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STAY luxury accomodation

FEATURE: How ‘hometels’ and long-term stays will thrive

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: How ‘hometels’ and long-term stays will thrive

The extended stay portion of the lodging business continues to see strong demand. But are extended stay brands doing enough to keep up with travellers’ evolving tastes and needs? Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Sam Ghosh, Vice President at STAY

A few weeks ago, during Hotel Designs LIVE, former presenter of The Gadget Show Jason Bradbury boldly told me that the hotel model as we know it will change forever in the post-pandemic world.

STAY luxury accomodation

With this in mind, I caught up with Sam Ghosh, who is the Vice President of STAY, a residential brand offering serviced apartments in iconic and well-connected locations that shelters the comforts and convenience of home, while combining the luxuries of a boutique hotel. With the recent opening of STAY Camden and with new properties on the horizon, Ghosh seemed like an apt person to speak to in order to understand the ever-evolving needs and demands of modern travellers.

Image caption: (Left) Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY. (Right) Image credit: STAY Camden

Image caption: (Left) Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY. (Right) Image credit: STAY Camden

Hamish Kilburn: Hi Sam! So, we have identified that there’s a growing accommodation trend of ‘hometels’, but how does STAY fit within this landscape?

Sam Ghosh: STAY is the residential brand from LABS Collective. Located in Hawley Wharf, STAY residences cater to extended stays offering access to LABS flexible workspaces, which is particularly beneficial for business travellers. The design led  apartments are created to optimise sleep, productivity, and play, ideal for the mobile workforce. 

STAY is a brand that was born with the hybrid ethos in mind – rooms are complete with kitchens with considered design. Guests can also enjoy a concierge service, housekeeping, and premium facilities such as access to a gym. Residents are actively encouraged to make use of the generous communal areas plus it’s on the doorstep of one of London’s most exciting new developments, Hawley Wharf, when it opens in late 2020.

As we emerge out of lockdown, we’re actually seeing a higher demand for serviced apartment living and flexible office space strengthening. Hawley Wharf offers this cautious half step between home and returning full time to offices. Cutting out the commute with STAY and offering a variety of community areas and programming in LABS, we are providing room for people to feel comfortable together again. With careful safety and hygiene adaptations to the space we are creating a comfortable environment for people to re-socialise and feel part of a community.

HK: Can you explain the design scheme inside a STAY property? 

SG: The head of architecture and design for LABS Collective, Yaara Gooner, is the creative eye behind our carefully designed spaces. She leads a team of dedicated in-house designers and architects that magically transform our properties, whether LABS workspaces or STAY residences, to create hubs of enterprise, designed for wellbeing, productivity, and growth. 

The design of STAY Camden holds the need for our long-term guests to relax, work and entertain. Each apartment has been designed to provide superior comfort to each guest, created by combining natural materials, including marble, stone and natural oak with soft furnishings and brass touches. The majority of our furniture has been sourced by Menu, a Scandinavian design brand providing a distinct Nordic influence across the property. 

Within the communal areas, plants also complement the warm colour palette. Nature is imperative to our design process and plants are used for their aesthetic quality and ability to increase productivity, memory retention and decrease stress. They’re also fundamental to creating safe and healthy spaces for our guests and members. Owing to their air purifying qualities we have selected greenery for our public spaces, known to absorb 75 per cent of airborne pollutants. 

Luxury room

Image credit: STAY Camden

HK: Can you tell us more about the new safety measures in place?

SG: As a business, our first priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our staff, members and guests and new standards have been incorporated into LABS Collective’s shared workspaces and serviced apartment environments. The measures in place remain so long as the threat of COVID-19 does, but also inform our strategic approach to design and operations in the long term. STAY Camden in fact remained open and operational since the pandemic began, accepting new bookings for guests seeking mid to long term accommodation, prioritising those categorised as key workers or those displaced from their primary place of residence. 

We have gone above and beyond the recommended Government guidelines, elevating our standards to ensure that members and guests can enjoy our spaces with total confidence and to support the wellbeing of our whole community. As an example, at Hawley Wharf, Camden where LABS members and STAY guests share the same entrance, visitor screenings are in operation on arrival as well as one-way systems to ensure seamless movement throughout the building for all.

For our STAY residences, we have totally reworked our guest protocols to translate the best practices in safety and hygiene standards to the apartments whilst providing comfortable accommodation that feels like home. These new measures include reduction of touch points across STAY’s three apartment buildings, including the use of a digital link to pay instead of the regular chip and pin machine, and digitising the guest registration form to reduce the proximity of interaction needed at the time of guest check-in.

