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Architecture
Branded Residences – Living 365 Days In A Hotel Environment
Grand Facade of Twenty Grosvenor Square, A Four Seasons Residence in London, England. Illustrated by Von Chua.

The branded residence sector has grown in recent years and is now found across major cities in the world.

What is a branded residence?

Traditionally, the branded residence concept was realised as a hotel development with integrated residences. Imagine living at home but with all the benefits and luxury of a five-star hotel – it is the ultimate lifestyle of living in a hotel environment for 365 days. To understand this more in depth, the timeline below briefly shows how it all started:

1927

Sherry-Netherland Hotel on Fifth Avenue, New York opens, operating its own serviced apartments

1985

Four Seasons Boston opens its first branded private residences

1988

Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand launched by Aman was the first resort branded residence

2011

The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, London were completed setting a new world benchmark for luxury branded residences

Present

Global expansion to over 400 properties. In London, England, Twenty Grosvenor Square, A Four Seasons Residence is one of the latest arrivals.

There are over 400 branded residences across the globe today, the majority of which are hotel-branded. The association between property developers and hotel operators is a good fit – developers can offer 5* or even 6* hotel-style amenities and services to purchasers, while revenue from the branded residence’s sales finances the construction of luxury hotels which involves challenging economics. From a purchaser’s point of view, benefits include buying into a trusted hotel brand, an experienced management team, and luxury services to live your life in your favourite hotel experience 365 days a year.

Who are developing branded residences?

The types of branded residence in the market are described as follows:

  • Hotel developments with integrated residences
  • Hotel developments – luxury resorts with residences used as holiday lets
  • Residential developments with hotel adjacent
  • Residential developments with hotel management
  • Residential developments with remote hotel tie in

In the case of branded residences, the starting point of a project, whether it is a hotel-led or residential-led property development, help categorise where the project sits. From a hotel development’s perspective, it is a hotel brand lending its hospitality expertise to create homes. On another hand, there are residential-led developments that prioritise the amenities and services for their residents. Today, we also see spin-offs where residential developers join forces with fashion designers, in particular fashion designers who have an existing line of home brand. For example, Armani Casa, Fendi Casa, and Missoni Home. Other brands, in particular, car brands such as Porsche, Aston Martin, and Bugatti have also been invited to design residences in major cities such as Miami and Dubai.

What elements shape the hotel experience?

So what are the features in a branded residence? From the Common Areas such as the Lobby and Lounge Area, to the Amenities Area, the features are similar to what you would expect in a 5* or 6 * hotel. The experience is equivalent to living 365 days in a hotel environment, as you arrive at a private drop-off area, walk through an entrance with some form of security, then reach the concierge team or a discreet lift to swiftly reach your apartment. As for the private areas past the apartment’s entrance, it is a home with the usual Reception Room, Kitchen, Dining Area, Bedrooms, etc present within the apartment’s spatial plan. The main difference lies in the management and services provided to the residences – a 24-hours dedicated concierge team is on standby to deliver a hotel lifestyle at home. For example, a call to the concierge desk to arrange for a private chef to cook in your kitchen for you and your guests.

The look and feel of the branded residences distils the essence of each brand to be rolled out across the development. For example, the newly opened Four Seasons Private Residences in London, Twenty Grosvenor Square offers 24-hours concierge service and doorman, just like what you would expect when you stay in a Four Seasons hotel.

Who are purchasing branded residences?

Branded residences are targeting global citizens seeking a distinctly understated luxury, serviced lifestyle, and managed property. As the world becomes more connected and every country appears to be just a plane ride away, there are many who spend more than half the time away from home. This is a group of well-travelled people who are likely already spending their nights within the environments of branded hotels in London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, etc. 51% of branded residences are located in urban locations. Now, they can extend the experience to curate their homes and crafted lifestyle and call one (or more) of them home.

It is already a norm and for some of the world’s wealthiest, living in a home designed by some of the world’s best architects, plus hotel-level services provided by their team of private staff. Purchasing a branded residence buys in to high quality of curated architecture, design and high level of services, without going through the stress of purchasing a piece of land or property, plus spending significant time to design and refine the project with a design team, and omits the need to employ a dedicated team to service the individual or family. In addition to buying into a brand, these are the reasons why the average price premium over a branded residence when compared to an equivalent nearby non-branded new-build home now stands at 35%.

Are branded residences a good investment?

With an average price tag worth 35% above the market price, why are purchasers buying branded residences? The list below highlights some of the reasons why many are willing to pay the extra amount:

  • Excellent prime locations
  • Concierge service
  • High quality architecture
  • High quality interior design
  • High technology provision
  • Professional management
  • Owner benefits. For example, some branded residences offer access to the operator’s properties in other locations in the world.
  • Associated brand experience encourages trust and credibility
  • Like-minded neighbours. Your neighbours and you are part of this exclusive club.
  • Exclusive status given the internationally-known brand names

While there is currently no data as to whether a branded residence has higher resale value and / or higher rental income, the perks of living within a hotel environment but only better is demonstrated by the growing portfolio of branded residences in the world because it is one where it combines the best of all worlds to call home.

Written by Von Chua, Chartered Architect leading the creative directions at Von X Architects. Von X Architects is an architecture and interiors studio based in London, UK. A small studio with big experiences in residential and commercial projects in London. Von has a strong passion for architecture, art, branding and interiors. If you have any questions or would like to further discuss about branded residences, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at von@vonxarchitects.com First published on ADF Web Magazine on 27/01/2020.

For further readings, see below links to research from Knight Frank and Savills:

Research by Knight Frank – Branded Residences Report 2019 Global Sales Focus:

https://content.knightfrank.com/research/1617/documents/en/global-branded-residences-2019-5874.pdf

Research by Savills – World Research 2019 Branded Residences:

https://pdf.euro.savills.co.uk/global-research/spotlight—branded-residences.pdf

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