George Sell

George is the editor of Serviced Apartment News, and has more than a decade's experience as a hospitality, property and travel journalist. He regularly contributes to a wide range of international publications and websites.

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Recent Articles by George

Oakwood launches Clean360 program

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Singapore: Oakwood has launched Clean360, a global program that "details the brand’s commitment to meeting the health and safety challenges of COVID-19".

Schroders buys Hong Kong asset manager Pamfleet

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UK: Asset manager Schroders has has bought control of Hong Kong real estate investment manager Pamfleet, which has serviced apartments and hotels in its portfolio, for an undisclosed sum.

Acomodeo partners with ATG

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Germany: Serviced apartment booking portal Acomodeo has partnered with leading international travel management company ATG

Trio team up for €1 billion Paris venture

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France: Ivanhoé Cambridge and Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors alongside Greystar Real Estate Partners have launched a new venture focused on funding purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) and young professional accommodation in the Greater Paris Region.

My Place strengthens executive team

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US: My Place Hotels of America has named former EVP Matthew Campbell as chief operating officer/chief legal officer and former associate general counsel Adam Altman as the company’s general counsel.

Egypt set for branded residence boost

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Egypt: A raft of international brands are planning to expand in the Egyptian branded residential sector, joining the likes of Four Seasons, Safir, Hilton and InterContinental.

Out in the open

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Awareness of mental health issues, and the sheer number of people they affect, has risen tremendously over the last few years.

The bubble has burst

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It's sad to have to report on the ultimate demise of Stay Alfred, even though the news was not unexpected.

Solid State

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As the financial impact of the pandemic on the hospitality and travel sectors becomes more apparent, there has been talk in a number of countries about the nationalisation of certain companies which have been propped up with huge amounts of government support.

Latest Studio 6 property opens in Texas

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US: G6 Hospitality, owner, operator and franchisor of the Studio 6 extended stay brand has announced the opening of a new-build Studio 6 in Katy, Texas.

Cuckooz ceases trading

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UK: London serviced apartment operator Cuckooz has closed its doors due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Quay Apartments wins Prestige Hotel Award

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UK: Quay Apartments, which operates 14 units in Clarence House in Newport, has been named Best Serviced Apartment in South Wales and Cardiff for 2020 in the Prestige Hotel Awards.

Essex aparthotel plans refused

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UK: Plans for a £6 million aparthotel, shops and restaurant complex in Clacton town centre have been dismissed by a planning inspector.

Watkins Jones reopens BTR and student housing sites

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UK: BTR and student housing developer Watkins Jones says most of its UK construction sites are now operating at 75 per cent of normal capacity, following the restarting of work after the coronavirus lockdown.

A leftfield launch

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Sometimes a brand launch comes at you from leftfield, and a concept that you would never have considered comes to life before your eyes.

Follow the money

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In extraordinary times, it's always fascinating to see where the smart money goes.

Hoping for a V

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It's not often that a press release from an industry body contains the word "dire" but the GBTA has been very candid when announcing the results of its latest flash poll of members.

What next for Airbnb?

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The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have been felt keenly across the hospitality sector, but nowhere more so than at Airbnb. SAN editor George Sell looks at how it has been affected and the potential implications for the serviced apartment sector.

Quick Q&A: Sam Nazarian, sbe

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Sam Nazarian, founder and CEO of sbe talks to SAN about launching the Hyde Living aparthotel brand in Europe, and what the Coronavirus pandemic has taught him.

Up close and personal with Lina Abdullah, Oakwood

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Lina Abdullah, Serviced Apartment Awards Rising Star winner and regional general manager, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand at Oakwood.

Apache funds Edinburgh BTR project

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UK: Apache Capital Partners and Harrison Street’s UK multifamily housing platform are funding a £215 million build-to-rent development in Edinburgh.

Up close and personal with Bill Barnett, C9 Hotelworks Company

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Bill Barnett, branded residence expert and managing director of C9 Hotelworks Company.

The lie of the land: Serviced Apartment News operator survey

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Global: Serviced Apartment News polled 36 operators of varying size from around the world to see how they were coping with the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on business, as well as asking them for any ideas, tips or strategies which are helping them in the current situation.

Red Roof offers day rates to remote workers

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US: Red Roof, which operates the HomeTowne Studios brand, is introducing day rates for remote workers in response to pandemic-enforced changes to the working environment.

Global inventory hits 1.25 million units

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UK: The eighth edition of the Global Serviced Apartments Industry Report (GSAIR), estimates that worldwide serviced apartment supply has increased by 14.75 per cent since 2018 to 1,254,743 units.

