As a female traveller who often travels solo, it’s imperative that I stay not only in a safe environment, but also in a welcoming one.
It’s important that you choose your accommodations (and neighbourhood) carefully.
On that note, have you ever considered staying in a convent or a monastery? The Good Night and God Bless guide lists a number of lodgings around the world that are categorized as Open Houses, meaning open to tourists looking for simple but good quality accommodations at a lower cost. There are also Spiritual Retreats.
Here are a few excerpts from the guide –
New York City
The House of the Redeemer is situated in the Upper East Side of New York City and is run by the Episcopal Church, which offers hospitality to people of all faiths and nationalities. The building is a designated New York City Landmark of cultural, architectural and historical interest. Single and double rooms are available, some with air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms. Musical and other cultural events are held here throughout the year.
House of the Redeemer
7 East 95th Street
New York, NY 10128
New York City
Alma Mathews House is situated in a quiet tree-lined street in Greenwich Village West. Managed by the United Methodist Women’s organization the complex is close to Christopher St–Sheridan Square train station as well as cafes, parks and shops. Comfortable, inexpensive accommodation is offered to any person or groups of people who are involved in some way with a non-profit group or agency. Most guestrooms share a bathroom but other guestrooms have ensuite facilities. Wheelchair access.
Alma Mathews House
273-275 West 11th Street
(Between West 4th and Bleecker Streets)
New York, NY 10014
The Society of St John the Evangelist is an Anglican religious order governed in the USA by the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. The monastery is located on a tree lined avenue which follows the curves of the Charles River in the midst of the campuses of Harvard University. The hospitable monks who live here run a monastery guesthouse with a number of single and double guestrooms available for those who might like to combine a visit to Boston with a religious retreat. Guestrooms are fitted with a washbasin and offered on a share bathroom basis. Meals can be taken with the brothers in the monastery refectory. Guests are welcome from Tuesday to Friday and depart on or before the following Sunday. Parking at the monastery is limited to those with accessibility needs, however there are parking garages within a block of the Monastery.
Society of St John the Evangelist
980 Memorial Drive
Cambridge MA 02138
Tuscany – Florence
The Sanctuary B & B is in the heart of Florence (near the Duomo) and is run by an order of Catholic nuns, the Suore Oblate dell’Assunzione. The location is ideal for exploring the tourist sites of Florence on foot.
The convent building is a former 15th century palazzo and recently the ‘hotel’ has undergone a substantial facelift and the facilites for guests have been upgraded. Rooms with ensuite bathroom are available and cheaper rooms are offered on a share bathroom basis. The spotlessly clean guestrooms are roomy and well furnished and noise is not a problem as the street has recently undergone traffic restrictions. Guests will be pleasantly surprised by the large private garden to the rear of the building. Breakfast is served daily and facilities include elevator, internet kiosk and air conditioning in all rooms. Shops and restaurants are close by. Like many similar establishments religion isn’t spruiked here. However, guests are welcome to join the sisters in daily Mass if they so wish. The Sanctuary B & B is a comfortable, inexpensive base in Florence and with a brand new website up and running, bookings can be made online.
Sanctuary B&B Firenze
Suore Oblate dell’Assunzione
Borgo Pinti 15
50125 – FIRENZE
In Rome there’s a lively and well-known convent near the Vatican called Orsa Maggiore for Women Only (not in the guide). I haven’t yet stayed in St. Katharine’s below, but an office colleague of mine raves about the place. The earlier you book at St. Katharine’s, the cheaper the rates. Personally, I find their rates a bit steep, which is why I stay at The Penn Club. St. Katharine’s is in East London. The Penn Club is in the heart of Bloomsbury and a 15-min. walk from St. Pancras train station.
Situated in central London it is hard to imagine a more peaceful urban setting for a short stay in London, a holiday from abroad or a retreat. St Katharine’s has a rich history of hospitality and we look forward to welcoming you whether you wish to come for a day or to stay overnight. We have the rare privilege of being a few minutes walk from the river Thames in the East of London but still just moments from Limehouse DLR station. A wonderful chance to step out of the city but not to leave it.
In keeping with the peaceful environment, there are no televisions in the bedrooms, however complimentary high speed WiFi is available throughout St Katharine’s. Guestrooms are ensuite and our spacious lounge, conservatory, garden and library are all a wonderful settings to spend time relaxing or working during your stay. Continental breakfast buffet is served from 7.30-10am, offering a selection of freshly baked breads and croissants, cold meats, cheese, eggs, cereals, yoghurts, fresh fruit, toast, tea & coffee. On-site car parking is available. Our garden is home to undisturbed wildlife also finding sanctuary at St Katharine’s. You can often see blackbirds, wood pigeons, squirrels in the sheltered space of our garden. You may also be interested to go across into the rose garden, where you can find the rose bush planted by our patron Queen Elizabeth II during her last visit.
Royal Foundation of St Katherine
2 Butcher Row
London E14 8DS