, either before or after time on the trail (or both!). Talk to the team if your plan is to be thru-hiking on the AT or doing multi-day hikes that are bookended by stays in Asheville. The Lazy Tiger team understands the adventure life!

Lazy Tiger Hostel Asheville

The owner has also been working on curating the myriad options for what to do in town. If you are there for great food or great hikes, you’ll have some manageable recommendations rather than having a big old guidebook thrown at you. You can, of course, also do a little sleuthing on… we won’t mind!

What I think is truly special about Lazy Tiger is all the energy and thought work that went into making the space a welcoming, affordable, and pleasant place to visit. I saw the owner talk about how his carpenter friends taught him how to build the bunks so that they’d be sturdy and durable but also perfectly suited to the shape of his space, combining maximum space for his guests with efficiency and logical flow. 

In this enthusiasm I saw someone who has found a passion and pursued it even in the face of challenge. It’s inspiring! I encourage people who have out-of-towners coming to visit to check the hostel for availability if they need more beds than they have in their own homes – it’s a spot well worth the visit.

Lazy Tiger Hostel: 104 Weaverville Rd., Asheville.

There you have it! Our review of The Lazy Tiger Hostel in Asheville. Have you stayed at The Lazy Tiger? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.


Laura finally got to move to Asheville in 2021 after a decade of visits and hangouts here. She loves the food, the coffee shops, and the riverfront in Asheville. Laura is always finding something new and wonderful to try.

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