The online accommodation marketplace has turned everyone into a potential hotelier. While Airbnb is shaking up the hotel industry, formerly under-the-radar owners of serviced apartments are reaching out to leisure travellers and others beyond their familiar corporate clients.
Established hospitality brands such as Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons have thriving serviced apartment divisions. In Hong Kong, with its ceaseless revolving door of international workers, brands like Ovolo run successful hotel/apartment hybrid operations.
But here, with one exception for this kind of hybrid, we’ll focus on dedicated serviced apartment brands.
Cheval Three Quays, London
The serviced apartment hardly figured on fashionable London’s radar until this place opened in 2014. Cheval Three Quays is both functional and funky, with a range of wooden-floored, gauzy-curtained apartments. For a real party pad, the two-bedroom penthouses, each with huge wraparound balconies overlooking the stretch of the River Thames from The Docklands in East London to the office blocks and bridges of the financial district, are hard to beat. Cosmopolitan touches such as squashy sofas, huge mirrors and Hermès toiletries – not to mention the welcome hamper – make it feel like the apartment you never had.
AKA Sutton Place, New York
This international brand’s enviable Upper East Side address combines the elegance of a pre-Second World War building with state-of-the-art technology and contemporary rooms. The loft-style living space is all clean lines, coffered ceilings and photogenic modern furniture on high polish mahogany floors. Residents have access to an indoor swimming pool, private cinema, fitness facilities, business centre and chic clubby lounge. Neighbours here include Le Cirque restaurant and the Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman stores.
East Miami Residence Suites, Miami
Attached to the recently opened East hotel, these ultra-sleek residences in the city’s newly rediscovered downtown have plenty of plush touches. One-, two- and three-bedroom apartments have bijou balconies with views of Biscayne Bay. But for killer vistas, head to the tropical-themed rooftop bar Sugar. Thoughtful amenities such as Miami-based Panther coffee are offered in each suite. You’re close to shopping haven Brickell City Centre – but make sure you come back for dinner at Quinto La Huella (, a carnivore-oriented Uruguayan import with a cult following.
Taikoo Place Apartments, Hong Kong, China
Chic has moved east in Hong Kong with the transformation of the Taikoo Shing district into a viable alternative to Central’s ultra-pricey real estate. Taikoo Place’s one-bedroom apartments come with balconies, some with views across Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour. In Hong Kong, where space comes at a (huge) premium, apartment designers have become masters of improvisation: here, sliding doors separate living and sleeping areas. Destination nightlife and restaurants are also popping up among the corporate and residential towers. The ‘in-house’ Mr & Mrs Fox restaurant is a boisterous affair, though there are dozens of cheaper Cantonese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese places dotted around the streets that have so far survived the developers’ plans.
Fraser Suites, Sydney
Steps from Darling Harbour and surrounded by Sydney’s top tables and designer boutiques, these 201 luxury flats come with serious architectural pedigree – they’re designed by Sir Norman Foster. The expansive three-bedroom penthouses have smashing views over this most Instagrammable of cities. Floor to ceiling windows, high-tech sound systems, generous desk space and a personal bar stocked with boutique beer from The Lord Nelson Brewery complete the elegant suites.