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The rise of serviced apartments in Nairobi

By David Mwitari | April 13th 2017
Studio apartments at Mvuli Suites in Nairobi.

In October 2016, a report by Cytonn Investments indicated that serviced apartments in Nairobi outperformed hotels in occupancy and returns. The report said the average occupancy for serviced apartments was 90 per cent and the revenue per room per night was Sh12,700. This occupancy level was 29.6 per cent higher than that of hotels, and 33.5 per cent cheaper on average than an hotel room.

Sometimes called serviced apartments, furnished apartments are taking root in Kenya. “In terms of occupancy and location, the best markets for investing in the hospitality sector are serviced apartments in Nairobi, three and five-star hotels in Masai Mara and business hotels in Nairobi,” Elizabeth Nkukuu, Cytonn’s chief investment officer, said at the time.

Miriam Mokaya of Othaya Realtors says short-term vacation enthusiasts on family holidays nowadays rent unoccupied homes in major towns, which is a local model of a serviced apartment.

“Serviced apartments are not only for expatriates who used to do temporary renting so that they could get an opportunity to investigate the new town before settling down. Kenyans are now appreciating it in a big way,” says Miriam. Miriam, whose company manages a number of serviced apartments in Mombasa, Nairobi’s Kilimani area and Brookside Drive, says their Mombasa apartments are currently 70 per cent booked.

Perfect for guests

“Couples are not going for vacations alone as it used to be. Nowadays, nobody leaves their kids behind to enjoy themselves if it is not a honeymoon, and furnished apartments are the best choice for family holidays to maintain the bond,” says Miriam.

According to Amos Ngonjo, a director with Gramo Suites Apartments, which is managed by Trianum Hotels, developers are putting up serviced apartments to cater for those who want to have a feeling of being home away from home, something that is not common with the traditional hotel setting.

“Serviced apartments give a luxurious and tasteful lifestyle to guests,” says Ngonjo. He says not only have furnished apartments rivalled hotels in terms of accommodation and catering but they also have high quality finishing, which is perfect for guests who would like to have short and extended stays when travelling for business or with friends and family.

Gramo Suites sits on an acre of land. Here, the space is utilised with enough gardening to offer a relaxing space.

Ngonjo says furnished apartments are usually a good alternative when you need a new home but you don’t have the time to decorate or buy household items. He adds that furnished apartments also offer room for services like food delivery, house-keeping services, amenities replenished on a daily basis as well as laundry services for both short and long-term guests.

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