Want a home with extra amenities? Just buy a condo with hotel services

Developers are building more condos with hotel amenities:

Developers across the U.S. are reviving a concept that collapsed with the real estate crash in 2008: combining condominiums and hotels. In cities including Miami, New York and Los Angeles, a rebounding hospitality market is joining with rising demand for luxury homes, spurring developers to construct new full-service hotels and ask premium prices for residential units associated with a high-end brand…

“I love the amenities the building will have — a restaurant that can provide room service, a concierge, maintenance, a person that can clean your place, valet parking,” said Viete, 25, who works for his family’s real estate company in Caracas. The $250 million project, scheduled to break ground in August, is already 85 percent sold…

Condo developments with a hotel can be structured in several ways. In some cases, residences may be connected to the lodging segment only so that owners can take advantage of the hotel’s amenities and benefit from the brand’s prestige. That tends to put a premium on unit prices.

In other developments, known as condo-hotels, a portion of the condos are made available to the hotel when owners aren’t using them, producing revenue for residents.

Sounds nice if you have some extra money lying around. On one hand, the story doesn’t say how much extra such units would cost over and above condos available elsewhere but on the other hand, if you have to ask, this isn’t the market for you…

Thinking about these units, they are an interesting contrast to a common American narrative about homeownership that goes something like this: you work hard to put together enough to purchase a home, you work hard to maintain it, you are more likely to participate in local community life, and it is a long-term investment and place for sentimental moments. Yet, the housing options available to those with more money goes against these principles. Instead of putting sweat equity into maintaining the home, you can pay someone else. Instead of getting deeply involved with neighbors and local issues, the wealthy can travel from house to house in exciting locations. Instead of holding onto a home because of family life and memories, housing becomes just another commodity to be bought and sold. In other words, condos with hotel features are far beyond normal American conceptions of homeownership.

Becoming more popular in New York City: the pod hotel

In order to provide hotels at a cheaper price in New York City, several groups are building “pod hotels.” These hotels are characterized by their small, but well-appointed, rooms:

With their wood paneling, velvet benches and Oriental carpets, most of the 150 rooms occupy just 50 square feet (4.6 square meters) and recalls boat cabins. A large mirror hangs on the wall to counter any claustrophobic feelings…

These hotels promise “micro-luxury:” air conditioning, a safe, a flat-screen television and free Wi-Fi. The Jane also offers its clients a bathrobe and slippers.

“We don’t sell a bed, we sell a room,” said Pod Hotel managing director David Bernstein. “The atmosphere is much cleaner and more upscale than in a hostel. The size is really what makes them affordable.”

As long as they can avoid the New York problem of bedbugs, I can imagine these would be popular in a city full of expensive hotels.