Banyan Tree launches Cassia serviced apartment brand

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 10 June 2014


Singapore: Luxury hospitality operator Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts has launched a serviced apartment brand called Cassia.

The company will develop five properties under the Cassia brand - in Phuket in Thailand, Bintan in Indonesia, Beruwala in Sri Lanka, the Gold Coast in Australia, and Lijiang in China. The launch coincides with Banyan Tree Group's 20th anniversary. Each property will have an average development cost of $50 million, and will have about 200 fully furnished units managed by Banyan Tree.

A further seven projects are in the pipeline, in Brisbane, New York, Seychelles, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Lang Co, Vietnam. Cassia properties will feature one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 35 to 55 square metres, and will sell at an average price of US$250,000.

Banyan Tree Group executive chairman Ho Kwon Ping said the brand was aimed at a growing pool of middle class investors: "Second homes used to be the domain of the ultra-rich, during the last 50 years or so. Now, they are more affordable for normal people, especially if they can get income from it and sell it later on. "The rest of the hospitality sector has seen a lot of excitement and innovation, and even cheaper, smaller, three-star hotels can be hip. But serviced apartments are an under-innovated sector," said Mr Ho. "So we are signalling our entry into this sector, and we intend to shake it up."

Owners who buy the units for investment have the option of staying there for 30 days in a year, with blackout periods during which the units will be leased out. Those preferring to hold the unit as a holiday home will have it for up to 90 days of complimentary use, with no blackout periods.Gross rental yields are expected to be six to seven per cent. Unlike most serviced apartments, there will be no minimum stay period.


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