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Amid the mayhem that that the coronavirus outbreak is wreaking on hospitality, and all the distress it is causing around the world, it has been heartening to see individuals and companies doing the best they can under the circumstances - being honest, being realistic and being responsible.

Willis to step down from Chatham role

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US: Chatham Lodging Trust, a hospitality real estate investment trust (REIT) that invests in upscale extended-stay hotels, has announced that chief investment officer Peter Willis is stepping down from the company.

Kerten Hospitality to open Jordan aparthotel

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Jordan: Dubai-based mixed-use operator Kerten Hospitality has signed a management agreement with Ayla Oasis Development Company to open the Cloud7 Residence Ayla Aqaba in June 2020.

Adagio celebrates year of growth

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France: Aparthotels Adagio says 2019 marked a year of exceptional performance for the brand, including seven openings in four countries and an additional 17 aparthotel signings.

Limehome secures €21 million to fund growth

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Germany: Hospitality startup Limehome has secured a further €21 million from existing investors to develop its proptech platform and to continue scaling in Germany and Europe.

IHG launches new extended stay concept in Europe

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Netherlands: Cycas Hospitality has signed a lease agreement with Van der Linde Architecten and Development company to manage IHG’s first Holiday Inn Express & Suites property in Europe.

Co-living making the headlines

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Co-living is making the headlines across the hospitality and real estate industry, and it is certainly having an affect on the way players in the serviced apartment sector are thinking.

Green light for Glasgow aparthotel

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UK: Developer Caledon Properties Ltd has been granted planning permission for a 157-bed aparthotel, public house and retail units in the city’s Trongate area.

Airbnb sues Hernandez over Niido deal

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US: Airbnb has filed a lawsuit against NGD Homesharing and its CEO Harvey Hernandez, claiming it stole funds and made unauthorised loans to other companies.

Yays signs The Hague apartments

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Netherlands: Yays has signed a long-term lease agreement for 53 serviced apartments at the Koninginnegracht in The Hague.

Shama to add two Bangkok properties in 2020

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Thailand: Shama Serviced Apartments by ONYX Hospitality Group is doubling its presence in the Thai capital by adding Phrom Phong and Yen Akat to its portfolio in 2020.

Event review: RECHARGE 2020 Barcelona

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Spain: Hospitality and real estate professionals from around Europe braved the might of Storm Gloria for the third staging of International Hospitality Media's uniquely collaborative RECHARGE event.

Up close and personal with Aaron Lee, Dash Living

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Aaron Lee, CEO and founder of Hong Kong-based serviced apartment, hotel and co-living operator Dash Living.

Vision adds Lucerne apartments

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Switzerland: VISIONAPARTMENTS has opened its conversion of the former Hotel Fox in Lucerne, adding 60 apartments to its portfolio.

Dash Living buys Easycity

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Singapore: Hong Kong-based rental solution provider Dash Living has acquired Singapore co-living firm Easycity.

PREM Group to open in Amsterdam

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Netherlands: Dublin-based operator PREM Group is to open its 16th PREMIER SUITES property, in Zuidas, Amsterdam in June 2020.

Supply and demand

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Thanks to The Apartment Service for letting us have a sneak preview of the industry research within its GSAIR report. It’s encouraging to see that global inventory has risen by 14.75 per cent since the last report was published in June 2018.

The way ahead

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So, after two-and-a-half years of the UK's political system - and by extension the country as a whole - feeling like it has been wading through treacle, there is at last some clear ground ahead, although there is still much division over whether it is heading in the right direction.

Corporate housing plays catch up

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Finding and booking somewhere to stay for leisure - and increasingly business - travel has become easy and convenient with the rise of the OTAs, Airbnb and other platforms and the money they have invested in the technology necessary to make the booking process as frictionless as possible.

The first of many?

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CWS Corporate Housing’s acquisition of one of its main competitors, Gables Corporate Accommodations, will see the formation of a seriously influential player in the US corporate housing sector.

Europe's booming co-living sector

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It's been exciting to see the speed with which co-living has gone from being a rather misunderstood outlier in the hospitality sector to a mainstream asset class attracting increasing amounts of institutional investment.

Adagio boosts European pipeline

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France: Aparthotels Adagio has announced several recent openings and new signings, including the Adagio Aparthotel Lille Centre Grand Place, Aparthotel Adagio Paris Nation, and new properties in Germany.

Cycas hires Habelitz as CFO

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Netherlands: Cycas Hospitality has appointed a new chief financial officer (CFO) and added three further positions in its finance leadership team.

