Investing in Hotel Apartments in New York City at the Lombardy Hotel

Investing in Manhattan real estate has become a must for well-to-do and up-and-coming real estate investors alike. Real estate in Manhattan is holding its value thanks to the year 2012 bringing increased foreign investment, favorable interest rates and inventory declines. A recent industry analysis found that residential property investments in Manhattan are outperforming those in comparable large cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Although foreign investment in Manhattan real estate increased this year, comprising nearly 9% of all sales, Americans are investing in Manhattan as well. This year, 7 out of 12 real estate investment purchases will be made by Americans.

In the light of this real estate market, who would turn away the chance to invest in real property that is not only secure but also a piece of Manhattan history? Such thinking certainly motivated buyers of units in the Lombardy Hotel, located at 11 east 56th street in New York City. The Lombardy Hotel’s superb midtown location places it only a few blocks away from famous Manhattan landmarks like Central Park, the theater district, and Fifth Avenue’s designer boutiques. A majority of the suites at the hotel are owned by individuals and rented to tourists. With only 162 rooms and suites spread over 22 floors, Lombardy Hotel feels spacious and decadent. Investors or individuals seeking a Manhattan pied-a-terre look favorably upon the Lombardy Hotel. Twice daily turndown service epitomizes carefree living.

The Lombardy Hotel embodies classic old-world charm and luxury. This should be expected considering its legacy. An edifice constructed in 1926 by newspaper publishing great William Randolph Hearst, the Lombardy Hotel was a gift for Brandon Davies. Davies was a famed silent film actress and Hearst’s lover. The beautiful stone fa├žade of the Lombardy Hotel’s exterior symbolized his reverence for her. Today, the Lombardy’s classic limestone design stands just as proudly against a backdrop of steel. It continues to be a statement building. Inside, the marble laid lobby greets visitors its sprawling mahogany staircase. Classic art pieces and antique mirrors line the lobby walls. Feature-rich, the Lombardy Hotel offers amenities like gym, business center and spa. Those wishing to live or invest in hotel apartments should contact its exclusive broker, Wald Real Estate at the Lombardy Hotel.

Rooms that are owned but not currently occupied can be rented to tourists and short-term guests. A review of the myriad of travel and hotel sites online show guests rating The Lombardy between four and five stars. Those who visit are overwhelmed by the sheer size of rooms and the staff’s astute service. Suites with kitchenettes especially appealed to hotel guests, who can rent these spacious suites at a rate up to 30% less (dependent on the season) than the Manhattan standard hotel rate.

The returns garnered by investors, combined with the subsidized cost of running a hotel in this manner, made The Lombardy Hotel a successful experiment in real estate investing. Other hotels in Manhattan have followed suit. Live-in and owner options are also currently available at such hotels as the Gansevoort, the W, the Carlyle and the Ritz-Carlton.

Economy Accommodation in Berlin and Travelling Trends in Europe – Key Trends For 2009

After briefly examining the global context of travelling trends and accommodation, the article will focus on growth in economy accommodation. Taking Berlin as a case study, it will highlight different types of economy accommodation, which could be part of key growth areas in 2009. The article does not offer ultimate solutions or remedies to guard against the impact of the recession, but it is does hint at certain safeguards which can be undertaken. This text is aimed at accommodation providers and tourist operators, who may not be aware or have the time to sift through some of the more recent tourism statistics. It offers a general, brief overview and a subjective interpretation of the key Tourism trends from 2008 in relation to Accommodation/lifestyle & budget Travel.

- IMPACT OF RECESSION ON EUROPEAN BUDGET TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION -

We are in the midst of a global recession. The US was hit first followed by parts of Europe. According to UNWTO, The World Tourism Organisation who compiled data from the first 8 months of 2008, published in October 2008, the statistics showed a sharp slowdown in growth of international arrivals in recent months and the IPK (World Travel monitor company) pointed to a possible decline of 0 – 2% in 2009. There is however one region that is still booming, the Middle East, where tourism growth in 2008 was up 17%. We could all relocate our travel businesses there, but for those of us that are operating out of Europe and wanting to stay put, being aware of possible implications of the downturn and recent travel trends, is important in making forecasts and decisions for the future.

There is no doubt that travelling trends are fickle and hard to form long-term forecasts from, but they are not only useful indicators, but sometimes have a major impact on the holiday accommodation industry itself. We know that luxury travel has declined, British Airways suffered a 9% decline of its long haul flights and this could be interpreted as an indicator that luxury accommodation may well also be hit. Indeed, if Mariott International (owner of the Ritz Carlton hotel group) could be taken as a barometer, its third quarter profit in 2008 fell by 28% (The Wall Street Journal digital network). If the prediction of Niel Pedersens, Managing Director of the Supranational Hotels, is right, he foresees that “in 2009 hotel revenues will typically drop 20% with five star market hardest hit” (PricewaterhouseCooper). All of this points to 2009 being a very challenging year for high end travel & accommodation. It is within this context that it maybe important for the luxury hotel & the entire holiday accommodation sector to re-think ways of strengthening and sustaining areas of their profitable business. The more luxury and middle range hotel providers may not only need to make cuts across the board, for example, but also look at ways of holding on to their existing ‘loyalty” customers and make shrewd selective investment decisions. For less high end hoteliers, one method may be to think about ways of re-branding their economy accommodation offers, since it is budget accommodation that many holiday makers are looking for in hard times.

