The ultimate extended stay 'boutique residence' ?

John Wagner George Sell Uploaded

On leaving the Deloitte Hotel Investment Conference held in London last month, I made my way up Park Lane to search out Jumeirah's latest property - The Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living, an extension of the Dubai-based Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts hospitality brand which quietly opened its doors in May 2012.
Promoted as a new category of hotel residences, the apartments are the group's first serviced residences in the UK and the second worldwide after the Jumeirah Living World Trade Centre Residence in Dubai. Located in the iconic Sir Edwin Lutyens building on Park Lane, a hub for London's luxury hotel sector, the property comprises 133 apartments ranging from studios (of which there are 20, measuring between 34 and 64 square metres), 64 one-bedroom residences, 37 two-bedroom residences, to five-bedroom penthouses measuring over 450 square metres of living space, and including private balconies running the length of the building with views over Park Lane and Mayfair, as well as the use of a self-drive Aston Martin Rapide house car.

Having needed to ask for directions, I came across the discreet double entrance on the corner of  Park Lane and Mount Street and was welcomed by Lucas on reception. He showed me to the lift for the second floor reception to meet Sarah Tobler, the marketing manager (ex Lowndes Hotel Jumeirah) for the property. First impressions were a relaxed, casual business atmosphere tempered with friendly and efficient service and I was looking forward to seeing the residences.

Promoted as "the epitome of British design chic" (offering) "the services of a five star hotel, with the discretion, comfort and security of a private Mayfair residence", Sarah showed me around a two-bedroom apartment and penthouse suite, and both lived up to expectations. 

The first thing I notice is that the interior, designed by boutique hotelier Anouska Hempel, is based around clean, crisp lines, slightly austere and masculine in style; dark wood floors, dark tailored wall panelling, tan leather sofas, and a predominantly grey and slate colour scheme. Perhaps not surprising as the main target guest is the male overseas business traveller but this has changed somewhat since opening. Sarah explained there was soon to be some slightly 'warmer' softer tone colour changes, appealing to a more female and family environment based on guest feedback so far. Not withstanding this, both apartment and penthouse suites feel stylish, enhanced by high-end furniture and fittings, and the view from the full length balcony of the London skyline on a wintry evening was truly amazing.

The minimum stay at the Grosvenor House Apartments is one week and they include fully-fitted kitchens by luxury German kitchen manufacturer Poggenpohl, each containing gas hobs, an oven, a fridge, a dishwasher, a washing machine, Royal Doulton crockery and cutlery, a Nespresso coffee machine and Plantation luxury amenities. Sarah mentioned the average length of stay was two weeks so far, and this is likely to increase as awareness and the 'living' repeat guest experience grows.

Following the tour of the residences we gathered for a couple of minutes in The Atrium which is spectacularly designed with an impressive amount of space, and available to residents and their guests for informal all-day dining as an alternative to the full catering services available in room. The area wasn't very busy late afternoon which gave me time to peruse the beautiful art pieces on display from the Diamonds and Flames collection by artist designer Mark Humphrey. Sarah explained this and the other future Jumeirah Living collaborations planned are designed to offer guests the discretion of an exclusive Mayfair residence coupled with a more private form of luxury and an immediate sense of home.

Residents at Grosvenor House Apartments also benefit from Jumeirah's partnerships with leading Mayfair restaurants which will recreate the intimacy of a private dining experience within the residences themselves.

Rates start from £449 per night for a studio apartment (with a minimum seven night-stay, and discounts for longer stays), up to £11,000 per night for the five-bedroom penthouse.

It's refreshing to see a premier luxury hospitality brand like Jumeirah launch a distinctly different lodging experience within the capital and it will be no surprise to see the Jumeirah Living brand launching more properties in urban locations where there's the demand for extended-stay international business travellers.

With the variety of lodging requirements of the overseas London business guest set to grow and become significantly different to many existing offerings including boutique hotels, it's been fascinating to spend time researching the many alternative offerings available within the growing serviced apartment / extended stay sector. I enjoyed it so much, that we've created the opportunity for the industry to come together, promote best practice, engage and do business at the first Serviced Apartment Summit conference on July 9th 2013 in London.



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