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The Next Big Trend for Luxury Hotels? Branded Residences

As the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a greater emphasis on home, moving into a residence run by a luxury hotel brand might be the ultimate life-hack.


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When the highly anticipated Aman New York debuts in the Crown Building on Fifth Avenue, it will be the brand’s first urban location with private residences. Half of the 22 homes have already been snatched up by loyal Aman junkies, including the five-story $180 million penthouse, whose buyer is constructing a spa and meditation room in the copper cupola overlooking Central Park.

According to Vanessa Grout, Aman’s head of global residences, 40 percent of the current buyer base owns multiple residences within the Aman portfolio, which includes 33 hotels and resorts, nine of which have the option to own a residence. “Our phones have been ringing off the hook and I’m very optimistic about what’s to come for New York City,” Grout told Departures, explaining that the brand is reacting to increasing demand from their guests. “The residences are taking on a major part of the story for Aman. We’ve seen particularly in the last year that residences have outperformed hotel rooms.”

And Aman New York is far from the only new hotel with a residential component. Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, and Edition are all preparing to open new hotels with attached residences. Ian Schrager, the mastermind behind Edition, is convinced that it’s the future. “I think the distinction between hotels, residences, and offices are blurring and they’re all becoming one thing,” Schrager said. “You may wind up seeing a building like a microcosm of the city—you have a hotel, you have rentals, you have long-term stays, you have condominium ownership, you have an office component, you have a communal working area, and you have a lot of public spaces like a mini city.”

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The Tampa Edition, opening this year, is certainly poised as a mini-city where guests and residents can fulfill their every need without leaving the building. Part of the new Water Street Tampa neighborhood, a 56-acre masterplan, the Tampa Edition includes 37 homes with wraparound terraces, a residents-only fitness center, dedicated lobby and private elevators, a social kitchen and lounge, parking garage with electric car chargers, valet, and a fulltime lifestyle manager. Plus, residents will have the hotel’s amenities at their fingertips, including six restaurants and bars, and an expansive spa.

Schrager is so convinced about the blurring line between hotel brands and residences that he’s looking at locations for Edition’s first standalone residences, a model that Four Seasons is adopting as well. “Moving forward 90 percent of all of our future projects are going to have some sort of residential component tied into it and taking that even further, we’re looking at standalone residential,” Mali Carow, general manager of the soon-to-open Four Seasons New Orleans told Departures, explaining that the first standalone Four Seasons Residence opened three years ago in London. “As our clients continue to become brand loyalists, going from Four Seasons to Four Seasons, the opportunity to make that a permanent guest is really something that was appealing.”

RELATED: What Is a Residential Hotel and Why Is It Appealing to Luxury Buyers Right Now?

Other hotels, like Mr. C Coconut Grove in Miami, a member of Leading Hotels of the World that opened in 2019, are teaming up with real estate developers to offer residences (in this case Terra). It’s a first for the brand run by fourth generation Cipriani brothers Ignazio and Maggio, who plan to bring the hotel’s sleek yacht-inspired style and amenities like butler service and a Bellini bar to the new tower, which is located a short walk or drive away from the hotel. And Aman also just unveiled its first residence-only project as a part of Tokyo's Toranomon-Azabudai development, which includes Janu Tokyo, a luxury hotel that's part of Aman's sister brand, Janu.

There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a greater emphasis on home life, as many people around the globe have shifted to working remotely and generally spending a lot more time at home. And though people living in hotels is nothing new—F. Scott Fitzgerald lived at the Plaza and Coco Chanel occupied a suite at the Ritz—moving into an apartment run by a hotel might just be the perfect pandemic-era life hack. Aside from keeping the residences spotless, staff help with grocery shopping, maintenance, decorating for the holidays, and anything else you need.

“You could easily say to them, ‘I’m coming off the beach at five o’clock, I want a charcuterie plate and rosé in my kitchen when I get there,’ and they can set it up for you,” Jodi Stasse, executive vice president of new development at the Corcoran Group, who’s handling sales for the Asbury Ocean Club, remarked. She continued to explain the perks of owning a fully serviced condo instead of a traditional single family home on the Jersey Shore, which might cost the same but come with none of the services. The appeal is clearly there—the Asbury Ocean Club has sold over $50 million in condos during the pandemic, including two $5 million penthouses that set a record for condos in the area.

“There’s no effort, no work. You move in with your toothbrush and that’s it,” Ian Schrager said. “It’s a modern condition whose time has come.”


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