UK hospitality sector reacts to election result

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The UK serviced apartment and wider hospitality sector has broadly welcomed last night's election result, seeing it as the end of a long period of limbo in which the country's political direction was shrouded in uncertainty.

Cheval Maison property to open in Frankfurt

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Cheval Collection has announced it will be opening the first Cheval Maison in continental Europe in Frankfurt, following an agreement signed with SIC Properties GmbH.

UK industry sentiment on the up

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UK: The latest ASAP/Savills Sentiment Survey shows that overall sentiment in the UK serviced apartment sector has improved considerably since June.

Nestor opts for apaleo PMS

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UK: Property management business Nestor has concluded its implementation of the apaleo property management system.

No action over height of York aparthotel

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UK: City of York Council has decided to take no action after discovering a Roomzzz aparthotel is 25 centimetres taller than its planning permission allows.

Quick Q&A: Stuart Duncan, Apartrooms

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Stuart Duncan, founder of SmartLock Europe, tells SAN about his move in to apartment development and operation with the first Apartrooms property in Aberdeen.

JV to develop south London aparthotel

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UK: A joint venture between Melt Homes and Espalier Ventures is set to build a 175-key aparthotel near The Oval cricket ground in south London.

Supplier focus: Darin Karp, ReloQuest

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Darin Karp, president and CEO of ReloQuest, talks to SAN about the evolution of the corporate housing sector and how technology is restructuring the travel and hospitality industries.

Aparthotel proposed for north Dublin site

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Ireland: The owners of the Omni Park shopping centre in Santry, north Dublin are planning to build an aparthotel and residential apartments on an adjoining site.

REVPAR dip for ESA

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US: Extended Stay America has announced its results for the three and nine months to September 30 2019.

Green light for Blackpool aparthotel

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UK: Planners have giving consent for the conversion of the former Langley Dance Centre on Blackpool's Coronation Street into a nine-key aparthotel.

Ovolo buys Bali Citadines property

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Indonesia: Hong Kong-based hospitality company Ovolo Group has purchased the Citadines Kuta Beach Bali, its first property outside Hong Kong and Australia.

Cycas expands commercial team

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Netherlands: Cycas Hospitality hired four sales and revenue management staff to help it deliver the next stage of growth.

Quick Q&A: Louay Sarrage, SRG Holding

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Louay Sarrage, head of hospitality and asset management at SRG Holding, talks to SAN about the company's forthcoming extended stay projects in Dubai.

Clare Ace joins CAP Worldwide

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UK: Former SACO director Clare Ace has joined CAP Worldwide to develop global relationships and brand partnerships with operators.

Extended reach

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When one thinks of the hotel market in the UAE, and particularly in Dubai, the first word that springs to mind is definitely not undersupply.

Finding a balance

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Across the entire hospitality space, views on OTAs are extremely polarised.

Revitalising the high streets

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The retail sector is having a hard time of it at the moment, and our high streets are seeing an unprecedented number of shops closing, but this presents an opportunity for regeneration.

Operator sought for Belfast aparthotel

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UK: Developer Oakland Holdings is seeking an operator for a 175-unit Belfast city centre aparthotel which has received full planning permission from the City Council.

Dublin Staycity aparthotel up for sale

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Ireland: The newly-completed 51-key Staycity Aparthotel on Chancery Lane, near Dublin city centre, is for sale with a guide price €12.3 million.

Melbourne serviced apartment deal scrapped

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Australia: Malaysian developer UEM Sunrise Bhd (UEMS) has terminated an agreement with The Trust Company (Re Services) Ltd, the trustee for Ascendas Australia Hotel Trust (AAHT) to buy a serviced apartment block at Aurora Melbourne.

Aviva buys London aparthotel

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UK: Aviva Investors’ Lime Property Fund has acquired the freehold interest in a London aparthotel scheme, which it will lease to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Evolution and expansion

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Ascott's unprecedented growth spurt on its home patch shows how it is adapting to the evolving hospitality sector and its clients needs.

Up close and personal with Ben Davis and Adam Lowenthal, Saxbury

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Ben Davis and Adam Lowenthal, co-founders of serviced apartment real estate agency Saxbury.

Up close and personal with Simon Lehmann, AJL Consulting

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Simon Lehmann, co-founder and CEO of AJL Consulting. Lehmann is an online travel specialist, angel investor, and a thought leader in the alternative lodging and vacation rental industry.

WoodSpring Suites set for Jacksonville

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US: A planning application has been logged for a four-storey WoodSpring Suites extended stay hotel in Baymeadows, a suburb of Jacksonville, Florida.

