Real Estate Developers bring big brands to the Caribbean
The luxury real estate buyer seeks innovation, prestige, and a promise of excellence. Thus, enters the branded residence, a home not only with a big name but one that promises the highest in extravagance, security, and convenience.
Residences branded by Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, or Aman has been popular options for the luxury buyer. In the last decade, real estate developers have pushed the envelope, and we can now find residences branded by fashion houses, high-end automotive, and even interior design. Branded residences have been around for a long time, but in the last few years, we have seen something of a renaissance. Today there are over 400 branded residences across the globe, and this exponential growth is but scratching the surface. Fast becoming trophy purchases, the opportunities for this market to evolve are endless.
Brand awareness in the real estate world
Today’s modern society has a propensity for brand awareness. Brands are everywhere, and people buy products based on brand familiarity and seek association with the brands they are loyal to. The aspirational nature of brands also lends to their almost natural existence in the real estate world. When a brand is highly recognisable, the story has already been written, and the buyer knows/likes/dislikes the brand and knows what to expect. From a developer perspective, aligning with a well-known brand allows the ETHOS of the development to speak for itself and provides access to a pool of buyers who understand the premium the brand adds to their investment.
Hotel-branded residences make up most of this type of product, and although it seems like it would have been a natural add-on to the hospitality offering, only some bought into it right away. Take the Ritz-Carlton brand brand, and they only entered the branded residences market in the early 2000s including the development of their Cayman Islands property, The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman Resort. Developer, Mike Ryan, created their first collection of Ritz-Carlton branded residences in the Caribbean, and after successfully selling out all 66 private homes, this product is today an integral part of the Ritz-Carlton offering.
When it comes to hotel-branded residences such as the Ritz-Carlton or the Four Seasons, which claim the largest share of the market, buyers are instantly attracted to the brand that they already love and have the confidence that their new property will be defined by the elegant style and luxe finishes they are accustomed to. From concierge services and in-residence dining to a dedicated management team, these purchasers seek a lifestyle of privacy and comfort that only the luxury branded residence can offer.
Branded residences, a great business
In the last ten years, we have seen labels outside of the hospitality industry enter the branded luxury residential space, demonstrating these elite alignments’ overwhelming success. Giants like Porsche, Missoni, Armani Casa, and even Baccarat have set their sights on the sunny shores of Miami. The question remains, though, if these brands can compete with the gravitas of the luxury accommodation brands, think Waldorf Astoria for example, who epitomise a legacy of service. Continuing its track of excellence, Waldorf Astoria is busy redesigning the Downtown Miami skyline with its newest luxury residential project, a one-hundred-story-high-monolith offering private residence elevators, summer kitchens, and an amenity platform reaching the sky-high standard that Waldorf Astoria is known for.
Meanwhile, in the Caribbean, the luxury real estate market is brimming with local and international buyers seeking ownership on islands such as Grand Cayman, thanks to a wide range of benefits, namely a tax-neutral environment, modern infrastructure, and stable government. The Cayman Islands have also seen an uptake in the branded residence trend that has grown exponentially in large north American markets such as Atlanta, New York, and Miami. The first to grace the shores of Grand Cayman’s famous Seven Mile Beach was The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. Developer Michael Ryan designed the resort with unique amenities by prestigious international brands: La Prairie for Spa, Eric Ripert for the signature restaurant Blue, Nick Bollettieri for tennis, and Greg Norman for golf. Ryan didn’t stop there and saw the value of what a luxury brand could do for real estate, a shining seal of approval to a collection of oceanfront homes. A truly winning combination was born, and today, The Ritz-Carlton has over 60 properties worldwide to offer whole-ownership luxury living.
As the first luxury private residential ownership offering under the Ritz-Carlton brand, The Residences at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman have become the most sought-after private oceanfront homes in the Cayman Islands. Today, the Hyatt, Hilton, and Kimpton have all entered the Cayman Islands market, offering luxe beachfront homes within the fold of their hospitality brand. However, the Mandarin Oriental in Grand Cayman’s Beach Bay is the most awaited. Located east of George Town, in a sleepy seaside residential neighbourhood dotted with cliff-top mansions.,The Mandarin promises to be the most luxurious beachfront address on the island. With a long-standing legacy of service, Mandarin Oriental’s endeavour in Grand Cayman marks its first managed residential destination in the Caribbean.
The branded residence is a luxury home that is not only defined by its elegant style and opulent finishes but designed and equipped to deliver a lifestyle of privacy, comfort, and sanctuary. The popularity of the branded residence product will continue to grow and evolve as attaching a reputable name to a product infers a guarantee of excellence, assuring investors of the delivery and quality of the development. The perfect combination of confidence and convenience for the luxury buyer.
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