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Home Destinations Kike Sarasola, president of Room Mate Hotels, announces new boutique hotel collection with new hotels slated for the UK, Italy, France and Germany

Kike Sarasola, president of Room Mate Hotels, announces new boutique hotel collection with new hotels slated for the UK, Italy, France and Germany

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd

Kike Sarasola, president of Room Mate Hotels, announces new boutique hotel collection with new hotels slated for the UK, Italy, France and Germany

Kike Sarasola, founder and president of Room Mate Hotels

Why the move to create Room Mate Collection?

Because our clients were demanding it. Wwe have a very local clientele who started with us when they were in their 20’s and now continue coming to us in their 40’s. We have evolved with them.

Now they are more mature and have more income, they want quality, they want what I call a silent luxury, a delicate luxury, a discreet luxury. They don’t like ostentatious, but they do like something special. So we responded to this need – some of our hotels were naturally already in that category, like Julia and Gerard, and we thought that we could do a bigger brand for this – four star plus hotels.

We don’t want to go into the five star market, but into a four plus, where we will give them specialized attention, they will have a special, different kind of design, a more elegant and tranquil, and like I say, a silent luxury experience.

What is your opinion of airbnb and aparthotels?

There is no fighting the rise of airbnb. I think it should be regulated, not prohibited, and that they have to find the right regulations.

And as with everything, it has to be done intelligently and with all the people of the sector to be able to come to a good agreement for the entrepreneurs, for the people who travel, and for the people who live in the cities.

I understand that when you have apartments, Airbnb’s, or Airbnb’s in a building where there are other families living, it can be a problem, but a potential solution to that is to make the buildings that want to do Airbnb have to be complete buildings.

What are the parallels between training for the Olympics and building a successful business? 

It’s the same thing. The Olympics taught me so many things, especially how to persevere and always be looking at your goals. When I was living my sports career, I would be always ready and looking.

My calendar was always set at four year periods, which is the four years between the Olympics. So that’s why right now, in my work, I also look at four year periods. I think in four years’ time, where do you want to be? With companies and with horses, it’s exactly the same!

What do you think of the rise of lifestyle hotels with co working spaces etc, is the market overcrowded?

No, and I think it shows that, for the moment, it’s still going strong. I think that good products, like always, products that take care of their clients, products that do something different, will never be overcrowded.

And the ones that are just thinking about maximizing and not looking at the client right now, I think we have evolved. We have a clientele who’s a savvy clientele, who’s a clientele who knows what they want, and you have to be thinking of them when you do things right now, because it’s a client that does not stand for bullshit.

Explain your idea on tourism phobia 

I think tourism phobia is something we should all be aware of. I think it’s something that should be a main topic and it has not been for the industry yet, which is a very big mistake.

It’s a problem that is not only for the neighbors of the cities, and tourists, it’s for all the industry and the economy. Tourism is the backbone of every economy that I know that is booming right now and if you look at the pandemic – when everything went wrong – tourism started flowing economies again, but we do not want to become amusement parks. We need cities to work for locals and tourists alike and appeal to both groups.

Mediterranean companies are best when we are very strong in tourism, but we don’t want cities that you cannot walk in. You don’t want places that you cannot go! So we really have to start thinking about how we adapt that kind of tourism, so that everybody can live and thrive. We don’t want people to avoid our cities as they are too touristy. It is bad for the industry, bad for the economy and bad for the countries.

Where in Europe has the most potential for your new brand and why?

Too many places to name. At Room Mate it’s going to be our main goal to grow in Europe with my new brand focussing on big cities with a mix between business and leisure. The bigger the city, the more there is to explore and the more my model works.

We have new hotels planned for London, Paris, Milan and Sicily to tease some locations…

Is the cost of living crisis in the UK affecting business decisions?

The cost of living crisis is not affecting only England, it’s affecting everywhere. Right now in Ibiza it is very difficult to find workers because they don’t have a place to stay. They cannot afford the places to stay so the living prices are a big issue as well and we have to address it because if we want people to be happy and work well, they have to be able to live someplace well.

I think one of the big problems, at least in Spain, is that our governments have not done any public housing in many, many years and that’s something that should be done because public houses are very important.