Oakwood Premier offers luxury home away from home

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/ EdgeProp
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June 17, 2018 8:00 AM SGT
Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore opened on June 15 last year, and one year after its opening, the occupancy rate is now about 82%.
“We almost tripled our occupancy in the first three months, and have since seen an average increase by 10% to 15% in occupancy per month,” says Roy Liang, general manager at Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore.
Liang: We are highly confident that Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore will do well for a long period of time (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

Changing trend in demand

Having signed a management agreement with OUE, Oakwood Asia Pacific unveiled its Oakwood Premier-branded serviced apartment with the launch of Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore at OUE Downtown.
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The property houses 268 midand high-level residences, with most of the units comprising studios and one-bedroom apartments, from 301 to 344 sq ft and from 323 to 624 sq ft respectively. The remaining 47 units are two-bedroom residences measuring 753 to 1,055 sq ft. Liang notes that they cater for “a small group of clients who still bring their families over for a travel period of about six months”.
The accommodation trend for serviced apartments has shifted over the years. Liang points out that, in the 1990s, serviced apartments were built like condominiums, with a range of two- to four-bedrooms. As corporate travel and relocation was not the norm then, people would go on business trips with family members and stay in a serviced apartment for as long as two years, he says.
The two-bedroom units cater for small families (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
“Nowadays, people who stay in serviced apartments are those who come for short-term business trips alone. They do not bring their family with them, as there is no reason to uproot their lives to another country,” observes Liang. In line with that, most of the residences in serviced apartments — Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore included — are now one-bedroom or studio apartments, he says.
Liang notes a strong correlation between the city as a financial gateway and business capital, and the presence of serviced apartments. “Demand for serviced apartments would be higher when they are located in areas with heavy business traffic,” he says. A firm believer in the value that serviced apartments provide, Liang says they are “another option for real estate developers to develop their assets into, rather than just focusing on hotels alone”.
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All units come with a fully equipped kitchen (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

Five-star standard

Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore is positioned to attract luxury corporate travellers, with its clientele being predominantly C-suite executives. Its location at OUE Downtown 1 gives guests the advantage of accessibility to the financial district. Liang adds that it wants to be the best when it comes to serviced apartments, and set an example with impeccable service that is the equivalent of a five-star hotel’s.
Mindful of its guests’ needs, Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore advocates an active lifestyle, and this is evident in its partnership with World Trainer, a global network of personal trainers, and Aquaspin, which conducts tri-weekly water aerobics and aquabiking sessions at its pool.
“The personal trainer at World Trainer will have your records and continue your training schedule in whichever city you go to, which saves C-suite executives the hassle of finding a suitable gym,” says Liang.
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Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore is meticulous in catering for the needs of its guests. An in-room tablet provides one-touch convenience. The music broadcasted on the property is specially curated, with upbeat music played at the gym and evening jazz at night. “The music is not like a broken record that repeats itself,” says Liang.
The infinity pool at Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore hints at a luxurious lifestyle (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
Apart from the infinity pool, fitness centre and lobby bar, another highlight at Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore is its in-house restaurant, Se7enth. An in-house restaurant is an uncommon sight in a serviced apartment, for most will outsource their meals to outside restaurants.
In addition, the chefs and waiters at Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore are recruited from five-star hotels — the executive chef was scouted from Mandarin Oriental Singapore and the sous chef from The Westin Singapore. “I can safely say we have the best breakfast in the context of serviced apartments, as the variety and quality are right at the sweet spot, with each item very well done,” says Liang.

Brand consistency and expansion plans

There is a total of eight Oakwood Premier serviced apartments globally, including in Guangzhou, Tokyo, Jakarta and Seoul. In terms of their business strategy and clientele, Liang asserts that consistency is maintained throughout the apartments. “Guests who used to stay in our Korea and Japan Oakwood Premier, are also staying in the Singapore branch, as they identify it with their own experience back home,” says Liang.
He notes that Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore has set a new benchmark for Oakwood Premier’s future expansion, being the latest apartment for the brand and, furthermore, with the regional headquarters based in Singapore.
He says: “We are highly confident that Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore will do well for a long period of time. We are at a good position now, and we just need to make sure we keep up with the service techniques, as the ‘software’ is something that can be easily changed, but not easily maintained.”
Liang sees Singapore as a “worldwide example” of how the serviced apartment industry has blossomed over the last 10 to 15 years. In fact, the biggest serviced apartments operators in the world are either from Singapore or owned by local companies, he notes.
Liang expressed high hopes for Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore. Asked about the property’s prospects in five years’ time, he says, “We would still be a market leader, with an occupancy rate that is consistently near 100%.”