The Ascott Limited (Ascott), a lodging business unit wholly owned by CapitaLand Investment, unveiled its refreshed hospitality brand, Somerset. A brand that champions inclusivity and sustainability, Somerset embraces harmony within individuals, with families and in the environment. This brand refresh follows Ascott’s recently announced Ascott CARES, a sustainability framework that aligns Ascott’s growth strategy with environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations. The refresh of the Somerset brand serves as another milestone to mark Ascott as one of the first hospitality groups to be conferred Recognised Standard status by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
As the second largest brand within Ascott’s global portfolio, the Somerset brand is present across 70 properties, including seven in the Middle East, Africa, Turkey and Central Asia, all of which are in the process of implementing upgrades to reflect the refreshed brand.
Ms Tan Bee Leng, Ascott’s Managing Director for Brand & Marketing, said: “Sustainable travel has gained prominence in recent times as travellers become more socially conscious and aware of their environmental footprint. We are witnessing a returning trend towards family vacations and multigenerational trips, and Somerset has been most popular amongst our guests because of its flexibility to cater to different travel purposes – from long-stay relocations to short-stay vacations. Against this backdrop, the Somerset brand was refreshed to meet travellers’ growing expectations for sustainability, while at the same time ensuring they can immerse themselves in a truly inclusive, harmonious experience.”
Somerset Brand Signatures
Once through the doors, senses are immediately reinvigorated with the Somerset signature scent, a fresh and light citrus scent with woody undertones and a touch of tea tree oil with anti-bacterial properties for an added peace of mind. Guests are then greeted by the sight of the signature lobby wall feature, a unique nature-inspired centrepiece that further sets the tone for the stay. Somerset Al Fateh Bahrain has a green wall built on the external side of the property to create a natural ambiance that makes guests feel peaceful and elevated, while Somerset City Centre Atyrau and Somerset Maslak Istanbul are in the process of installing a living wall in the lobby area to offer guests a scenic and calm entry into the properties. Somerset West Bay Doha features a dedicated wall in its social room, specially designed with wall art and counters adorned with seasonal plants.
Further promoting sustainability, Ascott’s regional properties are spearheading dedicated gardens for their kitchens. Somerset Al Fateh Bahrain has planted herbs that are used in the food preparation and as a means of involving long-staying guests as part of the community. Somerset City Centre Atyrau will introduce an organic garden for guests to enjoy fresh farmed vegetables, while the restaurant at Somerset Westview Nairobi serves an organic menu featuring farm-to-table dining.
Within property grounds, guests of all ages can spend quality time at the Eco Play Area and Gym. Powered by happiness, the Eco Play Area is a kid-friendly area with biophilic elements and play features powered by solar and kinetic energy. Somerset Al Fateh Bahrain has specially designed an ‘ocean’ themed room for kids, while Somerset Downtown Al Khobar has transitioned its play area to one that encourages kids to engage in more physical games rather than electronic. Somerset Westview Nairobi’s dedicated play area is equipped with toys, drawing books, colours and puzzles, adorned with bright and vibrant colours.
Guests can also work out at the Eco Gym, which includes gym equipment and technology that are either energy-saving or power-generating, allowing guests to be mindful of the energy they consume and at the same time generate electricity while exercising. Somerset Al Fateh Bahrain is home to a manual treadmill machine that generates energy when worked on, powering the tablet attached to the machine. At Somerset Downtown Al Khobar, the space is kitted out with wooden look-alike flooring and non-electric consumption equipment, with ample space for natural light to pass through the room. Somerset Maslak Istanbul will introduce an outdoor gym comprising plates and yoga essentials, while Somerset West Bay Doha has partnered with licensed tourism adventure companies to provide non-motorized activities such as kayaking and canoeing for its guests, alongside providing e-bikes and e-scooters for guests to use when travelling to nearby malls, parks, and metro and bus stations.
The recently-opened Somerset Al Mansoura Doha (Franchised property) will also implement the new Somerset brand signatures, to offer guests a sustainable stay in the capital city of Qatar.
The Somerset Sustainability Passport Programme is an initiative that encourages guests to be part of the green travel movement by rewarding them with discounts and perks when they make sustainable choices. Guests can redeem prizes such as the ‘Cubby and Friends’ collectibles, and bring a piece of Somerset home. Cubby, Ascott’s mascot who champions inclusivity and sustainability, is fitting as a brand icon for Somerset, and can often be seen with friends from around the world, featured as part of property interior design and merchandise.
Mr Vincent Miccolis, Ascott’s Managing Director for Middle East, Africa, Turkey and India, said: “We are thrilled to introduce the refreshed Somerset brand across our regional properties and to see the brand signatures come to life. There is no doubt that sustainable travel and consumer sustainability consciousness will continue to rise, and our Somerset properties are at the forefront of providing our guests with the best hospitality experience that has sustainability at its core.”
‘Somerset Where’s Cubby Global AR Adventure’ Campaign
In celebration of the refreshed Somerset brand, Ascott is hosting ‘Somerset Where’s Cubby Global AR Adventure’, a seven-week long interactive campaign with more than eight million ASR points worth over SGD20,000 (AED 53,150) to be won. From 22 November 2022 to 8 January 2023, AR codes are hidden across the 70 participating properties and online channels, featuring 12 different designs of an animated 3D Cubby. Each Cubby design carries an educational message that embodies Somerset’s brand values of inclusivity and sustainability. Guests and the public can scan the AR code, take a picture or a video of each design and share it as an Instagram Story. To qualify for the weekly giveaway, participants will need to follow and tag Ascott’s Instagram account (@discoverASR), to stand a chance to become one of 10 winners selected at random to receive SGD200 worth of ASR points.
Somerset brand refresh is part of Ascott’s Brand360 strategy, a groupwide exercise to strengthen its expanded brand portfolio through sharpened brand stories and the introduction of signature experiences and programmes unique to each brand. The Citadines brand refresh was unveiled in September 2022. With the tagline ‘For the Love of Cities’, Citadines offers travellers the comfort of a serviced residence and the flexibility of a hotel. Ascott, Oakwood and The Crest Collection brands will also be rolling out new brand signatures and programmes in 2023.