SOHO Serviced Apartments has unveiled an ultra modern 11 storied serviced hotel apartment project in Kilimani, at a time when Nairobi has been listed as among the global cities set to enjoy a surge in short let accommodation.
Located along Kirichwa Road, the apartments offer luxurious 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom duplexes and 3 bedroom duplex targeting expatriate guests and foreign corporates working in Nairobi for a 3 – 12 month period.
“The location of SOHO Serviced Apartments is very convenient as we tap into the international organisations and embassies currently relocating their offices to this area, as well as its environs, such as Westlands and Upper Hill,” said Mr Rajpal Sahib, CEO of Realto Group Ltd.
Globally, a hybrid of hotel room and rental apartment, the number of serviced apartments in the world has grown by 80 per cent since 2008 to about 750,000, according to a report by The Apartment Service, a global provider of short term accommodation.
However, demand for the accommodation has grown by far more than supply in Nairobi and other key Kenyan cities.
Nairobi is currently the leading location in demand with searches for short let accommodation standing at 29.61 per cent, ahead of Mombasa at 14.70 per cent, and followed closely by Naivasha at 12.71 per cent. This is despite the fact that the city takes the crown for having the highest number of hotel rooms, with an estimated 58,071 rooms.
Part of the driver for demand for short let serviced apartments, instead of hotel rooms, is the chance they offer to set up a temporary ‘home’ complete with hotel like amenities.
According to Knight Frank, multinationals have also become more cost conscious when looking for short term rentals and are keen on cutting the expenses, hence are now showing an inclination towards serviced apartments rather than hotels on the basis of cost too.
“The hotel apartments provide a cheaper and homely option with most of them being in close proximity to all the recreational facilities that a modern lifestyle requires,” said Mr Rajpal Sahib.
According to research by the Apartment Service, a studio apartment in Nairobi costs about $64 per night, a big contrast to the walk in rate of an international-standard hotel room in Nairobi that would cost as much as g $220 – $350 a night.
This, coupled with the fact that internationally, serviced apartments in Africa cost, on average, less than anywhere else in the world, make such apartments an increasingly sought out option, with now 84.62 per cent of companies using apartments for business travel in Africa.
However, even as the demand for hotel apartments has skyrocketed in Nairobi, the rest of the country is even more severely under-served. In Nairobi for instance, the Kilimani area which has set itself apart as the most cosmopolitan of suburbs, boasts of high end apartments such as Yaya Towers Serviced Apartments, Palacina, Woodmere Serviced Apartments among many others.
In such well served areas, the serviced apartments are frequently booked out. “But with Kenyan tourism ranking 5th in Sub-Saharan Africa, investing in hotel apartments all over Kenya will provide variety not only to our international clientele, but also to our Kenyan tourists, giving them the option to have a homely visit while in Kenya,” said Mr Rajpal Sahib.
The demand for serviced apartments is also being pushed upwards as Kenya hosts an increasing number of trade summits and multinational dignitaries.
The SOHO hotel apartments, now under construction, will be completed by the end of 2017, and offer additional amenities that include a restaurant, gym, sauna and spa, poolside bar, tuck shop and a conference room sealing SOHO’s place as one of the first in a new wave of short term accommodation investments in Kenya.