BIO

Stephan Watts

Stephan is the owner and founder of DREAMERS WELCOME, an award-winning boutique hospitality group. All his spaces share the same ideology - they are design focused, hyper-curated spaces with a laid-back sense of luxury. He has over twenty years of hospitality and ten years of real estate experience under his belt. 

 

Born and raised in Germany, Stephan graduated with two degrees - one in hospitality management and one Bachelors in applied media sciences. He later worked in several German TV productions as an assistant director. Stephan eventually moved to New York City in 2008 where he worked with an independent film company on a documentary about the Grassroots Campaign of Barack Obama.

 

In mid-2008, before the advent of Airbnb, Stephan began renting rooms in his apartment to German tourists and students - this started his long affiliation into the nascent world of short-term rentals. Having the foresight of a business opportunity, Stephan was able to acquire another apartment and kept renting them out to tourists and students. In 2011, when Airbnb became popular in New York, his apartments were one of the first listings on the platform.

 

Having developed a love for furnishing and renting his apartments, Stephan acquired his real estate license and started working with top producers at real estate firms. While handling all aspects of residential real estate, he also began staging apartments for sale. Every apartment Stephan staged sold quickly. Other agents in his firm noticed and hired him to stage apartments for them. Realizing his passion for staging, Stephan went on to start his own staging company which was quite successful.

 

In 2013, Stephan traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico and instantly fell in love with the island. He realized the untapped potential of the real estate market in San Juan. Stephan bought his first property in San Juan, remodeled it, and started a 7-room short-term rental for travelers which expanded into a vegan boutique hotel named DREAMCATCHER by DW

 

DREAMCATCHER has landed media coverage in print and broadcast outlets, including New York Magazine, Forbes, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Vice Magazine, and The New York Times, to mention a few. The hotel has also received multiple awards, and it's also one of San Juan’s most highly rated hotels. The Dreamcatcher has over 2,000 positive reviews, and is recognized worldwide as a top travel destination.

 

In 2018, Stephan bought a property in Wilmington, North Carolina - a Victorian house located in the city's historic downtown. He thoughtfully designed and conceptualized the property into a boutique hotel named DREAMERS by DW. This boutique hotel has garnered the attention of A-list celebrities, artists, and actors who find themselves in the city shooting their next project and are looking for the perfect short-term home during their stay.

 

Stephan has expanded DREAMERS WELCOME from one boutique hotel to over 60 keys in 2022, including MOOD HAUS, DADA JAJA, DUNA, SELVA, WALD HAUS, ROSA, CASA FRIDA, DRIFT AWAY, APT and TROPICALIA.