Locale adds to Texas portfolio

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US: Locale is expanding its footprint in Texas with newly signed leases across five luxury residential buildings in Dallas and Fort Worth.

The green opportunity

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Sustainability is a hot topic in the hotel world, and indeed the wider construction industry, but one which is not mentioned very often in conjunction with serviced apartments.

Handy phones parent Tink Labs wound down

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Hong Kong: Tink Labs, which makes and supplies Handy smartphones to serviced apartments and hotel operators, has terminated its services in several markets following the cessation of operations.

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• Dubai has often been at the forefront of incredibly ambitious schemes in the hospitality and tourism markets, and this week the emirate's nascent but healthy short-term rental space just burst in to life with two landmark deals.

Sydney aparthotel bought by Yeh family

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Australia: Sydney's Yeh family has purchased the Seasons Harbour Plaza serviced apartment hotel in Sydney's CBD through the first-ever NSW court-ordered strata renewal collective sale.

New hires and promotion at IHM

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Leading hospitality publishing and events company International Hospitality Media, the publisher of Serviced Apartment News, has announced promotions and additions to its UK-based team.

Up close and personal with Max Thorne, MRP Group

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Max Thorne, chief executive of MRP Group.

Two US hospitality REITs to merge

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US: Park Hotels & Resorts has reached a deal to acquire Chesapeake Lodging Trust in a deal that will bring its market value to $12 billion.

SMARTments partners with ReviewPro

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Germany: GBI’s SMARTments brand has partnered with ReviewPro with the aim of improving the guest experience and securing repeat business from corporate clients.

Up close and personal with Ken Brown, Furnished Quarters

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Ken Brown, vice president, global solutions at Furnished Quarters.

Up close and personal with Larry Korman, AKA Hotel Residences

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Larry Korman, co-CEO of Korman Communities and president of AKA Hotel Residences.

Hyatt House planned for Huntsville

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US: A planning application for an extended-stay Hyatt hotel in downtown Huntsville, Alabama, is due to be considered by the local council.

NexPoint buys Condor Hospitality Trust

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US: Canada-listed REIT NexPoint Hospitality Trust (NHT) has agreed to buy Condor Hospitality Trust, an owner of extended stay and select service hotels.

The real opportunity for co-living

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The term co-living is a misunderstood one - although there are operators out there with an international product aimed at high income global nomads, this demographic is unlikely to be big enough to support a fast-growing industry.

Bartra to redraw plans for Dublin co-living projects

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Ireland: Developer Bartra Capital Property Group will cut up to 20 beds from a proposed co-living development in Dun Laoghaire to meet guidelines proposed by An Bord Pleanala in relation to a similar project in west Dublin.

Up close and personal with: Jason Delany, Staycity Group

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In the first of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. To kick us off, we spoke to Jason Delany, director of brand, product & marketing at Staycity Group.

The circle of life

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• Although it has been described as London's ugliest hotel, there is something slightly poignant about the fate of the Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum.

My Place makes Wisconsin debut

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US: My Place Hotels of America has opened in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, marking the first My Place Hotel in state and the brand’s 22nd state entry.

Superior Court boost for AKA West Hollywood

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US: A Superior Court judge has denied the City of West Hollywood’s request to dismiss several parts of a lawsuit brought against it by the owner of AKA West Hollywood.

Be Mate adds Madrid apartments

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Spain: Be Mate, Room Mate Group’s serviced apartment brand, is adding two new full management buildings in Madrid to its portfolio.

Building synergies

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You won't see many clearer examples of the synergistic relationship between the extended stay and serviced apartment sector and corporate business than two of the US stories we have covered this week.

ESA goes "asset-right"

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Extended Stay America is now just over half way through its five year ESA 2.0 plan to transform the business through the selling, building and franchising of assets.

My Place partners with AHLA

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US: My Place Hotels has partnered with the American Hotel and Lodging Association, with membership covering all locations as the brand nears the opening of its 50th property.

Layton launches CAP Worldwide in London

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UK: CAP Worldwide Serviced Apartments, a booking agency for the corporate market led by former Apartment Service director Jo Layton, launched last night in London.

Green light for Lancashire aparthotel

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UK: The conversion and extension of Ormskirk’s grade two-listed former Magistrates’ Court into an aparthotel has been given the go-ahead by West Lancashire Council.

WhyHotel launches Hospitality Living arm

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US: WhyHotel, a service that operates pop-up hotels in new-build apartment buildings, has opened a second office, in San Francisco and launched a new business arm.

