Opening hotel properties in United States a huge milestone: Selina CEO Rafael Museri
In an exclusive interview with TOPHOTELNEWS, Selina CEO Rafael Museri says their recent openings in New York, Miami and New Orleans take the group’s global locations tally to 65, with a total of 12 Selina properties currently in different stages of development in the U.S.
Only a traveller would know how to cater to a traveller.
Rafael Museri, after completing his military service in Israel, moved to Central America in 2007, where he joined Selina’s Co-founder, Daniel Rudasevski, in creating Dekel, a Panama-based development company.
To test their idea for Selina — a unique stay, work and play community — Rafi and Daniel travelled the world over the space of one year, staying in more than 120 hotels, hostels and houses looking for a consistent offering that allowed them to meet new people, experience new cultures and seamlessly live and work anywhere.
Through the lessons that Rafi and Daniel learned, they launched Selina and in 2014, opened their first property on the surf beach in Venao, Panama. Today, they have 2000-plus employees across 65 properties in multiple countries.
In an exclusive interview with TOPHOTELNEWS, Rafael speaks about Selina’s recent hotel expansion, design philosophies, what sets them apart in the cluttered hospitality industry.
On the current mood at Selina given its recent remarkable expansion
Rafael: The U.S. has long been on our radar, and to have the chance to officially open our first properties in New York, Miami and New Orleans is a huge milestone for the company. The entire team is ready to bring Selina’s mission and unique hospitality offerings stateside, and we look forward to expanding our ability to serve local communities and Selina guests.
What are the design philosophies that guide Selina’s hotel development?
Rafael: Selina locations are known for their Latin American aesthetic, but each property carries its own unique design and visual displays, which reflect the surrounding landscape and its own culture. We are able to do this throughout our Experience Board, a board of 5-7 locals that are our on-the-ground partners, ensuring that Selina is adding unique value and cultivating an authentic experience for the entire community: our staff, our guests, and our neighbours.
Also, 90% of our existing inventory is recycled or “up-cycle” to efficiently, creatively and uniquely design each of our properties amongst its uniquely local setting by injecting energy and giving new life to plain furniture.
What are Selina’s future goals?
Rafael: With the recent openings in Miami and New Orleans, we now have a total of 65 Selina locations globally, with a total of 12 Selina properties currently in different stages of development in the U.S. By 2025, Selina aims to have 40,000 signed beds over 130 locations across the U.S.
What is Selina’s key message to hotel owners and investors?
Rafael: We believe Selina offers experiences and a sense of community not currently available in the traditional hospitality landscape. We are creating locally inspired concepts that enhance the experience and create spaces that not only guests but locals will want to use to connect and interact.
We hope that our example of a culturally-driven community-first ethos is embraced by the industry to create more meaningful connections and collaborative hospitality ecosystem for the next generation of travellers.
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