WORDS: KIT HEATHCOCK IMAGES: SUPPLIED & SHUTTERSTOCK

A growing global trend has started blurring the boundaries between hotels and residential apartments and the phenomenon of hotel residences has caught on in South Africa.

There are traditional hotels with a select number of private penthouses and apartments within them – such as the Taj in Cape Town and Da Vinci in Sandton – and a new breed of apartment hotels, where all the accommodation is in the form of independent apartments – you can stay a night or six months on a hotel basis, or invest in your own apartment and enjoy a “concierge lifestyle” with all the services of a hotel on tap.

hotel residences

Apartment hotels

Today’s frequent traveller is fuelling the rise of the apartment hotel residence, wanting more independence and flexibility than a traditional hotel room – a home from home. “Apartment hotels are particularly popular among travellers who are away from home for business travel or project work,” says Marc Wachsberger, MD, The Capital Hotels and Apartments. “The apartments offer more space than a regular hotel, and include home comforts like a fully equipped kitchen to cook healthy meals, the convenience of a washing machine, and enough space to be comfortable and not confined to one room.” The Crystal Towers Residences in Cape Town’s Century City – under separate management to the hotel that shares the same building – sees an equal demand from leisure travellers for this luxury, self-catering with hotel services offering, especially at weekends and in the holiday season.

hotel residences

20 West Apartment

Hotel residences

In the Cape Town CBD, developments such as The Onyx and Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence have taken the trend to a new level, creating model new hybrids of apartment hotel and private residence.

“The major driver behind this trend is the amalgamation of a number of uses in a single project which gives the ultimate flexibility to residents,” says David Cohen, managing director, Signatura, the developers behind The Onyx and Radisson Blu. “Having a hotel ensures that an array of amenities – not just a gym and a pool – are included in the services offered to residents. There are more staff than a standalone luxury development, usually there are restaurants, hotel guests coming in and out – all of which creates a great vibe.”

hotel residences

The Capital on Park

Investing in a hotel residence

Buying an apartment in a hotel residence on a sectional title basis has a number of advantages. Besides the obvious factors of companies buying for their executives to use for business travel, and private individuals for a second home or an investment, both appreciating the convenience of a turn-key solution, elevated levels of service and plentiful on-site amenities, many hotel residences offer a rental management service.

hotel residences

The Onyx

Wachsberger says of The Capital Hotels and Apartments properties in Joburg and Cape Town, “Roughly 60% of investors lease the apartment back to the group to be included in hotel stock, and in return benefit from a guaranteed monthly rental, as the group carries the risk of securing clients. Approximately 30% of investors live in the hotel apartments that they buy, relishing the convenience of a fully serviced hotel environment, without being responsible for all the minutiae that goes into running a property.”

Demand for this luxury lifestyle remains high, as the new serviced apartments being developed at The Houghton attest, being 95% sold out even before the accompanying hotel has been completed.

On the appeal of the hotel residence, Cohen concludes, “I think the theme song from Cheers sums it up very nicely, ‘You want to go where everybody knows your name’. Walking into a hotel lobby, having a chat to one of the valets, getting a cup of coffee from the restaurant, everyone greets you and you feel like you are part of a larger community within the building – that’s the difference between a hotel residence and just another nice place to live.”

hotel residences

20 West Apartment

“The hotel residence falls in step with the growing trend of urbanisation; residents willing to live in smaller, more manageable apartments, with a number of shared spaces where they can interact with long-term and short-term residents” DAVID COHEN, SIGNATURA

HOTEL RESIDENCES

hotel residences