Guide to Buying a Condo Hotel (Condotel) in Miami - FAQs and More

Founder, Condoblackbook.com & Owner/Broker, HB Roswell Realty
Guide to Buying a Condo Hotel (Condotel) in Miami - FAQs and More
Founder, Condoblackbook.com & Owner/Broker, HB Roswell Realty

Jan 02, 2019 January 02, 2019

Miami has been the playground of choice for beach lovers, party goers and tourists in general for ages. The constant demand from people wanting to live and play here makes Miami a natural pick for the concept of condo hotels. Almost every major hospitality brand out there either has one or is in the process of putting a new condo hotel in the city. But, what is a condo hotel? What makes it a good investment? Why would anyone choose a condo hotel over a traditional condo or a timeshare? Find answers to such frequently asked questions and more below in our complete guide to buying a condo hotel in Miami.

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Acqualina Ocean Residences
Acqualina Ocean Residences

What is a Condo Hotel and How Does it Work?

Condo hotels are typically high-rises operated by hotel brands. These are generally built close to popular vacation destinations. The condo-hotel units are reserved for sale to individuals who would like to own them as a second home or vacation property, and owners then have the option to place their condo in the hotel’s rental program to earn a revenue while they’re away.

Perhaps the best part of buying a unit in a condo hotel is that the owner inherits all of the 5-star amenities, services and luxuries associated with the hotel brand. Typical amenities include signature spa services, fine dining, nightclubs, lounges, lavish pools, room service, concierge desk and housekeeping.

To the average guest, a condo hotel unit might seem no different than a regular hotel suite, but the key difference is that it is individually owned.

Condo Hotels: One Residence, Many Names

A condo hotel goes by many names. It is mostly known as a condominium hotel, hotel condo, and of course, condo hotel in the U.S. Internationally such residences are popularly known as condotels.

Advantages of Owning a Condo Hotel Vs. Traditional Vacation Condo

Before delving into the details of buying or owning a condo hotel, let’s take a look at the various advantages a condotel owner gets by default:

Hassle-free vacation home with signature hotel amenities. One of the biggest attractions of buying a condo hotel suite as a vacation home is getting access to all the facilities of a full service resort. While housekeeping, room service and a concierge take care of things during your stay, the hotel team or an on-site management company can take over once you’re away.

Hospitality-grade, professional managed rental program. Another great advantage of being part of a brand is that if you put your suite in the hotel’s rental program, you have a professional team with years of sales and marketing experience in the hospitality sector working to your advantage. Not only does your suite get the advantage of a professionally managed marketing team, but also a multi-million-dollar global reservation system keeping your suite in the limelight and generating revenue all year long. This, of course, comes with the hotel getting a share of your revenue.

On the other hand, in case you decide not to use the hotel’s rental program and prefer hiring a third-party management company to do an airbnb for example, you then get to keep a bigger share of the revenue while still enjoying all the leverages and benefits associated with the hotel’s brand.

Income known to offset ownership expenses. Just like a regular vacation condo, a hotel condo too comes with its own set of expenses like monthly fees, maintenance and repairs, short term rental taxes, etc. However, with the hotel’s rental program looking to generate a regular stream of income, many are able to offset the cost of ownership and even book profits on their suite.

Two-fold appreciation. Any kind of property is known to be an appreciable asset. One unique advantage to a condo hotel is that if the image of the hotel brand improves over time that can increase your property rental rates and possibly your property value.

Icon Brickell III (W Miami)
Icon Brickell III (W Miami)

Difference between a Timeshare and Condo Hotel

No joint ownership. Unlike a timeshare, wherein several owners get to use the same property as a vacation home, a hotel condo is individually owned.

No fixed time for vacation. Since you do not share ownership of your condotel suite, the concept of time sharing is also ruled out. In a timeshare, co-owners usually agree upon the amount of vacation time they can have on the property, which is typically the same 1-2 weeks a year. However, in a condo-hotel since you are the sole owner of your suite, you get to decide the number of days and times a year you could use your vacation condo (this, is of course, after due consultation with the hotel on blackout dates, if you are enrolled in the hotel rental program).

Easier to resell. The concept of sharing ownership and splitting time with others in itself can be a turn off for many buyers. However, since a condo hotel suite is individually owned, it is has a higher probability of appreciating over time and is easier to resell.

Is a Condo Hotel the Right Choice for Me?

