Revamp puts de Ricou in the high-comfort zone

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 12:00am

THE SERVICED apartments at de Ricou in The Repulse Bay complex are being refurbished to tap the growing demand for quality accommodation at flexible terms.

The revamp began at the end of last year and 44 units have been refurbished so far.

The remaining 24 serviced flats are expected to be given a facelift in the coming year, subject to tenancies and availability.

The Repulse Bay general manager Martyn Sawyer said the apartments had new furniture and fittings, from sofas and beds to electronic equipment, including DVD players.

The apartments were more modern, comfortable and, in a sense, casual, he said.

Leasing response to the refurbished apartments had been strong, he said.

Monthly rental had risen slightly following the refurbishment, Mr Sawyer said.

Rents are in the range of $65,000 to $80,000 a month.

As well as new fixtures and fittings, clubhouse facilities are being upgraded by adding a bar to the restaurant, children's audio-visual room, aerobics room, spa facility and video and sports shop.

By the end of this month, the gym will be refitted with better equipment, including an exercise-bike room that will enable up to eight people to exercise together, and a boxing room.

The operator has recently launched a promotion campaign for one-week stay packages at de Ricou. The package has received a positive response so the marketing and promotion will continue.

Some short-term leaseholders were tenants in the unfurnished apartments, now being renovated, in The Repulse Bay. Mr Sawyer said the leasing market for serviced apartments was stronger than last year.

Supply of serviced apartments has been tight this year because some quality properties underwent renovation, taking some stock off the market.

'The market is looking good with increasing activity, particularly in the second half of this year,' Mr Sawyer said.

With better business prospects, companies were looking at ways to increase revenue instead of concentrating on cost cutting, he said.

This was an entirely different scenario because companies needed to hire more staff to drive business to generate more revenue and increase demand for serviced apartments, he said.

The de Ricou serviced apartments range from 2,020 to 2,243 square feet. The occupancy rate is about 75 per cent with lease terms ranging from one week to two years.

Tenants are mainly couples and young families. Many tenants are business executives with large organisations.

Mr Sawyer said de Ricou was an unique project that appealed to a specific group of tenants at the top end of the market.

The large apartment sizes and the Island South location set it apart from other developments, he said.

The good relationship with customers built up over the years also helped ensure stable business.

Companies that had committed to long-term leases at the unfurnished apartments in the complex referred people in need of short-term accommodation to de Ricou.