Ascott opens first Citadines property in the U.S.

NEW YORK—The Ascott Limited has opened its first Citadines property in the United States, right on Fifth Avenue. The Singapore-based owner-operator renovated the property’s guestrooms and lobby area, in addition to adding new F&B options for guests.

“For many of Ascott’s customers who are accustomed to the quality service offerings of our award-winning brands, our first Citadines property in the heart of bustling New York City will further strengthen our global network and provide them with yet another prime accommodation option,” said Janine Gui, CapitaLand’s country head for the U.S., who also oversees Ascott’s lodging business in the country.

A wholly owned subsidiary of CapitaLand, Ascott purchased the property, formerly known as Hotel Central Fifth Avenue New York, in 2017. At the time, the owner-operator embarked on a multimillion-dollar renovation to upgrade and rebrand the 125-key hotel.

“New York City made sense for Ascott to open our first Citadines property in the United States, as it is a travel hub and the most visited city in the U.S.,” she said. “New York has registered significant increase in the average daily rate and occupancy in the past few years, particularly in Manhattan.”

With more than 120 Citadines in 20 countries in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, Citadines is Ascott’s fastest-growing brand. “By stepping up our Citadines presence in the U.S., we will increase its reach to American travelers, our third largest source market, and cross-sell to our properties outside the U.S.,” Gui said.

Ascott believes Citadines Connect Fifth Avenue New York will fast-track the owner-operator’s expansion plans to ramp up its franchise business in not only North America, but across the globe. Including this property, there are more than 20,000 units, but Ascott is projecting it will reach 160,000 units by 2023.

Located in the heart of Manhattan, the hotel is close to the Theater District, Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, the Museum of Modern Art and Grand Central Station.

Citadines Connect Fifth Avenue New York offers a variety of guestroom types, ranging from rooms with king or double beds to one-bedroom suites with separate living areas. Designed to combine modern comfort with functionality, the property’s renovated guestrooms now come with modern furniture, new televisions, contemporary window treatments, and updated flooring, bathroom tiling and bedding.

In the lobby, there’s a shared community table and a seating area where guests can interact and exchange ideas. “The front desk attendants, simply known as ‘Connectors,’ are equipped with insider tips on local hot spots, eatery favorites and off-the-beaten-track recommendations,” Gui said.

Lobby renovations include the reception area, flooring, decor, lighting and paint. The facade and main entrance were upgraded to enhance the sense of arrival. Street-facing glass panels allow natural light to flow into the lobby.

Property amenities include a business corner, which offers guests free-to-use iMacs connected to high speed wireless internet and a printer; and a grab-and-go corner, which provides packaged snack and cold drink options for guests. The property offers a daily, complimentary continental breakfast. Optional services include laundry and dry cleaning services; tour concierge; and complimentary WiFi and broadband internet access.

Quarterly, the hotel partners with a local F&B outpost to showcase its products, as well as engage guests and locals through a pop-up experience, bringing an aspect of New York City to guests’ fingertips. The property’s current F&B seasonal offering is MatchaBar, which offers Matcha products. Guests can choose between two offerings: Unsweetened Original and Hint of Honey.

“The property thought these quarterly partnerships would be a nice addition to the daily, complimentary continental breakfast,” she said. “For this coming winter, Citadines Connect Fifth Avenue is looking to work with a hot chocolate partner.”

Ascott currently owns three properties in Manhattan. “All three properties are in high demand—with close to full occupancy, given their strategic locations in Times Square, Tribeca and Fifth Avenue,” Gui said. The Times Square and Tribeca properties are owned by Ascott Residence Trust, Ascott’s real estate investment arm.

Ascott has plans to continue growing the Citadines brand in the country. In 2017, the owner-operator bought The Domain Hotel in Sunnyvale, CA. The company invested about $60 million to acquire and refurbish the property. The 136-key hotel—which will be known as Citadines Connect Cupertino—is slated to open in the second half of 2019.

“It will allow us to capture the fast-growing demand from global technology companies and multinational corporations in Silicon Valley,” she said.

Besides growing its presence in New York and Sunnyvale, CA, Ascott sees opportunities to expand in other U.S. cities—including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC. HB

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