Traditionally, residence hotels have targeted either the jet-setter – take the US$8,000-a-night (AUD$11,566) Hyde Park suite at Mandarin Oriental London – or, as with the US$95-a-night (AUD $137) Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham in Sterling, Virginia, the budget-conscious business traveler.
But the hospitality industry is starting to tap into a broader market for extended-stay accommodations. These aren’t soulless, repetitive furnished suites. Dual-brand hotels, in which a company operates one property as an extended-stay space and an adjoining one as a standard hotel, are becoming more common.
In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, people are seeking a beautiful place to work that also delivers the comforts of home (or better).
Accor, Europe’s largest hospitality company, opened Mercure Tokyu Stay Osaka Namba, its first dual-brand hotel in Japan, on Dec. 1. Under Accor’s joint venture with Ennismore, the rooms and apartments at Tribe Bangkok Sukhumvit 39 will converge around a “social hub” when it opens this year.
The Hyatt House and Hyatt Place extended-stay brands will open 48 new locations in the US by year end; Hyatt Centric is expanding in China, India and Kenya.
Marriott is also doubling down on work-live arrangements, to take advantage of growing “bleisure” (business mixed with leisure) spending, which is expected to more than double from 2021 to 2027, according to Euromonitor. It was an estimated 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 furnished apartments in the US and Canada.
“We know the blend of business and leisure travel will continue through the new year and beyond,” says Tina Edmundson, Marriott International’s global brand and marketing officer.
“Travelers are seeking more choices in accommodations – communal space to host multigenerational families, celebration gatherings, tournament travel and the like.” Your move, Airbnb.
The four-room Studio Commons option at Element Salt Lake City Downtown, opening this month as part of Marriott’s dual-branded Le Meridien/Element, has a compact kitchenette with all the gadgets you’d need.
Tom Ito, who founded Gensler’s hospitality practice in the late 1990s, says designs today are aiming for a more residential feel, with working fireplaces, local artwork and casual seating spaces. Terraces and balconies are more prominent, too, since they provide ventilation – and help avoid the feeling of being trapped in a cookie-cutter box.
Brands are enhancing fitness offerings with spaces for Pilates or cycling classes and rooftop pools. And during the day, that great little cafe around the corner (owned and operated by the brand) will serve pastries, plus healthy food and drinks, before it converts into a bar at night.
From there, an inviting stairway might lead to your suite – a more homey trip than hopping into an elevator.
“It gets back to the things that we value most,” says Ito. “What does it mean to be healthy, what does it mean to be socially responsible, to be in places that make you feel good and that make you feel connected to people?”
Beyond mobile check-in, he says, guests want technology to enhance their experience rather than to replace human interactions.
The notion that a hotel can be a community hub and a destination for locals – instead of merely a place for out-of-towners – is leading to sustainable development. Hospitality projects that restore historic buildings in industrial neighborhoods can revitalize an area.
In cities whose populations have surged over the past two years, such as Austin and Nashville, residence hotels are being built adjacent 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. Connections between sports, entertainment and hotel development are leading to more mixed-use projects.
The concept of community lies at the heart of Gensler’s most impressive future projects, such as the Signia by Hilton in Atlanta, overlooking the Mercedes-Benz stadium and connected to the Georgia World Congress Center. The 975-room contemporary hotel aims to join an historic neighborhood, the site of civil rights riots, with its upscale downtown Westside district. It’s set to open in 2024.
This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here