For the past year, Luxury Hotel Advisors has been working with the Toronto developers behind the new Vie’ L’Ven Resort and Residences on St. Maarten in the Caribbean. This will be a luxurious, world class condo hotel. And that got us to thinking about condo hotels in general.

Condo hotels combine the comforts of home with luxury hotel amenities including restaurants, spa, pool and recreational activities. It is a concept that works well for both developers and owners. As a homeowner and a guest, investors in condo hotels truly enjoy the best of both real estate and resort benefits.

Owners also have the opportunity to include their units in hotel rental pools when not personally using them. Condo hotels are especially smart in the Caribbean as travel to the region is growing and great beachfront destinations are becoming more and more difficult to find and economically develop. We expect to see more condo hotel projects in the coming years.

History of the Condo Hotel

According to condo hotels started with some 1950’s hotels in Miami Beach that were converted in the early 1980’s into condos and bought primarily by locals as a weekend beach/pool hangout. When tax laws changed in 1986, buyers lost the tax advantages that had made these so popular and they fell out of favor until the late 1990’s.

Then the owner of a hotel in Coconut Grove converted The Mutiny Hotel into a condo hotel and sold most of the units to family and friends in Brazil. His success led to some of the earliest condo hotels which included the Shelborne Hotel, the Casablanca Hotel and the Alexander Hotel, all directly on the beach.

Who Knew a Kitchen Was So Important

Airbnb proved how much people like to have a kitchen and cook together as well as places to gather with just their group making the condo hotel even more attractive. Travelers get to enjoy the amenities of a resort while having the comfort and convenience of a home. What could be more perfect? Every stay includes a fully equipped kitchen, washer – dryer, spacious rooms and stylish furnishings, many with a private pool and/or spa combined with services like housekeeping, concierge, and access to notable restaurants, popular night spots, beach clubs and other resort facilities.

The Caribbean and the Condo Hotel

With a variety of islands, beaches, and activities for families, couples, and solo travelers, the Caribbean is a prime location for condo hotels. Some of the best Caribbean condo resorts for families include Wymara Resort and Villas in Turks and Caicos, Secret Harbour Beach Resort in St. Thomas, Caribbean Club Luxury Boutique Hotel in Grand Cayman, and Infiniti Blu Luxury Ocean Front Condos in the Dominican Republic. These properties offer spacious and luxurious villas with multiple bedrooms, stunning views of the ocean, and an abundance of activities such as water sports, golf, and scavenger hunts.

For Developers

Condo hotels are also attractive for developers, as they can reduce their risk and cost by selling units to individual investors prior to opening the hotel. They can also leverage the brand recognition and management expertise of established hotel chains, operators and affiliations such as Leading Hotels of the World and Preferred Hotels & Resorts.

Future Trends

The future of condo hotels in the Caribbean looks bright, as more travelers seek personalized and flexible vacation options. Larger spaces, better design and privacy are in demand. For owners, condo hotels offer the benefits of both ownership and rental, as they allow owners to use their units when they want and rent them out when they don’t. This way, owners can generate income from their investment and also enjoy tax advantages.

As the demand for condo hotels grows, so does the supply. According to a report by Lodging Econometrics, there are 124 hotel projects with 26,057 rooms under construction in the Caribbean in 2023. Of these, 17 projects with 2,569 rooms are condo hotels. The report also states that there are 77 hotel projects with 15,299 rooms in the pipeline for the Caribbean, of which 12 projects with 1,507 rooms are condo hotels.

To Wrap Things Up

With these numbers, it is clear that condo hotels are a significant and growing segment of the hospitality industry in the Caribbean. They offer a unique value proposition for travelers who want to experience the best of both worlds: resort-style amenities and home-like comfort. They also offer an opportunity for investors who want to own a piece of paradise and earn passive income from it. We think condo hotels are here to stay and will continue to shape the future of Caribbean travel experience.

Let’s See Where This Goes

At Luxury Hotel Advisors, we look forward to seeing where this trend goes in terms of luxury, amenities and experiences. Even as travelers’ expectations continue to evolve, we think the core elements of the condo hotel will continue to resonate with early returns for developers, a vacation home that generates revenue for owners and a great experience for travelers. To learn more about owning a hotel in the Caribbean visit our library of articles or to receive updates on our condo hotel project Vie L’Ven, you can sign up here.

About the Author

Stephane Zaharia has over 25 years’ of experience in the hospitality industry, beginning with Hyatt Hotels , which through various appointments, led him to Aruba Dutch West Indies. He then continued as Hotel Manager with Ian Schrager Hotels at the renowned Sanderson Hotel London but his love of the Caribbean brought him to Antigua to lead the Five Star Carlisle Bay Resort. He then became President and Managing Director of Resorts and Residences by Cuisinart Anguilla where he worked alongside the ownership family office on day-to-day operations, expansions, mergers and acquisitions and eventually led the sale of the properties to what now has become Aurora Resort and Golf Club Anguilla.