If you answer yes to the following, then a condotel would be the right choice for you:

  • You only plan on using it as a vacation property
  • You only plan on visiting for a small percentage of the year
  • You like the idea of owning a slice of luxury in a world-class hotel brand
  • Earning rental income while not using it is a priority

Is Buying a Condo Hotel a Good Investment?

Just like any other investment vehicle, whether this turns out to be a smart pick or not actually depends on your needs and choices. Here are a few elements that impact your return on investment:

  • Not all hotel brands are built the same. Your revenue directly depends on your hotel condo’s brand image and management. The stronger the brand value and management, the more you can expect to earn per night. This means it becomes extremely important to choose the right brand in accordance with your investment capability.
  • Revenue splits. If you chose to enroll in the hotel’s rental program, keep in mind that you will be splitting revenues with the establishment. This means you could pocket anywhere between 35-60 percent of the earnings, depending on which condo-hotel you choose. However, a 35% cut from a well-established, high-end brand could end up giving you better annual returns than a 60% cut from a weaker brand.
  • Projected data limitations. Since developers are only allowed to sell condo hotels as real estate and not investments (according to the Securities and Exchange Commission), you will not be given any data on occupancy forecasts, proposed rates or expected rate of returns for pre-construction projects. However, existing properties can share historical data about earnings, which can give you a fair idea of what to expect.
  • No guarantees on occupancy rates or income. Again, since the SEC restricts sharing any kind of projected data, no realtor or developer will commit to any kind of income or rate estimates. Also, your condo hotel earnings will be just as vulnerable to economic or political climate change as the rest of the hospitality industry. So, the only thing one can do to safeguard their investment is to look into the checklist below and ensure a good buy.

 Mondrian
Mondrian - Photo credit: Ken Hayden Photography

How to Ensure your Condo Hotel is a Successful Buy?

Once you’ve decided that a condo hotel is the right choice for you, then do look into the following checklist to ensure that it turns out to be a smart buy as well:

  • Good location. Make sure your condo-hotel sits in or near a popular vacation destination or at least in a neighborhood frequented by tourists.
  • Strong brand. Brand value is one of the most basic things that will help ensure better marketing, higher occupancy rates and earnings per night.
  • Attractive amenities. What’s a hotel without its amenities, right? Make sure that the amenities are at par with what you spend. After all, spending more than a million-dollars should fetch ultra-luxury amenities in a 5-star establishment.
  • Solid management. Even the most enticing amenities can turn lackluster without the proper care and maintenance. A solid management should make sure that your suite and the hotel is always in tip-top condition.
  • Survey around. Make sure you check out neighboring properties, condo hotels in different parts of the city, the unit itself (if it’s ready), prices of similar condo hotels, etc. before taking a final call.
  • Read the fine print. Make sure you know about your association’s fees and rules, any restrictions, details on the rental program, it’s blackout dates and revenue splits. An informed decision is the best decision.
  • Ask a lot of questions, especially if it’s your first. This is the only time you have to ask as many questions as you want and clear every doubt you may have. Once you sign the dotted line, there’s little that can be done after.

Key Questions to Ask Before Buying A Condo Hotel

  • How does the hotel’s rental program work?
  • Is it mandatory for you to participate in the hotel’s rental program?
  • How are rental revenues split? What percentage do you get?
  • How long before you come to stay will you have to notify management?
  • Are there any blackout dates? (Blackout dates are generally peak vacation times or holidays when your suite is compulsorily blocked for renting out.)
  • Is there any restriction on the number of days you can stay/rent out your suite?
  • Will you have to stick to the check-in/check-out timing too?
  • Is your unit furnished? Is the current furniture in the unit acceptable if you want to place it in the hotel program?
  • Who will manage the property? (The hotel team and management team can be two separate entities.)
  • When are proceeds distributed?
  • How much access will you have to the hotel’s amenities?
  • What are your voting rights and how much access will you have to property books and records?
  • What if a guest damages the furniture in your suite?
  • Can you use the hotel facilities even when not occupying your suite?
  • Who is responsible for paying the property tax on your suite?
  • Can the condo hotel be financed?

Staying in the Hotel’s Rental Program Vs. Managing Without One

Joining the hotel’s rental program

  • You have an experienced sales team, an expert in the field of hospitality, marketing your suite all year long.
  • The hotel’s worldwide, multi-million-dollar reservation system is used to market, manage and track rentals. The outreach of such programs is usually immense.
  • Besides the hotel’s brand image and marketing techniques, your suite will be listed on the website and sophisticated apps posted by the hotel, making your room more visible and accessible.
  • You will have to split a fixed percentage of the revenue with the hotel, which may or may not match your investment goals.
  • Blackout dates can be a concern, especially when you wish to spend major holidays or peak vacation weeks in your vacation suite.

