28 May

International Serviced Residence Chain Rebrands Its UK Portfolio

The Ascott Group, the largest international serviced residence chain in the UK, is rebranding part of its serviced residence portfolio in London, Manchester and Glasgow.

It is repositioning 680 apartments, which were previously called Central Apartments, as Somerset Residences. Ascott secured management of the apartments following its joint venture with UK developer Crown Dilmun in November last year.

The rebranding is part of a major exercise to rationalise Ascott’s entire portfolio of 860 serviced apartments in the UK under its The Ascott and Somerset serviced residence brands. In the Asia Pacific, where Ascott is the largest serviced residence chain, The Ascott and Somerset brands are market leaders.

Internationally, The Ascott Group is a leading serviced residence operator with over 8,000 serviced apartments in 20 cities across Asia, the UK and Australasia.

Sir Alan Cockshaw, director of Ascott’s parent company CapitaLand Limited, and chairman of its subsidiary CapitaLand UK Holdings, said: "London is a strategic market for the CapitaLand group which has commercial, residential and hospitality businesses in the UK.

"Ascott’s operational base in London will serve as a springboard for its entry into the other European cities such as Paris, Frankfurt, Brussels and Milan. It is also an ideal platform for growing global brands."

Ascott’s chief executive officer, Mr Kee Teck Koon, said: "The rebranding positions the UK properties for a wider international market. As Somerset residences, they can immediately draw from Ascott’s international customer base and sales network, and leverage the strength of a successful and dominant brand in the Asia Pacific."

He added: "The brand rationalisation also positions the properties for increased synergies and scale economies, forming a very competititve operational base in the UK, to tap further growth opportunities. The supply of 4,600 serviced apartments in London forms only two per cent of temporary accommodation in the capital. There is potential for this to more than double to five per cent, as in the developed serviced residence markets of major US cities."

The Ascott Group’s stylish Somerset serviced residence is targeted at middle to senior executives, while the luxury The Ascott brand appeals to top executives. Prior to the brand rationalisation, the group had under these brands the 56-unit The Ascott Mayfair and 48-unit Somerset Bishopsgate in London.

The Ascott Group today (May 28) relaunched as Somerset Residences the operational 94-unit Somerset Roland Gardens, South Kensington and 37-unit Somerset Prince’s Square, Notting Hill in London.

Over the next few months, the group will relaunch the operational 116-unit Somerset Atrium in Manchester; the new 40-unit Somerset Kensington Gardens, Bayswater; the renovated 108-unit Somerset Queen’s Gate Gardens, South Kensington; the new 183-unit Somerset Bayswater, London; and the new 102- unit Somerset Merchant City, Glasgow.

These properties are being refurbished, and their amenities and services repackaged. Their staff are being trained on Ascott’s operational and service delivery systems, in line with the worldwide product and service consistency that international business travellers associate with The Ascott and Somerset brands.

The group’s serviced residences differentiate from hotels by catering to longer stay guests. They seek to enrich guests’ living experience with resident programmes that provide opportunities for community integration, business networking and recreation. They also assist guests and their families with daily living support services.

The residences provide daily maid services, breakfast, reception and security services. Each furnished apartment has a fully- equipped kitchen, living room with TV/hi-fi system and Internet access.

In its drive for leadership in the global serviced residence industry, The Ascott Group today commands pole positions in many gateway cities such as Singapore, London, Beijing, Shanghai, Jakarta, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sydney and Melbourne.



About The Ascott Group's Residences in the UK 

A. Rebranded Serviced Residences

Somerset Prince's Square -- 37 units, Prince's Square, Notting Hill, London
Somerset Prince's Square is centrally located in London's trendy and cosmopolitan Notting Hill district. The residence is close to the Portobello antiques market, shops, restaurants and entertainment spots. Travelling is easy, with the Notting Hill Gate underground station a stroll away. Units range from studio to two-bedroom apartments.

Somerset Roland Gardens -- 94 units, Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, London
Somerset Roland Gardens in South Kensington is within walking distance of the famous Royal Albert Hall and various museums. It is conveniently near the Gloucester Road and South Kensington underground stations and offers easy access to the fashionable Knightsbridge shopping district. Units range from studio to two-bedroom apartments.

Somerset Atrium -- 116 units, Princess Street, Manchester
Somerset Atrium, in a restored Victorian building, marries 19th century elegance with the convenience of modern living and contemporary décor. It offers one and two-bedroom apartments close to the Palace Theatre, Chinatown, and dining and entertainment spots along Canal Street.

Somerset Kensington Gardens -- 40 units, Prince's Square, Bayswater, London (Opening June 2002)
Somerset Kensington Gardens is nestled in the quiet residential area of Bayswater. Close to Hyde Park and Kensington Palace, it is also near various underground stations and offers easy access to the rest of London. The residence comprises studio and one-bedroom apartments.

Somerset Queen's Gate Gardens -- 108 units, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London (Opening Q3, 2002)
Located in the museum district of South Kensington, Somerset Queen's Gate Gardens is within walking distance of the Royal Albert Hall. It is also close to Hyde Park, Kensington Palace and the shopping districts of Knightsbridge and Harrods. Units at the residence range from studio to two-bedroom apartments.

Somerset Bayswater -- 183 units, Bayswater, London (Opening Q4, 2002)
Somerset Bayswater is centrally located in the heart of bustling Bayswater and within walking distance of Hyde Park. The residence offers one and two-bedroom units, a short walk from the trendy shops and restaurants of Notting Hill, Bayswater and Portobello.

Somerset Merchant City, Glasgow -- 102 units, Albion Street (Opening Q4, 2002)
Somerset Merchant City is located in the centre of Glasgow’s Merchant City district, amid glorious Victorian merchant houses. One of the most desirable areas of Glasgow, the district offers countless restaurants, bars and designer boutiques. Units range from studio to two-bedroom apartments.

B. Existing Serviced Residences

The Ascott Mayfair -- 56 units, Hill Street, Mayfair, London
In the heart of West London's prestigious Mayfair district, The Ascott Mayfair offers exclusive living close to chic designer boutiques, upmarket shopping malls, stylish restaurants and grand theatres. The residence offers elegantly furnished units ranging from studio to three-bedroom apartments.

Somerset Bishopsgate -- 48 units, Bishopsgate, London
Conveniently located opposite the Liverpool Street Station, Somerset Bishopsgate is distinguished by its traditional London townhouse design. It is in the heart of the financial district and close to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. Units range from studio apartments to spacious two-bedroom penthouses.

C. Corporate Leasing Residences

St Marks -- 80 units, Islington, London
Built in Victorian architecture, the restored St Marks is close to restaurants and wine bars, supermarkets and banks. Situated near the Angel and Old Street underground train stations, it offers easy access to the business and financial centres in the city. Units range from studio to two-bedroom apartments.



Ida Lim, Vice President, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Tel: (65) 6586 7230 Hp: (65) 9628 8339 Fax: (65) 6586 7202
Email: ida.lim@the-ascott.com

Betsy Tan, Executive
Tel: (65) 6586 7234 Hp: (65) 9641 6920 Fax: (65) 6586 7202
Email: betsy.tan@the-ascott.com