Panama hotel/hostel hybrid plans to expand to US and Europe

Panama: Selina, a brand which combines high-end hotel units with multiple-bed dormitory rooms in the same building, is planning to expand to the US and Europe.

Selina has been leasing existing hotel properties in locations including Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, and Jaco, Costa Rica. It renovates them with cafés, art, surfing lessons, wellness classes and more, all designed and picked by locals “designed to give travellers a more authentic experience”.

The Selina-branded hotels offer a mix of traditional hotel rooms and dorm-style rooms totalling between 150 and 500 beds. Its 161-room property in downtown Mexico City has nightly stays ranging from $7 for one of 20 dorm room beds up to $70 for a hotel suite with a king-sized bed.

Israeli-natives Daniel Rudasevski and Rafael Museri 40, launched the company in 2015 -after spending months staying at hostels around the world. The first Selina property opened in a small fishing town in Panama. It has expanded to include 25 locations in cities, towns or remote jungle spots around Latin America.

By 2020, Selina wants to have more than 54,000 beds across the world, primarily in Europe and the US. It secured its first property in Miami – and its first-ever site in the US – in June at the historic Tower Hotel in Little Havana. The 52-room property should open in September and will be the area’s first boutique hotel.

A couple of months earlier, Selina closed a $95 million fundraising round, led by the Abraaj Group and WeWork Founder Adam Neumann, to lease (or in some cases buy) real estate in areas like Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan as well as various neighbourhoods in Los Angeles.

The company is also planning to move in to Europe, and is preparing to open its first location in Portugal by the end of the year. Rudasevski and Museri recently relocated with their wives from Panama to London to oversee the expansion.

Selina’s management also includes president Yoav Gery, the former head of development at Morgans Hotel Group.

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