St Giles international group of hotels launches a business hotel with a unique, first-off concept and personalised touch
With such close proximity to Malaysia, Australia is the preferred, if not one of the most frequented destinations for business travel as well as holiday in Asia Pacific. The thriving city of Sydney remains one of the main windows to Australia, and with its offering of culture, stunning landmarks, beautiful beaches with world-class surfs and booming economy, business-types have more reason to extend their stay to explore the capital of New South Wales.
With this in mind, hotels are high in demand and IGB Group has recently expanded the St Giles international brand with the opening of The Tank Stream Hotel, in the very heart of Sydney’s Central Business District. The 15-storey hotel boasts 280 rooms ranging from modern twin, queen and king rooms, and a first-in-Australia, one-rate concept with complimentary amenities.
Worthy of mention is the hotel’s excellent location within key landmarks, shopping districts, and public transportation but most importantly for the business traveller, vicinity to major offices. It definitely exemplifies ‘home away from home’, particularly the room’s high quality and luxurious bed with natural detailing, high speed Wi-Fi, and in-room coffee machine complete with premium coffees, teas, beverages and snacks, among other offerings.
We were recently in Sydney for the hotel’s official launch, and squeezed in some time to talk to The Tank Stream’s Managing Director, Tan Boon Lee, and Director of Rooms and Marketing, Ezio Russa, and find out more about the hotel with an extraordinary name, and experience first hand the property’s distinctly personal hospitality.
What’s the story behind the hotel’s name, ‘The Tank Stream’?
Russa (R): The hotel is built over Sydney’s first settlement and the Tank Stream, a fresh water branch which supplies water to the growing New South Wales in the late 18th century. This ground holds a lasting historical value of Sydney.
Tan (T): We thought the name should stand out as something easily remembered. Till today, Sydneysiders would know where the tank stream is located.
What does the hotel offer that sets it apart from the rest in the area?
R: We offer a lot of quality products and items in our rooms. You’ll find a great selection of tea and coffee, and the bathroom and toilet amenities are made from Australian essential oil. We include a number of things as part of our rate whereas other hotels would charge extra. Here you get strong Wi-Fi, complimentary movies and a healthy complimentary menu bar, with a good range of water and juice. It’s also common in Australia to impose a credit card surcharge, which we don’t. All those things people find annoying, we do away with.
Tell us about your guests – are they mostly business people or do you attract holiday goers too?
R: Since we’re in the CBD, we very much target the business traveller. The leisure guests that we are targeting and who do stay here are looking for a better experience; the best Sydney has to offer. Location-wise, you’ve got high-end dining and bar options nearby, great culture opportunity with the Sydney Opera House and small theatres in the area. From a shopping perspective, the branded stores and malls are just around the corner. Two blocks away you’ve got the Botanical Garden that make for beautiful walks within the city.
How’s the reception been to the newly launched hotel?
R: People welcome what we offer and we’ve already had a good return of guests. You can’t please everyone but the main thing is we find people appreciate and enjoy our offerings. It’s all about the market getting to know us and us accommodating the market.
Do you think The Tank Stream will be a chain or positioned as a one off?
T: I call it the St. Giles family of hotels: We concentrate on location, property and services offered – we’re not going to compete with the five stars, we will complement the surrounding five stars with different offerings.
Are you considering doing other types of hotels besides business ones?
T: We are city slickers and we’ll stick to what we know and do best. I’ve got my heart in hotel since the mid Eighties – from a property developer’s perspective, hotels ‘happen’ right away. When you do something wrong, you get the flak. Conversely, when you do it right, you reap the rewards instantly. There’s a shorter turnaround.
R: Coming back to doing what we know best, if you look at what we offer, we provide the solution to hotel peeves in Australia. It’s important for us to listen and adapt to the public. In five years it’s going to be something else so you have to listen and become adaptive. People travel more these days and are more aware.
Let’s look at a rival to the hotel industry: What do you think of Airbnb?
R: You can look at it in a few different ways. Each product has evolved in the marketplace, but personally I prefer to stay in a hotel environment. In Australia, there’s been a strong emergence of serviced apartments, but there are still people who don’t like it. There’s always going to be a shift or movement, but I think each market has defined followers. It’s all about preference, really.
What are the next plans for St. Giles hotel expansions?
T: We have a piece of property in Bangkok that we will be working on soon. A third hotel in London is also in the pipeline. I’ve also got my eye on Tokyo and will be site scouting there next.