A barrier spray is applied to all furniture that provides long term coverage to kill pathogens on contact. Upon guest check out, the apartments receive a 48 hour deep clean, including the use of Pro Zone machines to cleanse the air and eliminate bacteria. In preparation for new arrivals a ‘seal of reassurance’ will be applied to the front door of each apartment. Guests will have to physically break the seal to enter the apartment, safe in the knowledge it hasn’t been entered into after a deep clean.

“We also know that people are desperate for interaction after such a long time working at home.” – Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY.

HK: You mention an increase in the demand of guests/members wanting to use the Hawley Wharf campus due to the LABS and STAY offering. Are you doing anything further to aid this flexibility of working and living?

SG: With many central London offices remaining shut into the Autumn and beyond, we know that businesses are looking for shorter obligations and for safe spaces to bring their workforce back in comfort in residential zones. We also know that people are desperate for interaction after such a long time working at home.

Recognising the important part that flexible workspaces are playing in this transition to normality, LABS and STAY have launched a new membership which offer a cautious half-way step between working from home and returning fully to the office. Residential spaces like STAY which allow access to LABS flexible workspaces cut out the commute and the vast community areas provide ample room for people to feel comfortable together again. The STAY at LABS membership starts at £2,425 a month and includes a one bedroom apartment at STAY Camden and a Roaming membership providing access to all LABS workspaces. 

We are also working to put additional measures in place across all our LABS spaces in London where we have on-site provisions (such as showers and bike storage) for those walking and cycling to work. To support entrepreneurs and start-ups returning to the workplace successfully, LABS has set up a new incubator initiative which provides discounted office space for qualifying small businesses. Initiatives like this will be integral to a future generation of thriving companies and talent.

Main image credit: STAY Camden

Manchester welcomes two new Hyatt hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Manchester welcomes two new Hyatt hotels

The opening marks the first two Hyatt-branded hotels in Manchester, and the debut of the Hyatt House brand in the United Kingdom…

After Hotel Designs announced it will return to the city for Meet Up North, Hyatt Hotels  has announced  the opening of the 212-room Hyatt Regency Manchester and the 116-key Hyatt House Manchester in the city’s landmark building “The Lume.” The openings represent a significant milestone for Hyatt’s brand growth in the U.K. and the debut of Hyatt’s extended stay segment, the Hyatt House brand.

Hyatt Regency Manchester offers empathetic service that anticipates the needs of guests and event planners to ensure they have a seamless and personalised experience. The hotel will stay true to the brand promise of making travel free from stress by providing guests everything they need under one roof. Hyatt House Manchester is designed to make guests feel at home, offering residents spacious, apartment-style living paired with amenities that help them maintain work and personal routines while on the road.

Situated in the Innovation District on the Oxford Road Corridor, both hotels are close to Manchester’s major transportation hubs and provide easy access to major attractions. “We look forward to welcoming guests to the first Hyatt hotels in Manchester – one of the UK’s most multicultural cities and a hub for innovative start-ups,” said Assumpta McDonald, general manager of Hyatt Regency and Hyatt House Manchester. “A city popular for leisure and business travelers, Manchester and its growing commercial center is an ideal destination for having two brands within one building. Located in close proximity to the University, the city center and a number of tourist attractions, we believe that both hotels will attract business and leisure travellers alike.”

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

The properties offer a variety of shared facilities, including The Laureate Restaurant, The Graduate Bar, seven state-of-the-art meeting rooms and a fully equipped 24-hour fitness centre. Additionally, guests staying at Hyatt House Manchester have access to the Omelet Bar and the 24/7 H Market.

Establishing shot of hotel

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Hyatt Regency Manchester offers 212 contemporary guestrooms and suites, all featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with city views. For travellers looking for an extended stay, Hyatt House Manchester offers 116 studios and one-bedroom suites, all featuring fully equipped kitchens, free wi-fi and stylish living and working spaces. Guests of the hotel can also enjoy 24-hour access to complimentary laundry facilities, inclusive breakfast, and the 24/7 H Market.

Hyatt Regency Manchester and Hyatt House Manchester share two distinctive gastronomic offerings – The Laureate Restaurant and The Graduate Bar. The Laureate Restaurant boasts a menu that celebrates Manchester as one of the UK’s most multicultural cities. Aptly named to reflect the academic brilliance of the hotel’s surroundings, The Graduate Bar is a vibrant, airy oasis inspiring guests and locals to relax and unwind. It offers cocktails, quality beers and gourmet bites. Exclusively accessible for guests of Hyatt House Manchester, the H Market is open 24/7 and provides a range of groceries and on-the-go snacks.

