Features

Serviced apartments: Getting personal

1 Mar 2018 by Valerian Ho
Ascott Raffles City Shenzhen - Reading lounge

There’s been a wave of new serviced residence openings in Asia-Pacific over the past year, and more are launching in the coming months, offering increasing choice to business travellers who need a long-term “home” in the city.

In fact, according to the Global Serviced Apartment Industry Report 2016-2017 (GSAIR), the global number of apartments worldwide now stands at 826, 759 – an increase of 10.5 per cent in the past 18 months.

The stiffening competition has encouraged brands to improve their offering, with new services and facilities emerging beyond the standard norms. Here we highlight some of the best new options depending on whether you prioritise business services, F&B options, leisure facilities or family-friendly appeal.

Business on demand

A good location is always important when it comes to accommodation, but particularly so for those with hectic business travel schedules. Choosing an apartment close to the office and commercial district is a priority. The new Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore ticks this box with its convenient address in the OUE Downtown mixed-use development in the heart of Singapore’s CBD. The centre comprises two tower blocks housing offices and the Downtown Gallery shopping mall. Club guests can also arrange meetings in the on-site 12-seat boardroom, which overlooks an infinity pool and a Jacuzzi.

Over in Indonesia, Ascott Sudirman Jakarta will also offer a prestigious city centre location when it opens this year. The luxurious residence is part of the integrated development Ciputra World 2, comprising Grade A offices and numerous retail offerings. Meeting rooms, a gym, swimming pool and games room are also available in the property. Recently opened Ascott Raffles City Shenzhen is also ideally positioned just a short distance from business centres such as the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone and Houhai Financial Headquarters. Key transport facilities including Shenzhen Bay Port and the Shekou Cruise Centre are also nearby.

In Vietnam, meanwhile, having a desirable residential address has proven so popular for the Sedona Suites Ho Chi Minh City that the property will soon be unveiling a new 195-unit Grand Tower located in the mixed-used Saigon Centre.

For those hosting a long-term exhibition or event in New Zealand, the newly opened Haka Hotel K’ Road Apartments in Auckland is just a five-minute drive or 15-minute walk away from the Sky City Convention Centre. The new International Convention Centre, currently under construction with a mid-2019 opening date, is also within walking distance. Similarly for convention-goers in the Philippines, Citadines Bay City Manila (opening this year) is located near the SM Mall of Asia. The complex houses the SMX Manila Convention Center offering 17,480 sqm of event space including four exhibition halls and 15 meeting rooms. The residence itself also has a ballroom and function rooms.

Other new properties offer high-quality business services and other in-house amenities tailored to business guests. Modena by Fraser Changsha in China has conference and banquet rooms on the top floors for board meeting and VIP luncheons. Fully equipped meeting amenities and services include audio and video conference facilities, projector and whiteboard, plus tea break refreshments. Opening next month in Vietnam, Oakwood Residence Saigon will also provide a large conference room for up to 80 persons. In addition to an on-site catering service, the property provides amenities such as laptop and phone rental, and AV equipment. It is also ideally situated close to the CBD, Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre and some industrial zones. 

Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore

Eating in

One of the key differentiators of serviced apartments is having a fully equipped kitchenette, but sometimes it’s just too much effort to cook and wash dishes. Luckily a number of serviced apartments are now focusing on adding F&B facilities to their offering. Start your day with breakfast at Hyatt House Shanghai New Hongqiao. The daily hot breakfast features a build-your-own Omelette Bar while the Breakfast Breads & Bowls Bar serves oatmeal and fresh fruit along with healthy vegetarian and gluten-free options. After its opening in December, the Avani Broadbeach Gold Coast Residences will be launching a downstairs café next month for takeaway coffee and muffins. It will also be opening a new casual seafood restaurant for larger bites.

If you are rushing for an early meeting, you can grab free tea and coffee at the lobby from 4am to 6am at Sherwood Suites Saigon. It also has a restaurant serving Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, as well as an in-room dining service. Newly reopened Two Macdonnell Road in Hong Kong has also focused on improving its dining options. The renovated café bar on 8 opens from morning till night serving continental breakfast, grab-and-go meals, lunch buffet, afternoon tea and casual international dining with signature dishes such as Margherita pizza and Asian favourites including Hainanese chicken rice.

Chilling out

With the increasing trend for mixing work and leisure, more serviced apartments are turning their attention to offering facilities dedicated to recreational habits and relaxation.

In addition to offering a gym, newly opened Hong Kong residence The Staunton Suites features a terrace for leisure activities such as after-work drinks with friends. It also provides an airport limousine service. Another Hong Kong option, Shama Island North, takes this one step further with barbecue facilities on its tropical rooftop garden. It also offers a DVD library if you fancy kicking back with a movie in your apartment.

Then again, there is nowhere better to watch a movie than the cinema, and with its dedicated moonlight cinema, FV Peppers Residences Brisbane gives residents this option. The luxury property also boasts a gym, VIP Lounge dining, spa, yoga room and U-shaped pool bar overlooking Brisbane River and CBD.

Arguably golf is the ultimate business/leisure activity, but guests at Ascott Riverside Garden Beijing need not worry about a golf course thanks to an in-house simulator; guests can simply turn up and swing away the pressure. Other leisure facilities include a gym, spinning studio and pool.

A different luxury, particularly for those in space-starved Hong Kong, comes with the spacious two-bedroom units at The Luna in Wan Chai, with long balconies to host friends in the evening. Alternatively, the three-bedroom rooftop penthouse is ideal for hosting parties. The property also features a club lounge and an outdoor gym.

