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Weekend Property

Health and wellness: serviced apartment operators in Hong Kong rise to the challenge by partnering with in-house gyms and lifestyle brands

Guests want services and facilities at least closely accessible, if not on site

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 12:23pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 2:40pm

In line with global lifestyle trends, health and wellness is a sector which serviced apartment operators can’t afford to ignore.

Guests no longer expect to have to go to a health retreat to have their fitness goals met: they want services and facilities at least closely accessible, if not on site. Serviced apartment operators in Hong Kong are rising to the challenge.

For Singaporean operator The Ascott Limited, wellness is one of the four pillars underpinning its entire portfolio, which includes five properties in Hong Kong: Citadines Harbourview in Sai Ying Pun, Hotel Pravo in Tsim Sha Tsui, Somerset Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, Citadines Mercer in Sheung Wan, and Citadines Ashley in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Joyce Ying Yuk-fan, residence manager, The Ascott (Hong Kong), says paying guests look beyond a property’s physical attributes to the “total experience”.

“Under the Ascott umbrella we focus on four major lifestyle segments: wellness [including fitness], gastronomy, culture and community living,” Ying says. “In Hong Kong, we do have a higher percentage of short stayers in our apartment hotels, and our wellness offering sets our brands apart for these guests and our longer-term residents.”

Four of its Hong Kong properties are equipped with an in-house gym, and the company partners with nearby fitness centres to offer classes and personal training for guests.

A new offering, launched in October, is Ascott’s partnership with exercise app Avigo, which Ying describes as “the Uber for freelance fitness instructors”.

“Any time during their stay, our guests can get on-demand personal training in our property’s own gym with a professionally-trained fitness instructor,” she says. “Whether guests are staying with us for a week, a month or just a few days, as long as they have a fitness routine they want to maintain, they can simply book a workout session using an exclusive discount code for Ascott guests on the Avigo app.”

Ascott also partners with Canadian yoga clothing brand Lululemon to offer occasional fitness classes on its Hotel Pravo Hong Kong rooftop space – yoga with a fabulous Victoria Harbour view; and with Singaporean fitness wear brand ANJE, featured in New York Fashion Week’s ready-to-wear-collection, which provides in-house residents with a discount code for online purchases.

We focus on four major lifestyle segments: wellness (including fitness), gastronomy, culture and community living
Joyce Ying Yuk-fan, residence manager, The Ascott (Hong Kong)

Well-equipped kitchens in the apartments enable guests to cook healthy meals at home, and new initiatives such as nutrition talks are being planned. “These initiatives show that we not only focus on the staying experience of our guests, but helping them to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Ying says. Ascott is looking for other suitable partners to raise its wellness concepts to another level.

Boutique serviced apartment brand CHI Residences promotes health and wellness by offering 24-hour gym access at partner fitness centre Utime Fitness (for guests at its Sai Ying Pun property CHI 120), as well as holding CHI Active classes with guest instructors such as certified yoga teacher Lakshmi Harilela and personal trainer Maximilian Lai.

CHI partners with the YAMA Foundation, a non-profit organisation in Hong Kong which makes yoga, art and meditation accessible to all people, including those from under-served communities, and those with disabilities, special needs or chronic illness.

“CHI supports this great non-profit which associates yoga with general wellness by inviting residents to join the fundraiser yoga sessions held every Monday,” says Pilar Morais, executive director, CHI International. The company has taken part in Work-Life Balance Week to raise awareness of balancing career and personal achievements for a fulfilling and healthy life.

“Every monthly guest receives our Active Gear Kit as a welcome set, including a gym sack, protein shaker and a gym towel,” Morais says. “Barbells are placed in each apartment for simple workouts, and yoga mats can be borrowed at the management office as well.”

A dedicated CHI Fit app and printout worksheets, featuring easy fitness routines and illustrated exercises, prepared by fitness instructor and triathlete Lisa Jones, help residents to get fit in the comfort of their apartment.

“We have also prepared the CHI Health Guide as a handy reference for places in Hong Kong catering to a healthier lifestyle, and to those with special dietary requirements,” Morais says.

Healthy living is a priority at Vega Suites atop Tseung Kwan O MTR station, one of the serviced apartment properties in Sun Hung Kai Properties’ luxury leasing arm, Signature Homes. “The property has a 1,000-square-foot Green Terrace, including a gym and barbecue area, where guests can enjoy outdoor activities and maintain a healthy life,” says Belinda Kuan, general manager, Signature Homes.