Staybridge Suites, the extended-stay hotel brand by Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), has opened its first European property in Liverpool.
IHG also announced the opening of its first Staybridge property in Africa in Cairo and the signing of deals to build two properties in Russia.
The 132-suite hotel in Liverpool is part of a major Merseyside development which includes the Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool and a Jurys Inn hotel. The property is a few minutes’ walk from the Albert Dock, one of Liverpool’s main tourist attractions, and about ten minutes from the city centre.
Rooms are equipped with working space and internet connections and have small, well equipped kitchens for cooking. Self-service breakfasts are available each morning in the Suites’ public lounge area and evening food is also available on set nights.
The tariff is based on how long a guest stays. The longer the stay, the lower the rate. The concept has been operating in the US for 11 years where IHG has about 130 Staybridge properties.
Andrew Cosslett, IHG’s CEO, said at the opening ceremony: “Staybridge Suites are designed for a growing group which is staying more than a few days.
“It’s about it being a home from home with the best things from both. You have your own apartment but with the best things that are in a hotel. We want people to feel that they are not alone when travelling on business as they can feel.”
John Wagner, IHG’s vice president Staybridge Suites EMEA, said the aim of evenings when food was on offer in the lounge was to break down social barriers so long-stay guests spoke and got to know each other.
He said the goal was to create an atmosphere like an airline lounge. Wagner added that the concept of long-stay apartments was “well understood” in the States but there was some “scepticism” in launching it here.
But he said he felt there was a “significant extended-stay market” in Liverpool from industries including oil, gas, banking, defence, real estate and also from the government.
He said he expected guests to be 80 per cent business and 20 per cent leisure. Wagner said IHG planned to sign up 22 more Staybridge Suites in the UK by 2010. These would include properties in London, Newcastle, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff and Farnborough.
The two new deals in Russia are for a 176-room property in St. Petersburg, due to open in 2009, and a 78-suite development in Nizhny Novgorod, the fifth largest city in the Russian Federation.
Both new properties are part of major developments which also include other IHG-branded hotels.
For more information visit ichotelsgroup.com.
Report by Stanley Slaughter