When Super Bowl LIV (54) kicks off in Miami next year, Warren and Silvia Schencker will host VIII (8) out-of-town guests for the big game. Finding hotel rooms for them won’t be a problem: The Schenckers reserved three guest suites at Riva Residences, their Fort Lauderdale, Fla., condo building, for a mere $75 each per night.
Of all the amenities at Riva Residences, the guest suites are what sold the Schenckers on the building, where late last year they paid $1.1 million for a two-bedroom apartment with docking rights. Since closing, they have rented the suites twice, first in March for guests attending their daughter’s wedding and another for family time in late August, when Hurricane Dorian was bearing down on coastal Florida. Each time, the Schenckers could be close to their guests, while offering them the amenities of a luxury hotel.
Mrs. Schencker, a 55-year-old former newspaper advertising and marketing executive, says that the suites are beautiful and large. Guests have the use of the building’s facilities, including the gym, pool, and hot tub.
Riva Residences, a 15-story condo building completed in 2018, has 100 apartments priced from about $725,000 to $5 million. The development includes three suites called cabanas for the exclusive use of homeowners family and friends. After a flat $150 cleaning fee, homeowners pay $75 a day for up to four days, and $150 a day from five to 10 days.
To attract buyers, high-end developers are increasingly selling the luxury lifestyle to house guests. In many cases, entire floors are devoted to amenities including guest suites that are designed to accommodate owners when they host gatherings and entertain. The suites give the buyers the ability to buy an apartment with fewer bedrooms, knowing that they can reserve a suite when company comes. More important, developers say, is that separate guest suites let homeowners enjoy their private space while eliminating the headaches of cooking, cleaning and laundry that come with hosting.
“That’s definitely a trend that we’re trying to accommodate,” says Meg Brod, regional development officer for Rockefeller, the company behind Rose Hill, a 45-story condo tower in Manhattan slated for completion next year. Prices range from $1.2 million for a studio apartment to $17.5 million for the top-floor penthouse. One guest suite will be available for residents to reserve at $275 a night.
Rockefeller is targeting New York buyers “who are always lacking space,” Ms. Brod says. Over 50% of Rose Hill apartments will come with flex space that can be used as an office, a nursery, den or studio. This gives residents extra space without having to buy a unit with a spare guest room, saving them $1 million to $1.4 million, depending on the size of the unit, Ms. Brod says.
“Instead of having a guest bedroom when it’s not used 99% of the time, this guest suite will give access to a fully furnished room inside of your building.”
Rose Hill residents and their guests will have access to the building’s outdoor areas, library and an observation deck with two sides, one for social activities and the other a quiet space for lounging.
At Elysee, a condo building under construction in Miami’s Edgewater district, the entire 30th floor is dedicated to communal entertaining spaces which includes a living room, chef’s kitchen, lounge area and screening room, among other amenities. The floor also will include two private guest suites for residents’ overnight visitors, says Reid Boren of Two Roads Development. When the building is completed next summer, apartments will range from 2,500 square feet to 11,000 square feet, ample space for overnight guests. But in designing the building and talking to prospective buyers, Mr. Boren heard a number of scenarios in which people preferred separate guest suites.
One of the families has a cat and the homeowner’s mother, who had allergies and would visit frequently, needed a place to stay. Another has a college-age child who wants his own space when he comes home for breaks and holidays. A family that plans to buy an apartment as a vacation getaway will use the suite to accommodate one of their staffers.
“Look at this last year of hurricane scares,” Mr. Boren says. “People can come here and still have a place to stay, to get a massage or have a gym space.”
Prices at Elysee will range from $1.8 million to $9.4 million. Nightly rates for the guest suites haven’t been determined, Mr. Boren says.
At Cordillera Ranch in Boerne, Texas, homeowner Ben Beyer books the guest suite for himself and his girlfriend, Kristen Carter.
In 2015, Mr. Beyer paid $489,000 for a 2,800-square-foot vacation home on 3½ acres, and spent an additional $150,000 on renovations to create what he calls a Hill Country modern ranch house, with more natural light and a cleaner aesthetic.
But Mr. Beyer, CFO of Trace Midstream, a Houston company in the natural-gas industry, said his busy work schedule and the three-hour drive to Boerne kept him from using the house as much as he would have liked. So in May, he found a renter who signed a 16-month lease for his house. Now Mr. Beyer pays about $300 a night to stay in the Lodges, a newly completed building with six guest suites located on the third fairway of a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.
Beyond overnight guests, the developer of Cordillera Ranch, D.H. Investment Co., foresees members staying at the Lodges while their homes are under construction. As of last year, 800 homes had been built at the 8,700-acre community north of San Antonio, with plans for 2,500 in all. Homes currently on the market range from $700,000 to $5.25 million.
“They have enough lodging now that I can invite my family or other guests,” Mr. Beyer, 35, says. “You can still spend time with family and friends without the hassles of hosting.”