When one looks at the bigger picture, the areas of growth which may arise in the holiday accommodation industry as a whole, may well have an impact even after the recession is over. We do know from the recession of 1993, that budget hotels’ turnover actually continued to grow during the recession (PricewaterhouseCooper). Also, in the slump between 2000-2002 the data extrapolated is that only budget hotels experienced increased growth during this period (PricewaterhouseCooper).

- ECONOMY ACCOMMODATION IN BERLIN QUANTIFIED -

Indeed, economy accommodation and budget travel are real potential growth areas in 2009. Economy accommodation is also the theme for ITB’s 2009 annual tourist industry convention held in Berlin. As previously mentioned it is the city break to Berlin that I am going to use as case study for the purposes of this article, with particular weight given to guests travelling from British shores.

So, how does one classify economy accommodation? One could go by average accommodation price per night, as compiled by the ITB findings from the Pisa report 2009, as a starting point. Since the average expenditure per night is 101 Euros, anything dramatically lower than this figure could be translated as the amount a holiday maker would be prepared to pay for economy accommodation. In Berlin an average four-star hotel double room price is 140 Euros (on-line Berlin Time Out guide) whereas a double room in a Berlin hostel, the traditional economy style accommodation in the Circus Hostel, would cost around 56 Euros, (based on 2 people sharing a double room). And in a 2 star Berlin hotel such as the Ibis Hotel, travellers pay up to 75 Euros per night (based on 2 people sharing a double room). Typically, a budget boutique Berlin hotel, like Arotel, would cost on average approximately 100 Euros (based on 2 people sharing a double room – price quoted as the average amount per night from a 3 day booking from March 13th – 16th 2008)

The traditional style economy accommodation such as the youth hostel is the most popular form of budget accommodation, especially in Berlin. However, other areas to consider for the future growth are more niche style budget accommodation.

-BERLIN HOLIDAY APARTMENTS – EXAMPLE OF NICHE STYLE BUDGET ACCOMMODATION IN BERLIN-

Indeed, niche style accommodation such as branded budget boutique hotels and holiday apartments have become increasingly popular since the 1990′s. These types of accommodation are not only very much in vogue and a more stylish spacious alternative to that of a hotel or hostel, but also great value for money. The holiday apartment is an alternative option to a hotel for a family looking for flexible, spacious accommodation, giving them the option of say preparing their own lunch or evening meal and thereby increasing their spending money. For the business traveller the vacation rental is also a good option. Berlin, for example, is a city that attracts business people associated with the entertainment/media sector rather than say investment bankers. This category of traveller is more likely to be attracted to good value stylish Berlin holiday apartments. Equally, the contemporary holiday apartment, is attractive to the type of couples who would have been used to spending money on say a boutique Berlin hotel. The boutique style holiday apartment is a great alternative as it offers them the charm and design flair that they are looking for at a price that does not tear the purse strings away. Guests looking to stay in a stylish Berlin holiday apartment, studio size, for example, could book through Be-My-Guest and pay 60 Euros per night (based on 2 sharing)

Other niche style budget Berlin accommodation, to look out for in 2009 are guest rooms, bed and breakfasts and ‘pensions’, the latter of which is the name for B&B’s on the Continent. In Berlin the amount of visitors staying in boarding houses rose 20% from 2007 (Visit Berlin statistics). I think especially more British holiday makers would revel in the opportunity in staying in a room in Berlin, especially in a Berliner Bed & Breakfast, or an Inn Berlin. This type of accommodation as well as the Berlin vacation flat, that I have outlined above, would appeal to the culturally curious traveller who wants to experience the real Berlin and get a feel for the neighbourhood, as a local would. Furthermore, if you are staying in a guest room you would also have a chance to chat with the host and appreciate the insider tips that may otherwise have been missed from a guide book or the standard hotel reception information. A typical room in Berlin through Be-My-Guest would set you back around 40 euros (based on 2 sharing)

- OTHER EUROPEAN TRAVELLING TRENDS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2009 -

Other travelling trends can also provide the travel industry with indicators as to which areas to consolidate. The UNWTO report mentioned that the youth traveller was one of the fastest-growing segments with the the biggest potential being over 30, for whom the share of youth travellers doubled in the five years from 2002 to 2007. The trend, which is expected to grow, was hinted at showing that youth travel is more about culture and lifestyle than about the age of a person. The trend may have had also had a knock-on effect on economy accommodation. According to the same UNWTO report, the traditional hostel, which is still by far the most popular accommodation choice for youth travel, saw a slight decline, but the budget hotel grew two-fold between the years of 2002 – 2007. Growth of Bed & Breakfasts and self-catering also rose during this period for youth travellers. The report also pointed to a trend in the use of internet for booking holidays. This could well be tied to the growth of youth travellers who are the most internet savvy of the age groups. Indeed the share of on-line bookings, for at least part of a trip, has risen from 19% of total trips abroad in 2003 to 41% in 2008. Another interesting statistic is that there was a 4% increase to 19% amongst those saying they pay attention to friends and relatives when gathering information about a trip, with travel trade as a resource beginning to slide.

