Archives for category: Hong Kong

The Ascott, serviced residence business unit, has acquired a Hong Kong serviced residence for HK$545 million (S$88.8 million).

The 55-unit property will be rebranded as Citadines Mercer Hong Kong in the third quarter of 2014, the company said in a statement on April 2.citadines

The serviced residence in Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island, is next to the Central Business District.

It is also close to the bustling Soho area, and near well-known Lan Kwai Fong street.

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Project: Composite Building at No. 78-88 Sai Yee Street
Location: Hong Kong
Architect: Aedas – http://www.aedas.com
Client: Good Standing (Hong Kong) Limited
Site area: 614 square meters
Gross floor area: 5,514 square meters

With a population density of 130,000 people per square kilometre, Mongkok, a neighbourhood in Hong Kong, is one of the most densely populated places on the planet. Aedas was appointed to design a serviced apartment building in this hyperdense district, whose construction work commenced recently.

Standing on a site of 614 square metres, which is challengingly small, the building will offer serviced apartment accommodation to occupants. In the early post-war years, it was common to create illegal iron balconies for residential units in Mongkok to acquire maximum view. Aedas reinterpreted these structures in a modern way, using irregular protrusions to create unobstructed views for each apartment.

Here is the historical structure
Historical-structure

 

Here is the new development structure

Composite-2

Sino Group of Hotels, operates and manages a growing portfolio of hotels, a yacht club, serviced apartments and residential club houses.
Sino Group of Hotels announced today the naming of The Johnston Suites, the first serviced apartments under its management, situated in a prime location where business travellers can experience the vibrancy and excitement of Hong Kong, the diverse and attractive heritage that parallels the evolution of the city, weaving together history, tradition, and new developments.

Opening on 1 September 2013, The Johnston Suites serviced apartments located on 74-80 Johnston Road, was formerly named as Fraser Suites Hong Kong.
Situated in the heart of Hong Kong’s famous Wan Chai business district and in the vicinity of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the bustling hubs of Causeway Bay, Admiralty and Central, The Johnston Suites offers 87 apartments, with unit sizes from 566-1,010 square feet. The special monthly rate starts from HK$36,500.Johnston Suites

“Hong Kong is an international metropolis being backed up by a strong and well-structured economy and it serves as a strategic gateway for multinational corporations to tap and penetrate into the ever-growing and vast mainland Chinese market,” Nicholas Yim, Executive Director & Group General Manager of Sino Group of Hotels remarks. “We see the rising demand for the serviced apartment market in Hong Kong and foresee an average occupancy rate at an uptrend of 85 to 90 percent for The Johnston Suites.”

The Johnston Suites Hong Kong serviced apartments tower offers a complete array of facilities, amenities and an integrated entertainment system. Residents can enjoy a host of recreational and leisure facilities such as current jet pool, whirlpool, gymnasium, outdoor terraces and rooftop leisure areas. Each apartment is fully furnished with a separate spacious living room, dining room, kitchen and bedroom. A home at The Johnston Suites is a step into the city’s most celebrated entertainment, shopping, dining venues and a link to its rich cultural heritage. Designed with the corporate traveller in mind, this contemporary serviced apartment tower offers premium comfort, dedicated benefits and privileges to all guests.

Riding on the success of Sino Group in developing and managing an award-winning, widely diversified portfolio, Sino Group of Hotels strives to expand its development in Hong Kong and regional gateway cities, and consistently deliver quality services. The launch of The Johnston Suites signifies a strategic phase of development in Sino Group of Hotels that will synergise positively and enhance promising and better results for Sino Group.

“Serviced apartment, not a hotel.” That, recalled Joseph Bautista, was his wife’s response when he asked about her choice of accommodation in Hong Kong during their planned one-month business trip to the city.

“My wife loves to cook and there’s no way she can do this even if we stay in a luxury hotel,” explained Bautista, who is now in town setting up an import-export venture between his Manila-based company and several firms in Hong Kong which source products from China.

V Hotel and Serviced Apartment in Happy Valley

“She’s actually very happy with the deal that we’ve got because the package is only about HK$20,000 for a month, which is cheaper than staying in a hotel. And what makes the serviced apartment more attractive is the fact that it’s just a few steps from the Wan Chai MTR station which makes travel convenient for us.”

