© The Beverly Hills Hotel/Niall Clutton

Hotel living

Living where others go on holiday - a dream that financially strong people like to fulfil: More and more hotels in the upper price segment offer permanent living in their houses.

5 December 2021

"Chateau Marmont" in Los Angeles The hotel on Sunset Boulevard is known for its discretion, even though scandals keep leaking out ©Valerie Macon


On October 1, 1931, the "Waldorf Astoria" in New York celebrated its opening as the largest, highest and most expensive hotel in the world. Since 2017, it has been closed for renovation work, which should be completed in two years. In its 90-year history, the building with the listed façade has hosted many illustrious guests: former US President Herbert Hoover lived in the "Waldorf Astoria" for 30 years, Frank Sinatra rented a room from 1979 to 1988 - for the proud sum of one million dollars per year. His previous tenant? None other than composer Cole Porter. On the West Coast, a man had already taken up residence about a century earlier in a hotel that was very posh for its time: Mark Twain moved into a room at the Occidental Hotel for a year and a half in the 1860s. Other permanent tenants in Californian hotels included Jim Morrison, who lived in the "Alta Cienega Motel" in West Hollywood, and for a long time Liz Taylor stayed in the "Hotel Bel-Air" in Los Angeles. The "Beverly Hills Hotel", always known for the fact that Marilyn Monroe lived here for some time in the 50s, opened its "Marilyn Monroe Bungalow" two years ago. Guests can book the restored favorite villa of the film icon for around 7300 euros per night. For comparison: in Marilyn's day, renting the apartment is said to have cost around 19,700 euros a year. As part of the "Live like Marilyn" package, which was available until recently, guests received a bottle of "Chanel Nº 5", ate at Marilyn's favorite table in the Polo Lounge and were served a "Marilyn Menu" for dinner.

Follow in Marilyn's footsteps: For just over US$8500, stay in the "Marilyn Bungalow" at the "Beverly Hills Hotel". ©GettyImages


A life with Concierge

Why Monroe moved to the "Beverly Hills Hotel" is not completely clear. What is certain is that everyone would like to make the comfort of living in a hotel part of their everyday life. There would be no need to do trivial things like going to the mailbox, cleaning, doing laundry, shopping and taking out garbage. The time gained in this way can be spent in the hotel restaurant, at the bar or with other distractions. Other advantages are obvious: if the hotel is a really good one, the concierge takes care of theatre tickets or wards off annoying visitors; leisure facilities such as gym, pool and spa provide variety. Things were not quite so posh at the "Chelsea Hotel" on the other side of the USA: built in 1884 by the writer and architect Philip Hubert, the Manhattan apartment building was converted into a hotel in 1905 and managed by Stanley Bard from 1964. He created an atmosphere that attracted artists and creative types, many of whom became permanent tenants. Bob Dylan, for example, lived in various rooms, in number 225 from 1968 to 1972. The hotel, where there was no question of luxury, inspired him to write the songs "Sara" and "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands". With "Chelsea #2" Leonard Cohen, also one of the permanent guests, set a musical monument to the hotel at 222 West 23rd Street. Other more or less long-staying guests of the twelve-story, red-painted brick building with its cast-iron balconies included Patti Smith, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Sid Vicious, Salvador Dalí, Falco, Arthur Miller, Madonna and Thomas Wolfe.

Lived eccentricity

It was the informal ambience that made the "Chelsea Hotel" a magnet for glittering personalities. Bard allowed his guests to pay their bills (the annual rent is said to have been around 46,900 euros in the 1970s) with paintings; many of these works adorned the foyer of the house. "With him, tenants didn't have to worry about making payments on time. They were allowed to be as creative as they wanted in the rooms," author Ray Mock said of the hotel manager, who died in 2017. Ten years earlier, he had been pressured by the co-owners to sell the hotel. Although renovations began quickly, they are still not complete: The permanent tenants refuse to vacate. Or, to quote "Hotel California" by the Eagles: They checked out, they didn't leave.

Goodbye, everyday worries!

