Lotus Property secures global operator for £20M city-centre aparthotel

Deal marks first venture in Northern Ireland for subsidiary of Nasdaq-listed Sonder Holdings Inc.

Northern Irish developer Lotus Property has today revealed plans for a £20m aparthotel in Belfast.

The Well, on Belfast’s Wellington Place, was acquired by Lotus Property in 2020. Formerly the office accommodation for HMRC, Planning approval was granted earlier this year to re-purpose the 40,000 sq ft building into aparthotel accommodation.

Following negotiations, Lotus has confirmed that Sonder Hospitality UK Ltd, a subsidiary of U.S.-headquartered next generation hospitality company, Sonder Holdings Inc., will operate The Well as guest and self-catering accommodation with 113-bedrooms.

Sonder is revolutionizing hospitality through innovative, tech-enabled service and inspiring, thoughtfully designed accommodations combined into one seamless experience. Launched in 2014, Sonder provides a variety of accommodation options — from hotel rooms to fully-equipped suites and apartments — found in over 40 markets spanning ten countries and three continents. The Sonder app gives guests full control over their stay. Complete with self-service features, simple check-in and 24/7 on-the-ground support, amenities and services.

In addition to the aparthotel, The Well redevelopment will also include a separate 3,100 sq ft unit on the ground floor which is currently on the market with commercial property agent Finch. This space will appeal to both local and international food and beverage operators and benefits from being located beneath a high volume of aparthotel guests while also highly visible to passing business and leisure footfall.

Alastair Coulson, Managing Director at Lotus Property, said, “This is an exciting venture for us. The Well is in a prime location on Belfast’s Wellington Place and we believe Sonder’s award-winning design credentials and reputation will complement the city’s already thriving hotel sector. It is a perfect time for further investment and development in Belfast’s accommodation offering to support tourism growth and ensure we’re remaining competitive against other cities in our bid to attract national and international visitors.”

“The Well is unique given its prime city centre location and the abundance of natural daylight, essential for any sort of living conversion. We have worked closely with our partners at Sonder and our design team to create a product that will further enhance the Belfast offering in this emerging sector.”

Sonder’s Director of Real Estate, Alix McAlinden, said, “We’re excited to continue expanding our presence in EMEA in a vibrant new location with a well established landlord partner. Belfast is fast becoming a globally recognised destination for food, culture, commerce, shopping and the arts and is a perfect market for Sonder to continue redefining the guest experience through technology and design.”

Work will commence early 2024 with a view to launch in 2025.