Hyatt Regency Manchester offers an array of flexible meeting spaces, with seven state-of-the-art meeting rooms. The hotel pays tribute to some of Manchester’s best-known academics, naming the meeting rooms after famous alumni and those working closely with the University. These include former chief executive of Manchester City Council Sir Howard Bernstein and renowned mathematician Alan Turing, best known for his work in breaking the German Enigma code during World War II.

Hyatt House Manchester offers two intimate event spaces: The Conservatory and The Living Room, both located on the 18th floor of the hotel.

The varied selection of meeting spaces offered by the two hotels provide guests of both properties the option to book from a range of options to ensure a seamless environment for every event. The meeting rooms are equipped with LCD projectors and screens for presentations, and the on-site business center is open 24 hours a day. Additionally, all meeting rooms and event spaces offer expert catering services.

Hyatt Regency Manchester and Hyatt House Manchester are the seventh and eighth Hyatt-branded hotels to open in the U.K., alongside Andaz London Liverpool Street, Hyatt Regency Birmingham, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, Hyatt Place West London/Hayes, Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport and the recently opened The Great Scotland Yard Hotel.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Inside a sustainable shipping container hotel in Chile

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside a sustainable shipping container hotel in Chile

The Winebox Valparaiso was created by local winemaker, Grant Phelps, who claims to have opened the city’s first sustainable hotel and winery to be made out of shipping containers… 

Capturing one of Valparaiso’s most eye-catching architectural displays, The Winebox Valparaiso is a fully sustainable aparthotel and winery that is sheltered within 25 decommissioned shipping containers. 

Self-designed by hotelier and winemaker Grant Phelps, the aparthotel and winery features 21 graffiti-styled guestrooms, two public terraces and even the city’s debut winery.

Perched at the top of one of the city’s vibrant undulating hills, the aparthotel which opened last year offers panoramic views over the city. The industrial-like guestrooms are long, narrow and either offer porthole windows or larger terraces, both of which allow natural lighting to fill the space. Designed with young adults in mind who are seeking adventure, the interiors are fully sustainable and are complete with quirky and loud accents that reflect the city’s edgy graffiti qualities. Natural materials such as wood pallets have been used to create headboards and mirror frames, while recycled wine bottles have been used to create mood lighting.

Phelps, who is as much the creator of the aparthotel as much as he is service provider, wishes to educate his guests checking in on living sustainably. In a hotel review conducted by the New York Times, he revealed that his vision of the hotel was inspired by the way in which “Christchurch used shipping containers to rebuild after New Zealand’s 2011 earthquake.”

The hotel, which prides itself on offering alternative accommodation with attitude, is a disobedient take on modern hotel architecture. Throwing the rule book in the bin, The WineBox is anything but conventional as it attracts tourists to see the city from alternative lenses.

Main image credit: absafilms/YouTube

Serviced apartments hotel brand debuts in Munich, Germany

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Serviced apartments hotel brand debuts in Munich, Germany

H-Hotels.com opened the first hotel under its serviced apartment hotel brand in Munich…

H.Hotels.com has debuted its first service apartment hotel in Munich. With the opening of both H2 Hotel Munich Olympiapark and H.omes Serviced Apartments in Munich, the hotel group now boasts properties in six locations in the metropolis of Munich on the river Isar.

The opening of the aparthotel, which represents the first establishment in the Serviced Apartment brand from the hotel chain, follows a rise in demand for serviced apartment-styled accommodation.

The size of the 105 modern and stylishly furnished apartments varies from 18 to 29 square metres within the categories of Comfort, Superior and Business. They are equipped with high-quality box-spring beds, air conditioning and multi-media screens. All apartments have a small but functional kitchen featuring a fridge with freezer compartment, microwave, coffee machine, kettle, dishwasher, cookware and crockery, as well as a full bathroom offering underfloor heating and a rainforest shower.

“The 465 rooms, styled in a modern way, offer high-quality beds, air conditioning and flat screen TVs for the best entertainment.”

With its innovative design and functional space concept, H2 Hotel Munich Olympiapark is a solution for city-hoppers, families, groups and business travellers. The 465 rooms, styled in a modern way, offer high-quality beds, air conditioning and flat screen TVs for the best entertainment. For families and groups, H2 Hotel Munich Olympiapark offers comfortable four-bed and six-bed rooms. Bathrooms are equipped with underfloor heating, revitalising showers and a separate WC. The heart of the new H2 Hotel is the H2 Hub. With an island offering fresh food and an open kitchen, the H2 Hub serves a wide selection of seasonal salads, pasta, burgers and pizza 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All dishes can be ordered to go.

“With our new H.ome Serviced Apartments in Munich, we are meeting the demands of the future. Guests appreciate the private atmosphere of our apartments but don’t need to compromise on the hotel standards they expect if they desire them,” explains Alexander Fitz, CEO of H-Hotels AG. “With a total of six hotels, we now have a very strong foothold in Munich.”