Aside from long-staying visitors like the Bautistas, a growing number of locals, including homebuyers who delayed their purchases after the government’s property cooling measures, are looking to serviced apartments for accommodation, analysts say.

In response to this growing demand, more and more property owners are converting underused office buildings into serviced apartments to earn more rental income.

In this way the government’s cooling measures have provided an unwitting boost to the serviced apartment sector, the analysts say.

“Owners of office premises stand to get between 30 and 50 per cent more in rental income by converting their properties into serviced apartments,” said Ringo Lam, director for valuation at AG Wilkinson & Associates. “This has served as the major driving force for the increasing number of fairly old and underutilised office buildings being converted into serviced apartments.”

Demand for serviced apartments, especially in the Central and Wan Chai districts, was strong, added Lam, and more and more property owners were exploring the costs of converting secondary office premises into serviced apartments to see if they could generate higher rental yields.

Vincent Cheung Kiu-cho, national director of greater China valuation advisory services at Cushman & Wakefield, said there was a growing market for serviced apartments among local people awaiting the completion or renovation of their flats, long-staying tourists, and newly arrived expatriates who would later search for long-term accommodation.

“For long-staying visitors it makes economic sense to stay in a 300- to 400 sq ft mid-range serviced apartment in a good location, notably Causeway Bay or Wan Chai, for about HK$20,000 to HK$25,000 a month where they can even cook their meals instead of staying in a hotel and paying about HK$1,000 a night in a four-star hotel,” he said.

Owners of office buildings who did not see much prospect of getting better rentals in secondary locations on Hong Kong Island, such as Sheung Wan and North Point, may choose to convert their properties.

“If the outline zoning plans in these districts allow this conversion, they may establish serviced apartments to get better value for their properties,” he said.

Expatriates either on extended stay or employed in Hong Kong who wished to stay in prime locations close to their places of work also support demand for service apartments, A G Wilkinson’s Lam said.

That scores of tourists choose serviced apartments over hotels is hardly surprising. The city’s hotel room rates often spiral during peak periods, especially during the Christmas season and Lunar New Year holidays.

A huge imbalance in supply and demand is largely to blame for this.
Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) figures show that there are currently 243 hotels in the city, providing 71,959 rooms. Its data also shows tourist arrivals had already reached 25.36 million by the middle of this year.

The gross imbalance is unlikely to ease any time soon, with forecasts of the number of hotels rising to 273 by 2017 but boosting hotel room supply to only about 76,603.

Recognising the bright growth prospects of the city’s serviced apartment sector, certain property owners have embarked on refurbishment schemes, aimed principally at maximising returns.

A case in point is V Group of companies, which earlier this month reopened its V Happy Valley serviced apartment block at 68 Sing Woo Road after an extensive, HK$30 million refit that took just over a year.

The company reconfigured the layout of the building and further modernised its interior design in recognition of the greater demand for two-bedroom apartments in the Happy Valley area.

The apartments have been redesigned to maximise space and create more privacy, thereby being more responsive to the needs of guests. The size of each apartment ranges from 488 sq ft to 615 sq ft.

source : http://www.scmp.com

The Ascott Limited, has acquired a serviced residence in Hong Kong for HK$462.3 million (S$75.5 million).

The property will be leased back to the seller or its nominated entity for two years.

At the end of the lease in 2015, the property will be reconfigured and rebranded by Ascott.

The serviced residence has a prime location at No.138 Connaught Road West in Hong Kong Island which overlooks the Victoria Harbour.

Hong Kong

Opening on 1 August 2013, the new 100 Shek Pai Wan Road, Aberdeen, has a seafront location in Hong Kong Island’s Southside area.

Ovolo Hong Kong

A contemporary hotel designed by Hong Kong-based KplusK Associates, the property will feature 85 guestrooms with sea views, power sockets for charging multiple devices, free Wi-Fi and 3D ‘Smart’ TVs. There will also be 10 pairs of interconnecting rooms and four corner sea view suites with extended living room areas. Six rooms will also come equipped with bunk beds.

Hotel facilities include a lounge, 24-hour gym and laundry.