Going solo (i.e. Airbnb)

  • You can either dedicate your extra time or hire a third party to manage your rentals. We’ll be happy to advise you about some of the best property management companies in Miami to make your search easier.
  • You get to keep a lot more of your revenues. If you are not in the hotel rental program, you are typically not required to share your revenues with the hotel.
  • You or the company you hire need to be dedicated towards the proper marketing and management of your rentals to generate a steady flow of income.
  • You have full control over when you do and do not want to rent out your unit.

Ritz Carlton Bal Harbour
Ritz Carlton Bal Harbour

Typical Expenses for a Condo-Hotel Owner

Just like a regular condo, your condotel suite entails a monthly association fee that generally covers utilities such as gas, water, electricity, internet, cable TV; common area maintenance; reserves for furniture repair; accrual of future expenses such as room remodeling; management costs; building insurance; and other expenses generally covered by traditional condo fees.

Additionally, you will be responsible for paying insurance (there will be details in the official documents on specifics), real estate taxes and any other unique expenses detailed in the agreement with the hotel operator.

The hotel will be responsible for paying for its costs of operation such as salaries, marketing, reservation systems and other direct hotel expenses.

Can a Condo Hotel be Financed?

Yes, plenty of lenders are willing to finance condo hotel units nowadays. However, what’s worth noting is that since banks perceive these units as an investment property rather than a residential property, loan rates and down payment requirements are generally higher. Another reason for higher rates is that lenders assume a greater risk of financing an investment property versus a primary residence, as in, they believe an individual is more likely to default on a payment for an investment residence as opposed to a permanent residence.

Alternatives to Condo-Hotels for Short Term Rentals

Some looking for condo-hotels ultimately simply want to have a vacation condo they can rent out whenever they are not using it. Many condos in Miami and Miami Beach allow for either daily, monthly or seasonal rentals, which can offer a practical alternative to condo-hotels.

To make it easier for you, we put together a list of condos in the Miami and Miami Beach area that allow short term rentals for you.

Conclusion

All in all, condo hotels are a great way to enjoy a fabulous property, located in some of the top tourist destinations of the world, powered by a world-renowned hospitality brand. It also works out to be a great investment opportunity, where the rental income mostly ends up covering regular expenses and still leaves room for profits.

Miami has a huge variety of condo hotels and we’ll be more than happy to pair you with the best fit. Feel free to give us a call at 786-930-4220 or email us at contact@condoblackbook.com to help you with your search for the best condo hotel, or browse through below to get started.

