By Anton Constantinou
Surrey does a lot of things well: great parks, excellent historic sites, nice theatres, and top restaurants. But, did you know that it’s also home to some fabulous serviced accommodation?
Surrey Flexi Apartments, a long-standing property partner of ours, go out of their way to ensure that business travellers have the finest stay possible in the county. They cover three major Surrey towns, and the owners live close by to the properties that they operate, providing that all important personal touch.
Helen Deilamy, Founder and Co-CEO of SFA, was kind enough to let us in on their story as a provider.
As a smaller property provider, what can you do that larger operators can’t?
SFA operate purely in Surrey – specifically Woking and Chertsey. We offer a bespoke, personalised service, and have an expert knowledge of our local areas. My partner and I live close to our apartments, and take a hands-on approach to running them.
What are the defining characteristics of a Surrey Flexi apartment?
Our apartments are hand-picked, creatively laid-out, and full of homely touches. The rooms vary in size and style, as opposed to all looking the same.
We employ a single set of cleaners who cover all our apartments, and this helps us to build a close relationship with our guests – especially for longer stays. In each property you’ll find espresso machines and welcome packs that include nice extras like biscuits or breakfast items.
What are your plans for the coming year?
We recently took on a new property in December, and are planning to expand further in Surrey to include areas such as Weybridge. In the interim, we’ll continue to build upon our current output in Woking and Chertsey.
How would you describe your relationship with SilverDoor Apartments?
We have a long-standing, trusted relationship with Habicus. Habicus have helped us to grow as an operator, continued to provide a valuable service.
Why have you chosen to operate in Woking, Chertsey and Guildford?
As Surrey locals, it made sense for us to operate on our doorstep. Woking, Chertsey and Guildford are places that we know well, and this has helped us deliver an easy-to-manage service.
All three areas have good business links, and are well-connected to London via public transport. A train from Woking to London Waterloo only takes 25 minutes. Also, all areas are close to both Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
What challenges do you face as an operator?
A notable challenge is increasing supply in our areas, with a growing number of landlords trying out the serviced apartment industry. Thankfully, we already have long-standing relationships with providers such as SilverDoor Apartments.
Given the chance, where would you like to open new properties?
My partner is Spanish and is from the island of Mallorca. If we could take the business overseas and have the same success there, that would be fantastic. However, local laws prevent short-term lets so we are here to stay in the South East of England for now.
Surrey or London?
A weekend break or a long holiday?
A long holiday – preferably somewhere hot.
Fiction or non-fiction?
Spring or Autumn?
Spring all the way!