Will Serviced Apartments Become the Norm for the Businessmen and Travelling Families to Asia?

The concept of a furnished apartment with cleaning services is nothing new, but over the past decade or so the serviced apartment with its superior features and lower costs have become increasingly more luxurious and sophisticated, particularly in Asia.

The serviced apartment is definitely catching on as there are a wide range of luxury serviced apartments in Asia at discounted prices. You can easily browse the internet to compare room rates for a selection of the best locations.

Serviced Apartments are designed for short-, medium- and long-term stay residents, for the individual or family that want high quality of living, with the choice of rooms ranging from studio up to large 3-bedroom deluxe apartments.

Serviced Apartments are ideal for people who enjoy catering for themselves and having their own space.

Particularly in Bangkok, there is high proportion of expatriate personnel and the population is very transient. The demographics of this lends itself well to serviced apartments. Staying in a serviced apartment gives you total freedom to work, entertain, cook, sleep and relax as you would in your own home, without the feeling of being in a hotel room.

Choosing a serviced apartment allows you to easily choose a suitable location, in the heart of the major cities of Asia, with a broad range of services, such as broadband internet, fully-equipped kitchens, private parking, international cable and plasma screen televisions, maid service and room service, daily cleaning and linen services, international cuisine, a large pool, health club and lounge and much more, all within a relaxing and elegant environment.

One fine example is the The Ascott, a five-star serviced apartment in Sathorn, Bangkok’s central business district. Here they offer luxurious and spacious private apartments complemented with comprehensive services and facilities. This residence is Bangkok’s leading luxury serviced residence and is ideal for corporate housing with the convenience of being located in the capital’s business and commercial district.

In summary, demand for luxurious living is improving every year and is predicted to reach even higher growth in the years to come.

Steps in Renting a Hong Kong Holiday Apartment

Search for a Holiday Apartment
You may want to consider the following criteria when searching for your Hong Kong holiday apartment availability date, suitability for families, Internet access, apartment size and pets/smoking rules. For Hong Kong apartments you especially want to keep an eye out on size. Remember real estate in Hong Kong is among the most expensive in the world so don’t have expectations of similar sized apartments as you are used to in the West unless you are willing to pay ridiculous prices! A 2 bedroom apartment in Hong Kong is typically 40 square metres, if you find one that’s 50 square metres or above you’re doing well!

Use one of the many online holiday apartment websites to search and find a holiday apartment. It can be useful to firstly decide which area you want to stay in (by talking to friends / family or browse the most popular rentals on the website) to narrow down your search. Remember to read the property reviews left by previous guests. They provide an unbiased opinion of the property and serve as a good sanity check on the accuracy of the advertisement. Specifically for Hong Kong apartments you can use tripadvisor they have a good listing of 7 apartments. You can also use Homelidays they have a section for Hong Kong apartments as well.

Hong Kong is generally not an online community so when making bookings make sure you follow up with the phone. Once you have found a selection of properties you are interested in, use the online form on the website to contact the owner directly. You should ensure your contact details are correct in order to receive a prompt response.

Decide if you want Insurance

As with any holiday you want to consider buying travel insurance to cover your flights and accommodation in the event of any unforseen circumstances. Insurance for travel in Asia is generally more expensive that the west, however Hong Kong given it’s been westernised is generally cheaper that other parts of Asia. For local HK insurance some companies like AIA offer a good deal.

Request, Review and Return the Rental Agreement

Once you have a tentative agreement with the owner, ask for a rental contract. By HK law if you are renting for over 3 months (even for holiday apartments) you want your rental contract stamped by the rental authority. This is because in the case of any dispute if the contract is not stamped then you may legally not enforce your rights. The contract will highlight your check in and check out dates, obligations on renting the holiday apartment and most importantly any cancellation and refund policies. You should review this contract carefully to make sure you are comfortable with the terms and keep a signed copy of the contract.