The UNWTO report also highlights the fact that in 2008 sun & holiday travel was one of the biggest growth areas with business travel also faring well, however there was stagnation in the amount of city breaks being undertaken. This, as the ITB report surmised, may have been due to the amount of British people cutting back on the amount of second short breaks undertaken. The reduction may have been due to oil prices having gone up, the effects of which were either the reduction of low-cost air-lines or the increase of fares, which coupled with the delays encountered because of new security checks, may have led to a stagnation of people undertaking short breaks. Maybe as a result other forms of budget travel transport such as train & car travel increased significantly in 2008, which is what the report also indicated. The good news is however that oil prices have made a recovery from its high point last year.

In conclusion, according to the information I have gleened, if businesses are firstly aware of the impact of the recession on the tourism industry, focus on their key areas of strengths and weaknesses followed by selective investment and brand re-positioning, there is a good chance that, coupled with the help of governmental policies, they will be able to ride out the recession . It could be that changes made now may become the strengths of the future. But of course, it is important to be equally aware that there are no quick fixes in this game.

Nusa Dua Hotels and Accommodation

Nusa Dua is a Bali resort targeting the richer more affluent tourists and therefore the types of hotels in this exclusive area are more up market and costly so you won’t find much in the budget type of place to stay. Even though the prices are much higher you can expect the same value for money that is common all around Bali and compared to other resorts around the planet, Bali is outstanding when it comes to services and quality for your money.

When searching for some Bali accommodation in Nusa Dua you’ll be beginning off in the mid range of rates and then going up to the 5 star accommodations that’s expected from an elite holiday maker resort. The mid range of accommodation will give you everything that’s needed to be snug and some extras. All rooms would be air conditioned, have twenty-four hour room service and in house amenities like cafes, bars and some shops that will sell basic must haves and tourist mementos.

At the most southern tip of Bali where it tapers off into a peninsula, this is where you will find Nusa Dua. The white wonderful beaches stretch all along the coast and getting there’s a straightforward fifteen minutes drive from Bali International Airport. Nusa Dua competes with some other areas in Bali for being the most prestigious holiday resort in Bali. The delightful international hotels make it a favored destination for the more upper class tourist. This area has been very well developed and provides you with modern roads, and gorgeous gardens that are very well maintained. There is no highway through Nusa Dua and as a consequence it is a very quiet place to go to without the stupendously crowded beaches that you will find in the more budget oriented resorts and spots.

Activities include many water sports that you can decide to partake in, most of these are arranged by the hotel you are living in and keep the volume of tourists down by making them a personalized service and not open to anyone apart from the hotel guests. The diving in Nusa Dua is incredible as the lagoon is protected and there are no big waves. The water is a lot warmer here and so the sea life is abounding and definitely worth taking a look at. Diving lessons are available, or you can just do some snorkeling and get the same overwhelming experience if you’re a bit wary about scuba diving. You can ask at the hotel you are staying in about the Bali tours available that will give you a private service.

If the tide is low there are 2 tiny islands that you can walk to or hire a boat. These aren’t populated and you may be lucky enough to have an island all to yourself for a day. Just watch out if you’re walking there that you don’t get marooned by the incoming tide, the hotel will be in a position to advise you on the tides.

For the more leisure conscious tourist, there are masses of shopping areas to browse through; Nusa Dua is known for its exquisite boutiques and shopping facilities. Bali shopping areas are definitely worth visiting as you can find some incredible bargains. The nightlife here is also much different from the more common resorts and has a tendency to have more class and sophistication with superb eateries, bars and clubs.

Being this is one of the most popular and up market resorts in Bali, it is imperative that you book your hotel or villa in advance. Going to Bali with the objective of staying here and finding that the hotels are totally booked will be terribly upsetting to say the least. Nusa Dua hotels generally all offer air conditioning, but just ask to make certain, there’s not much worse than the humidity at night if you’re not accustomed to it.

If taking a short break to explore the island it is advisable to bear a few things in mind. The more rustic areas aren’t as accommodating when it comes to toilets, you will stumble upon some real horrors. Always carry toilet tissue with you as few rural toilets will supply any or hand soap, so take some of that with you too.

There are thousands of temples that are dotted all over the island and a trip to Bali without visiting 1 wouldn’t be a complete trip to Bali. You would be missing out on a view into the culture and architectural designs of a wonderful nation. Firstly you’ll be needed to wear a sarong when entering the temples and though they do offer them for rent at every temple; it is far easier to take your own therefore avoiding having to queue up especially if there is a huge tour group.