Next Story Group continues global growth

by James Wilkinson

International hospitality company Next Story Group is expanding across Asia Pacific markets in 2019 with its successful hotel brand Next Hotels and genre-defining urban lifestyle concept, Kafnu.

The Group recently opened Kafnu Alexandria – Australia’s first Kafnu property – on 1st March 2019 and is gearing up to open Next Hotel Colombo, Kafnu Colombo and Kafnu Ho Chi Minh City in the coming months.

“Our growth strategy is focused on entrenching our foothold in Australia where we have our biggest portfolio of hotels. Our knowledge of this market has provided us with a strong grounding to successfully launch Kafnu into this market. At the same time, we are expanding into new markets and up and coming tourist destinations in South East Asia and South Asia. We believe that both our hospitality brands – Next Hotels and Kafnu – are well positioned to offer unique experiences in Sri Lanka and Vietnam. We are very excited about our property openings in these markets in 2019 as they will be new milestones for Next Story Group,” said Darren Edmonstone, Chief Executive Officer of Next Hotels & Resorts.

Next Story Group currently has 40 operating and pipeline properties in its portfolio. Among the first of the Group’s pipeline hotels to open, in November 2019, will be Next Hotel Colombo. Offering modern innovative hospitality under the upper upscale Next Hotels brand, Next Hotel Colombo will be the first Next hotel outside of Australia. It will be located within Colombo City Centre, the iconic 47-storey mixed-use development in Colombo, a city that is known as the world’s No.1 “must photograph” destination. Over the last few years, Sri Lanka’s burgeoning hospitality industry has been changing the country’s landscape and PATA now ranks Sri Lanka 5th amongst Asia Pacific’s top destinations.

Next Hotel Colombo will have 164 guest rooms and suites over 8 floors (10th to 17th), as well as unique sleep pods that provide restful moments for guests who arrive early or require a late check out. Guests will enjoy the outdoor pool on the 9th floor and have access to the gym and yoga room. Located on the 9th floor terrace, the specialty restaurant features a show kitchen and offers views of the city, the Bere Lake and the Indian Ocean. Guests will be treated to an exceptional dining experience at this restaurant with its offering of innovative gastronomical delights centred on local produce. The hotel is also the ideal venue for corporate meetings and social functions.

The hotel provides direct access to the upscale mall within Colombo City Centre, featuring more than 50 international brands, a six-screen cineplex and a virtual reality playground. It is also within walking distance to major sights including Beira Lake, Gangaramaya Temple and Park, Viharamahadevi Park, the National Art Gallery, the National Museum, the Town Hall and Galle Face Green ocean-side park.

On top of that, Next Hotel Colombo will be the Group’s first hotel to feature Kafnu as part of its comprehensive offering. Guests of Next Hotel Colombo can optimise their productivity at the 750sqm Kafnu Colombo, which will offer shared workspaces, meeting rooms and a lounge.

Since Kafnu’s launch in 2017, the innovative brand has expanded its network to four operational properties. Conceptualised as an urban village for the new generation of creators, Kafnu combines the best elements of a shared workspace, hospitality, and a social community. Members have global access to Kafnu properties and benefit from bespoke learning and networking activities that support co-creation, co-exploration and co-innovation.

Next Story Group is also marking its entry into Vietnam in the first half of 2019, with the upcoming opening of Kafnu Ho Chi Minh City. The 2440sqm property will be housed in an 8-storey building in the heart of the city, close to Districts 1 and 2. Kafnu Ho Chi Minh City will offer 8 hotel rooms where members can get a good night’s rest, a variety of workspace options, six meeting rooms and a multi-screen event space that can accommodate up to 150 guests. A virtual fitness studio will offer members more than 1,500 classes to choose from and the food and beverage options will include Soy, a modern Asian restaurant, and Habitat Cocktail Bar, which features live music.

In Australia, Next Story Group opened Kafnu Alexandria on 1 March 2019. Kafnu Alexandria is located next to The Grounds of Alexandria, within one of Sydney’s thriving creative and industrial hubs, and only five minutes from Sydney Airport. The 3,000sqm property offers 16 guest rooms, a range of workspaces and meeting rooms, as well as a virtual fitness studio, and Tonik, a gin bar that stocks over 20 varieties of Australian gin and local craft beers.