The Ascott sets 160,000-key target by year end

Pictured: lyf Ginza Tokyo.
CapitaLand Investment’s lodging business, The Ascott Limited, reports it is on track to reach 160,000 keys by the end of this year.

Across the firm’s entire lodging segment, comprising serviced residences, hotels, rentals and student accommodation, the unit total was 155,500 as at the end of Q3 2022.

Dual growth engines

Within that total, serviced residences stood at 110,000 keys, with hotels comprising 32,200 rooms. 

The firm believes that its dual engines of growth to accelerate asset-light expansion are lodging management and investment management. 

Portfolio picture

The Singaporean company’s portfolio spans over 220 cities across more than 40 countries in Asia Pacific, Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the USA. The company’s serviced apartment, coliving and hotel brands include Ascott, Citadines, lyf, Oakwood, Quest, Somerset, The Crest Collection, The Unlimited Collection, Préférence, Fox, Harris, POP!, Vertu and Yello.

With more than 64,000 keys under development, over 900 properties are either operational or on the slate for the group.

2022 moves

Over the past year, Ascott’s acquisition of serviced apartment competitor Oakwood accelerated growth of its global portfolio by about 15,000 units, cementing its position as one of the top three extended stay serviced residence providers in the world.

The firm also launched brand refreshes as part of a group-wide exercise to strengthen the portfolio, with Citadines beginning in September 2022, Somerset following in Q4 last year, with The Ascott, The Crest Collection and Oakwood, slated for this year.

Plus Ascott Serviced Residence Global Fund (ASRGF) Ascott’s private equity fund with Qatar Investment Authority, grew its funds under management further with acquisition of first lyf coliving property in Tokyo, Japan in Aug 2022. ASRGF’s 12th portfolio investment will be called lyf Ginza Tokyo and is scheduled to open in Q3 this year.

Trust position

Over in the CapitaLand Ascott Trust (CLAS) division, at year end 2022, it encompassed 105 properties representing 18,000 keys either operational or under development. These are mostly operated under the Ascott, Somerset, Quest and Citadines brands.

While Asia Pacific remains the core region for the lodging trust, the portfolio spans 47 gateway cities across 15 countries, namely: USA, UK,  Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, South Korea, Japan, The Philippines, Singapore and Australia.

Longer stay scaling

CLAS is focusing on increasing its longer stay accommodation portfolio. Between 2021 and 2022, the longer stay asset allocation rose from 16% to 19% of its system.

This year it is targeting a 25-30% allocation, with the other 70-75% in serviced residences and hotels.

Accretive acquisitions

The trust further intends to capture growth by pursuing suitable acquisition, asset enhancement and development opportunities.

It has already augmented the portfolio with 15 quality, accretive acquisitions and is investing around S$420 million in 12 longer stay properties and three serviced residences.

Revving up renovations

The group is currently overseeing several major refurbishment projects within Europe, including Citadines Les Halles Paris, which is beginning in Q2 this year and expected to complete in Q1 2024. The capex will largely be borne by the master lessee and the property will remain operational and continue to receive rent during the works. It will involve refurbishment of guestrooms, lobby, breakfast area,mezzanine and other mechanical and electrical  works.

Within the same timescale, Citadines Holborn-Covent Garden London will be overhauled, again remaining operational for the duration. The refurbishment will encompass the guest rooms, public areas, gym and meeting rooms, and other mechanical and electrical  works.

In the German capital, Citadines Kurfürstendamm Berlin’s refreshment will begin in Q2 this year and is due to end in Q4. Refurbishment will be within its 117 guestrooms, public areas and will incorporate other mechanical and electrical works.

Singapore sites

Within The Ascott’s home turf of Singapore, Riverside Hotel Robertson Quay will undergo renovation and rebranding to The Robertson House, under The Crest Collection brand from H1 2023. Expected to complete by end-2023, the refurbishment will cover the 336 guestrooms, the lobby, the restaurant, the gym, function rooms and the executive lounge, as well as other mechanical and electrical works.

Plus the redevelopment of Somerset Liang Court Singapore is underway, with the 192-unit Somerset serviced residence with hotel licence located in the popular riverfront lifestyle and entertainment Clarke Quay precinct. Foundation piling works were completed in Q4 2022, while substructure works are ongoing. The development is expected to complete in H2 2025.

Double century development

The THP database currently has records of 200 high end hotel projects for The Ascott Limited group, comprising 37,615 keys.

79 of these are due for delivery this year (40% of the pipeline), with a further 55 in 2024 and 21 in 2025. At least 192 sites (96%) of the entries are in the five star category, with just eight rated as five stars.

Hot brands and hotspots

In terms of brands, Citadines comes out top with 69 developments, with Somerset second on 39 and Ascott The Residence close behind on 34.

Geographically, 86% of these projects, equating to 171 properties, are taking place in Asia, with Oceania in a distant runners-up spot on 11, with Africa in third on 10. China leads the country list on 76 developments, with Indonesia on 36 and The Philippines on 14. A Chinese trio tops the city count, with Shanghai and Guangzhou on eight sites and Shenzhen with six.