Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hotel chains embrace apartments

Look at the latest buildings dotting Jakarta's skyline nowadays. The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott and the Hyatt are no longer just hotels. Lately these international chains have embraced the local apartment industry.

These names are making the most of their brands in the hospitality industry and infusing them into the apartment world. They are introducing serviced apartments to those who don't want to buy an apartment but are more interested in renting for the short or long term.

Earlier this year, the Marriott Group introduced its first apartment block in the country, named The Mayflower on Jl. Sudirman. Under the Marriott Executive Apartments division, The Mayflower has 96 fully furnished rooms to rent. According to the marketing and communications manager of the Marriott Group Jakarta, Ina Ilmiaviatta, more and more people choose to stay in serviced apartments for a variety of reasons, such as privacy, the feeling of home, hotel-like services, prime location and cost efficiency compared to hotels. "We started construction of The Mayflower in 2005 and opened in the first quarter of 2007 because we saw the demand was promising as companies tended to shift their expatriates from houses to apartments due to security concerns, services and conveniences," Ilmiaviatta explained.

Starting from US$2,150 a month, customers can rent a one- to three-bedroom Mayflower apartment measuring between 80 and 193 square meters. All apartments come with sofa set, kitchenette, washing machine, water dispenser, big fridge and furniture. The Mayflower also has public facilities, most notably indoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi, fitness center, spa and a cafe. "We're very new, at the moment we're concentrating on giving the best service, and maximizing the facilities that we have," Ilmiaviatta said.

At the moment, The Mayflower is over 70 percent full, with most guests being expatriate executives. "Next year we're hoping for full occupancy because the market for serviced residential apartments is growing fast," Ilmiaviatta continued.

Indeed it's a thriving market out there with more hotel names hoping to become your home. Shangri-la Residences and Grand Hyatt's Keraton are currently under construction and are scheduled to open their doors in 2008 and 2009 respectively. But way before these serviced apartments drew up their blue prints, Four Seasons Residences opened its doors in 1999. Joanna N. Lasmono, a 37-year-old housewife who has lived at Four Seasons Residences for seven years, is a long-term witness to its quality. "The management really gives great service and the staff are disciplined and most importantly very polite. The premises are very secure so I don't have to worry about leaving my kids at home while I am out."

Although the Four Seasons is a strata title apartment, it also caters to those who want a serviced apartment. It enjoys a 100 percent occupancy rate in its 234 rooms, demonstrating that there is a big demand for luxury apartments that have a reliable name in the business.

Another trusted name in the industry, the Ritz-Carlton, will soon join the booming market. After opening a hotel in Mega Kuningan, the Ritz-Carlton is expanding to apartments in Pacific Place, Sudirman Central Business District, together with hotel rooms.

The apartments, called The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Pacific Place is scheduled to open next week with a big bang. The property industry will get fresh blood with the launch of 139 serviced residences on the top floors of the hotel that include 30 of the most luxurious three-bedroom suites at 165-169 square meters with private balcony. And for a life beyond the ordinary, guests of The Residences will have access to all of the hotel's facilities and services. There is a spacious spa and fitness center in the lush gardens on one side and the Pacific Restaurant Lounge on another. "With Ritz-Carlton's signature facilities, luxurious furnishings, the legendary service of our Ladies & Gentlemen, i.e. shopping butler, we certainly offer more than just an apartment," said Els Ramadhinta, Ritz-Carlton Jakarta director of public relations.

Citing corporate executives looking for a lifestyle with luxury accommodation, exclusivity, great location and abundant choice of facilities as their primary targets, Ramadhinta is confident about the business prospects. "We're experiencing an incredible amount of interest right now and expect to be running out of these luxury apartments very soon."

She continues, "Some people prefer hotels because of the restaurants, facilities and service, some prefer apartments. Now they can choose something that offers both." In this case, names like Marriott, Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton meet the demands of having it both. Now, it seems, you can call the Ritz your home. Really! (Kenny Santana)

The Jakarta Post, November 15, 2007

No comments:

Post a Comment