Edinburgh to gain 225-bed Old Town hostel by next summer after £4.3 million deal

Hostel operator Safestay has moved back into Edinburgh after selling what was the city’s largest backpacker hostel during the height of the pandemic.
The Grade A listed property acquired by Safestay is located on the Cowgate in the heart of Edinburgh.The Grade A listed property acquired by Safestay is located on the Cowgate in the heart of Edinburgh.
The Grade A listed property acquired by Safestay is located on the Cowgate in the heart of Edinburgh.

The firm has bought a Grade A listed property on the Cowgate in a £4.3 million deal. Arranged over six floors and covering 30,000 square feet in total, the first three floors of the building previously operated as a hostel, while the upper three floors are let to two tenants - the Society of Advocates and the Solicitors Society - until 2038, generating some £133,000 in rent per annum. The property, described by its new owner as “attractive and spacious”, is adjacent to the law courts.

Safestay said the building requires “general refurbishment” to make it ready to re-open in advance of the key summer market next year. Once completed, the hostel will offer 225 beds in a variety of room combinations, typically ranging from two to eight beds in each, some with en-suite facilities.

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The firm said Edinburgh is a city that it “knows well” having owned and operated a vast 615-bed hostel for six years until the pandemic struck and the site’s subsequent sale to A&O Hotels and Hostels for £16m in 2021. That hostel was located just off the capital’s historic Royal Mile, on Blackfriars Street. Safestay noted that Edinburgh attracted “large numbers of tourists and visitors every year, many of whom are looking for central and affordable accommodation”.

Chairman Larry Lipman said: “We never wanted to leave Edinburgh for long and are delighted to return and link up with our other Scottish site in Glasgow. Edinburgh is a truly stunning city and a key destination for millions of young travellers to visit. The property is superbly positioned right in the centre with easy access to all the main attractions and we feel confident, knowing this market as we do, that it will be a strong contributor to the group.”

As a result of the deal, the group’s hostel portfolio now consists of 17 operating sites and with the addition of Edinburgh, the total number of beds increases to 3,476. Safestay said the hostel market was “in good health”.

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