Safestay builds Spanish presence

Two new Spanish destinations have been signed by hostel operator Safestay, as it finds opportunities to grow by acquisition and by signing management agreements.

uropean hostel operator Safestay has returned to growth, with two recent signings of new properties in Spain. The additions mean the group now has a critical mass of five sites across the country, and take the brand to 19 locations across the Continent, marking a significant return to growth after the challenges of the pandemic period.

On the Costa Blanca, the group has signed to manage the Calpe Seafront Hotel, a 120 bed property that it will operate under a management contract. Prior to the pandemic, the hostel was a successful operation, but due to enforced closure and travel restrictions, fell into administration. New owners have agreed a 20 year contract with Safestay, and the property is expected to open in June 2024 following refurbishment work. All rooms have air conditioning, while there is an outside terrace for guests.

A heritage destination

“We are very excited with the acquisition of this unique and beautiful property in the historic city of Cordoba,” said Safestay chairman Larry Lipman. “It will pay homage to the UNESCO World Heritage status the magnificent city centre has. Cordoba will be our fifth property in Spain and nineteenth in our collection of upmarket hostels across Europe. Our guests are looking for travel experiences, and I feel confident that this unique property with its rooftop bar, central setting and Moorish charm will perfectly suit our customer base of travellers, families and schools.”

In addition, Safestay has acquired a hotel in the Spanish city of Cordoba, for conversion to a hostel format. The EUR2m purchase gives the company an operational hotel with 30 bedrooms. Designed in a Moorish style, the high quality building is already fully air conditioned. Plans are under way to convert the accommodation to provide a broader mix of hostel style rooms, including family rooms and dorm-style group rooms with up to six beds; once the modifications are complete, the site will have 100 beds in total. The site will continue to trade in the meantime, honouring existing guest bookings.

Returning to Edinburgh

In June, Safestay will open a hostel in Edinburgh, marking the group’s return to the Scottish capital. The 225 bed hostel was acquired for GBP4.3m and is being refurbished ahead of reopening. Three floors previously traded as a hostel, while other parts of the listed building are rented to commercial occupiers.

Safestay operated a hostel in Edinburgh for six years until 2021, when during the pandemic it was obliged to sell the property, releasing GBP16m to support the survival of the business. That property is today operated by hostel group a&o.