Ascott’s Citadines brand to make US debut on Fifth Avenue

New York City skyline

Singapore-based serviced residence brand Citadines, part of The Ascott Limited, is set to make its entry to the US in 2018 after a renovation and rebranding of the existing Hotel Central Fifth Avenue New York hotel. The Ascott Limited acquired the 125-unit property earlier this week and has committed to investing close to US$50 million in the property, which will be rebranded as the Citadines Fifth Avenue New York.

The new Citadines will mark the brand’s debut in the US, and will bring Ascott’s portfolio in the Americas to five, with more than 1,100 units across all properties.

Speaking about the signing, Ascott CEO Lee Chee Koon, said: “The debut of our Citadines brand in North America is a significant move to expand Ascott’s global network of properties. Citadines is Ascott’s fastest-growing brand having more than tripled its portfolio since our acquisition of the Citadines Apart’hotel chain in Europe in 2004.”

Last year, the brand opened its first property in Seoul along with two Citadines-brand properties in Hong Kong.

“New York has registered significant increase in average daily rate and occupancy in the past years, particularly in Manhattan where we currently own two other prime properties through our real estate investment trust, Ascott Residence Trust,” added Lee. “All three properties in Manhattan are in high demand with close to full occupancy given their strategic locations in Times Square, Tribeca and Fifth Avenue.”

Located at 15 West 45th Street, the new Fifth Avenue property will be located close to Times Square and Grand Central Station, while a number of businesses such as IBM, Microsoft, Bank of America and Verizon are located within close proximity to the building. Full details of the property and its facilities are yet to be unveiled by Ascott.

Currently operating more than 30,000 serviced residence units, with an additional 21,000 already under development, Ascott aims to increase its global footprint to comprise 80,000 units by 2020.

Ascott to open debut Jeju property in South Korea

Somerset Jeju Shinhwa World

Singapore-based serviced residence brand The Ascott Limited will be opening its first property on the South Korean island of Jeju later this month. The new Somerset Jeju Shinhwa World serviced residence will be Ascott’s fourth property in the country when it opens on April 25, joining the group’s existing Seoul and Busan properties.

A total of 344 units will be available at the new property, which aims to target both business and leisure travellers. Corporate groups will also be able to make use of MICE facilities within the wider Jeju Shinhwa World integrated resort in which the Somerset Jeju Shinhwa World is situated. This integrated resort also includes a theme and a water park, gaming facilities, retail outlets and a K-Pop entertainment area.

“As Jeju is popular with domestic and global travellers, there is strong potential for Somerset Jeju Shinhwa World, which provides the comforts and privacy of home with world-class service,” said Max Phillips, country general manager for South Korea. “With our Somerset property being part of the Jeju Shinhwa World integrated resort, our guests and their families will enjoy numerous entertainment, retail, and food and beverage options.”

Each unit comes in a three-bedroom set up with a kitchen, separate living and dining areas, as well as a balcony. Amenities include more standard fare, such as washing machines and dishwashers, to more lavish offerings including a wine cellar and a centralised home automation system. A clubhouse, lobby lounge, gym and sauna, restaurant and children’s play areas form the wider facilities also available at the property.

Located in the south of Jeju island near Seogwipo City, Somerset Jeju Shinhwa World is approximately 40 minutes from Jeju International Airport. As part of the property’s opening, special 30 per cent discounts are being offered on bookings made for stays between April 25 and October 31, 2017.

Movenpick signs first Muscat property

Movenpick Hotel and Apartments Al Azaiba Muscat

Movenpick Hotels and Resorts will be opening its first property in the Oman capital Muscat following the signing of an agreement to operate the Movenpick Hotel and Apartments Al Azaiba Muscat.

The combined hotel and serviced residence will offer 274 guestrooms and suites along with 50 serviced apartments, located in the city’s commercial Ghala District in close proximity to the new international airport and the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Meetings and events spaces, along with an executive lounge and a residents’ lounge, will be available for corporate groups, business travellers and long-stay guests. Leisure facilities, meanwhile, will include six market-oriented F&B offerings, a rooftop restaurant, rooftop gym and spa, and swimming pool.