IHG is latest GTMC industry partner

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UK: The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has announced that IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) is its latest industry partner.

Work starts on Texas Hyatt House

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US: Developer The Sam Moon Group has begun construction on a Hyatt House hotel as part of the 69-acre Metropark Square mixed-use development in Shenandoah, Texas.

Your Apartment plans UK expansion

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UK: Design-led apartment provider Your Apartment has announced plans to expand across the UK, with a primary focus on London, Birmingham and Cardiff.

AvenueWest expands in Colorado

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US: AvenueWest Global Franchise, the largest provider of managed corporate housing in the US, has announced the expansion of AvenueWest Northern Colorado.

Fraser Suites opens in Hamburg

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Germany: Frasers Hospitality has opened Fraser Suites Hamburg, in the historic Oberfinanzdirektion, a listed building dating back to 1907.

Oakwood rebrand for Phuket hotel

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Thailand: Journey Hub Hotel Phuket, a property owned by Boutique Corporation, has been rebranded as the Oakwood Hotel Journeyhub Phuket.

Uptown Suites opens eighth property

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US: Uptown Suites has announced the official opening of its eighth extended stay property, Uptown Suites Denver Tech Center CO – Centennial.

Ascott announces KSA expansion plans

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KSA: Ascott announced its MEA expansion plans at the Arabian Travel Market, with Saudi Arabia its top pipeline destination in the region over the next two years.

Ascott launches Star Rewards loyalty program

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Singapore: Ascott has launched Ascott Star Rewards, which it describes as the first serviced residence loyalty programme to offer full flexibility to earn and redeem points.

Airbnb leads Lyric funding round

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US: San Francisco-based apartment provider Lyric has raised $160 million in a Series B financing and debt financing led by Airbnb.

Work starts on Dublin aparthotel

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Ireland: Developer Marlet has started work on a €110 million hotel and aparthotel development close to the Ha’penny Bridge in central Dublin.

Parkes to step down from GTMC role

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UK: Adrian Parkes, chief executive of the Guild of Travel Management Companies, has announced his retirement and will step down from his role this summer.

KeyNest expands in to Italy

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Italy: KeyNest is expanding its key exchange service to Italy, in a move that will allow 80,000 operators and hosts to grant property access to guests remotely.

Prime Position

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The prime central London residential market has had a well-documented tough time of it recently - Spring review figures from Knight Frank show that there is still no growth in terms of sales and prices, while sales were down by 15 per cent year-on-year in 2018 and prices down 4.4 per cent.

Developing value

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Staycity's acquisition of a development company is an interesting twist on the Opco Propco equation.

Publisher plans Newcastle aparthotel

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UK: The former home of the Newcastle Chronicle is set to be demolished to make way for two new hotels, in multimillion-pound plans from publisher Reach Plc.

YOO Worldwide opens regional HQ in Bangkok

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Thailand: YOO Worldwide has announced that Bangkok will be the base for its regional HQ and has already confirmed the appointment of key executives and creative directors.

RedAwning integrates with AllTheRooms

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US: Vacation property network RedAwning.com has integrated with AllTheRooms, an accommodations aggregator that pulls data from more than travel sites.

RedAwning integrates with AllTheRooms

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US: Vacation property network RedAwning.com has integrated with AllTheRooms, an accommodations aggregator that pulls data from more than travel sites.

Uptown Suites opens in Texas

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US: Uptown Suites has announced the official opening of its fifth extended stay property, in Round Rock, Texas.

Quick Q&A: Stephen McCall, SACO

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SACO's new CEO Stephen McCall talks to SAN about rolling out the Locke brand to capitalise on the Airbnb-effect that has boosted consumer awareness of apartments.

Event review: RECHARGE 2019, Berlin

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Around 130 professionals from the serviced apartment and broader hospitality sectors converged on Berlin last week for the second annual RECHARGE event. George Sell reports.

Oakwood signs partnership with LIXIL

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Singapore: LIXIL,a manufacturer of bathroom and kitchen products, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Oakwood in the Asia Pacific region.

Quick Q&A: Ken Moore, Oakwood

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Ken Moore, managing director for EMEA at Oakwood, talks to SAN about the growth of the serviced apartment sector and regional variation in customer behaviour.

Cheval launches private chef offer

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UK: Cheval Collection has partnered with La Belle Assiette to offer guests the opportunity to book a private chef in their apartment.

SilverDoor opens US office

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US: London-based serviced apartment agent SilverDoor has opened its US headquarters in Denver, Colorado.