by Rebecca Parsons
House of Trestles is a cohesive clash of cultures in the bubble that is south Orange County. Located on Surfer’s Row, from the exterior the surf hostel seemingly blends in with the surrounding neighborhood, but step through the doors and you’ll be greeted with a colorful collection of tasteful graffiti covering its walls. An array of Lost surfboards line the back wall, a display of Rip Curl wetsuits from the neighboring shop are situated up front, and a collection of Boho style cushions offer comfy seating in the communal living room.
House of Trestles is anything but ordinary. Despite the fact that it is only ten months old, the hostel makes its debut as the only surf hostel in Orange County. Contrary to most of the hostels you’ll encounter while traveling, House of Trestles is clean, well kept and quiet. They give back to the city, are liked and respected by their neighbors, and offer an oasis for budget travelers.
The hostel is stocked with surfboards from Lost, wetsuits from Rip Curl and bikes complete with surf racks. Their goal is to keep their prices low and offer travelers the equipment they need at an affordable price.
“We’re trying to give people an amazing experience and really touch their lives,” says Josh Host, owner. “We’re really focused on building healthy relationships and sending people back home, or wherever their next adventure may take them, pumped and full of love.”
This diamond in the rough is the passion project of brothers Josh and Addison Host. The Hosts moved to San Clemente in their teen years and quickly adapted to the laid-back beach lifestyle. Josh explored the city streets via bike and skateboard and Addison competed on the Aliso surf team. Josh’s focus is on creating mixed-use spaces that enhance quality of life while Addison is all about creating amazing experiences for guests, making them the dream team. Josh is a developer by trade, so he bought the space and turned it into his vision. Addison is in charge of operations and manages day-to-day life at the hostel. Both brothers live on the property, along with an in-house surf pro, and Hank, the house dog. They love interacting with guests, swapping stories, and growing alongside their visitors.
“We’re the first for so many,” says Josh. “We’re the only hostel in Orange County and there are so few in the U.S. So for many people, we’re their first experience, which is good and bad. It’s good because we’re stoked to be given the opportunity to get them stoked on hostel life but it’s bad because it sets a really high bar.”
The house consists of five rooms, designed and themed out by local surf companies including Lost Surf Boards, Rip Curl, Rainbow Sandals, Vessla, and Catch Surf. Each room contains a sink and a fridge and bunks include memory foam mattresses in individual nooks with privacy curtains, reading lights, USB charging docks, and lockable storage. Common areas include a dining room complete with a skate ramp, kitchen, restrooms and showers, Moroccan lounge, and a laundry room. Travelers come from all corners of the world and in a single week, guests could have the opportunity to try a number of different global cuisines through collaborative cooking projects.
In an effort to make life at the hostel continuously exciting, House of Trestles hosts events such as neighborhood barbecues, jam sessions, weekly yoga, group meditations, and their coveted Baja Surf Camp. Additionally, House of Trestles hosts a Street Artist in Residency Program. Through the program, international street artists are invited to stay at the hostel for 30-90 days and add their mural to its walls, as well as work on murals throughout the LA and Orange County areas. Past residents have come from Norway, Belgium, Portugal, and Chile. The walls at the House of Trestles tell a story, with over 75 murals lining the walls, each the vision of a different street artist.
Rates average $35 per bunk while private suits run for roughly $125 a night. Guests hail from all corners of the globe, with about 50% from overseas and the other 50% from the states. As time moves forward and word continues to spread, the hostel expects the majority of their guests to be international travelers, but they will always welcome guests from here at home. Currently, the hostel is doing well, guests are happy, and bunks are filled the majority of the time, proving the high demand for a hostel in southern California.
Both Josh and Addison appreciate their San Clemente roots and strive to have a positive impact on the community. They want the House of Trestles to serve as a welcoming space for travelers but they also want their hostel to positively impact the community. Through their art projects, trash pick-ups, and community events they hope to be a light to San Clemente and the surrounding areas.
As the first hostel in Orange County, they’re laying the foundation for how a hostel can be positively implemented into a community. Perhaps someday soon another hostel will make its debut in sunny southern California, a change the Host brothers would surely welcome.
2717 S El Camino Real, SC • (949) 391-2127