“This new property will be a welcome addition to our already extensive portfolio of hotels in the Middle East,” said Andreas Mattmuller, COO of Movenpick Hotels and Resorts, Middle East and Africa. “With Muscat undergoing rapid development and significant funds being invested into major tourism infrastructure projects, the time is right to put the Movenpick brand on the map in this important regional city.”

The Muscat Movenpick property is the latest in a series of recently announced properties set to open in the Middle East. In May last year, Movenpick unveiled plans for the Movenpick Hotel Apartments Al Burj Business Bay in Dubai – set to open this year – while in December, it announced plans for the Movenpick Resort Al Marjan in Ras al-Khaimah in the UAE, scheduled for 2019. Meanwhile in September last year, the property opened its third property in the Saudi Arabia city Jeddah, the Hotel City Star Jeddah.

Oman saw close to 1.8 million international tourists in 2016, with this figure expected to nearly double by 2026 to 3.34 million.

Parkroyal Serviced Suites Singapore unveils refurbished facilities

Parkroyal Serviced Suites Singapore - Two Bedroom Premium Suite (Living and Kitchenette)

Following a three-month refurbishment project that began in December last year, Parkroyal Serviced Suites Singapore has unveiled its newly redesigned lobby and 90 suites, giving a fresh look to the serviced residence that first opened its doors back in 1979.

Key enhancements to the suites include a number of modern amenities, most notably in-room wifi, an LCD TV, a fully equipped kitchen and a self-service laundrette. Each unit also has a home theatre system and an iPod docking station with speakers. Panoramic views of either the city or sea are available from each unit.

“Since opening in 1979 as one of Singapore’s first serviced apartments, Parkroyal Serviced Suites Singapore has been dedicated to delivering memorable stay experiences to our residents,” said Richard Tan, Pan Pacific Hotels Group vice president, serviced suites. “As an established player in the serviced accommodation sector, we are committed to continuous improvement to meet our residents’ needs.”

Along with the renovated rooms and lobby, Parkroyal Serviced Suites Singapore’s facilities include a swimming pool, spa, gym and aerobics studio, business centre and four restaurants.

Meanwhile late last year, Parkroyal launched a new app – available to guests at the Parkroyal Serviced Suites – designed to function as a concierge and which features more than 1,000 user-curated city guides.

An opening package is currently being offered by the property for bookings made before June 24 in a One Bedroom Premium Suite (SG$302/US$214 per night) or Two Bedroom Deluxe Suite (SG$385/US$272 per night), which includes getting one a seventh complimentary night for every six consecutive paid nights.

Oakwood ends 2016 with new brand and Vietnam debut

Oakwood Suites La Maison Jakarta Driveway

Serviced residence company Oakwood Asia Pacific will officially launch its new Oakwood Suites brand with the opening of Oakwood Suites La Maison Jakarta in Indonesia on Friday (December 16). Meanwhile the new brand launch is being accompanied by the opening of the company’s debut Vietnam property, Oakwood Apartments Ho Chi Minh City, which opened its doors on Wednesday (December 14).

“The launch of Oakwood Suites comes with much anticipation as we have taken this opportunity to differentiate the Oakwood Suites offering not merely on a product level, but more importantly, on service,” said the company’s vice president of operations, Craig Bond. “Residents can expect discreet service tailored to one’s lifestyle with a focus on subtlety.”

The new brand has been designed to cater to senior executives in particular, with a focus on offering respite and attentive service. The brand’s debut Jakarta property, located on Jalan Barito and in close proximity to the Sudirman Central Business District, offers 80 units in two- and three-bedroom configurations with fully equipped kitchens furnished with Smeg and Grohe appliances. Fitness facilities including a pool, gym and a residents’ lounge are also available to guests.

Meanwhile, the group’s new Vietnam property in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 3 offers 68 serviced apartments. “The opening of Oakwood Apartments Ho Chi Minh City is not only a prelude to Oakwood’s plans to establish its presence in Vietnam, but also to grow the Oakwood Apartments portfolio size and inventory in the coming years,” said Paul Stocker, vice president of sales, marketing and revenue management.

Over the past year, the group has expanded its portfolio by 36 per cent and debuted in four new markets.