But living in a hotel was not a purely American phenomenon - Coco Chanel also packed up a few of her belongings at the age of 54 and without further ado moved from her apartment on Rue Cambon in Paris. Her new home address: just across the street, Suite 302 at the "Hôtel Ritz" on Place Vendôme. "Luxury has to be comfortable, otherwise it wouldn't be luxury," she is reported to have said. At the hotel she found both luxury and comfort. The "Ritz", today a member of the Leading Hotels of the World and still one of the best hotels in the whole of Europe, celebrated its opening in June 1889. Personalities from all over the world had travelled to inspect it, after all the hotel was already one of the most modern establishments in the world at that time: telephones, electric light, sumptuous beds - the Haute Société was thrilled. Above all, the service was top notch: no matter how unusual a guest's request might be, the "Ritz" made it possible on César Ritz's orders. The concept of the guest as king was invented. Elephant feet for dinner? No problem! Getting driven from Paris to the United States by the hotel's own chauffeur? F. Scott Fitzgerald took the trip. Just move into a suite, redecorate and die in it 34 years later? That's true of Coco Chanel: she inhabited the "Ritz" from 1937 until her death in 1971. There is less fuss around permanent hotel guests who are still alive; after all, privacy is one of the assets that celebrities value. The "Chateau Marmont", where Robert De Niro once moved in, is synonymous with discretion, even though scandals sometimes leak out. And it's no longer just celebrities and politicians who live a life with a concierge. However, the house, where you currently pay around 718 euros per night, is to be run in a members-only concept in the future.

Recreational fun and financing model

Until the 1980s, hotel living was a marginal phenomenon associated with prominent personalities. In the beginning, guests simply rented a room and stayed for months; later, larger hotel chains started to sell parts of their building as "residences" to interested parties. Four Seasons actively drove this development. The Canadian hotel chain first offered residences in Boston in 1985. An early and well-known representative from the luxury hotel industry was also the "Amanpuri" on Phuket, where it was possible to purchase villas as early as 1988; at Kempinski, the Spanish branch in Estepona made a start in 1999. Today, it is quite common, especially in the highest segment, to run a part of the hotel as a residence. The guests enjoy all the advantages of a second home plus the amenities of the hotel. In many cases, the house also takes over the renting when one is not on site oneself. And for the operators, the sale of residences has long since become an attractive financing model.

An existence without everyday worries: you don't even have to take care of the staff ©Eric Martin, GettyImages

Living in a hotel: Top providers

Six Senses

Enjoyable life, as nature intended - in snowy mountains as well as on tropical islands

Owners receive all the privileges of a Six Senses hotel, including housekeeping, butler service, 24-hour in-residence dining, turnkey delivery with customized amenities and use of all resort facilities. In addition, owners enjoy worldwide VIP status at all Six Senses resorts, including discounted accommodation rates and rental services of their own residences.

  • Six Senses Residences Kitzbühel Alps, Austria Apartments from €1.5m, chalets from €6.5m, scheduled to open in 2023.
  • Six Senses La Sagesse, Grenada Villas with three to four bedrooms from around €6 million, including Grenadian citizenship for the whole family, scheduled to open in late 2022.
  • Six Senses London 14 residences are for sale in Six Senses' first UK property; prices on request. Opening 2023.

©Six Senses


On a mission to establish retreats that rise even above the extraordinary

Aman is traditionally tight-lipped about purchase prices, but it is widely known that the group is one of the pioneers in the field of residences. Owners can work with architects to add personal touches to their residences; Aman professionally manages the rental and maintenance of the property in their absence, and provides staff to owners on request.

  • Aman Residences Tokyo The brand's first residences-only property; 91 apartments, spa, library, dining room, pool and more. Prices on request, planned opening in 2023.
  • Aman New York According to unofficial sources, a one-bedroom apartment costs around €5 million, prices on request. Opening date: 2022.
  • Amanzoe, Greece Villas with two to six rooms, prices on request, possibility of individualization.


The Four Seasons

Iconic city highlights, secluded beach communities and mountain hideaways

In addition to so-called "fractional ownerships", in which shares and thus periods of stay are acquired, Four Seasons also offers private residences, including in exclusive locations outside of resorts in the sense of a residences-only concept. The highest service standards, pools, concierge, gym, housekeeping and in-residence dining are offered. There are currently 39 Branded Private Residences worldwide.

  • Four Seasons Resort Desroches, Seychelles Private beach retreats with five bedrooms, pools and approximately 940 m2 of floor space from € 5.6 million, service charge € 5852/month.
  • Kokomo Private Residence, Seychelles seven bedroom villas from around €12.8m, monthly service charge around €5.26/m2.
  • Four Seasons, Private Residences, Seychelles Three bedrooms from €6.3m, monthly service charge €5.26/m2.
©Ken Seet/Four Seasons

Other offers

  • SHA Mexico

Residency privileges include permanent access to more than 300 Medical Experts; opening 2022, price upon request.

  • Kempinski Residences

Full-service townhouses, apartments and villas; condos in the "Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel Bangkok" from approx. € 230,000.

  • Soneva

The brand is the only company to offer villa ownership in the Maldives. The starting price at Soneva Jani is €3.46 million for two-bedroom villas.

  • One & Only

Five- and six-bedroom villas with pools are for sale at "One & Only Le Saint Géran" from around €9 million.

  • Rosewood

25 residences on Antigua, from € 4 million, opening 2022.

This article appeared in the Falstaff TRAVEL issue Winter 2021/22.

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