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Asia serviced apartment brands glad to be of service

31 Mar 2008 by Ciprian Hirlea

From playing second fiddle to hotels, serviced apartments are now fast becoming mainstream, especially in Asia where booming economies have fuelled demand from corporate travellers for a “home away from home”. Not a month passes without news of the launch in this market niche. Here are some of the latest to begin business.

Singapore

Working from home takes on new meaning when Pan Pacific Serviced Suites debuts along Singapore’s Orchard Road this month. Residents can choose to turn their suites into offices and benefit from personal assistants on call 24/7. Pan Pacific Serviced Suites is the flagship luxury extended-stay product of Pan Pacific Hospitality, a subsidiary of UOL Group which owns Pan Pacific Hotels & Resorts.

These 126 one- and two-bedroom Executive and Premium Suites as well as penthouses provide direct train links from Somerset MRT station to Raffles Place CBD and the Suntec City International Convention & Exhibition Centre. All suites are equipped with Bose home entertainment systems, Loewe LCD televisions, iPod connectivity, wired and wireless broadband access and toiletries from Molton Brown of England. Paintings by Chua Ek Kay, a Cultural Medallion recipient and local ink painter, hang on the walls.

Residents will also enjoy personalised welcome hampers, airport transfers, grocery shopping and delivery, pillow and bath menus, complimentary pressing upon check in and a familiarisation tour to help them locate nearby banks, convenience stores and a variety of dining and entertainment options. Facilities onsite include a hydrotherapeutic spa, mineral-water pool, state-of-the-art Technogym, library, lounge and gardens offering views of the city skyline.

Gwee Lian Kheng, group president and CEO, UOL Group, said these serviced suites provide “a differentiated stay experience that recreates a home advantage with local connection to the city so that overseas professionals will feel less of a foreigner”.

Hongkong

V Serviced Apartments joins this growing hospitality niche, recently fattening its portfolio with V Causeway Bay, its third property after V Happy Valley and V Wanchai. Currently, it is the largest in the group with 133 units, ranging in size from 26.22sqm to 147.20sqm. “With over 40 different layouts, every room is a surprise,” said Anna Mae Koo, director of V.

Highlights include multifunctional cabinetry, hidden storage space, closets with dual access from both the bedroom and bathroom and full-fitted kitchens among others. Standard perks include 42-inch TVs, NOW TV, IDD, Wi-Fi, daily cleaning and laundrette. V Causeway Bay 2 and V West Kowloon will have their launches later this year and in early 2009 respectively.

Making its debut next month, the HarborView Place has been conceptualised by Signature Homes of the Sun Hung Kai Properties group as a “serviced suite hotel”. It will be offering long-stay guests these room categories: Studio (pictured above), Studio Deluxe, One-Bedroom Suite, One- Bedroom Deluxe Suite, Two-Bedroom Deluxe Suite and Three-Bedroom Suite.

Located within Kowloon’s latest landmark, the International Commerce Centre Complex (ICC) along the northern edge of Victoria Harbour, the property occupies the 50th to the 70th floors of The Cullinan II, one of the twin towers in the complex. Complementing Signature Home’s other success, Four Seasons Place, this product promises to raise the bar again on luxury living.

The first batch of 70 suites is now ready for advance booking.

TOKYO

For its latest foray into the North Asia market, Fraser Hospitality has chosen one of Tokyo’s liveliest districts to introduce Fraser Place howff Shinjuku. The building, owned by re-plus inc, has 175 units in the East Tower and will have an additional 200 units in the West Tower by year end. The configurations feature one-, two- and three-bedrooms and triplexes.

In keeping with the group’s policy of offering customers convenient locations, the property is a short walk to the Shinjuku Station, a hub for the subway and train networks. Also nearby are major office and commercial buildings as well as shopping and entertainment attractions.

Margie T Logarta and Julian Tan

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