From underutilised hotels to a comfortable home, Weave specialises in reinvigorating former hotels, giving them a complete makeover and transforming them into fantastic serviced accommodation for people looking for an unparalleled city living experience, usually within a short span of 9 months.
With the upcoming opening of Weave Studios – Olympic in Tai Kok Tsui and our first ever Weave Suites – Central West in the heart of Sai Ying Pun on HK Island, we already have experience converting four hotels into long term serviced accommodation. This is a process not many have capability in delivering and we wanted to offer you a behind the scenes of how we achieve this transformation.
Our work usually begins when we walk the streets of our target hotspots, identifying buildings that would give us an interesting blank canvas to work our magic. We pop the hood to see what we’re working with in terms of the original structure of the building and how space is allocated within the building. We start conceptualising what the space could look like once we bring our design thinking to the building - some of the questions we ask ourselves are whether we need to reallocate bedroom sizes, how to create the right mix of shared spaces, who is our target user and what would they look for – basically a feasibility study to determine if we can create something that will be attractive to our future residents, add, character to the local area and community.
With hotels, there’s usually some degree of underutilised space. The hotel that is now Weave Studios – Prince Edward for instance had a huge lobby to accommodate big tour groups, a rarely used business centre, linen room and back office. This was all converted to become a big living area, gym, kitchen and dining area that is now buzzing with energy from our residents. There was also a hotpot restaurant on the lower 2 floors of the hotel, which we repositioned into what is now a famous Thai restaurant (Fong Waa Parlour) with craft beers, great coffee and the juiciest fresh coconuts!
Usually the most challenging part is making sure all the changes we have planned are fully compliant with building and fire safety regulations in Hong Kong – this is something we never compromise on! For one of our upcoming buildings, it was a serviced apartment with extremely large units in a former life so adapting it to our first Weave Suites property meant the building could be designed efficiently to create a thriving residential community. However, the increase in residents also means an increase in foot traffic, motor traffic and even sewage, among other legitimate concerns on stress to the area. Who would have thought that a roadblock to improving the usage of a building could be the number of additional toilet flushes right? But with the creativity from our in-house design and projects team, we not only secured the approval from the authorities but we also became a pioneer in achieving such a large-scale change of use in a prime location on HK Island. Now that’s the Weave difference.
It takes us on average 9 months from the moment we take over a building to us opening the doors to residents. Other projects of a similar scale could easily take up to 18 months while hotel refurbishments without changing operators or ownership can still take about 6 months (with possibly 12 months of planning in advance). What contributes to our noticeably shorter turnaround time than normal is the experience that we’ve accumulated over time and our ability to carry out multiple workstreams in parallel with a world-class team.
During those 9 months, the first 3 months are usually spent working on the general concept. Where to locate the shared spaces and facilities, determining the most natural flow of residents from the standpoint of user experience and a clear idea of how the living spaces will be reconfigured to create a user-friendly living environment. While we await government approvals for our plans, we do a deep dive into material selection and constantly refine the look and feel of our buildings. We spare no detail from where to place the USB sockets to the colour of the blinds and thread count on the linen!
At the end of the day, our goal is to add genuine value to the building, neighbourhood, and community through giving heritage buildings a new purpose while creating a memorable living space for all our residents.