By Anton Constantinou
Many of the property operators we work with have a reputation for not just quality apartments but luxury extras. With more and more guests seeking curated experiences from their business trips, accommodation providers have had to widen their offerings to stay ahead of the game.
AKA is a true champion when it comes to immersing guests in their surroundings, and balances high-end accommodation with first-class hospitality.
Its luxury residences form part of ‘vertical villages’ nestled away in some of the most iconic cities, and its bespoke services go well beyond that of a traditional hotel.
For a deeper insight into the company’s offering, we spoke with AKA’s Senior Vice President, MJ Paschall, and Resident Manager, Karen Mills, who, between them, had lots to share with us.
Describe the AKA experience to us?
AKA balances the space and comfort of a luxury condominium with the hospitality and style of an intimate hotel. Our spacious, custom-designed residences offer high-end wellness, lifestyle and business amenities in some of the most desirable cities around the world.
AKA is one of the only brands in the hospitality industry that provides a customised experience for its residents. Whilst hotels are skilled at engaging guests during their stay, AKA takes things a step further and offers personalised engagement prior and after the stay.
AKA’s front-line team members reach out to all reservation holders in advance with a personalised phone call to build rapport and confirm reservation information. This level of interaction results in inbound residents feeling like they know the staff prior to check-in, to such extent that many guests address specific AKA team members by name on arrival.
What are the defining features of an AKA apartment?
All AKA suites are smart and spacious with state-of-the-art furniture, kitchens and appliances, backed by elegant finishes and sophisticated colour schemes.
Most suites have separate living and sleeping areas, inviting residents to conduct business or entertain as they would do at home. Some suites also have their own private terraces.
Talk us through some of the luxury extras that you offer
AKA’s service offering is wide-ranging and consists of everything from same day valet dry cleaning to secure transportation, 24-hour concierge and laundry services.
AKA offers its residents exceptional fitness and wellness amenities, including 24-hour state-of-the-art Technogym fitness centres (with stretching areas at every property), serene lounges, private screening rooms, business and co-working spaces, and indoor swimming pools (at select locations). Select properties also feature on-site restaurants and cafes.
Whether it’s a month in advance or after the resident arrives, AKA delivers endless services, from curating personalised grocery orders, to booking tickets to the hottest events. AKA is committed to ensuring that all needs are met during a resident’s stay.
How closely tied are your apartments to their locations?
All AKA properties have been designed with their local areas in mind and offer a strong sense of community. We’ve gone out of our way to closely mirror the cities we operate in, and ensure that all properties, suites and amenities reflect their urban surroundings socially and architecturally.
To achieve this, we’ve implemented unique offerings, specific to each location, which help residents experience the true spirit of the areas they’re staying in. The cities we’ve chosen are vibrant, bustling and highly desirable, great for business or leisure.
Explain AKA’s design concept to us?
AKA’s design concept is a coming together of stylish furnishings and functional amenity spaces, masterminded by the architects and interior designers that we work with including Piero Lissoni, Edward Asfour, Meyer Davis, Clarke Pelli, and Jennifer Post. Each property draws upon its surroundings for its design, whilst staying true to AKA’s signature blend of sophistication and functionality.
What can you tell us about AKA’s Live It! programme?
AKA recognises the importance of experiential travel and offers one-of-a-kind experiences to its residents. The Live It! programme is an experiential lifestyle amenity which encourages residents to live their dreams by taking cooking classes, sailing lessons, trapeze lessons, wine tastings, personal training sessions and much more. As part of this programme, we have strategic partnerships in place with carefully chosen local experts and businesses offering a variety of services to guests.
Which is your most popular property and why?
Each AKA property attracts a niche audience and demographic, specific to each city. AKA White House and AKA United Nations are hugely popular with expats and inbound government professionals, whilst AKA Central Park, with its spectacular views and close proximity to high-end retail destinations, resonates strongly with our international, leisure travellers.
What are your growth plans for the future?
We have plans to become a more scalable brand and will continue to open new properties across the globe, in major gateway markets, each year moving forward.