Stella Stays expands operations into Bahrain

UAE: Emirati hospitality startup Stella Stays, which manages properties for short-, medium- and long-term stays, is expanding its operations into Bahrain as it bids to become a rival to Airbnb in the Middle East. 

Having launched in 2019, the Dubai-based brand now manages 300 properties across the United Arab Emirates [UAE], Bahrain and Canada, thanks in part to an initial round of funding.

Stella Stays co-founder and CEO, Mohannad Zikra, told Hotelier Middle East: “We have an aggressive growth plan and the new properties being built in Bahrain will play a crucial role in our strategy. Our expansion into Bahrain coincides with the Kingdom’s major real estate developments.

“Our model is the perfect fit for the Bahrain market and will be an excellent stepping stone in rolling the concept out to key locations in the region and eventually expanding to Europe and North America,” he added.

The company believes that the Bahraini market is the next logical step for its continued growth, and developers are leading a number of freehold apartment projects to help the Kingdom achieve its Economic Vision 2030, where the country’s future economic success is intended to impact society more widely, thereby creating wider prosperity across the state.

Bahrain’s market is also showing increasing signs of recovery from the pandemic, after real estate transactions in the Kingdom rose by 36 per cent in Q1 2021 t0 $600 million [226 million BHD], according to figures released by Bahrain’s Survey and Land Registration Board.

Ali Al Mudaifa, executive director – investment origination at Bahrain’s Economic Development Board, told the same publication: “The Kingdom’s hospitality sector is evolving rapidly amid ambitious real estate developments across the island. Major global hotel brands and small hospitality innovators alike view Bahrain as an attractive place to expand in the wake of the pandemic, which has catalysed innovation.

“We are seeing disruptive business models attracted to Bahrain’s dynamic real estate market in part because of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority’s [RERA] forward looking, effective regulation. The Kingdom’s 100 per cent foreign ownership regulation also makes Bahrain an attractive place to set up.

“We look forward to supporting Stella Stays and many other hospitality companies from around the region and beyond in their growth plans in the coming months,” he added.

Another operator expanding its presence in the Middle East is Sonder, which is adding two additional buildings to its portfolio in Dubai. Through an agreement with Al Fattan Properties LLC, the company will manage and operate two of the three Al Fattan Towers in Downtown, with views on Burj Khalifa, to be operated as Sonder Downtown Towers.