Long term: Simon Rossi in his suite at The Cullen. Photo: Simon Schluter
Living in a luxury hotel isn’t just a lifestyle for the rich and famous.
A growing number of everyday Melburnians are choosing to skip the traditional rental market in favour of calling a swish hotel suite home.
With utilities, a weekly cleaner and cable television included in the cost, some hotel residents say they are financially no worse off for their A-list living arrangement.
Hotel residents represent an emerging niche of young professionals who have different demands of the property market, according to experts.
The Art Series Group operates three five-star hotels in Melbourne and based its residency model on the hotels of New York such as the famous Waldorf Astoria.
About 30 per cent of its guests, from The Blackman on St Kilda Road in the city, to The Cullen on Commercial Road in Prahran and The Olsen on South Yarra’s Chapel Street, are residents.
Rates start at $700 a week for a residential suite, with a 28-day minimum and the freedom afterwards to extend or leave.
The longest term resident has been at The Olsen for four years.
Simon Rossi, 36 returned to Melbourne two months ago after working in London. He arrived on short notice and had little time or desire to go through the rigmarole of securing a private rental home.
The general manager of Uber upmarket taxi service has been living in a suite at The Cullen for several weeks. He said it was easy, cost effective and flexible given his busy lifestyle.
“I saw it in the rental listings and thought it was an interesting concept and priced around what I was looking to pay for a rental,” he said.
“Financially, it is cheap to live in a hotel compared to renting a one bedroom home in a similar location and level of luxury, buying furniture, setting up a house and maintaining bills,” he said.
“The only difference is a bit of extra space.”
Dr Andrew Wilson, senior economist for the Domain Group, said hotel residency represented emerging sub-groups in the changing property market.
He said living in a hotel for a period was not financially unwise.
“You’d be looking at around $500 or maybe $600 a week for a rental property in a suburb like South Yarra or Prahran, but include the adds on like furniture, utilities, servicing and the convenience, it’s probably more cost effective to live in the hotel,” Dr Wilson said.
“What we are looking at here is perhaps a niche market that reflects the dual income, dual career group, and they are looking at a different style of tenure to suit their needs.
“It also reflects that there is a niche in the housing market for the provision of a home that is ancillary to career building and mobility, and hotels offer this.
“This is a model that may become more popular as we see the development of different types of socio-demographic groups, particularly dual income, dual career (couples) who value the transitory aspect of not being restricted by a significant financial investment, as you are if you are as a house owner or have to break tenancy as a renter.”
The Cullen’s general manager Alicia Brown said residents were attracted to the allure of luxury without commitment.
“We’re definitely seeing a trend of this style of accommodation becoming more popular,” Ms Brown said.
Young professional make up a proportion of our residents. They want that convenience factor with the ease of coming and going as their situation changes.
"They’re after that cool factor of waking up in a boutique hotel and being able to call it their home.”
Coming home to a hotel was not just for celebrities, she said.
“We have all walks of life living with us,” Ms Brown said.
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins general manager Clive Scott said its guests stay long term for business and personal reasons, and do not have the chores or responsibilities of private rental.
“Many guests have stayed for between three and six months, and we have other guests who stay for a year or longer,” Mr Scott said.
“They are made to feel at home, they are looked after, they receive everything they need when they want it and our service is adapted to their needs.”
Mr Scott would not divulge specific costs, but said rates for residential rates were determined by the length of stay and room type.
Crown offers residency but declined to comment due to guest privacy.