Bob W
Bob W has opened a new location in Knightsbridge, London [Credit: Bob W]

Bob W enters prime London with opening in Knightsbridge

UK: Short-stay apartment operator Bob W has entered prime London with its latest opening in Knightsbridge.

The brand, known for its advanced use of technology aimed at delivering a superior guest experience, has secured the location at Gulaid House. The expansive townhouse sits in Beaufort Gardens, a “quiet oasis” directly off Knightsbridge and just a five-minute walk from Harrods and a 10-minute stroll from Hyde Park.

Providing accommodation to stay in for days, weeks or months, Gulaid House Knightsbridge by Bob Whas undergone a complete refurbishment, taking the building back to its shell, before restoring the property to the highest standard. Apartments range from deluxe studios to a grand apartment with four bedrooms.

Gulaid House Knightsbridge by Bob W is the operator’s latest London property, expanding the reach of its approach to 21st century hospitality. The building was acquired by Saudi-based real estate private equity partner Gulaid Group Holding and is being leased to Bob W as its chosen operator.

Gulaid Group Holding chose Bob W because the company is able to achieve higher revenues per available rental [revPAR] than traditional operators. The partnership is its first and will serve as a trial that it hopes to roll out at other high-value sites as it acquires them – first in London and then in Europe.

Each apartment includes a fully-fitted kitchen with some benefitting from terraces, balconies and views of the inner courtyard or the quiet enclave of Beaufort Gardens.

Bob W’s own tech platform and suite of web apps are designed to provide a seamless digital front desk experience that is backed by robust digital customer service and other fail safes, so guests always feel looked after.

Super-early check-in or late check-outs can be instantly and automatically guaranteed based on live availability. The in-app, chat-based perfect host ‘Bob W’ has been designed to be attentive enough that guests feel like they are receiving the best customer service with a human touch, even though there are no staff on site.

Bob W’s local ‘marketplace’ also connects guests to local cafes, gyms and facilities.

Niko Karstikko, co-founder and CEO of Bob W who was featured in IHM’s 2023 ones to watch in travel, hospitality and real estate piece, said: “It’s so exciting to be working with CIT to deliver a tech-led hospitality offering in a part of prime London that has not really seen this kind of thing before. A lot of our competitors in Knightsbridge are exceedingly traditional but times have changed and there’s a massive appetite for authentic, host-driven experiences that are better value and lighter touch.

“We know we’re going to make an impact in this prestigious neighbourhood, which will serve as proof that Bob W can add value for owners in any market,” added Karstikko.

Nuh Gulaid, CEO of Gulaid Group Holding, which owns Gulaid House, said: “We wanted a development partner who could help us elevate the current short-term rental offering in Knightsbridge and provide a product worthy of its setting. There’s actually quite a number of low quality accommodation operators in Knightsbridge and it’s surprising the state that some of those buildings are in.

“There’s a temptation for owners not to invest in buildings just because they’re in prime locations. They don’t think they need to but there’s a growing refurbishment trend in Knightsbridge which will force owners to up their game.

“Bob W’s design credentials and tech-savvy, guest-centric hospitality approach deliver an experience that allows guests to live like a local and appreciate the surroundings to their fullest. We’re delighted to be working with them on this project and look forward to collaborating on other schemes,” added Gulaid.

Last October, the Finnish tech-driven hospitality provider raised €21 million in a Series A funding round, before going on to acquire apartment rental agency Charly Hospitality in April to enter the German market for the first time. 

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