100 Shek Pai Wan Road becomes the seventh Ovolo property in Hong Kong, with an eighth – the 162-room Ovolo Wong Chuk Hang – scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Source : http://www.traveldailymedia.com

GoHome.com.hk recently held its first “GoHome Serviced Apartment Awards 2012-13” award presentation ceremony at The Box, 4/F of International Financial Centre. The function was widely attended by a number of honorable guests, including Mr. Wang Biwei, Representative of China Merchants Property Development Company Limited; Dr. Fanny Chun, Vice President, Hong Kong Chapter of IFMA and Dr. YC Chan, Professor and renowned columnist.

Eaton House Hong Kong

Catherine So, Regional General Manager of GoHome.com.hk said, “Over the years, GoHome has provided the most comprehensive serviced apartment listings and information to the global citizens seeking quality living in the city. This year, GoHome is hosting the first “GoHome Serviced Apartment Awards 2012-13” to acknowledge the outstanding serviced apartments provided by developer and industry players.”

Ms. So continued, “The campaign has received an overwhelming response from the industry and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the winners for the vote of confidence they received from the tens of thousands of serviced apartment guests from across the globe for the best services provided. We are honored to be their select online partner and look forward to further cooperation in the coming years.”

Winners of the “Top 10 Best Serviced Apartments” (According to the alphabetical order of the companies)

1. Eaton House

2. Harbour Plaza North Point

3. Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Sha Tin

4. L’hotel Island South

5. Madera Residences

6. Pacific Place Apartments, Swire Properties Management Ltd

7. S-RESIDENCE

8. Shama Management Limited

9. THE GRAND BLOSSOM

10. The Lily by Chinachem Group

Special Awards (According to the alphabetical order of the awards)

The Best Boutique Serviced Apartment – THE GRAND BLOSSOM

The Best Facilities Award – Harbour Plaza North Point

The Best Luxury Serviced Apartment –Pacific Place Apartments, Swire Properties Management Ltd

The Best Resort-style Serviced Apartment – Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Sha Tin

The Best Service Award – Eaton House

Source : http://www.propertyportalwatch.com

Free-spirited travelers looking for a different kind of city stay are finding that serviced apartments offer a great alternative to the usual hotel options.

For families, individuals or groups of friends, it is a chance to create something of a home away from home, with all the sense of convenience, privacy and comfort that entails. And for business travelers  in town for more than a whistle-stop sales visit or the standard three-day conference, it provides a welcome contrast to work-centred routines, while giving easy access to leisure, restaurant and business facilities either on site or at a nearby partner hotel.

“For many guests, the major benefit of staying in a serviced apartment is the extra living space,” says Caroline Leong, director of marketing for Oakwood Asia-Pacific. “Instead of feeling ‘crammed’ into a smallish hotel room, they have a dining room, living room and kitchen, which can be important for families who want to cook for their kids and not eat out all the time.”

Noting that business travelers are still the company’s core clientele, Leong stresses the need to keep developing other avenues. Leisure travelers and holiday makers are, therefore, seen as an important and growing market segment. With a new property in Guangzhou to add to city centre locations in Seoul, Jakarta, Manila and Mumbai, there are obvious attractions to being able to explore the length and breadth of Asia at one’s own pace and rhythm.

“We are geared up to increase this type of leisure business and, with the exception of Hong Kong and Japan, almost all our properties will accept overnight stays,” Leong says. “We have summer and winter promotional packages and some great value ‘website exclusives’ for travelers booking online or via a smart phone.”

The key is striking a balance so that serviced apartments feel homely, yet have high-quality amenities and reliable services for use if needed. To this end, Oakwood now has purpose-built children’s playrooms or playgrounds at many properties, babysitting services and children’s menus, which can be ordered in. There are further options for private dining in the apartment, housekeeping and grocery deliveries, plus facilities such as an exclusive residents’ lounge for socialising and a fitness centre to keep in trim.

“The aim is to make any stay as fuss-free as possible,” Leong says. “And because we are less ‘commercial’ than hotels, which see all sorts of people coming and going, security is also very good.”

If need does arise for guests to switch from vacation to business mode, that is never a problem. The apartments are fully furnished and fully equipped with everything from wide-screen TVs and home entertainment systems to Wi-fi coverage and nearby meeting rooms.

“We are not just a second choice for shorter-stay accommodation,” Leong says. “Many travellers prefer us to hotels. They can suit themselves, but know that facilities and services are always available. This trend is evident all over Asia and is expected to continue.”

