Hotel Chain Selina moves in to Portugal

 In Hotel

Selina, a hotel chain born in Panama, seeks to meet the needs of a growing number of nomads travelling the world and wanting to live and work anywhere. With its eyes set on Europe, the chain is opening its next unit in Porto before the end of 2018 and plans to invest in opening multiple hotels across the country

In an industry challenged by Airbnb and other home-sharing platforms, the hotel group Selina is attracting today’s nomads to live, work and explore anywhere in the world. The idea behind Selina is not only to offer a beautifully designed place to stay, but also to connect with others.

“Selina is developing a global infrastructure for travellers who want to make the world their classroom, office and playground,” Rafael Museri, co-founder and CEO of Selina, said. “Combining the social aspects of a hostel with the comfort and style of a boutique hotel and experiences of a retreat or festival, Selina curates stylish live and work spaces, wellness programming, local experiences, music, tours and events for people to live, work, play and learn.”

Back in 2007, Museri was living in Pedasí, a small fishing town in Panama. It was there that together with co-founder Daniel Rudasevski, he began real estate projects and brought together a community of locals and travellers. Having travelled all over the world, they suddenly had an idea: to share this idyllic community with other travellers. The first Selina was born in 2014 in a surf town near Pedasí.

Since then, the project has quickly expanded. Selina has already opened 24 hotels, in eight countries across Central America and South America (Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru), and is currently expanding to Europe – including Poland, Hungary, Greece and Portugal – and will be investing €50  million in the next 12 months.

Selina plans to open Selina Porto, in northern Portugal, before the end of 2018, and then aims to expand across the country, to Albufeira, Cascais, Comporta, Ericeira, Lagos, Lisbon and Peniche. Selina aims to have directed over €250 million into the Portuguese market by 2020.

“Porto is a charming city for its architecture, academia, rich gastronomic scene and great nightlife,” Museri pointed out. “Porto is also known as a good host, full of warm people who share a strong sense of community. Selina’s concept is the same – to create connections and to live experiences with the local community – so there could be no better harmony between Selina and this location.”

Museri pointed out that, as a result of Selina opening in Porto, a total of around €10 million is being invested, including the purchase of the property, renovations and the final investment into art and design and other aspects of the guests’ experience.

“We really believe that Selina Lisbon will be a flagship for the region, and a landmark project for Selina,” he pointed out. “Lisbon is important to us as having a successful anchor location in the capital will allow us to expand to less trodden areas of the country with smaller, more experience-driven satellite locations, which would create an opportunity for both foreigners and Portuguese guests to explore the country in a completely different way.”

The location of Selina Porto is a good example of Selina’s model, which focuses on acquiring long-term leases of existing properties and then renovating them in collaboration with local communities, artists and designers.

“It’s an asset-light development method that allows us to grow rapidly but sustainably, and it’s a game-changer for local communities, new employees and travellers alike,” Museri explained.



Selina Porto will feature 260 beds, blending boutique accommodation with expansive coworking space, food and beverage, wellness and recreational ­offerings, and plans to create a dynamic destination through partnerships with local artists and designers. The property also features a large interior garden, which will host a variety of events to bring guests and locals together.

Each hotel extends beyond Selina’s walls, with each destination curated to reflect the local region, from its food and beverage to the art, music and local ­experience. And there is a “Selina Gives Back” programme in which staff and guests share their time and skills with the local community and includes ­language and art classes or yoga lessons.

Selina has a variety of rooms to adapt to every traveller’s pocket, from $15 per night dorms to $300 per night unique suites. The Selina Porto hotel will have both dorms and private rooms with shared bathrooms, deluxe rooms with private bathrooms or suites for ­travellers who seek a boutique style ­accommodation.

There will also be a playground (featuring local food and beverage menus, events and activations), cowork space, wellness space, cinema, library and Selina home.

Each Selina destination features unique spaces and amenities including on-site tour and transportation service to explore the surroundings, a place to cook meals and share with other guests, a surf club, a library and a cinema equipped with projectors and Apple TV.

“Community is at the very heart of Selina, and we’ve purpose-built our model to bring together travellers and ­locals from all kinds of backgrounds to enjoy unique experiences, share ideas and create new memories,” Museri said. “We know today’s traveller demands ­authentic experiences and our global model and local focus allow us to deliver that all over the world.”