From a student idea to a successful hostel in Zagreb.
Jelena and Zrinka Koržinek, two sisters and certified architects, stepped into the world of business and opened the Casablanca Hostel in Vlaška Street in Zagreb. In only a few months of operations, Casablanca has become the favourite destination for many travellers, with the average rating on Booking never below 9.7. In addition, recently they took first place on the list of 30 best hotels in Zagreb, reports Poslovni.hr on May 10, 2016.
“Location of the hostel is a house where our grandmother Blanka once lived and where our father spent his childhood. In the same yard, there is a former Studio cinema, which is also family-owned and where our grandfather used to be a projectionist. Given such history, we have decided to call the hostel Casablanca – Granma Blanka’s House”, said Jelena and Zrinka Koržinek.
They came with the idea while they were university students when they used to travel a lot and stayed in hostels. Aware that their house was deteriorating, they decided to make a business out of it. “The sister and I have designed the interior, together with our mother. We have combined the old and the new, in accordance with the name of the hostel which in a way evokes memories of the past”, said Zrinka.
Hostel opened in July last year, although the implementation of the project started in 2012 with subsidies from the EBRD and a loan from the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development. “We have prepared the investment study on an average occupancy rate of 48 percent in 2015, which we have achieved, and this year we can expect even better results given the increase in the number of tourists in Zagreb”, explained Jelena.
The hostel has a yard which is decorated as a small oasis with all sorts of plants, a kind of an urban garden. The hostel currently has four employees, but there are plans for new employment when the season kicks into high gear. “In the beginning, we did everything alone, working at the reception desk, preparing breakfast, cleaning rooms. We wanted to try all the jobs performed in a hostel, in order to gain knowledge about the amount of work involved”, said the sisters.
They explained that their hostel stood out precisely because it was not a classic hostel, but more of a bed & breakfast type of accommodation. “In the near future, we plan cooperation with the Design District Festival that will take place at the end of June. It will brand the streets around Martićeva as the Design District Zone, similar to the ones already existing in other European cities”, concluded the sisters.