Alongside H2 Hotel Munich Olympiapark and H.ome Serviced Apartments Munich, the H2 Hotel Munich Exhibition Centre, H4 Hotel Munich, H+ Hotel Munich and the recently opened HYPERION Hotel Munich all belong to the Munich portfolio of H-Hotels AG, with a combined total of 1,511 rooms.

Enhanced plans for LHG Aparthotel in London’s Wembley area

800 502 Hamish Kilburn

The new Aparthotel is said to further strengthen Wembley’s regeneration plans…

LHG (London Hotel Group) hopes to further boost Wembley’s regeneration plans through the submission of an enhanced design for their previously consented aparthotel in Elm Road…

LHG’s new internal layouts, designed with award-winning hotel architects Dexter Moren Associates, will add an additional 98 rooms, including 11 accessible guest rooms, without increasing the previously consented building height, appearance or basement depth.

“By removing the leisure facility and restaurant plus a carefully thought through rearrangement of some of the internal layouts, the new plans will significantly improve the aparthotel’s room offering,” said Meher Nawab, CEO of LHG.

The borough has identified a need for more visitor accommodation and LHG’s new proposals – which more than double the capacity of the current building and will result in a 226 guestroom aparthotel – will help meet that need as well as contributing to the overall regeneration of Wembley Central.

“This enhanced configuration will bring the aparthotel more in line with the projected growth of the Wembley area and a closer fit to the demanding requirements of today’s business and leisure travellers,” continues Meher:

The project is expected to bring an additional c£1.04 million pa spend to businesses within the town centre and create approximately 75 London Living Wage full and part-time jobs in the local area. This represents an additional c.£450K of local investment and 32 additional jobs compared to the previously consented aparthotel.

The scheme is being put forward with a recommendation for approval from Brent Council’s planning department and will be decided in mid August 2018. To date it has received over 40 letters of support. If planning is granted, the new aparthotel is expected to open as early as 2021.

Combining textures and colours at London design aparthotel slated to open this September

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Rockwell East is a new 57-key aparthotel owned by London-based property developers Marldon and designed by Waldo Works with deliberate clashes of textures and bold colours..

Located on the fringes of London’s city centre, Rockwell East is a 57-key aparthotel the ideal destination for travellers who are staying in town for one night or several months. Apartments at Rockwell East are spacious and have all the features of a design-led modern home, with strong colours and textures injected into their interiors.

Accommodation ranges from Studio Apartments to One Bedroom and Family Apartments. The base palette for the rooms is inspired by the patterns and colours of the sky. A theme that is offset by deep inky blues and highlighted by accents and colours that are tailored to each space.

Each apartment has a fully fitted kitchen, free Wi-fi, a dishwasher, washing machine/dryer, safe, Air-conditioning, an HDTV, Merino wool blankets, Egyptian cotton sheets, towelling dressing gowns, soaps and lotions by the White Company, a Nespresso Coffee machine and a welcome breakfast pack by Abel and Cole.

Burgundy, yellows, sepia and brandy tones give a warm aesthetic to the café. Divided into separate areas by soft velvet banquettes, the space also features black steel chairs and lighting, soft cork upholstery and lightly brushed brass for the bar and other dining areas. Offering modern European dining, with classic favourites, the café will focus on good, fresh food and feature a wine menu curated by renowned merchants Goedhuis & Co.

Renowned designers Waldo Works have taken inspiration from the passage of time, night and day, sun and moon throughout the interiors, establishing a restful rhythm for guests. The aparthotel has a strong sense of design and space, while remaining calm and comfortable.

Artist Fergus Hare has been commissioned to present the art throughout the aparthotel, focusing on landscape and skies at peculiar times of the day or from curious perspectives, to create intriguing and beguiling imagery.

“With a strong emphasis on design, mixed with comfort at an affordable price, we hope to create a stand-out experience in the growing London aparthotel market’,” concludes Fred Bartlett, Associate Partner at Marldon.

Supplier list: 

Bedside lights: Waldo Works custom design in Jesmonite
Bed headboard fabric:  Opuzen, RGL R-Market in Granite
Bed throw:  Beatrice Larkin, Monochrome range – designs: point, stamp, rope, line & block
Tables: Waldo Works custom table top finishes by Mass Concrete developed for the project
Work chair: Cizeta ‘Ginger’ chair in black stained Ash Wood and anthracite rope
Art: Fergus Hare throughout – developed with Waldo Works, custom to the project

Sleeperz Hotels, the innovative UK budget hotel operator, has completed a 43-room expansion of its Cityroomz Edinburgh hotel with a new wing accessible via Princes Street

Sleeperz unveils Princes Street expansion at Cityroomz Edinburgh Hotel

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Sleeperz Hotels, the innovative UK budget hotel operator, has completed a 43-room expansion of its Cityroomz Edinburgh hotel with a new wing accessible via Princes Street.

