Because city life unfolds in a hurriedly constant pace, an extra day for the weekend becomes a rare but sweet treat. And what do people usually do with sweet treats? They make it even sweeter.
In the case of long weekends, the tired out workforce has very much taken to “staycations”—a juxtaposition of the words “stay” to mean staying put in the metro, and “vacation.” The appeal of quick escapes, without the hassle of long drives and flights at nearby hotels in fact have become such a trend that many establishments in this industry promote this pursuit actively and enthusiastically.
This year, however, the hospitality industry has seen a new trend on the rise, and that is the “serviced apartment.”
According the UK-based Association of Service Apartment Providers (ASAP), service apartment is defined as “a type of furnished apartment available for short-term or long-term stays, which provides amenities, housekeeping and a range of services for guests and where most taxes and utilities are included within the rental price.”
In essence, ASAP further noted, serviced apartments offer facilities much like a traditional hotel but with added space, convenience and privacy as if one were in his or her own home.
Additionally, according to cotels.co.uk, the popularity of serviced apartments is due to the increase of available units, which according to the 2015/16 Global Serviced Apartments Industry Report (GSAIR) has grown by over 80 percent since 2008.
Moreover, in Huffington Post’s 2016 report, “The New Trend Shaking Up The Hotel Industry,” ASAP likewise revealed, “48 serviced apartment operators show expansion targets globally at an anticipated global increase in supply of 145,000 serviced apartment units through 2018.”
Existing PH trend
While others may consider serviced residences a new trend, Ascott Philippines—the largest international serviced residence owner-operator—is proud to say their type of service has been in existence for a long time.
In acknowledgement the company’s cluster representative told The Manila Times, “There has indeed been an increased awareness of the value position of serviced residences, which are ideal for long-staying guests with the comforts of home, conveniences, maintenance and security services. Moreover, the service is more personalized [in this category].”
One solid proof to this increased awareness is Ascott’s continuous expansion in the country. Currently the company has three brands in the Philippines: Ascott, built for global companies’ top honchos momentarily residing in the country; Somerset, which targets business executives and familial accommodation; and Citadines, which caters to a younger mobile market.
In July, the company opened its sixth property in the Philippines, Somerset Alabang Manila. It is Ascott Group’s first foray in the southern part of Metro Manila, the other five via Ascott in Bonifacio Global City; Citadines in Ortigas and in Salcedo, Makati; and Somerset in two earlier ocations, Legaspi Village and Olympia both in Makati.
Somerset Alabang is a 150-unit development that offers prime rooms in studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartment choices. According to Ascott Philippines, they were overwhelmed to welcome a large number of long-term occupants in as little as two months of opening, and an ever higher figure for short-term clientele.
In fact, during The Manila Times’ visit, over the sole long-weekend of September, Somerset Alabang was filled with happy families who opted to spend the holiday in the southern metro.
For long-term occupants, service residence is a wise choice what with facilities and equipment that can cut down their daily expenses.
At Somerset, each room has a well-equipped kitchen—almost everything one needs to use on a daily basis; an easy-to-use washing and drying machine; separate working and living areas; a home entertainment system; and high-speed broadband internet connection.
The property further features facilities that long-time business travelers and their families are accustomed to. It has a lap pool, a fully equipped fitness center, a premier restaurant, a pool bar, and a play area for children. Moreover, clients can take advantage of serviced offices for lease, function rooms and boardrooms ideal for corporate and social events.
Functionality therefore is combined with eye-pleasing designs at Somerset Alabang. The entire property from the reception area to the rooms and other amenities exude the kind of luxury that is not intimidating. And in the company’s effort to include a local touch in their Philippine properties, Somerset also tapped local artists to contribute works that can be associated with the bahay kubo, which is symbolic of traditional houses in rural Philippines. As such, guest can feast their eyes on pottery work, and a variety of paintings with the bahay kubo in focus.
Take note that serviced residences are not only ideal for long-term occupants; larger groups and families can also appreciate this type of accommodation for staycations. Think of the luxury of hotel services and amenities but with much larger room for stretching.
Finally, the cost of accommodation in service residences is also inviting. It cuts down the cost for long-term occupants and allows short-term visitors to experience the luxury of a suite-like room for half the price they would pay for in traditional hotels.
To compare, a premiere room in a five-star hotel in the city, occupying 37 square meters of space, average at P8,000 per night. At Somerset Alabang, a studio premiere room with 43-square-meter area starts at P6,000 per night. Currently, the newly opened Somerset Alabang has Welcome Home Sale offer with overnight room rates of P3,900 for a studio unit, P4,200 for a studio premier and P4,380 for a one-bedroom unit.
Somerset is located at 3409 Spectrum Midway Filinvest City Alabang, Muntinlupa. For inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org.