Book the Holiday Apartment

Generally Hong Kong holiday apartment owners will ask for deposit between 30-50% of the rental price to secure the booking. You want to check for the terms and conditions related the return of the deposit. The rental contract you reviewed in the previous step will contain the exact payment schedule. In most cases in Hong Kong, full payment is expected prior to check in date. Check with the owner on payment methods, most common is PayPal, followed by online bank transfer and credit cards. You can also ask to speak the person directly in HK to double ensure you are comfortable with what you are booking for. This is often a good check as their phone number should be a Hong Kong based on i.e. starts with country code +852

Important Details Before you Arrive

Before you go on your holiday you want to ensure you have the following details about the Hong Kong holiday apartment from the owner:

· Address of the apartment

· Keys to the property or a pre-arranged appointment with the owner on how to get them

· Owner’s contact details (a phone number or at least an email)

· Travel instructions to reach the apartment from the airport. When travelling to and from Hong Kong airport to your apartment, its best to use the airport express it’s the cheapest and most efficient way to travel to and from the airport.

It usually takes about 30 minutes from the airport to get into the City Central in HK so this is a good time to call the owner to give them a heads up on arrival.

The Best Business Lounges Around Asia

Long flight. No sleep. You’ve spent almost 20 hours in the air and now you’ve got five hours to kill in this airport 5,000 miles away from home. You don’t know anyone for thousands of miles; everyone you see is a complete stranger. You’re alone. So very, very alone. What you need is a good drink.

It’s a fact that Asia has more business travelers per capita than any other continent on the planet. The business world has its pivotal hub in the Asia Pacific region, with Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo only playing parts in the area’s distinct economic influence on the world. Therefore, the airports around Asia reflect the deep regard and respect each Asian country has for the men and women making their economies grow.

Having a good business lounge to reward today’s Business Warrior on their long travels is just another way of brightening a day fraught with temperamental children and rough turbulence. Walking through the doors of a lounge designed specifically with you in mind is like being hugged by mom.

There are lounges designed strictly for VIPs and business people, while others cater to all passengers. If you are a business traveler and you just got off a flight that included a family of five loud tourists, it would be wise to avoid going to the lounge they just stepped into. Try the one that specifically caters to you.

There are things that any lounge will have, regardless of whom gets in. They will usually have:

o Drinks
o Snacks
o Television and internet
o Comfortable seating

There are some, however, that fly just above the rainbow. Here are the select few lounges in Asia that offer exemplary class and service.

o Hong Kong International Airport (Hong Kong)

Cathay Pacific’s Wing Lounge in the Hong Kong International Airport not only caters to any specific taste, they pride themselves on improving on even the most minute of details. They offer first-class travelers private cabanas, private showers, and chaise lounges.

o Suvarnabhumi International Airport (Bangkok)

Thai Airway’s Royal Orchid Lounge not only offers the best in travel, but their layover accommodations go beyond the normal rules of class. You feel stressed? Get a Thai massage or take a hot shower. If you need to have a last second meeting, meeting rooms are right there. Also, should you need transportation anywhere, Royal Orchid has a fleet of Mercedes-Benzes at your beckon call should you need to go anywhere.

o Chengi Airport (Singapore)

This airport features almost unanimously lauded lounges. Whether you need to nap, shower, or visit the spa, they have you covered. And if you have a lot of time to kill, you can go on a Singapore Tour. Yes. For a 5-hour or longer layover you can take one of four tours around the city and make it back well before you flight.
If you don’t want to leave the airport, you can walk around in one if it’s six gardens. That’s right. And airport with six gardens. What more could you want?

o Dubai International Airport (Dubai)

Dubai is almost defined by the decadent hotels there that cater to the world’s nobility. Movie stars, world leaders, and rich heiresses have all stayed a night or two in the gold-plated, marble-floored castles for the elite. So why stop there?
The Dubai International Airport took the luxury of a 5-star hotel and transposed it into their lounges. With restaurants that feature a dining experience unparalleled in air travel, it is clear to see why people clamor to be stuck in Dubai. They offer spas, Jacuzzis, a full gym and swimming poor to all first-class passengers.

o Incheon International Airport (Seoul)

Asian airports are known to pamper their travelers. Like the airport in Singapore, Incheon offers travelers with selected layovers tours of Seoul. They went one up on them, however. The VIP lounges are catered specifically to first-class flyers. Also, for the past two years straight the lounges in Incheon International Airport have been given the Global Traveler award for the best in the world.

In a time when simply being good was never so hard, these airports looked great, seemingly without effort. Naturally, you would be just as tired of flying in a VIP lounge as you would in the terminal. But there a lot to be said about hating to fly in style, as opposed to despising it on a plastic chair in front of Gate 24. If the adage, “you get what you pay for” is true, then these lounges are worth millions.