Crown Group fast-tracks new hotel for long-stay guests during pandemic
The hotel is part of Crown Group's Infinity by Crown development in Green Square, Sydney. Photo: Supplied

Crown Group opens new SKYE Suites hotel for long-stay guests during pandemic

A new Sydney hotel is bucking the coronavirus-hit tourism downturn by opening its doors three months earlier than planned.

As a number of other hotels close to visitors during the pandemic, SKYE Suites is fast-tracking the opening of its hotel in Green Square because of a surge in demand it has found for longer-term stays.

Now, instead of the planned opening in July, its SKYE Residences – luxury serviced studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments available for minimum 90-day stays in the $575 million Infinity by Crown Group building – admitted their first guest on Sunday, April 12.

“We see a lot of hotels closing down at the moment, but we’ve experienced a lot of demand for longer-stay accommodation,” said Crown Group’s chief executive Iwan Sunito.

The hotel is catering for long-stay guests. Photo: Supplied

“A lot of corporations are bringing back their business leaders from overseas, from locations in Europe, Asia and the US they feel aren’t as safe as here.

“These people are looking for places for three months or more to stay, without having to lock into six months, or to wait two to four weeks for leases to be signed. In addition, we’re seeing demand from medical professionals who don’t want to be with their families at this time to put them at risk.”

The eye-catching building, made up mostly of residential apartments, was designed by architect Koichi Takada and has been named by the Property Council of Australia one of the “world’s best projects”. The Residences all have kitchens and laundries, flat-screen TVs, and guests can order home delivery from nearby restaurants.

The shorter-stay rooms at SKYE Suites Green Square will open later down the track.

This is SKYE Suites’ third hotel after its 2017 Parramatta site opened as part of the mixed-use residential, retail and hotel development, V by Crown Group; and its 2018 Arc by Crown Group in the Sydney CBD.

The Infinity by Crown building, which also has residential apartments. Photo: Supplied

Both those hotels are also seeing an uplift in demand since COVID-19 hit.

Director of SYKE Suites hotels Shanker Chandra said much of the demand in those locations was also coming from businesspeople and medical professionals.

“We’ve seen a pick-up in both, and occupancy has been much steadier and growing,” said Mr Chandra. “Although we’re seeing some of our competitors close in this current environment, we’ve had a lot of inquiries and bookings.

“Business executives are wanting to stay close to their business instead of having to travel backwards and forwards to home, and medical practitioners also want to stay closer to hospitals and clinics. It makes us very optimistic for the future.”

The move has also been welcomed by the industry, seeing it as a gesture of confidence in the future of the hotel market.

Accommodation Australia Association chief Dean Long said a number of hotels in Sydney and across Australia had closed, while almost the only business remaining was for self-isolation.

“We’re seeing occupancy down by at least 20 per cent, and if there isn’t self-isolation, there’s no guests,” he said. “It’s a challenging environment.

“But it’s been a very clear decision for this owner to open his doors at this time, so I think that’s a sign that there’s still money to be made in the hotel sector, and the future will be very good once we get through this, and wake up from our coma.”

Mr Sunito said, however, it was also front of his mind that he wanted to open the newest hotel as soon as it was ready in order to make a contribution to keeping the economy ticking over.

“We want to continue because, crisis or no crisis, we’re in this for the long-term,” he said.

“And we also have a responsibility to keep people employed. It’s the right thing to do. It’s a social responsibility.”

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