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Finance Wales backs Cardiff’s first boutique-style hostel with £30,000 micro loan

A unique boutique-style hostel situated in a prominent Victorian building in Cardiff city centre welcomes its first guests this month having received a £30,000 micro loan from Finance Wales.

Located on Westgate Street near the Millennium Stadium, Safehouse Hostel (Safehouse) offers both private and shared rooms as well as a deluxe room. It will target the niche between ordinary hostels and budget hotels.

Having invested their own funds as well as funds from several other investors, Safehouse’s owners Dan Wimpleberg and Tom Hughes are using Finance Wales’ loan to complete some final construction works. They will also use it to fund their initial marketing and staffing costs.

Safehouse will employ two members of staff when it opens with more staff being recruited as the business becomes more established.

The pair are excited about what Safehouse will offer visitors to Cardiff: “We understand our market niche and Safehouse Hostel will provide independent travellers with a comfortable, affordable base from which to explore the city and its surrounds. It will provide a relaxing, sociable environment where they can also meet other travellers.

“We’re in a prime location and we expect to be very busy druing this year’s Six Nations matches and we’re already fully booked for the World Cup in October. The loan from Finance Wales has been key for us, enabling us to dedicate vital resources to offline and online promotions in the run up to our official opening,” Dan explained.

Safehouse has already captured attention locally with some novel marketing campaigns, including one which placed Victorian safes in empty shop windows around the city.

Kelly Jones, Portfolio Executive in Finance Wales’ micro loans team, arranged the loan for Safehouse. She said: “Dan and Tom are passionate about Safehouse Hostel and make a dedicated team. They’ve done a great deal of market research in setting up the business and also have some exciting plans to stay ahead of the competition.

“Our loan is the final piece in their funding jigsaw and has enabled them to complete some building works as well as to undertake some crucial pre-launch marketing to ensure they achieve their occupancy targets. I’m sure Safehouse will quickly become a popular and highly regarded Cardiff destination for independent travellers.”

The pair have worked closely with organisations such as Visit Wales and are aiming for a five-star grading in the next 18 months, making Safehouse only the second five-star hostel in Wales.

Finance Wales’ loan came the £6 million Wales Micro-business Loan Fund which is backed by the Welsh Government.