Pilar Morais, CEO of Hong Kong-based CHI Residences, agrees. In her view, there is definite room for growth in the “shorter-stay” market – representing anything from a few days to a few weeks – something clear from the number of local and international players entering the sector in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the region.

“This will make things more competitive in terms of rate packages and services provided by the apartment operators,” Morais says. “We have a ‘stay for three, pay for two nights’ offer for holiday and business travelers  and a ‘welcome home’ special rate for returning guests.”

Regular feedback shows that a few things contribute to that feeling of being somewhere like home, not in just another hotel room. Most often, guests mention the kitchenette, a baby- and child-friendly environment, having somewhere to do one’s own laundry, and free Wi-fi as key factors. When away from home base – and possibly budget-conscious – comfort and convenience is often all about sorting yourself out, rather than waiting for room service to bring a snack or housekeeping to wash the children’s T-shirts.

“People like the flexibility of making their own meals or doing the laundry quickly, and a familiar routine makes their stay more comfortable,” Morais says. “Serviced apartments are usually in areas where dining, shopping and entertainment are easily accessible, so guests have no trouble seeing and experiencing what the city has to offer.”

CHI is ready to pre-book tickets to family attractions, such as Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland. Each property has a DVD library with plenty of cartoons and movies for different age-groups. Staff are always available to offer transport tips, tourist advice and “what’s on” information for visitors keen to make the most of their time. “We can also provide a pre-arrival service to stock kitchenettes with a few basics,” Morais says. “We are still targeting longer-term stays, but we can also focus on the growing demand from travellers and families staying less than 28 days.”

Leaning towards the upper end of the scale, Belinda Kuan, deputy general manager of Signature Homes, the luxury-residential leasing arm of Sun Hung Kai Properties, says demand for high-end units in prime locations shows no signs of slowing.

Kuan represents Four Seasons Place and The HarbourView Place in Hong Kong, which style themselves as “serviced suite hotels”, aiming to offer something more than a regular serviced apartment. The essentials remain broadly the same: to create a home away from home; a marriage of comfort and convenience; and the promise of hassle-free living.

“Our properties not only attract business executives looking for a home where they can enjoy a full all-in-one package combining the benefits of a hotel and a residential apartment, but also expats on holiday getaways,” Kuan says. “Public holidays help to boost the number of travelers choosing to stay in serviced apartment-style accommodation. In our case, they are looking for [something different], with a certain social status.”

Whatever the planned length of stay, it springs from a reluctance to be fenced in by the limits of a standard hotel room, its space and attendant restrictions.

“Our guests want somewhere with a ‘homey’ touch, but they are also becoming more discerning about quality,” Kuan says.

Responding to that, the two serviced suite hotels come with 24-hour multilingual concierge services, rooftop heated pool and Jacuzzi, and fully-equipped kitchenettes. Units configured as three-bedroom suites are 1,420 sq ft and more, while there are also studios, one- and two-bedroom options, and presidential suites.

“We have attracted a diverse range of guests and now have a waiting list for Four Seasons Place,” Kuan says. “Guests can choose flexible contract terms, from one to 12 months. We expect the demand for shorter-stay serviced suite hotels to continue.”

The 66-storey Marina Bay Suites in Singapore is choosing not to go in that direction. Instead, the management team is focusing on longer-term leases for its mainly three- and four-bedroom apartments, largely targeting corporate executives and their families being relocated to Asia.

Showering instead of taking baths and minimizing the use of air conditioners are a few of the things we can do at home to protect our planet. Some serviced apartments are also adopting green measures to help residents reduce their carbon footprints.

Located in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, Gateway Apartments has a 200-square-meter solar panel system.

“The harnessed solar energy from the system is used to heat up the buildings’ hot water and offsets over 70 tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases per year, the equivalent of planting 3,000 trees,” says general manager Rene Holenweger.

Gateway Apartments also provides a recycling bin for residents in each apartment. Energy saving and light-

emitting diode light bulbs, rechargeable batteries, water-saving shower-heads and taps

are used in the apartments. For all printing materials and collaterals, Forest Stewardship Council or recycled paper is used.

The serviced apartment won the silver sectoral prize for the hotel and recreational clubs category at the Hong Kong Awards for Environmental Excellence.

Holenweger says that the management’s environmental measures, no matter how small, aim to reduce the environmental impact of Gateway Apartments.