W South Beach
W South Beach

A List of Condo Hotels in Miami

Condo-HotelAddressCity / NeighborhoodYear BuiltArea (sq. ft.)No. of BedroomsPrice Range
1 Hotel & Homes102 24th St, Miami Beach, Florida 33139South Beach2014866 - 2,2001-4$1,170,000 - $5,950,000
1818 Meridian House1818 Meridian Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139South Beach1956357 - 8160-1$199,000 - $370,000
ABAE1215 West Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139South Beach2016442 - 5040-1$299,000 - $425,000
Acqualina Ocean Residences17875 Collins Avenue and 17885 Collins Avenue, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160Sunny Isles Beach20082,031 - 5,7751-4$1,999,000 - $6,990,000
Alden Hotel Condo2925 Indian Creek Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33140Mid-Beach20042880-1$189,900 - $189,900
Aventura Beach Club19201 Collins Ave Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160Sunny Isles Beach1966360 - 6800-1$84,000 - $265,000
Bentley Beach Hilton101 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139South Beach2004515 - 6400-2$665,000 - $1,090,000
Boulan220 21st St Miami Beach, FL 33139South Beach201010251-1$769,000 - $769,000
Carillon Resort and Condo6801 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33141North Beach2010662 - 1,2851-2$425,000 - $1,950,000
Carlyle Deco Hotel1250 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139South Beach19411,046 - 1,3872-2$749,999 - $772,500
Casablanca6345 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33141North Beach1948320 - 3500-2$190,500 - $239,000
Casa Grande834 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139South Beach1923
Castle Beach Club5445 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140Mid-Beach1966330 - 2,0700-2$189,900 - $1,490,000
Congress Hotel - Strand Condo1024 - 1060 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, Fl 33139South Beach1936451 - 7291-2$379,000 - $720,000
Conrad Mayfield1395 Brickell Avenue, Miami, Florida 33131Brickell2008729 - 2,0821-3$280,000 - $1,549,000
David William700 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables, FL 33134Coral Gables1963420 - 1,0860-1$149,000 - $432,600
Epic200 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami, FL 33131Downtown2012799 - 3,3621-3$380,000 - $3000,000
Fontainebleau II Tresor4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140Mid-Beach2008491 - 1,5570-1$669,000 - $3,200,000
Fontainebleau III Sorrento4391 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140Mid-Beach2008521 - 3,3000-1$632,000 - $7,900,000
Fortune House185 Southeast 14th Terrace, Miami, FL 33131Brickell1998640 - 9501-2$239,000 - $410,000
Icon Brickell III (W Miami)485 Brickell Avenue, Miami, FL 33131Brickell2011495 - 1,4590-2$345,000 - $780,000
M Resort Residences18683 Collins Avenue, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160Sunny Isles Beach2005688 - 1,4971-2$384,900 - $1,050,000
Marenas Beach Resort18683 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160Sunny Isles Beach2005688 - 1,4971-2$380,000 - $1,050,000
Marina Bay Club18100 N BAY RD, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160Sunny Isles Beach20021,150 - 1,2552-2$525,000 - $530,000
Mondrian1100 West Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139South Beach2008477 - 1,1900-2$300,000 - $870,000
Mutiny Park2889 McFarlane RD, Miami, FL 33133Coconut Grove2001686 - 1,1830-3$440,000 - $799,000
Newport Beachside16701 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160Sunny Isles Beach1966246$22,500 - $22,500
Ocean Point Beach Club17375 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160Sunny Isles Beach2001930 - 1,9001-2$344,900 - $1,250,000
Ocean Spray4130 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140Mid-Beach1936214 - 2690-0$167,000 - $249,000
Ocean Walk on South Beach335 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139South Beach1939200 - 4500-1$219,000 - $545,000
Olsen Hotel Condo7300 Ocean Terrace, Miami Beach, FL 33141North Beach1940
Residences at the Miami Beach Edition2901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139Mid-Beach20141-4$3,300,000+
Ritz Carlton Bal Harbour10295 Collins Ave, Bal Harbour, FL 33154Bal Harbour2008510 - 3,3172-5$495,000 - $5,900,000
Ritz Carlton Coconut Grove3300, 3340, 3350 and 3400 SW 27 Avenue, Coconut Grove, Florida 33133Coconut Grove2001936 - 4,0001-3$465,000 - $1,850,000
Setai2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139South Beach2005767 - 2,5581-3$1,499,000 - $8,300,000
Shelborne1801 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139South Beach1940220 - 9400-2$375,000 - $1,200,000
Sole on the Ocean17315 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160Sunny Isles Beach2007644 - 1,2011-2$279,000 - $1,100,000
St. Regis Bal Harbour9701-9705 Collins Ave, Bal Harbour, FL 33154Bal Harbour20121,261 - 4,9101-3$2,175,000 - $10,950,000
The Alexander5225 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FL 33140Mid-Beach1962960 - 1,4902$439,000 - $950,000
The Four Seasons Residences1425/1435 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131Brickell2013611 - 8,8030-6$329,000 - $25,000,000
The Grand1717 North Bayshore Drive, Miami, FL 33132Arts & Entertainment District1986985 - 4,0141-4$279,000 - $2,500,000
The Mercury100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139South Beach1921430 - 7660-2$274,000 - $825,000
The Mutiny2951 S. Bayshore Dr, Coconut Grove, FL 33133Coconut Grove19987401-1$340,000 - $340,000
The Surf Club Four Seasons9011-9111 Collins Avenue, Surfside, Florida 33154Surfside20162,024 - 5,8221-5$3,725,000 - $15,995,000
Trump International18001 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160Sunny Isles Beach2013457 - 1,4780-2$260,900 - $1,595,000
W South Beach2201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139South Beach2009490 - 2,9601-3$915,000 - $12,500,000
UPCOMING
Edge on Brickell55 SW Miami Avenue Road, Miami, FL 33130Brickell
Okan Tower555 N. Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33136Downtown2021
Waldorf Astoria300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132Downtown2020
YotelPad227 NE 2nd St, Miami, FL 33132Downtown20200-2

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