AP Asia-Pacific (HOG) Hotel Operators Guide is the industry’s most established publication in Asia Pacific to guide investors and owners in understanding the scale, presence and capabilities of hotel operators in the region. HOG highlights the geographic distribution and brand presence of existing properties and pipeline supply, as well as the management structure by operators. To learn more about the publication, please click here for the extract.
Transactions that matter.
1. Clover Jalan Sultan Hotel, Singapore
- Hong Kong-based Weave Living has announced its joint acquisition of the 88-key Clover Hotel in Jalan Sultan with Singaporean property developer SLB Development at 74.8 million SGD (55 million USD) or 627,000 USD per key. The property consists of 17 conservation stores in the Kampong Glam area, and it is on a 99-year lease as of 2008.
- Marked as the first acquisition outside of its hometown of Hong Kong, Weave Living would rebrand the property as Weave Suites offering furnished rental accommodation and a multifunctional shared space, the co-living space is expected to open in early 2023. It would also be the first co-living project invested by SLB Development for income diversification in addition to their portfolio in the residential, industrial and commercial sectors.
- The cohabitation market in Singapore attracts the attention of investors and operators for both long and short term offers. Caliwoo, a co-living brand developed by Singapore-based LHN Group, is expanding its portfolio across Singapore through acquisition and redevelopment of assets; the brand is also launching its own hotel concept in March and currently owns and operates more than 800 units across the city. Lyf, a co-living concept developed by Singapore-based The Ascott Limited, is rapidly expanding its footprint with 18 properties in 9 countries, including 3 in Singapore.
2. Ambassador Hotel Hsinchu, Taiwan
- the 257 keys Ambassador Hotel Hsinchu and adjacent buildings are acquired by Trans Globe Life Insurance from the sellers, Ambassador Hotel and HCT Logistics in 4.2 billion TWD (147 million USD) in total. Inaugurated in 2001, the mixed-use development project also came with commercial space and parking. Ambassador Hotels agrees with a 20 year sale-leaseback of the buyer after the transaction, while the commercial space plan remains unclear after the end of the lease in 2018.
- In addition to the sale-leaseback transaction, Ambassador Hotels is actively seeking redevelopment opportunities for its two properties in Taipei and Kaohsiung. The Taipei property is slated for a mixed-use redevelopment program comprising a hotel tower and 2 residential towers, and the hotel would be managed by Palace Hotel Group under a hotel management agreement in the future. On the other hand, Kaohsiung property is likely to be redeveloped into branded residences in partnership with local developers and investors.
- Notable transactions in the Taiwanese hotel market are driven by the prospect of investment diversification or redevelopment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The acquisition of Sunworld Dynasty Hotel Taipei by Fubon Life Insurance and Indigo Hsinchu Hotel by Shin Kong Life Insurance are both acquired by insurance groups for long-term investment.
3. Lindrum Hotel, Australia
- Australian developer Time & Place takes over the Hotel Lindrum 59 keys of the experienced real estate developer, Robert Magid in a 50 million AUD (37 million USD) OK. Operated under Accor’s MGallery, the boutique hotel is named after billiards champion Walter Lindrum. Located at the eastern end of Melbourne’s CBD, the property is within walking distance of various leisure attractions and public transport.
- Robert Magid acquired the property along with Harbor Rocks Hotel in Sydney from fund developer Cbus Property in 2008. In addition to the asset redesign, the Lindrum Hotel also obtained planning permission for the redevelopment of a residential project. mixed 30 levels comprising hotel rooms and residential units. This is likely to be Melbourne’s first major revitalization project in 2022, and the potential prospect of redevelopment pushes the property’s value to $633,500 per key.
The COVID news that matters.
- From the end of March, China is going through one of the biggest lockdowns in Shanghai to fight the spread of Omicron. The containment takes place in two stages starting from the east side of the city. Although the fully vaccinated population has reached more than 87% in China, the government remains silent on the reopening of the border, instead tightening border controls on all international and interregional arrivals. The zero-COVID (or “zero momentum”) strategy faces small outbreaks in China two years into the pandemic, and even a small number of cases could trigger the lockdown of entire cities.
- Strict entry control between different cities and provinces has further boosted local tourism and excursions. The ski season in northern China ended in late March as more indoor ski resorts spring up after this year’s Winter Olympics. According to the report released by the China Tourism Academy, travelers from warmer cities in southern China are increasingly keen to spend on winter sports, and cities like Hangzhou and Shenzhen are seeing more indoor facilities offering similar experiences even in summer. Other popular activities include flower viewing, cultural experiences and lesser-known destinations are trends seen during the 3-day spring break in China.
- Starting March 22, quarantine requirements for international air travelers arriving at operating airports across Indonesia were lifted after a successful two-week quarantine-free travel trial in Bali, Batam and Bintan. While Bali opened its doors to international travelers in October last year, only 45 international arrivals were recorded for the whole year. The government also granted visa on arrival to inbound travelers from 25 countries, such as China, Japan, Korea and all ASEAN members from late March.
- Meanwhile, the government is pursuing the development of “priority super destinations” across Indonesia, the existing 5 focal points include Lake Toba, Borobudur, Labuan Bajo, Mandalika and Likupang. Despite less popularity compared to Bali, these five destinations have their advantages and potential to become world-class destinations. For example, Borobudur is named as one of UNESCO’s cultural heritages, and Lake Toba is the largest lake in Southeast Asia with abundant natural resources.
- From April 1, Singapore lifted all quarantine requirements and entry restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers with valid pre-departure tests and travel insurance. The number of new daily cases fell from over 20,000 in February this year to around 6,000 at the end of March. The city-state is also easing related social distancing measures at the same time, including optional mask-wearing outdoors, greater capacity for events and gatherings, and the sale of alcohol at outlets. Late night F&B. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the team have announced that Singapore will enter a new phase of life with Covid-19. The new measures should stimulate the arrival of leisure and business travelers more effectively than VTLs with some countries adopted in recent months.
- While the number of visitor arrivals would take some time to rebound to 2019 levels, the city-state remains optimistic about its leisure and hospitality development. Two integrated resort operators, Marina Bay Sands (“MBS”) and Resorts World Sentosa (“RWS”), both announced their expansion plans this year. MBS is currently undergoing a $3.3 billion expansion slated for completion in 2026, and plans include renovating existing assets and adding a 4th tower and 15,000-seat arena. RWS, on the other hand, would begin its $3 million expansion of Universal Studio and the aquarium in the second quarter of 2022, while the renovation of its hotel properties would take place in several phases.
Asia-Pacific reopening status.
Starting earlier this year, more countries began opening their borders to international travelers after vaccination rates reached “herd immunity” levels in the country. Instead of showcasing immunization progress in Asia-Pacific, the AP newsletter will now show the reopening status of individual countries and regions. While each may require recall or PCR test results as part of their respective entry requirements, the majority of destinations have completely or partially removed the quarantine requirement upon arrival for visitors. Additionally, leisure travel is expected to gradually pick up as international travel in Asia-Pacific picks up.
AP Hospitality Advisors