Another growing trend is for serviced residence providers to organise residential programmes for guests to help them assimilate into their new neighbourhoods. In Phnom Penh, the new Casa Meridian Residence has launched cultural tours of the Royal Palace, food adventure trials and river cruising for its guests. The property also has a clubhouse lounge, gym, outdoor infinity swimming pool, yoga room and children’s playroom.

The Staunton Suites, Hong Kong

Family time

If you are travelling with your family or relocating to a city, there are some additional factors you need to consider: Is the apartment big enough to fit all of your family members? Is there an international school nearby? Can someone take care of your kids while you’re at work?

Oakwood Residence Roppongi T-Cube in Tokyo has brand-new Sky suites on level 27, and is the only apartment offering of four bedrooms in central Tokyo with more than 100 sqm of space, which is perfect for a big family. Guests can also enjoy the views of the Houses of Parliament and Mount Fuji from the dining room and bedroom. Meanwhile, Fraser Suites Dalian has three-bedroom units that are suitable for big families, with additional services including a children’s play area and babysitting available. Avani Metropolis Auckland Residences’ one- and two-bedroom apartments can be customised to fit little ones, with baby cots, mini cutlery and crockery, kid’s movies and TV channels. The residence also has thoughtful amenities available from yoga mats and GHD hair straighteners to sewing and dental kits.

For family-friendly locations, Shama Lakeview Asoke Bangkok is close to both the Australian International School and Ivy Bound International School. This residence also has a children’s playroom on site. Or, to win maximum parent points, Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Puteri Harbour is situated next to two of Malaysia’s theme parks – Hello Kitty Land and Legoland – which is ideal for quality family time with the kids at the weekend. The property also offers a range of facilities such as an infinity lap pool, gym and outdoor Jacuzzis overlooking the private marina and sea.

Shama Island North, Hong Kong

Fast facts

Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore

City: Singapore
Opened: Sep 2017
Units: Studio, 1- and 2-bedroom
oakwoodasia.com

Ascott Sudirman Jakarta

City: Jakarta
Opening: Q2 2018
Units: 1- to 3-bedroom
the-ascott.com

Sedona Suites Ho Chi Minh City

City: Ho Chi Minh City
Opening: Early 2018
Units: Studio, 1- to 3-bedroom
sedonahotels.com.sg

Ascott Raffles City Shenzhen

City: Shenzhen
Opened: Nov 2017
Units: Studio, 1- to 3-bedroom
the-ascott.com

Haka Hotel K’ Road Apartments

City: Auckland
Opened: Dec 2017
Units: Studio, 1- and 2-bedroom
hakahotels.co.nz

Citadines Bay City Manila

City: Manila
Opening: Sep 2018
Units: Studio and 1-bedroom
citadines.com

Modena by Fraser Changsha

City: Changsha
Opened: Nov 2017
Units: Superior, studio, 1- and 2-bedroom
frasershospitality.com

Oakwood Residence Saigon

City: Ho Chi Minh City
Opening: Apr 2018
Units: Studio, 1- to 3-bedroom
oakwoodasia.com

Hyatt House Shanghai New Hongqiao

City: Shanghai
Opened: Dec 2017
Units: Standard, deluxe, suite
hyatt.com

Avani Broadbeach Gold Coast Residences

City: Gold Coast
Opened: Dec 2017
Units: 1- and 2-bedroom
minorhotels.com

Sherwood Suites Saigon

City: Ho Chin Minh City
Opened: Oct 2017
Units: Studio; premier, executive, family and grand suites
sherwoodsuites.vn

Two Macdonnell Road

City: Hong Kong
Reopened: Nov 2017
Units: Standard and superior rooms; junior, business, deluxe and family suites
twomr.com.hk

The Staunton Suites

City: Hong Kong
Opened: Aug 2017
Units: 1-bedroom (Unit A,B,C)
thestauntonsuites.com/en

Shama Island North

City: Hong Kong
Opening: Q1 2018
Units: Hotel rooms; studio, 1- and 2-bedroom
shama.com

FV Peppers Residences Brisbane

City: Brisbane
Opened: Sep 2017
Units: 1- and 2-bedroom
fvpeppersresidences.com

Ascott Riverside Garden Beijing

City: Beijing
Opened: Nov 2017
Units: Studio, 1- to 3-bedroom
the-ascott.com

The Luna

City: Hong Kong
Opening: Apr 2018
Units: Studio, 1- and 2-bedroom, penthouse
theluna.com.hk

Casa Meridian Residence

City: Phnom Penh
Opened: Nov 2017
Units: 1- to 3-bedroom
casameridian.com

Oakwood Residence Roppongi T-Cube

City: Tokyo
New apartment launched: Dec 2017
Units: Studio, 1- to 4-bedroom
oakwoodasia.com

Fraser Suites Dalian

City: Dalian
Opening: Mar 2018
Units: Studio, 1- to 3-bedroom
frasershospitality.com

Avani Metropolis Auckland Residences

City: Auckland
Opened: Nov 2017
Units: 1- and 2-bedroom
minorhotels.com

Shama Lakeview Asoke Bangkok

City: Bangkok
Opening: Apr 2018
Units: Studio, 1- to 3-bedroom
shama.com

Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Puteri Harbour

City: Johor
Opening: Q3 2018
Units: Studio, 1- and 2-bedroom
panpacific.com

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