Sleeperz has converted Princes House, a former three storey office block, into a deluxe wing made up of superior double, family and cabin rooms; as well as ten suites with kitchenettes and lounges. David Myers, chief executive of Sleeperz Hotels, said: “Sleeperz is excited to unveil an additional 43 high quality hotel rooms, including our first-ever suites, right in the heart of Edinburgh.

Our guests can stay next door to one of the UK’s best shopping streets, in a world-famous Capital city, for a great-value price – a formula we’re confident will be successful – and deliver important growth in Edinburgh’s visitor economy.”

Cityroomz Edinburgh Suite Princes Street Wing (1000x666)
The Cityroomz suites are the first to be introduced across Sleeperz’ portfolio of affordable design-led hotels in Cardiff, Newcastle and Edinburgh and are aimed at attracting business travellers, families and couples seeking longer city breaks.

The suite bathrooms feature flooring printed with a city street map of Edinburgh, showing landmarks and locations including Shandwick Place. The expansion increases bed-stock to 115 rooms at Cityroomz Edinburgh, which is located on Shandwick Place between Waverley and Haymarket stations and close to Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Cityroomz new superior double2017 (1000x666)
The development comes before Sleeperz Hotel open a new 120 room hotel above Dundee Railway Station, opposite the new V&A Museum, in 2018. The new hotel is part of a £1bn programme to regenerate Dundee waterfront.

Cityroomz Expansion – STATS
43 new rooms
10 Suites (including kitchenettes, dining area, sofas and living space)
22 Superior Double rooms
6 Family rooms
3 Accessible rooms (including 1 Family room)
2 Cabin Twin rooms

Edinburgh City Map bathroom flooring Cityroomz (1000x666)Suites you Edinburgh
Cityroomz suites are fitted with kitchenettes, Smeg appliances, en-suite bathrooms, dining space, living area, sofas, wall-mounted flat screen TV’s, super-king and king-size beds, bespoke custom made Sleepeezee mattresses, laptop safes and tea and coffee facilities. Glasgow architects Maith Design was appointed to transform the disused office block into stylish and affordable living spaces. The expansion was delivered in partnership with Town Centre Securities PLC, a leading UK property and investment company.

Family roomz at Cityroomz Princes Street Wing (1000x666)
Colin Steele, acting on behalf of Town Centre Securities, said: “We are delighted to have worked with Sleeperz on this exciting project, the development of Princes House completes the regeneration of this part of Shandwick Place and will bring further footfall into the West End of Edinburgh.” Cityroomz Edinburgh opened in May 2013 with 72 rooms and a rooms-based limited service philosophy. Guests enjoy stylish interior design, custom made pocket sprung beds, free and fast Wi-Fi and a continental breakfast available daily.

Sleeperz Hotels was advised by Jonathan Sutton of Lewis Sutton property consultants.

Room 2 has announced the development of a new apart-hotel in Southampton, with a focus on design, comfort and value

Room 2 to open design-led aparthotel in Southampton

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Room 2 has announced the development of a new apart-hotel in Southampton, with a focus on design, comfort and value.

The venue billed as the design hotel for the modern traveller, offers 71 studio rooms, and is located on 1-8 Queens Terrace in Southampton. The hotel is due to be completed by March 2018, with a further site planned to open in London next year.

1504 Room 2 Southampton LoungeFollowing the inaugural 2016 launch of Room 2 in West London, once again the approach strips the attitude out of the design hotel market, while offering flexible apartment style rooms and a focus on friendly, community living ideal for long and short-term business and leisure stays.

1504 Room 2 Southampton LoungeDesigned by Project Orange – the Shoreditch based architectural firm and design studio – the design takes advantage of large floor to ceiling heights. Raised sleeping decks and interior features echo the nostalgia of the golden age of cruise liners, a nod towards the importance of Southampton in cross-Atlantic travel.

1504 Room 2 Southampton Room
Room 2 combines a design hotel aesthetic with ‘home comforts’ including kitchen, work table, rainfall showers, free wifi, screen mirroring TV, king sized beds and air conditioning. In addition to this, a selection of rooms feature ‘mezzanine top decks’ for flexible stays accommodating families, children and sharers.

The public area offers a flexible ground floor, designed as a space to work, meet and relax. A grab and go coffee bar operates during the day and turns into a bar in the evening.

