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PF Meets…. Mark Docherty, Director of Operations at Dream Apartments, the appointed management company for the Serviced Residences at The Sandford

April 26, 2017Article by Charlotte Ashton

In the latest instalment in the popular series from Property Frontiers, PF Meets with Mark Docherty, Director of Operations at Dream Apartments, the Northern Ireland based expert company appointed to manage the brand new ‘showroom standard’ Serviced Residences at The Sandford.


Who are Dream Apartments?

Dream Apartments is a serviced apartment provider which welcomes over 1,200 guests per week and is quickly becoming a UK leader in the serviced apartments industry. Our mission is to offer a range of serviced apartments for every kind of traveller. We want to create an experience which is both memorable and offers undeniable value.  We have six properties across the UK and Europe and five locations in Belfast as well as operational in Liverpool, Newcastle, Paris, Cardiff and Dublin.

What type of properties do you offer?

We offer serviced apartment accommodation in great locations, all our properties are within walking distance of all city centres and we have a range of units available from one bedroom apartments up to 3-bedroom duplex apartments.

How long have you been established?

Our team have been in the serviced apartments industry for over ten years and enjoy a wealth of experience. We recruit highly experience personnel that allow us to deliver the product and service in which we strive to provide. Across all our locations we have over 250 units in the Dream Apartments portfolio

Are you seeing growth in the UK serviced apartment sector? 

Yes, there has been a significant growth in the sector. The winter 2016/17 edition of Savills’ report The UK Extended Stay Market confirms that this will be a record year for new developments in the UK, with just over 2,600 units forecast to be delivered, a 13.8% increase on current stock. According to The Apartment Service, there are now about 750,000 Serviced Apartments worldwide – an increase of 80% in just 8 years.


Why do you think that serviced apartments are becoming a more popular accommodation choice?

Hotels are no longer the default choice for travellers, both for business and leisure travel. Serviced apartments provide a secure, comfortable environment for travellers to relax in, they offer a home-from-home comfort which include separate living and sleeping spaces as well as all the entertainment equipment you could possibly require.

A major factor is the growth of technology it has transformed the way consumers choose their travel and accommodation. Websites, such as Airbnb, booking.com have opened up a huge range of options to suit all budgets, lifestyles and tastes and have changed travel accommodation expectations.

Business and leisure travellers alike appreciate the ‘home-from-home’ environment they offer; total independence to come and go, eat, drink and sleep as you please, but with a degree of service included that you won’t find in a private rental.

What services does Dream Apartments offer its clients?

Whatever the length of stay, our serviced apartments offer an attractive, more flexible alternative to hotel accommodation. Our apartments offer all the comforts of a stylish home away from home, including contemporary décor, digital TV, and high-speed broadband the benefit of housekeeping facilities, room service and concierge services. We have partnered up with excellent restaurant and tourism attraction in the city that give discount to our guests therefore making their stay even more memorable

Can you tell us about the Dream Apartments operation in Belfast?

Our serviced apartments are located throughout Belfast; we have over 100 units within five locations. From the popular Lisburn Road, to the centrally located iconic Obel Towers. Our locations make us the ideal choice when customers are choosing their accommodation in Belfast.

All our apartments offer a full housekeeping service, concierge service including room service. Dream Apartments has been furnished to the highest standards, with all the modern amenities you could require to ensure you have a delightful stay. Including fast Wi-Fi allowing you to connect with friends, family and business colleagues while you stay with us.

What is your view of the serviced apartment market in Belfast today?

There has been a required for accommodation in Belfast for the last couple of years and thus there is now around 1,074 hotel rooms expected to be built in Belfast by 2018, representing an increase of 29%. The additional rooms are needed to offset demand for the city, which currently outstrips supply. Growth will include a 25% increase in the four and five-star room offering. The total number of hotel rooms in the city is expected to increase to 4,885 by 2018. This growth is only possible due to the support from the Belfast City Council as they are keen to support hotel development and has expressed a need for an additional 1,800 hotel rooms to fulfil the tourism demand.

How are properties such as The Serviced Residences at The Sandford, delivery a solution to the accommodation needs of Belfast?

There is significant demand for accommodation in Belfast and the location of The Sandford is perfect for serviced accommodation with the redevelopment of the Waterfront Hall as a conferencing and exhibition venue this has significantly transformed the scale of business tourism in the city and Sandford is a mere 5-minute walk from the venue.

What makes The Serviced Residences managed by Dream Apartments an attractive opportunity for investors? 

The way in which consumers make their accommodation arrangements has changed and for many hotels are not suitable as the traditional hotel sector is seen as expensive and restricting the new generation of travellers prefer the more ‘home from home’ experience

You have fixed guaranteed annual yields on a 15-year lease; your apartment is fully managed by our team of experienced staff, everyday a housekeeping team member and a member of maintenance will inspect your property to make sure it is perfect for the next guest arriving. Its effortless income!

Tell us about your future aims / plans for Dream Apartments in general and within Belfast?

Dream Apartments has a five-year plan, within that we aim to increase our Belfast stock to over 150 units and already have plans in place for this in place, outside Belfast we plan to move from six cities to twenty cities across UK and Europe.


For more information about the Serviced Residences at The Sandford click here or call +44 1865 202 700.

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