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Safestay hostels returns to Edinburgh two years after pandemic exit

Hostel operator Safestay is set to make a return to Edinburgh after a temporary exit from the city during the pandemic. Safestay had operated a 615-room backpacker hostel in Edinburgh for six years until 2021, when it sold the property for £16 million due to the challenges posed by COVID-19 restrictions.

Now, just two years later, Safestay is making a comeback by acquiring the freehold of a Grade A-listed property on Cowgate Street in the city center for £4.3 million. The six-story building will undergo refurbishment and will reopen as a 225-bed hostel in time for the busy summer season next year.

The refurbished hostel will offer various room configurations, ranging from two to eight beds, with some featuring ensuite facilities.

'We never wanted to leave Edinburgh for long and are delighted to return and link up with our other Scottish site in Glasgow,' said Larry Lipman, chairman of Safestay.

'Our trading performance over the last 18 months since we have been allowed to trade post-pandemic has shown that our market is in good health.

'Demand and pricing have demonstrably increased which will increasingly benefit us as we expand the portfolio with excellent sites such as this.'

With the addition of the Edinburgh property, Safestay's portfolio now includes a total of 3,476 bedrooms across 17 sites.

It operates four other UK hostels in London, Glasgow and York.