All About Branded Residences with Marriott International’s Dana Jacobsohn
There’s no question that hotel branded residences are big competition for luxury residential buildings. After all, who can resist room service and perks at hotels all over the world, no matter where one owns?
To understand what goes into creating branded residences, we spoke with Dana Jacobsohn, the Senior Vice President of Mixed-Use Development at Marriott International. Overseeing the creation of residences at five-star Ritz-Carlton hotels, St. Regis hotels and more, Jacobsohn is sharing what’s going on in this unique sector of real estate.
What goes into the design of a Marriott International branded residence? Where do you start?
While every project is unique, there are several key design considerations at the start of every project regardless of the brand. First, we ensure that the entire project, hotel, residences and public spaces share a cohesive design that integrates well with the destination and project site. Second, we consider the lifestyle preferences of prospective buyers in that market to inform choices about architecture, interior design and the amenities and services each project will offer. Though we adhere to high quality and brand standards across all of our branded residences, localization is important. For example, we work closely with developers to interpret and execute our brand design guidelines in a way that is relevant to their individual project whether it’s an urban or resort location. Marriott’s Global Design team includes architects, designers, and engineers that provide developers expert guidance as needed throughout their projects.
What is the biggest perk branded hotel residences offer that most full-service luxury buildings do not?
Marriott International offers an Owner Recognition Program that elevates the homeownership experience at each of our Marriott branded residences, whether a Ritz-Carlton Residence, a Marriott Residence or any of our other brands. Owners receive VIP treatment both at home and when they travel across our portfolio of 7,600 hotels globally. This is our way of both thanking and recognizing our Owners for their commitment and confidence in our brands and the lifestyle that they have chosen.
What buying trends are you seeing across Marriott’s residences and how have they changed over the past year? Are people looking for primary homes or vacation getaways mostly?
Our branded residences business has been resilient, and we have seen strong consumer confidence in a time of uncertainty. The live, work and play phenomenon is a trend that we are seeing across our properties. Vacation homes are now becoming places where people stay for longer periods of time. Our residents are working from their homes, so they want to have offices and workstations that seamlessly fit into their lifestyle. Primary homes and vacation getaways have meshed, so occupancy levels are higher than ever in our branded residences. Due to a desire to comfortably live, work and play, we expect to see more vacation homes becoming a primary place of residence.
If you had to pick from all your global residences which is best for the foodie, best for the adventurer, best for the spa-lover, and best for the beach lounger?
This is a great question but it’s almost like asking me which is my favorite child—they’re all awesome!
Foodie: The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Grand Cayman. Each year, the co-located hotel hosts the Cayman Cookout, where the world’s most talented chefs, culinary influencers, and wine and spirit experts gather on Seven Mile Beach over the course of five days to celebrate food and wine.
Adventurer: El Mangroove Residences, Autograph Collection Residences in Costa Rica for thrilling ziplining, river rafting and hiking. W Residences Aspen or The Residences at The St. Regis Deer Valley in Park City, Utah, for incredible skiing and hiking.
Spa-lover: Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve Residence. This resort has the world-renowned Spa Botanica, which recently received the 2021 Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Award.
Beach lounger: Although it’s not your typical resort, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach is on the sand and near Miami Beach, award-winning restaurants and high-end shopping destinations.
How would you describe the different experience or aesthetic of owning at a St. Regis versus the Ritz-Carlton versus the W? What should buyers consider when deciding?
While each brand offers its own distinctive aesthetic and lifestyle, a purchase decision comes down to personal preference—and oftentimes it starts with the location of the project (e.g., urban environments vs. beach settings). Regardless of which Marriott brand a buyer chooses, they can expect a high level of service consistent with their hotel stays.
St. Regis Residences: The St. Regis Butler Service is an important key differentiator, which goes above and beyond a standard concierge experience. With a focus on setting the standard for personalized service through flawless execution, we recently redesigned what that experience will look like for modern-day Residence Owners and their families.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences: Our Ladies and Gentlemen are attuned to the expressed and unexpressed needs of our Owners—so much so that they start to feel like family. Legendary Ritz-Carlton service is a hallmark of daily living.
W Residences offer sophisticated design with an array of unexpected elements to convey exuberance and playfulness. Owners love having front-row access to what’s new and what’s next. Our dedicated residential team is skilled at delivering whatever, whenever service and experiences focused on well-being, music, and fashion.
Marriott has residences from New York City to Bangkok to Dubai, how does each project stand out on its own and what unites them?
Uniting each of these locations is consistency, service, operational excellence and the support of Marriott. Even though service is always exceptional in each of our branded residences, it is also individualized and customized for the homeowner and the market. For example, at The Residences at The St. Regis Deer Valley, homeowners are assisted by Ski Butlers who help with ski equipment and lift tickets. At the St. Regis Residences in New York City, residents are assisted with theater tickets and dinner reservations.
However, regardless of the location, when a homeowner and their family visit their home, our dedicated staff knows their preferences and will stock their refrigerator before their arrival (or find opportunities to create memorable and personalized experiences after they’ve permanently moved in). At The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Kuala Lumpur, a couple recently moved into their home during a Restricted Movement Control Order due to the global pandemic. Knowing that the husband and wife were foodies, the residential team arranged an unexpected delivery of Malaysian cuisine so they could get a taste of the local culture from the comfort of their new home.
What new project are you most excited about at the moment and why?
The Residences at The St. Regis Longboat Key will be a lovely addition to our luxury portfolio. There is a lot of growth in Florida due to consumers from the Northeast and Midwest looking for homes in climates that allow them to spend more time outside. In general, I’m excited about the growth of branded residences both domestically and in new international markets across Asia and the Middle East where they are gaining in popularity.
What is the future of branded residences? How do you see them evolving?
Standalone residences are growing, so I predict that we will see more and more branded residences being developed that are not located next to or on top of a hotel. Two perfect examples where buyers can experience the brand, services, and amenities without a hotel onsite are The Ritz-Carlton Residences, North Hills, and The St. Regis Residences, Rye. The residences in Rye will open later this year as the first standalone project for the St. Regis brand.
While these two developments are top of mind, you will see on our newly launched Marriott Residences website that no two projects are the same. There’s something for everyone—the right product, in the right place, with the right aesthetic and the right price point.