SINGAPORE-BASED hospitality chain The Ascott Limited is targeting to have 31 properties in the Philippines by the year 2028, with an eye toward expanding its portfolio to include hotels and resorts.
In an interview with the BusinessMirror, The Ascott Limited Philippines Country General Manager Philip Barnes said, “Potentially we will be 31 properties by 2028, if all goes to plan in terms of construction and turnover. But of course, we still want to do more. That’s why we’re also moving into the hotel and resorts component…. The Ascott Limited has always been known as predominantly residences. But as our Singaporean company transforms into a lodging component, hotels and resorts make sense for us in terms of our growth strategies.”
Ascott is a unit of CapitaLand Investment, a global real estate investment manager with properties mainly in Asia. It has expanded its portfolio to the United States and Europe.
Ascott’s purchase of a stake in an Indonesian regional hotel operator in 2018, and acquisition of serviced-apartment brand Oakwood Worldwide in 2022, have given the company an inroad into the hotel business. “So that gives us about 14 brands that we can now launch into the country,” said Barnes.
The company is currently looking at Boracay, Puerto Princesa, Mactan, and Siargao for its resorts business, “as well as urban resorts, or inland resorts,” he said. It has already signed on its first resort property, which will be launched by 2028.
Most of Ascott’s projects in the country are under management contracts or franchise contracts, he clarified, although the company does own the Ascott Makati building and has a stake in the Somerset Millennium Makati property. “We’ve got about 18 different owners across our portfolio,” he said, and credited Cebu Landmasters, specifically, for the company’s expansion into the Visayas and Mindanao regions. “We have a substantial partnership with Cebu Landmasters. We have four projects with them, and hopefully in the future, we look [forward to] more.” Another major partnership is with Double Dragon Properties for the Ascott DD Meridian Park Manila, set to open next year.
At present, Ascott is evaluating what brands it will bring into the country, said Barnes. “We’re strategically looking at what is best to bring in,” but sees Harris Hotels an important brand that will cater specifically to the country’s MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) market.
Ascott may also bring in its five-star hotel brand Vertu, and its luxury band, the Crest Collection, “where we either can do a takeover of an existing building, or heritage building,and convert that into a luxury accommodation. We just did one in The Robertson House, [a heritage house] in Singapore, and The Grand Mansion [Menteng] in Jakarta,” also an historic house, he added.
Projects in the pipeline
Other brands that could be introduced are Fox, for local communities, and Preference, where property owners are free to design their brand, “articulating what they want to do and storytell,” said Barnes.
Ascott currently operates 14 properties in the country, mainly located in Metro Manila under the Ascott, Citadines, Oakwood, Somerset, The Suites, and Lyf brands, as well as in Cebu and Iloilo, under the Citadines brand. Opening between now and into 2024 are Citadines serviced residences at Roces Ave. Quezon City, Davao City, and Greenhills; Somerset serviced apartments in Gorordo Ave. Cebu City and Valero, Makati; Oakwood Makati Avenue; and Lyf, a co-living space brand, is also opening in Cebu.
The rest of the openings beyond 2024 will be under the Citadines brand in Southwoods, Binan; Mandaue, Cebu; Leviste, Makati; Malate, Manila; and Connect River Park in Mandaluyong. The company also recently signed on a property in Cagayan de Oro for its Citadines brand, although no opening date has yet been announced.