Boutique Design - July/August 2009 - (Page 28)

BUSINESS SENSE Left to right: The 2nd floor hall at AKA Central Park; the terrace table at AKA Central Park; the kitchen at AKA Time Square. Home Away from Home AKA and Home2 — New Brands for a Newly Re-Thought Segment BY REBECCA GOLDBERG E xtended stay hotels have been called the bright spot in the U.S. hotel industry. The segment has few competitors and often targets business travelers, a group that will need to rent hotel space in any economy. Two new brands have recently entered the market and while their price points may differ, the hallmarks of strong branding, reliability and inventive design are part of the strategy of both AKA and Home2. AKA Since 2006, AKA has quietly expanded throughout the U.S. With four locations in New York and several others in major east coast cities, the brand strategy has proven successful and more growth is on the boards. MJ Paschall, president, describes AKA as an apartment or long stay hotel rather than an extended stay, which does not share the same high-end connotation. At AKA, the gue28 • boutique DESIGN july/august 2009 strooms are referred to as condos. Here, the goal of the brand is to blend hotel service with apartment finishes. To that end, AKA’s rooms are outfitted with a kitchen, living room and storage space. “We want to be something that the industry has not yet offered,” she said. “Yet we’re viewed as a value though we have not compromised the luxury.” AKA offers its guests allinclusive amenities from laundry service, meeting room access, to in-room kitchen stocking. The rooms are also twice the size of a typical hotel room. The experience is like staying in a one-bedroom apartment with a butler. This high level of service attracts guests who need to stay from two weeks to a year. When a room at AKA is booked for one year, the pricing guaranteed will not fluctuate like other hotels. Beyond a comfortable stay and high-level functionality, the hotels are designed to be attractive enough to become party spaces. Penthouses typically have large, multi-environment entertaining spaces both indoors and out. “We like to say that each building has its own design mojo with unique features,” Paschall said. “We’re picking spaces that have great architectural stories. It’s at our guests’ comfort level.” The brand is looking to expand in major business cities across the country — and the world. “We’re eager to do more in

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Boutique Design - July/August 2009

Boutique Design - July/August 2009
Boutique Buzz
Photos from YLH Las Vegas
Snaps from the Boutique 18 Bash
Hotel Designers, Owners and Operators Speak to International Design and Development Trends
Banyan Tree Mayakoba Fuses Cultures without Missing a Beat
Celeste Cooper Creates a New ‘Comfort’ Inn, The Inn @ St. Botolph
Business Sense
GKV Architects Design the Ultimate Bathing Experience, an In-room Spa in Istanbul
ICRAVE Takes its Experiental Design Style Global
Point of View
Wanda Jankowski Interviews WATG’s Meagan Jacobi
The Best of ICFF
The Goods
Calendar/Advertisers Index

Boutique Design - July/August 2009