The new urban oasis

The new urban oasis

Stuffy, run-of-the-mill hotels do not quite cut it with today's new breed of travellers.

And some hotels here are taking notice and designing spaces which are in tune with these demands.

To cater to plugged-in and social media-savvy travellers hungry for connectivity and with bigger appetites for bandwidth, hotels are providing complimentary and unlimited Wi-Fi access and plenty of power points throughout their premises.

And luxury properties up the ante with e-concierge services on smart TVs, bigger suites and private lounge access for those who splash out on their stay.

At the newly opened Hotel Jen Orchardgateway Singapore, travellers roll their luggage up to the 10th-floor reception - to be checked in by staff donning sheriff badges and wielding the latest iPads. Naturally, Wi-Fi can be accessed through the whole hotel.

Mr Herve Duboscq, the hotel's general manager, says: "The genre of the brand is fresh, friendly and fuss-free, catering to a new generation of travellers.

"Based on consumer research and insight into the way our target market lives and travels, we are recognising and responding to global travel trends and particular needs of the new-generation traveller."

"This will keep us relevant and competitive for the next 20 years."

Previous offerings such as mini-bars, bellboy services, in-house dining room service and even bathtubs are on their way out as travellers demand other services such as better Internet connectivity and more communal lounge spaces.

Mr Jason Pinto, Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay's director of sales, says the "select service" concept, while late to the Singapore market, is slowly catching on here and in Asia.

The hotel offers the bare minimum in services. Unlike its parent brand Holiday Inn, there are no mini-bars, laundry services and full restaurant offerings.

Mr Pinto says: "There're people who will complain about not having the typical hotel services they are used to. But as more people know about select service hotels, they will like the concept because we offer them what they really want, which is free Wi-Fi, power points and space in the fridge for their own drinks."

But even without the typical offerings, these new hotels are not skimping on design and recreational facilities. Many boast rooftop pools with stunning views, fully equipped gyms and even onsens. Some also house gardens for guests to chill out in.

For travellers who prefer a more luxurious experience, there is One Farrer Hotel & Spa, where the rooms are decked out in Italian bedlinen and branded furniture from Herman Miller.

Dr Richard Helfer, a member of the board of The Farrer Park Company and chairman of One Farrer, says: "The younger set of travellers today are very sure about their hotel stays. As hoteliers, we have to meet that and exceed their expectations if we want them to come back."

Life! checks out four new hotels here which have taken it up a notch in order to draw the new generation of travellers.

natashaz@sph.com.sg

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