SACO Locked on to UK aparthotel market

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• What is the thinking behind Locke and what will differentiate it from its competitors?

"The thinking behind Locke, very simply put, is to bring the best of the lifestyle and design-led hotel experience and combine it with serviced apartment living to create something that we think is unique in the extended stay sector - a design-led lifestyle aparthotel."

"We don't think there is something else like this in the UK market. The single-minded focus of the Locke brand is to design something for what we are calling 'the modern traveller'. We've done a lot of research in to what makes that modern traveller different, and what experience they are looking for when they're in town on business or for pleasure, and we think the Locke concept is going to offer them something unique."

• Which elements from boutique and lifestyle hotels have you incorporated in to Locke?

"The communal space will be quite interesting, in that there will be a large F&B offering. There'll be snacks, coffees and juices available on the ground floor at Leman Locke, and then up on the mezzanine level there'll be a broader offer, including full meals. that's new for us, and is part of trying to create the feeling of a community within the space. We're aiming to attract local clientele as well as our guests, creating an atmosphere, which is something I think some of the lifestyle hotels have done well."

Do you think the extra amenities will mean Locke has a broader guest profile and a higher number of leisure travellers than other SACO properties?

"I think we will have more leisure travellers. It's not a strategy to diversify away from the corporate market in to the a pure consumer space but it's a definite extension of our business mix. We're very strong in the b2b space so this is an opportunity to cast the net a little wider to a consumer market whose awareness of serviced apartments and apart hotels as an alternative to hotels is still relatively low."

• Once Locke Leman is open, which other cities are you targeting and how many projects do you have in the pipeline?

"We have a number of projects in the pipeline. Edinburgh will open at the end of Q1 2017 and we are actively looking for properties in all major UK cities and European gateway cities."

• Is the Locke concept transferable to sites that were bought for Beyonder or is this a completely separate initiative?

"Locke is an evolution of the Beyonder brand. The intention three years ago was to develop this lifestyle aparthotel concept, and over time the concept have merged and evolved in to Locke which will be the brand under which the concept is being launched."

• In a period of time when world events seem to have taken on a more Hobbesian nature than Lockean, who at SACO is the fan of philosopher John Locke, from whom the brand takes its name?

"Eric Jafari, the managing director of SACO Property Group, had the idea and has developed the brand concept with us - now it's up to us to deliver it at Locke Leman, and then in Edinburgh."

Eric Jafari of SACO Property Group will be speaking at Serviced Apartment Summit Europe on July 13.


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