lyf Stamford Bridge-
Lyf Stamford Bridge is set to open in the second half of 2025

The Ascott Limited has unveiled a major global alliance with the world-renowned Chelsea Football Club which sees the lodging business win management of the hotels at the club’s iconic Stamford Bridge football ground in London and collaborate on exclusive hospitality experiences globally.

The two existing hotels at Stamford Bridge – the Millennium and Copthorne Hotels, which currently stand at 232 keys – will be unified under a major renovation and rebranding project to reflect Ascott’s co-living brand Lyf, marking the largest Lyf property by key count globally to date.

Lyf Stamford Bridge is slated to open in the second half of 2025 with the takeover expected later this year and will serve as the anchor hospitality showcase as part of a multi-year strategic partnership with Ascott as the Official Global Hotels Partner of Chelsea FC.

The property transformation will see all public areas, meeting spaces and rooms refreshed with space optimised in line with the Lyf brand, with a special focus on game day hospitality packages and experiential stays that reflect “the beautiful game”.

In 2023, travellers from Europe contributed to about 16% of Ascott’s global hospitality business and Ascott is targeting to almost double this figure to 30% by 2028, placing Europe as a top three source market for the business.

Speaking to media at a press conference at Stamford Bridge on Monday July 8, Ascott and CLI Lodging Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Goh, said the partnership will help Ascott tap into Chelsea’s 600 million global fan base.

“This collaboration with Chelsea is very much a part of our growth ambitions to bring authentic experience to our guests, and at the same time also grow our brands and presence in Europe,” said Goh.

“Europe is a very important source market for us. A large part of our presence is in Asia, but a lot of our guests are from Europe, so having a brand presence and properties in Europe, and this collaboration with Chelsea FC is going to bring us a lot more business from this part of the world and vice versa.”

Chelsea FC’s Chief Revenue Officer, Casper Stylsvig, told media the two brands are strongly aligned.

“I think what resonates very well with Chelsea is Ascott’s ambition, the growth potential, the level of service, the level of attention to detail – that all fits very well with a professional team like ourselves,” Stylsvig said.

With the club celebrating its 120th year next year, Stylsvig pointed to the innovative roots of the Lyf brand and its potential in attracting a younger audience and tapping into an engaged fan base across Asia Pacific.  

“We always look for innovation – we want to be the most innovative club in the world and be a part of that younger audience; very energetic and dynamic is what you want,” Stylsvig said.

“It is absolutely unique to this part of London, so we are happy to be able to support that.”

Curated hospitality experiences around the globe

As the Official Global Hotels Partner for the next four seasons, Ascott and Chelsea FC will collaborate on a wide range of ‘money-can’t-buy’ experiences for members of the Ascott Star Rewards (ASR) loyalty programme worldwide.  

Such experiences will include exclusive access to matches at Stamford Bridge and VIP visits to The Blues Cobham Training Ground, where Ascott will manage curated stays at the former club owner’s residence, a two-bedroom country cottage nestled discreetly within the grounds.  

Ascott will also become the presenting partner of Chelsea FC’s flagship international fan engagement event, the Famous CFC, in two international markets.

The two teams will also combine their marketing know-how to engage with the global football fan community. The Ascott brand will also be displayed at Stamford Bridge for both Men’s and Women’s matches, as well as across Chelsea’s social and digital channels.

“When we look at the whole spectrum of experiential travel, we found sports tourism to be one of the most robust segments,” said Ascott Chief Commercial Officer, Tan Bee Leng.

“We really think that there’s a lot that we can do together, bringing the fans to Asia, but as well as bringing our Asia following to London, to Chelsea.”

Australian and Chelsea football star, Sam Kerr

Tan told HM the two companies will explore ways to activate the partnership in Australia, tapping into the star power of Australian and Chelsea footballer, Sam Kerr.

“We will think about what sort of activation is possible because we do have a very strong Australian presence, not just the Ascott-managed properties, but also the franchised properties under the Quest brand,” she said.

“There are many possibilities to discuss, especially with that strong following of the Chelsea Football Club in Australia. We will brainstorm what creative things we can do together in Australia.”

The two businesses are exploring ways to activate the partnership for the opening match of the season on August 18th, while the hotel is going through handover process.

The partnership launches as Ascott unveils a series of global events as part of the Ascott Privilege Signatures programme, aligning with other major global events including Wimbledon and Singapore’s Formula One.

ASR members and owners met with Chef Michel Roux JR at a hosted lunch at The Championships at Wimbledon

On July 6, Ascott invited Platinum tier ASR members and owners to experience the Men’s and Women’s third round finals at The Championships at Wimbledon 2024, along with a stay at The Cavendish London.

Ascott’s European expansion

The Stamford Bridge hotel is one of six new signings across five new cities in Europe as Ascott seeks to step up growth in this key market.

These properties take the company’s portfolio in the region to about 8,000 units across six brands, equating to 14% portfolio growth, with flags in 29 European cities.

With five out of the six signings being conversions, Ascott is aiming to fast track the process of bringing these brands to market.  

“Conversions are a deliberate attempt for us to grow much faster,” said The Ascott Limited Chief Growth Officer, Serena Lim.

“We have a conversion framework that we have launched and trialled in various parts of the world, where we are able to drive conversion projects with a turnaround time as quick as 30 days. This is something that we have done, it’s not something that we are just talking about.”

Europe continues to be an important market for Ascott globally with properties in the region securing an ADR of over 30% on pre-pandemic figures last year – one of its strongest performances globally – and contributing 16% of Ascott’s global revenue for the year.

The latest signings include the first properties under The Unlimited Collection brand in the region, in Edinburgh and Leicester; further expansion of the Lyf brand, with openings in Glasgow, and Manchester in addition to the London property; and a Citadines property in Colmar in France.

Major asset enhancements projects are also getting underway with The Cavendish London, supremely located in the heart of London’s Mayfair district, set to undergo a major renovation and rebrand in 2026 as the first property under The Crest Collection in the UK.

Elsewhere in London, Citadines Holborn-Covent Garden is expected to unveil new spaces following the completion of renovation works later this year. In France, Citadines Les Halles Paris has just completed a renovation, while Citadines Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris will be transformed under The Crest Collection brand by the second half of 2026 with a targeted 2028 opening.

In Ireland, Temple Bar Hotel Dublin will be rebranded under The Unlimited Collection by the end of this year.

Ascott will continue to eye opportunities to bring more brands and properties to the market with franchise management – which accounts for 95% of its portfolio in Australia and New Zealand – expected to fuel growth in the region.  

“We expect franchise management to be our next pillar of growth in Europe, where market conditions are conducive for this business segment,” added Goh.

Global growth and innovation

Goh is confident that investment in the European portfolio will have a powerful impact on the global business but says Ascott needs to continue to innovate across all brands to stay relevant with evolving traveller preferences.

“Last year, we opened close to 10,000 keys [globally]. This year, we hope to open more than 10,000 keys,” he said.  

“The industry has been good to us. Rates have been holding up. RevPAR has gone up 20% year over year, and we’ve been winning awards.

“We’re also constantly innovating. We now have different typologies for the Lyf brand – we started off with a more residential product and then we moved on to a hotel product and maybe we could have a resort product all centred around that experience-led social living.”