Waldorf plots growth and announces new brand name

Australia: Serviced apartment group Waldorf aims to more than triple its size to 5000 keys by 2024 through its new Nesuto brand.

Founded in 1982 by Avi Rubinstein and Frank Wolf, Waldorf Apartments operates a portfolio of 1500 serviced apartments across 23 properties in Australia and New Zealand, with a heavy weighting to NSW.

Waldorf, now owned by Japan's largest homebuilder Daiwa House, has announced that all new properties, along with 12 of the 23 existing Waldorf apartment hotels, will be rebranded Nesuto apartments, a Japanese word meaning nest.

This follows costly trademark disputes with hotel group Hilton over the rights to use the Waldorf name. Legal records show Waldorf Australia Group lost two trademark disputes with Hilton (owner of the Waldorf Astoria brand) in 2013 and 2018, with Hilton awarded costs in both cases.

Daiwa Living Waldorf chief executive Mark Ronfeldt said the Nesuto brand "subtly referenced the group’s core Japanese heritage".

“One of our key objectives under the rebrand is to exponentially grow the Nesuto portfolio in the Australia Pacific region by redefining hotel and apartment hotel stays," he said.

Ronfeldt told The Australian Financial Review the group was keen to do more in Melbourne, Brisbane and selected areas in Sydney. "We're looking at St Leonards, Parramatta and North Sydney and at expanding down the east coast. We also want to do more in New Zealand and are looking at places like Napier and Wellington," he said. "We look at areas where there are future infrastructure opportunities. We don’t just put 200 rooms in the middle of the Sydney CBD , but look for areas where there are multiple drivers of demand for both leisure and corporate guests."

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