Edinburgh city centre backpackers' hostel to double in size

A hostel for young backpackers in Edinburgh is to almost double in size as part of an "ambitious" multi-million-pound expansion into a second prime city-centre location.

The move creates ten full-time jobs and is part of a 2.3 million investment by parent companyBeds and Bars. Picture: contributed.
The move creates ten full-time jobs and is part of a 2.3 million investment by parent companyBeds and Bars. Picture: contributed.

St Christopher’s Inn has been a fixture on Market Street for almost 20 years, welcoming hundreds of thousands of young travellers - and it is now moving into a historic building on the opposite side of the street.

The move creates ten full-time jobs and is part of a £2.3 million investment by parent company Beds and Bars, which operates backpacker hostels and bars in nine cities and seven countries.

Beds and Bars founder and chief executive Keith Knowles said: “Edinburgh has always been one of our consistently most successful venues, and it’s brilliant that we are able to invest so heavily in what is a fabulous city.

“As well as being in a superb location, this new venue in Edinburgh will have some of the most eye-catching rooms we offer anywhere in Europe. This development will perfectly capture what is a very exciting time for our business.”

The new venue – a former fruit market that later operated as the offices of the Royal Military Tattoo for many years – will boast 18 rooms, from private two-bed en suites to dorms shared by up to 12 people.

In total, the new hostel at 32-38 Market Street will offer 139 affordable beds, adding to the 180 beds that St Christopher’s Inns already operates at its existing site at 9-13 Market Street.

While the bulk of the Edinburgh investment will be in the new venue, the original hostel will also benefit from a series of improvements and upgrades, including a revamped reception, chillout and breakfasting area. In addition, guests can pay a visit to Belushi’s Bars, which are also part of the group.

Knowles added: “Since we first launched in Edinburgh in 2001, we are incredibly proud to have welcomed more than 275,000 guests to our hostel in the city. We’re also very pleased to be creating ten new full-time jobs and opportunities for young people in the burgeoning hospitality sector on top of the 30 already existing positions.”

Designed by Michael Kalman from Leas Architects, the project started in September 2017, with building work beginning in July 2019, led by main contractor Sharkey.

The on-site workforce consists of 150 people in total, with 15 different companies involved in the construction and fit-out.

In the financial year ending March 2019, Beds and Bars reported an 8 per cent increase in revenues to £52.5m. In June, the firm announced a £7.5m investment programme in new and existing venues over the next financial year, trebling previous spending plans.

Last year Beds and Bars launched what it said is the first capsule hostel in London at its St Christopher’s Inn at London Bridge venue. The 26 self-contained pods were inspired by a trend from Japan, with guests getting a small private space.

Knowles also said: “We won’t stop innovating and pushing the boundaries of what guests can expect from a hostel – and the launch of our new Edinburgh venue is definitely the highlight of our 2019.”

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