Half way between an Airbnb and hotel, meet the boutique apart-hotel

Brands using the concept claim to have found a sweet spot between Airbnb and traditional hotels

(Credit: Tydence Davis)
(Credit: Tydence Davis)

A new cadre of hoteliers are championing the concept of apart-hotels, properties set up for longer-term stays, and they credit Airbnb with helping them see the light.

Because of the short-term rental giant, the idea “that there could be some advantages to a residence versus a room,” has proliferated and sparked inspiration in the minds of people like Larry Korman, president of apart-hotel brand AKA, according to Bloomberg.

“Airbnb is the best thing that could have happened to us,” Eric Jafari told Bloomberg. Jafari runs a UK-based apart-hotel brand Locke, which was founded 16 months ago. Jafari estimates it will be worth about $2.5 billion by 2023 and Brookfield Capital acquired Locke in February for $565 million, despite the brand only operating two properties. Locke currently has 900 rooms on the boards.

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For Steve Kent, the founder of Goldman Sachs‘ hospitality investment group, the apart-hotel is no passing trend. “Major hotel companies will be pivoting towards this opportunity,” he predicted to Bloomberg.

The concept has many of the standard amenities guests would expect in a hotel, plus kitchens, private living spaces and triple the square footage. According to apart-hotel brands, their properties are like Airbnb but without the uncertainty.

“The reality of an Airbnb rarely reflects the images [of the listings],” Jafari told Bloomberg. “There’s no gym. The blackout blinds suck. You show up at 10 a.m. and can’t check in until 3, but there’s nowhere to leave your luggage.”

Some apart-hotel brands say the vast majority of their guests come through B2B bookings for corporate clients looking to set up project-based stays of a couple weeks or months for employees. Korman says many of AKA’s clients are in the entertainment business. [Bloomberg]