Words with Dean Schreiber

People | Written By, NOW!Singapore | June 3rd, 2017

Singapore celebrated the launch of the new Oakwood Studios Singapore in March. Located just off Orchard Road, in the heart of the city’s commercial district, Oakwood Studios provides longer-term visitors to the city with a dynamic modern base and an accommodation experience closer to an upscale boutique hotel. We asked Managing Director Dean Schreiber to tell us more.

Dean Schreiber

NS: What gave you the inspiration to open a property like Oakwood Studios Singapore in Singapore?
DS: As a destination, Singapore is vibrant, cosmopolitan and dynamic and is a hub for both business and leisure travellers. It is also where our headquarters is located and we’ve been on the lookout for the right property in the right location that would encapsulate the vitality of the city as well as the essence of Oakwood Studios.

Oakwood Studios Singapore - Facade (Day)

NS: Is this the first Oakwood Studios property of its kind? Do you plan to open similar properties in the region?
DS: It is indeed! It’s not only the first Oakwood Studios property in the world but also our first property in Singapore – making it so much more significant.

Oakwood Studios is all about urban experiences in eclectic and vibrant spaces, where guests can seamlessly alternate between work and leisure. We are looking at other key gateway cities with their own flavours and destinations we’re considering include Tokyo, Bangkok and Shanghai.

Oakwood Studios Singapore - Alfresco

NS: How does it differ from the more traditional serviced apartment experience?
DS: Serviced apartments have often been associated with business travel and over the years it has come to be known as a practical accommodation choice. But who says serviced living can’t be fun? Especially with the rise of ‘bleisure,’ new age entrepreneurs, the burgeoning creative and lifestyle scenes, not to mention boutique hotels.

At Oakwood Studios, our spaces are curated for creators – from fun furnishings (think relaxing cabanas in the heart of Orchard) and quirky art installations, to alternative beverage staples where guests can curate their own beverage from a range of Monogram tea. Who doesn’t like to have some fun whilst travelling?

We have also blended the independence of Serviced Apartment Living with the pampering of hotels to give our guests an experience that meets their needs. That’s the Oakwood Service philosophy we live by – it’s about the guest’s convenience, not ours. We want to bring back the magic of hospitality where we are not a “home away from home” – we are much better.

Oakwood Studios Singapore - Socialize

NS: How have the requirements for serviced apartments changed in the past decade?
DS: The Global Serviced Apartments Industry Report (GSAI) 2016/17 estimates that there are now 826,759 apartments worldwide – up from 401,997 apartments back in 2008. Supply of serviced accommodation has increased across every global region, confirming that this short-term accommodation solution, with its flexibility and cost benefits, is here to stay.

In Asia, serviced apartments are increasingly the preferred housing option for the region’s business travellers on short-term work assignments. Staying in hotels may work for a few nights but ultimately many prefer a different type of space to call home over longer periods of time – one which comes with comforts such as private space for hosting friends or an oven to cook their own dinner.

The business travel market in Asia is thriving. According to Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), Asia Pacific has the largest share of the business travel spend market. This business travel boom, combined with the war for talent in the region and rapid economic growth, is fueling demand for serviced apartments across the region.

Spaces will have to change to cater for the new travellers. They’ll bring their own tech devices filled with their entertainment of choice, so faster Internet and bigger screens are the order of the day as are flexible live/work spaces that allow for an easy mix of business and leisure – Y’s and Z’s are very entrepreneurial, so expect to see an increase in “work from anywhere” travellers.

Oakwood Studios Singapore - One Bedroom Apartment (Living Room)

NS: What new innovations are available at Oakwood Studios Singapore?
DS: With Oakwood Studios Singapore, we got a lot more creative with the overall experience and want to offer the opportunity to our residents to curate their own stay. For one, guests can rent a Steinway piano during their stay with us. We also allow guests to purchase art pieces featured in our apartments, as well as Skin Inc beauty products from our beauty mini-bar.

We’ve also partnered with Samsung to enhance the guest experience. A feature mirror video wall can be spotted in our Socialize lounge and guests will also find Samsung tablets and smartphones in their apartments. Aside from functioning as one’s mobile apartment key, the smartphones also contain information about the city with complimentary data and local calls. The best part is that guests can take them out of the apartments with them whilst exploring the city. As for the rest, we’ll let it be a surprise!

Oakwood Studios Singapore - One Bedroom Apartment (Kitchen)

NS: How important is the design of the interiors integral to the Oakwood Studios experience?
DS: We took a lot of care with the interiors as they do play an integral part of the overall Oakwood Studios experience. Our guests’ lifestyle preferences were foremost in mind and we tried to bring a vibrancy to the living spaces through our selection of furniture and art installations.

Oakwood Studios Singapore - One Bedroom Apartment (Living Room)

NS: Who was involved in the design of the rooms and common areas?
DS: Our in-house Technical Services team and I worked closely alongside FBEYE for the design of the spaces. We also collaborated with LUMAS Gallery to curate the art installations in the property.

NS: What are your favourite design elements of the property?
DS: Since the property is design-led, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact design element that stands above the rest. We love that there are so many spaces around the property that guests can call their “favourite.” Having said that, we love the lips, the iconic image of Oakwood Studios. This represents the intimacy guests will find when staying with us, in the form of discreet service, cozy fixtures, changing moods throughout the day and the scent and the balance that exists throughout.

Oakwood Studios Singapore - Lobby

NS: What sort of common facilities can guests expect during their stay?
DS: We’ve got a pretty sexy rooftop pool with a BBQ grill beside it. We have a gym and the ‘Socialize’ lounge, which extends outside to an al fresco seating with lounge chairs and cabanas. There’s also a private garden terrace which takes a little bit of finding but it makes a great spot for some quiet time, some yoga or simply lazing around with a good book.

NS: How important is the location to the overall Oakwood Studio experience?
DS: Oakwood Studios is about urban experiences – so yes, location is important. An Oakwood Studios property will be located in urban neighbourhoods where one can feel the pulse of the city and soak in the vibrancy of the neighbourhood.

Oakwood Studios Singapore - Swim (Day)

NS: Are guests encouraged to socialise with other guests during their stay?
DS: We created the public spaces with similar intentions – spaces that evolve throughout the day to embrace the new co-work/co-living hype that is currently all the rage –  as the day progresses, the spaces change, offering more privacy and “own-time.” Whether you want to see or be seen, whether you want to mix or simply chill out, Studios has been designed to accommodate your preferences. Overall our spaces were designed to enable and facilitate interaction and connectivity (be it a face-to-face or digitally) instead of inhibiting it.

NS: What sort of traveller will enjoy what the Oakwood Studios Singapore has to offer?
DS: Definitely one who looks to have a bit of fun! Guests who appreciate art and love to explore and who can assimilate into their environment and are inspired through creativity. We think that whether young or old, guests will smile when they arrive and still be smiling when they leave.

Oakwood Studios Singapore, 18 Mount Elizabeth, tel: 6914 1800, oakwoodasia.com

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