Room Mate Hotels secures financial lifeline

Barcelona view

Insight Comment
Room Mate's predicament is something we've heard a lot about in the last year: traditional banks refusing to lend to travel and hospitality because of the perceived risk factor. It's left companies in need of cash having to look to non-traditional lenders.

Spanish hotel group Room Mate has secured last-minute financial assistance to enable it to keep operating through the summer.

The company, which was founded by Kike Sarasola, has obtained a €15 million loan from investment firm Atitlan, according to Spanish website Hosteltur.

The funding comes as Room Mate waits for the €52 million it requested from SEPI, the Spanish state-owned industrial holding company.

Sarasola told Hosteltur that Room Mate was “on the verge of bankruptcy” but that the new funds would help it “reach the summer”.

Room Mate was forced to seek an alternative source for funds because traditional lending for hospitality and tourism businesses had all but dried up during the Covid-19 crisis.

“[W]e cannot borrow more from the banks because in our sector they do not give money, so getting this credit, with market conditions for a debt like this has been very complicated. Now we have gasoline to be able to arrive at the summer calmly and hoping that the things improve,” Sarasola said.

With short-term funding secured Room Mate is now turning its attention to its ownership structure. In February Spanish newspaper Cinco Dias reported that minority shareholder Sandra Ortega, the daughter of retail billionaire Amancio Ortega. According to the publication she wants to sell her 31% stake in the business with Room Mate lining up consultants at Deloitte to look for alternatives. 

Former Olympian Sarasola founded Room Mate in 2005 and the boutique chain has grown to 26 properties across Europe and North America.