“Our residents often pass their green ideas and suggestions on to us for our consideration,” Holenweger adds. “We hope that our actions will inspire others to follow, to increase awareness in the importance of environmental protection.”

Shama’s serviced apartments are also eco-conscious, and there are plans to replace existing air conditioners with designated eco-type ones containing earth-friendly refrigerant. “The eco-type air conditioner helps protect the ozone layer,” says Kenneth Sorensen, vice-president of operations at Onyx Hospitality Group north Asia, which owns Shama.

For long-stay guests, towel and linen changes are offered twice a week. Short-stay guests are offered daily towel changes, but an environment card is placed in their rooms to encourage them not to change towels and linen on a daily basis, helping to save energy and water from cleaning them.

Tenants are encouraged to use waste-separation bins for recycling and are provided with self-service laundry facilities. “Non-biological detergent tablets, which contain less chemicals, are available for sale,” Sorensen says.

When Shama’s tenants move out, they are advised to donate unwanted belongings to charitable organisations for reuse. When furniture or electrical appliances need replacing, Shama donates usable and functional ones to charities. The serviced apartment provider supports WWF’s Earth Hour every year by dimming lights in public areas and encourages tenants to turn off lights and air conditioners.

At Shama Fortress Hill and Shama Tsim Sha Tsui, tenants can unwind in the rooftop garden and enjoy Hong Kong’s famous skyline. “This is to offer tenants a relaxing environment in the heart of a vibrant city. In the garden, tenants can pick fresh herbs to use in their cooking when they return to their apartments. Encouraging tenants to stay outdoors helps reduce electricity consumption from air conditioning,” Sorensen says.

“We believe green living is not just a trend, it will keep on going. Global warming and climate change are issues faced by every one of us. We should put more effort in sustainable development.”

Ovolo serviced apartments in Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun also encourage green living. “Our rooms are designed to deliver maximum exposure to natural light and air flow for our guests at all times, and we make sure to situate our buildings in convenient parts of Hong Kong, encouraging greater use of public transport and pedestrian activities,” says Gaurang Jhunjhnuwala, Ovolo’s general manager of business development and marketing.

“All this works to reduce the per-capita carbon footprint of our apartment buildings considerably as residents tend to then use less resources.”

Jhunjhnuwala thinks green living is important for serviced apartment operators. “It places a necessary focus on you to be more responsible in managing your resources,” he says. “Being environmentally-friendly works to ensure a more sustainable and attractive local and global community,” he says.

Source : http://www.scmp.com

Global real estate adviser Savills has entered the mainland’s fast-growing serviced flat sector and is looking to manage 20 properties across the nation by 2016.

“China’s serviced residency market is one of the strongest in Asia, with Beijing and Shanghai seeing the most robust demand,” said Neil Harvey, Savills’ residence director.

Harvey also said that an increasing number of foreign clients were the key driving force behind the market as multinational companies continued to invest on the mainland.

Savills, the first global property consultancy to tap the mainland’s serviced apartment sector, expects to soon officially launch Savills Residence Century Park in Pudong.

The company also plans to actively expand its portfolio in southern China.

“The [Pudong] property is the forerunner of more projects to be launched in Shanghai and southern China in the coming months and starts us well on track to achieve our goal of 20 Savills Residence properties in China by 2016,” Harvey said.

The company has signed agreements for four more properties including two in Shenzhen.

The move to diversify into the serviced apartment sector came after requests from the company’s long-time clients for the consultancy to manage their residential properties.

In Shanghai, rents for serviced flats rose 1.6 per cent in the third quarter from the previous quarter, with occupancy rate at 92 per cent, according to Savills.

Savills will compete with leading industry operators such as Ascott, Frasers and Oakwood, all of which are also expanding rapidly on the mainland.

The mainland has been a major source of growth for serviced flat operators as more foreign companies flocked to the country while a soaring number of affluent mainlanders increasingly traveled around the nation.

Harvey said business from mainland travelers could account for 20 per cent of the total in first-tier cities while the percentage could be more than 60 per cent in second-tier cities.

Ten years ago, domestic businesses represented only 2 to 3 per cent of serviced flats operating in the country.

Serviced-flat operators in the major cities normally aim to attract foreign families, single expatriate professionals and domestic travelers.

Source : http://www.scmp.com