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2023-12-20 00:00:00 Avenue Magazine Are Hotels the Next Big Trend in Real Estate?

Are Hotels the Next Big Trend in Real Estate?

Eloise 2.0
The Mandarin Oriental Residences, Fifth Avenue
Photo by Dbox for SHVO

We all look forward to vacations — being surrounded by smiling staff eager to attend to our wishes; enjoying beds that are made in the morning and turned down at night; and having fitness options, spa services, and fabulous meals just an elevator ride away. That lifestyle has now become an everyday experience for those moving into the latest group of high-end residences, which are affiliated with some of the most esteemed hotel brands in the world.

“There is no better luxury than living in a hotel,” declares developer Michael Shvo, the force behind the Aman New York and the Mandarin Oriental residences (two of the biggest projects in the category).

Susan de França, president and CEO of Douglas Elliman Development Marketing, finds that the new, glamorous residences have many loyalists. “People get seduced by a brand during a vacation, feeling pampered and special, and that has created a lot of brand enthusiasts, like [for] Aman.”

Name recognition is good for investors. “There is an aspirational component to saying you live in a place with the amenities of a world-renowned brand, and that has extended into a lifestyle environment,” adds de França. “It will always attract some segment of the market that appreciates the name.”

And these properties are raising building service to the level of the highest-end hotels. “We all know people like great location, design, and view, but the bar continues to be raised,” de França states. “And hospitality brands have become the cherry on top of these fabulous offerings.”

A sense of belonging to something special and the privileges that come with that are other motivators, as those who live under the umbrella of a top hotel can often get VIP status at their other properties, including preferred rates, upgrades, and priority reservations. “You become a member of the brand,” de França concludes.

The lobby of the Waldorf Astoria
Photo by Nöe & Associates

Not all hotel residences have an extended network — the Waldorf Astoria, being marketed by Douglas Elliman, is so iconic that it stands on its own. The hotel has played host to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction each year, and to such past guests as Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, and U.S. presidents from Hoover to Obama. Ownership, then, implies an elevated status.

At some hotels, like the Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad, apartments can be put into a pool to be booked by guests, which is appealing to investors. “You are able to leverage ownership and have your assets work for you,” explains Erin Boisson Aries, a Douglas Elliman global advisor. The units are fully furnished, managed, and maintained by the hotel. When guests come, owners simply lock their belongings in a private closet.

There are also residences, including Fasano and Maison Hudson, designed for long-term stays (from one month to a year), rather than full-fledged purchases. “There was always a need for short-term housing solutions, but condos and co-ops required at least a one-year lease,” notes Boisson Aries. “It was an arduous process, going through a rigorous board application and purchasing furniture. Post-pandemic, people who moved out of the city wanted to maintain a foothold but didn’t need a primary property in New York, so we found an incredible desire for more pied-à-terre, short-term opportunities.”

The Mandarin Oriental brand is strong enough that developers were able to open residences without even having a hotel on the property, so owners don’t have to deal with the presence of short-term guests. According to Shvo, “High-net-worth individuals want the lifestyle, and this is across from the Peninsula and St. Regis, and three blocks from Central Park. But it doesn’t have the transiency of a hotel.” What it does have, he adds, is all hotel services — down to the robes, flowers, and chocolates on the pillow. “You don’t even have to bring your toothbrush.”

The Waldorf Astoria Residences New York
305 Park Avenue

Photo by Nöe & Associates

Number of units: 375 condos between the 19th and 52nd floors
Price: Starting at $1.825 million
Architect: Restored by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Amenities: 25-meter skylight indoor pool (residents only), a spa and fitness center, and a concierge closet in each apartment
Restaurant: Private chefs for in-house catering

Mandarin Oriental Residence, Fifth Avenue
685 Fifth Avenue

Photo by DBOX for Shvo

Number of units: 65 fully furnished turnkey suites with Frette bedding and Georg Jensen silver
Price: Starting at $2.5 million
Architect: Marin Architects
Amenities: Fitness center with a yoga studio, full-service spa with a hair salon, concierge service, and rooftop pool with private cabanas
Restaurant: Private rooftop Daniel Boulud restaurant

Maison Hudson
401 West Street

Photo by Silvershadow Studios

Number of units: 10 apartments with anywhere from one to three bedrooms
Price: $32,500 to $150,000 per month
Architect: Thomas Juul-Hansen
Amenities: Full-service spa, fitness center, private panoramic rooftop, and a 24-hour Clefs d’Or concierge who will stock your kitchen and walk your dog
Restaurant: Sébastien Sanjou, who has two Michelin-starred restaurants in France, will open the restaurant in March 2024

Aman New York
730 Fifth Avenue

Photo by Robert Rieger

Number of units: 22 from the 15th to 30th floors
Price: Starting at $5.9 million
Architect: Jean-Michel Gathy
Amenities: Personal butlers, complimentary house car, spa, fitness center, yoga and pilates studio, pool, and a cigar lounge
Restaurant: Two hotel restaurants

Fasano Fifth Avenue
815 Fifth Avenue

Photo by Rinze van Brug for Douglas Elliman

Number of units: 11, including four duplexes with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths each
Price: $38,000 to $140,000 per month, with a minimum 30-day stay
Architect: Thierry Despont
Amenities: Clubhouse, spa, gym, sauna, terrace, and 24-hour room service. Staff will transform and customize spaces, like converting a bedroom into a baby’s room or an office
Restaurant: Chic, intimate, Mediterranean dining room

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, NoMad
25 West 28th Street

Photo by Rinze van Brug for Douglas Elliman

Number of units: 16 penthouses on floors 40 to 43. Designed as pied-à-terre, they can be occupied by owners for up to 120 days per year, but not for more than 29 consecutive days
Price: $4 million to $8.8 million
Architect: Rafael Viñoly
Amenities: Rooftop bar and terrace, club lounge, and spa
Restaurant: Three José Andrés restaurants

One11 Residences at Thompson Central Park
111 West 56th Street

Photo by Evan Joseph

Number of units: 99, many with sweeping views of Central Park, from the 34th to 42nd floors
Price: $1.25 million to $4.25 million
Architect: Thomas Juul-Hansen
Amenities: Members’ lounge, fitness center, concierge services, and a cocktail bar
Restaurant: Three hotel restaurants

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