Room 2 Southampton Bathroom
Robert Godwin (28), founder of Room 2 and MD of property business Lamington Group, said: “We’re really excited to bring to Southampton what we feel is the first truly stylish hotel space, taking the best of the emerging design hotel sector, and designing memorable guest experiences tailored to both both long and short stays. We see a big need for high quality accommodation in the city, and we aim to deliver it.”

The brand has been designed to meet the changing needs of the modern business and leisure traveller, whilst offering home comforts with great service and great comfort.

www.room2southampton.com

5-star hotel arrives in Parramatta with SKYE Hotel Suites

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SKYE Hotel Suites Parramatta opens its doors this week, bringing unrivalled urban luxury to Sydney’s West. The highly-anticipated opening sees Crown Group lead the charge into Parramatta’s 5-star hotel market, elevating the suburb into Sydney’s second CBD.

Committed to the ultimate in guest luxury, SKYE Hotel Suites comprises 72 apartment-style suites with the finest bespoke furnishings and fittings. Each features L’Occitane toiletries, in- room dining from a modern on-site restaurant, pre-stockable maxi-bar, the unique ability to choose your own mattress firmness on each side of the bed, keyless entry and ‘virtual concierge’ tablets to enable access to all hotel services from each suite.

Amenities to delight even the most seasoned business traveller or the most demanding holidaymaker include a state-of-the-art gymnasium, pool, sundeck, spa, sauna and new restaurant, Husk & Vine Kitchen and Bar, which opened at lobby level on July 1. Later this year cocktail legend Sven Almenning will also open a breathtaking 26th floor rooftop bar, overlooking Sydney’s iconic skyline.

5-star hotel arrives in Parramatta with the opening of SKYE Hotel Suites
When breaking ground for the development, Crown Group discovered archaeological remains integral to Parramatta’s historical and cultural past, including an 1840s house, an underlying convict hut, wheelwright’s workshop and the cellar of the Wheat Sheaf Hotel, which were preserved for public display and have inspired Husk & Vine’s unique wheat and wine concept.

5-star hotel arrives in Parramatta with the opening of SKYE Hotel Suites
Adding to Crown Group’s already extensive portfolio of luxury residential property, SKYE Hotel Suites sits within V by Crown Group’s twin residential towers, creating a world-class ‘vertical village’ to rival those in emerging Asian and European design capitals.

The building itself is an architectural centrepiece for Parramatta, achieved by twin visionaries Allen Jack + Cottier and Koichi Takada Architects. Located less than 300 metres from Parramatta Square and a short walk from Parramatta’s train station and ferry wharf, SKYE Hotel Suites is surrounded by high-end retail and cultural experiences.
Commenting on Crown Group’s move into the luxury hotels arena, Chairman & Group Chief Executive Officer Iwan Sunito noted, “Parramatta is a powerhouse for innovation and business and SKYE Hotel Suites will be a stand-out, luxury addition to Sydney’s up-and-coming West.”

“Appealing to a new generation of domestic and international visitors to the city, SKYE Hotel Suites is designed to create a fresh lifestyle standard delivering superior apartment-sized suites for discerning travellers. It will also set the benchmark for future SKYE Hotels Suites openings in Sydney’s CBD in 2018 and Green Square in 2019.”

AKA

Landmarked hotel AKA Times Square reveals penthouse collection

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AKA, the leading hospitality brand that celebrities choose for their extended stays, with properties throughout the United States and London, has created an exclusive Penthouse Collection at its landmarked AKA Times Square, redesigning 12 penthouse suites to cater to today’s travelers who desire unique and elevated accommodations.

“Penthouse living is no longer about aspirational luxury,” said Larry Korman, president of AKA. “It’s about having the authentic experience of being at home in a cool space that is representative of its location.”

Designer Nicholas Cardone drew inspiration for the collection from the landmarked building’s rich 1900 history and its meticulous restoration by award-winning historic preservationist and architect, Stephan Potts of Stanev Potts Architects. The penthouses pay homage to the building’s historic charm, while delivering modern elegance and a sense of sophistication. Original, turn-of-the-century architectural details in the form of exposed, cast-iron structural elements along the walls and ceilings, unusually shaped windows and unique layouts provide a textured and layered en-suite glimpse into history of the city, while delivering a one-of-a-kind experience.

AKA“The pursuit of innovative design is integral to the travel experience,” continued Korman.

Known as the building’s crown jewel, the two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom duplex Penthouse Residence has wide-plank oak floors throughout the grand foyer, dining room and kitchen. An elegant 1900s bay window fills the living room with space and light, while exotic woods, buttery leather and finely lacquered pieces bring an urbane sophistication to each room. The interior, iron staircase leads to historic, original and uniquely sized windows that bring the story of the colorful past into the guest experience.


