Why the best aparthotels now feel like home, but more chic
Traditionally, serviced apartments have targeted either the jet-setter – grab the Hyde Park Suite for US$8,000 a night (AUD$11,566) at the Mandarin Oriental London – or, as with the Hawthorn Suites for US$95 a night ( $137 AUD) from Wyndham in Sterling, Virginia, for the budget-conscious business traveler.
But the hospitality industry is beginning to tap into a larger market for long-term accommodation. These are not repetitive, soulless furnished suites. Dual-brand hotels, in which one company operates one property as an extended-stay space and an adjacent property as a standard hotel, are becoming more common.
In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, people are looking for a nice place to work that also offers the comforts of home (or better).
Accor, Europe’s largest hotel company, opened the Mercure Tokyu Stay Osaka Namba on December 1, its first dual-brand hotel in Japan. hub” when it opens this year.
Extended-stay brands Hyatt House and Hyatt Place will open 48 new locations in the United States by the end of the year; Hyatt Centric is expanding into China, India and Kenya.
Marriott is also doubling down on its work-life arrangements, to take advantage of growth in bleisure (business mixed with leisure) spending, which is expected to more than double from 2021 to 2027, according to Euromonitor. It was estimated at US$200 billion (AUD$289 billion) in 2022.
In November, the company launched its sixth extended-stay brand, Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy, to offer luxury serviced apartments in the United States and Canada.
“We know the mix of business and leisure travel will continue through the new year and beyond,” said Tina Edmundson, global brand and marketing manager for Marriott International.
“Travelers are looking for more choices when it comes to accommodations – a common space to accommodate multi-generational families, celebratory gatherings, tournament trips, and more.” It’s up to you, Airbnb.
The four-room Studio Commons option at Element Salt Lake City Downtown, which opens this month as part of Marriott’s Le Meridien/Element dual brand, has a compact kitchenette with all the gadgets you’d need.
Tom Ito, who founded Gensler’s hospitality firm in the late 1990s, says today’s designs aim for a more residential feel, with working fireplaces, local artwork and relaxed seating. . Terraces and balconies are also more important, as they provide ventilation – and help avoid the feeling of being trapped in a cookie cutter box.
The brands enrich their fitness offers with spaces for Pilates or cycling classes and rooftop swimming pools. And during the day, this great little corner cafe (owned and operated by the brand) will serve pastries, as well as healthy food and drinks, before turning into a bar at night.
From there, an inviting staircase could lead up to your suite – a more intimate journey than jumping into an elevator.
“It comes down to the things we value the most,” Ito says. “What does it mean to be healthy, what does it mean to be socially responsible, to be in places where you feel good and where you feel connected to people?
Beyond mobile check-in, he says, customers want technology to enhance their experience rather than replace human interactions.
The idea that a hotel can be a community center and a destination for locals – instead of just a place for strangers – drives sustainability. Hospitality projects that restore historic buildings in industrial neighborhoods can revitalize an area.
In cities whose population has grown in the past two years, such as Austin and Nashville, apartment hotels are being built next to airports, stadiums and entertainment venues.
Gensler is designing a mixed-use Fairmont Hotel & Residences in downtown Phoenix, as well as another hotel next to Ontario Airport in California’s Inland Empire. The connections between sport, entertainment and hotel development lead to more mixed projects.
The concept of community is at the heart of Gensler’s most impressive future projects, such as the Signia by Hilton in Atlanta, overlooking Mercedes-Benz Stadium and connected to the Georgia World Congress Center. The contemporary, 975-room hotel aims to join a historic neighborhood, site of civil rights riots, with its upscale downtown Westside neighborhood. Its opening is scheduled for 2024.
This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be consulted here