More boutique hotels in S’pore can spice up hospitality sector: analysts

Industry watchers said the boutique hotel sector in Singapore is under-penetrated.

They said there’s room for at least another 10 new ones to spice up the local hospitality scene and to attract more niche travellers looking for something different.

Take a shower right in the middle of the room just a few feet from your bed is what you get to do for about S$385 per night in a basic executive room at Singapore’s latest boutique hotel, klapsons.

The most expensive room, the premium suite, costs US$850 or S$1,225 per night.

Since its soft launch in June, the 17-room hotel, located in downtown Singapore, has attracted bookings from some 250 corporate clients.

Located at 15, Hoe Chiang Road, klapsons will open officially in October.

It took developers three years to put the hotel together.

Initial plans include building a 17-storey commercial development but developers decided to build a four-storey boutique hotel instead due to the downturn.

klapsons’ owner said the building is designed in such a way that more levels can be added at any time.

Adrian Lee, director, klapsons The Boutique Hotel, said: “Right now you have the run-of-the-mill five-star hotel or the other extreme. There’s nothing that fills the gap in the middle which we see ourselves fit very nicely.”

The hotel expects to break-even on its US$7 million (S$10 million) investment in less than seven years.

Another boutique hotel, Naumi which has 40 rooms said it’s banking on leisure travellers for the September Formula One race in Singapore and year-end holiday-makers.

Hament Rai, “Even in these challenging times, we’ve been lucky to be surviving on 80 per cent occupancy. However, we had to compromise 20 per cent of our average room rates to achieve these goals.”

But due to economic uncertainty, Naumi has also shelved plans to expand. It previously said it will open two more boutique hotels in Singapore in the next three years.

As for Quincy which opened in June, it has seen an average of 77 per cent occupancy with 48 per cent of their guests repeat visitors.

Observers said there will be no shortage of business for boutique hotels like these, if they offer value in their services.

Loi Hp, CEO, Tourism Management Institute, said: “They provide very personalised service and they’re unique in terms of room design. And they’re normally located in areas where there’s a heritage background. So in a way, there are still people who want that kind of personalised service and they’re willing to pay for it.”

Most boutique hotels said their main growth markets are in Europe and America, with a proportion of guests coming from Australia.

These are usually well-travelled executives who are willing to pay five-star rates for a different hospitality experience.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 11 Aug 2009

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