Nearly the size of a standard New York City hotel room, the master bathroom provides a 200-square-foot, ultimate, spa-like experience, featuring a sculptural, modern freestanding bathtub, oversized dual rain head shower behind a free-floating glass wall and double basin vanity. The bedrooms feature king-sized beds, Sferra Italian linens, bespoke window treatments and original photography.

Penthouse Residence guests enjoy the added treat of having an ultra-convenient entranceway to the penthouse-level a.lounge, located on the same floor, that was created by renowned international designer and architect Piero Lissoni and his U.S. design firm, BY Lissoni. a.lounge, available only to guests of AKA Times Square, has lustrous Venetian plaster walls and rich interiors that adorn an intimate bar and ample lounge areas. There is also a world-class Technogym fitness center. A floating steel-and-glass staircase ascends to a.13, a floor-to-ceiling windowed retreat that opens up to a 1,000-square-foot rooftop lounge with sweeping views of Manhattan.

Recognized around the world for visionary design and innovative offerings, AKA currently operates 12 properties throughout some of the most well-traveled to cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and London. The brand continues to set new standards in luxury travel accommodations, elevating its offerings to meet the needs of today’s affluent business traveller.

www.stayaka.com

Staycity forges ahead in France with two key openings

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Leading aparthotel operator Staycity is putting France firmly in its sights with the announcement of two premises opening in the country in 2017.

Staycity already operates an aparthotel in the busy and popular 10th district of Paris, minutes from the Gare de Paris-Est transport hub, and will add Staycity Marseille to its portfolio when it opens for business in February 2017. The property, based in Marseille’s popular historical Vieux Port, will offer 108 apartments.

In Spring 2017 Staycity will open in Lyon in a purpose-built, 144-unit development in the city centre, within walking distance of the historic old centre and 10-minutes from the main business hub and train station.

“France has long been a mainstay in our expansion plans and we hope to add further properties in strategic sites in the coming years,” commented Staycity CEO Tom Walsh. “These properties and our existing premises in Paris, provide us with a firm base in France, which will help build our reputation as the go-to aparthotel operator for both leisure and business travellers.”

Staycity premises opening in the UK over the next 12 months include Manchester (182), London Covent Garden (106) and Liverpool (202). Staycity Aparthotels now has over 3,000 apartments across eight major cities across the UK and Europe with expansion plans which will take it to 15,000 apartments by 2021.

www.staycity.com

Roomzzz Aparthotel in Stratford London

Roomzzz plans first London expansion set for Stratford in 2017

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Aparthotel chain Roomzzz is to make its move into the London market with its new aparthotel in Stratford, scheduled to open in March 2017.

The new Roomzzz London Stratford is to consist of 87 luxury rooms at the new-build site on West Ham Lane. The brand is hoping to capitalise on the continued post-Olympic regeneration of the area.

Mark Walton, Chief Operating Officer of the brand, commented: “As our first venture in London, the hotel’s opening is a major milestone for Roomzzz Aparthotels as a brand, raising our profile and appealing to a new audience.

“We aim to follow on from the success of our existing sites in Chester, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham, and continue to grow in this ever popular market. As well as London Stratford we have a number of other projects in the pipeline, with three additional sites planned for Liverpool, Manchester Corn Exchange and York.”

The opening will also mark the debut of the group’s new generation identity and interiors, which will be rolled out to existing locations from January.

www.roomzzz.com

Oaks Neemrana

Minor Hotel Group announces Oaks Neemrana for 2017

500 285 Daniel Fountain

Oaks NeemranaMinor Hotel Group (MHG), currently with a portfolio of 136 hotels and resorts in 22 countries across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, South America, Africa and the Indian Ocean, has announced its first Oaks property in India with the development of Oaks Neemrana.

Oaks Neemrana is under development in the centre of the town and is scheduled to open in 2017. The new property will be housed above NSP Arcadia Mall which is also currently under construction and will offer a supermarket, banks, department stores and retail outlets, along with restaurants and family entertainment including a multiplex cinema. An additional internationally branded hotel is under development in the neighbouring tower, which is expected to open shortly after the mall and Oaks.

Facilities at the 116 unit Oaks Neemrana will include an all-day dining restaurant with sky garden, a lobby café and lounge area, a pool bar, meeting space of 160 square metres with capacity to accommodate up to 80 people, plus a gym and a kids’ play area. There will be three different room types: 68 Studio Apartments; 40 One Bedroom Apartments and eight Two Bedroom Apartments.

