On Brand


As more and more developers partner with fashionable brands across London, L-J Andrew investigates the upswing of this niche real estate sector and its impact on the capital’s luxury property market

During the boom of the roaring twenties, celebrated New York hotel, The Sherry-Netherland, brought a whole new dimension to the luxury property scene, when it offered Manhattan’s trendsetting elite the opportunity to own a glamourous apartment overlooking Central Park. The ‘in-hotel’ apartments offered residents all the cachet of serviced accommodation with premium amenities on tap, right on their doorstep.

he Sherry-Netherland success story was clear for all to see, however, at the time, the idea wasn’t adopted by any other hospitality brands. Fast forward to the mid-80s and rival player The Four Seasons launched their own branded residences concept in downtown Boston, paving the way fora new real estate investment trend to truly take-off. Indeed, the past decade has seen the popularity of branded residences gather momentum, with over 500 branded residence schemes across 60 countries in play and many more currently in the development pipeline.

According to Savills, the number of branded residences has increased by 170% over the past ten years, a fast-track trajectory that’s forecast to continue. The trend has also diversified in format from developer hotel partnerships (which command 80% of the market) to collaborations with fashion brands creating signature home design.

Other aspirational sectors are finding success in the market too, ranging from luxury cars to celebrity designer.

Explains property consultant Jeremy Preston: “Residential developments under these brands benefit from the kudos associated with a luxury product or designer. Miami has been a hotbed of innovation in this sector, host to a diverse range of non-hotel branded projects, more than any other global city. In fact, the US currently has the largest market for branded residences; although the UAE, Mexico, Indonesia and China have the largest number of projects in development.”

London is by no means lagging behind. Younger, HNW buyers purchasing branded residences in the capital are typically from Asia, the Middle East and Africa; those three regions alone accounting for 65% of the buyer pool.

“The primary reason for the growth of the sector is that the stakeholders – namely the developer, the brand and the owner/occupier, all stand to gain in multiple ways,” explains Preston. “A developer can charge a premium for the residence, whilst the visible brand and its associated status also serve to increase trust in the developer. In some instances, the developer can access the existing customer base of the brand in a way they would otherwise be unable to do.”

As for brand owners, income can be generated from management fees and short-term sales, while generating wider and deeper customer loyalty through real estate diversification. Adds Karen Stauber of The Jills Seder Group: “Those who buy or rent, love the combination of luxury and convenience. Thanks to high levels of servicing, owners also gain from having everything they may require under one roof. They also benefit from the hassle-free turnkey purchase model, whereby they can just move in.”

Operators are increasingly looking at the experiences on offer, as a way of tempting buyers. No longer is a concierge, a pool and spa enough. Some hotels have led the way in this enrichment arena, offering celebrity-chef restaurants, bars and nightclubs, attracting visitors and locals alike, while others such as Six Senses with their new branded residences project in London, are focusing on health and wellbeing.

2023 will see the launch of The Whiteley London comprising 14 branded residences with access to Six Senses hotel’s facilities, spa and unique wellness club experience. Property owners will be able to tap into all the privileges that come with a Six Senses home, including bespoke interior design, dining and housekeeping.

The spa will also play an integral part in the hotel offering. In a space reminiscent of an old-fashioned London underground station, highlights include 3,500 square feet dedicated to fitness, a 65-foot indoor swimming pool, the Alchemy Bar and a relaxation room with vaulted ceilings.

The Six Senses brand philosophy of connection to people and nature, is central to the convivial and biophilic design of the ground floor, which features a cosy lobby bar and, all-day dining restaurant with an open kitchen and seating area in the courtyard. The surrounding Queensway district will also be given a new lease of life through a host of local amenities including a cinema, a variety of restaurants, retail outlets and145 non-branded apartments.

Drawing on the building’s heritage, Six Senses London interiors are being designed by internationally celebrated AvroKO in conjunction with executive architects EPR and will combine nostalgic nods to classical detailing and art deco along with modern influences. To add a touch of local culture, contemporary art from British artists will be showcased throughout the hotel.

Neil Jacobs CEO, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas comments: “The branded residences offering in London is a really exciting one. The capital has long been seen as a safe investment opportunity, and with continued rising demand for urban sanctuaries, the combination of a residences offering – set within an iconic landmark building at The Whiteley – alongside London’s rich culture, heritage and lifestyle scene, makes for a very compelling investment opportunity for global buyers.”

As well as on trend brands, established classic names are entering the residences market too. Backed by a top tier name in luxury hospitality, Twenty Grosvenor Square is Four Seasons’ first standalone residential project. Located in the heart of Mayfair, the residences are managed entirely by Four Seasons and provide residents with the same, highly personalised services and first-class amenities that they would expect from the hotelier’s five-star pedigree. From Michelin-starred cuisine prepared by world-renowned Chefs to locally inspired Spa treatments and round-the-clock housekeeping services, world-class Four Seasons amenities and services become an extension of the homes.

With 37 homes, the project offers a range of amenities including a state-of-the art fitness centre, private wine cellar,18 seat cinema, business suite, garden library and landscaped courtyard oasis.

Designer fashion brands are also carving out a slice of the action. ELIE SAAB Residences is a masterfully restored Victorian-styled new-build development overlooking Hyde Park, that promises an unparalleled level of quality. In addition to breath-taking views of the London skyline and spacious open plan living, the residences will have the unrivalled aesthetic touch of ELIE SAAB’s exceptionally crafted interior design using exclusive pieces from the ELIESAAB Maison Collection.

ELIE SAAB Junior comments: “After successful launches in Dubai and Cairo, we are proud to announce a new venture with Golf Islamic Investments (GII) for the unveiling of ELIESAAB Residences in London. It’s a natural process, following the achievements of our existing real estate developments. We consider London a major and strategic milestone for the brand’s expansion, and this will reinforce our presence in a prime property market.”

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