Oaks Hotels & Resorts offers a range of contemporary accommodation, from hotel and resort rooms and suites, to furnished serviced apartments, in central city locations and resorts. Oaks is one of Australia’s largest, self-contained accommodation providers in the 4–4.5 star market and was launched in Australia in 1991. The growing portfolio currently comprises 52 properties across four countries — Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates, with more than 6,000 guest rooms under its management. Additional properties are currently under development in China and Bali, Indonesia.

Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotel Group, commented, “We are excited to announce both the first Oaks in India and also the first Minor Hotel Group property in India. The Oaks brand is a great fit for this market, which represents a huge opportunity, and we are confident that the property will be a great success.”

Adagio Aparthotel, Birmingham exterior

Adagio Aparthotel, Birmingham

700 466 Daniel Fountain

In recent years, the global hospitality industry has been marking the steady rise in popularity of the ‘aparthotel’. And looking at the trends, it makes sense. Hotels are experimenting with stripping away some of their services, while serviced apartments are adding services as wide ranging as childcare and in-room spa treatments.

So, as the lines between serviced apartments and hotels become ever-blurred, a previously untapped niche in the market is quickly being filled. Why not combine the two? On the continent, Adagio — part of the Accor Hotel group — has been claiming a considerable portion of this ever-growing market with aparthotel properties across France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. But, here in the UK following a successful launch in Liverpool in 2013, a second Adagio aparthotel has opened in Birmingham.

Located perfectly, being within five minutes’ walk of New Street Station and the Bullring Shopping Centre, I had the chance to take a look at this four-star, new-build aparthotel shortly before it made its grand opening earlier this month. The Adagio is a pioneering part of the proposed major redevelopment of the Digbeth area of the city centre; forming the first phase of the Beorma Quarter development scheme (named for the Anglo Saxon king and founder of the city now known as Birmingham), which will also see the refurbishment of listed buildings to become sustainable, geo-thermal commercial spaces.

Adagio Aparthotel, Birmingham

The apartments offer a spectacular view of the Birmingham city skyline
(Photo: Dale Martin – dalemartinphoto.com)

And the Adagio pays homage to its historical location by marking – with a brass line embedded into the walls and floor – the 7th century boundaries of the ancient city of Hersum Ditch directly through its reception area. A nice touch, I thought — especially as a history graduate. But, thankfully for the modern traveller, everything else about the Adagio is contemporaneous.

Adagio Aparthotels, Birmingham

Many of the furnishings are from continental Europe, reflecting the history and background of the Adagio name (Photo: Dale Martin – dalemartinphoto.com)

From its choice of furnishings to the bold photographic artwork of locally iconic locations in the apartments, the communal areas and range of suites all ooze modernity. The breakfast dining room and lounge area are spacious, modestly but tastefully decorated and superbly naturally lit thanks to their expansive floor to ceiling windows. The property’s two-person studio and one-bedroom apartments are finished to an excellent standard with warm, neutral tones generously punctuated by bold, red-focussed pieces — no doubt to complement the reddish hue of the wider Adagio colour motif. Many of the furnishings throughout the hotel are imported from Europe and in particular France, which is understandable given Adagio is a joint project between Accor and the Paris-headquartered Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs group.

Adagio Aparthotel, Birmingham

The communal areas – such as this breakfast dining area – are filled with natural light thanks to the floor to ceiling windows (Photo: Dale Martin – dalemartinphoto.com)

Space has been utilised well, too, with each apartment containing sizable bathroom space and fold-down beds in the studios. The only small criticism might come with the size of the kitchen areas, which while well-equipped certainly won’t be used for entertaining large groups. The range of services on offer include high-speed WiFi, a fitness suite, laundry and dry cleaning as well as a room cleaning service tailored to varying lengths of stays.

Adagio Aparthotel, Birmingham

The use of locally-inspired black and white photography artwork intejects the rooms’ reddish hues perfectly (Photo: Dale Martin – dalemartinphoto.com)

With the potential market of aparthotels as varied as it is – business travellers, university students, contract workers and even long-weekend visitors — it is surprising how few aparthotels there are across the UK. Investment has been slow to take off, especially compared with other key markets such as New York and Hong Kong. But heading into the latter half of the decade, we can expect that to change.

Adagio Aparthotel, Birmingham

The aparthotel utilises space well, especially in the studio rooms – where the bed folds down to shift the space from a living area to a bedroom area effortlessly (Photo: Dale Martin – dalemartinphoto.com)

Adagio is definitely using the UK as a growth market, with further aparthotels planned for Edinburgh and London — and if future properties are as well designed, excellently furnished and centrally located as the Birmingham Adagio, the firm will be at the forefront of a growing and increasingly popular market.

Words by Daniel Fountain. Reviewed just before opening in August, 2015.