Even amidst the trials and tribulations of the ongoing pandemic, Vietnam’s real estate market is growing at a blockbuster rate along with its overall economy — the best performing in Asia in 2020. A cursory glance at the rapidly changing skylines of the major cities demonstrates as much, as modern high rise apartment blocks sprout from the ground at an almost unprecedented rate.
Beyond the expansion of living spaces, prices are skyrocketing too. In April 2021, Forbes reported that apartment prices had grown by 90% between 2017 and 2020 — the majority of this investment being driven by the growing Vietnamese middle class.
As for the Vietnamese upper class, or the “super rich”, luxury real estate occupies the top spot in their investment portfolios with 27%, ahead of stocks, bonds, collectibles, gold and gemstones, and digital currency.
That the luxury goods market in Vietnam is also expected to grow by almost 9% year on year between 2021 and 2025 shows us that with more wealth comes an understable want for better living.
One wonders then, what the next big step is for real estate in Vietnam. The answer could well be the rise of “Branded Residences”, a concept being championed by Vietnamese luxury real estate giants Masterise Homes alongside the Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, and luxury German kitchen brand Poggenpohl.
What Are Branded Residences?
It all started on New York City’s Fifth Avenue in the 1920s when the Sherry-Netherland hotel overlooking Central Park began selling serviced apartments alongside its thriving hotel business to the well-heeled New York and international financial elite.
Branded Residences involve a developer partnering up with high end brands to oversee the operation and interior design of their development, in a bid to guarantee premium quality and a luxury living experience.
Imagine your own apartment building, operated by a 5-star hotel brand and kitted out with only the very best interior elements, from your bed to your bath to your breakfast bar.
Beyond the comforts of your own apartment, there’s also the finery associated with the world’s best hotel brands — spa pampering, Michelin star dining, and concierge service all on-site.
The concept of branded residence really took off in the 1980s, when Boston’s Four Seasons opened, and now it’s surging. In the last decade alone, there’s been a 170% rise worldwide according to Savill’s, with well over 400 branded residences across the globe and plenty more in the offing.
Right here in Vietnam, the Branded Residential space is on the verge of taking off with the help of Poggenpohl, Masterise, The Ritz-Carlton, and JW Marriot.
Masterise Branded Residences - Poggenpohl Kitchens
In Ho Chi Minh City, two of the major residential developments are the futuristic One Central overlooking Ben Thanh market right in the centre of town, and the Grand Marina Saigon at Ba Son port, just a kilometer and half away on the banks of the Saigon River.
Both are Masterise Homes projects, and they’ve joined forces with two of the world’s most prestigious hotel brands to bring an elevated standard of living to the residences.
At One Central, it’s the Ritz-Carlton experience. At the Grand Marina Ba Son, it’s the JW Marriot experience.
In turn, the pair of luxury hotel chains have turned to Poggenpohl as an interior contractor to design, manufacture and supply the kitchens for each home.
Born in 1892 in Herford, the German design and manufacturing company is the world’s oldest kitchen brand. They famously invented the kitchen island - a near ubiquitous feature in stylish, contemporary homes, as well as the uber-popular white lacquer finish.
Since these humble beginnings under creator Friedemir Poggenpohl, the company has gone on to achieve great things, with more than 450 showrooms across 80 countries. The brand arrived in Vietnam in 2017, soon after which Duong Khac Linh and Sara Luu became the country’s first owners of a Poggenpohl Kitchen.
Making A Branded Residence A Home
There’s an obvious appeal to the branded residence concept. All the perks of a luxury hotel in one's own home — the views, the comfort, the food, the sought-after neighbourhood, and frankly, the symbol of status that comes with owning such a property.
However the whole ideal comes with one great challenge; how can it be made to feel homely as well as luxurious?
That’s where people-centered designers like Poggenpohl come in. It’s imperative to strike a balance between elevated contemporary style and welcoming, practical, space at the heart of the home.
When we spoke to Poggenpohl Vietnam CEO Frank Tielens in July this year, he spoke about how luxury isn't to be found in the ostentatious, but rather in the more subtle details of design, useability, and lasting quality — beauty meeting longevity, and form meeting function.
It’s this that sets branded residences apart from hotels. The latter exist to be stayed in for a short time, while the former exist to be really lived in. And so it’s the homely elements that matter just as much as the premium services and luxury experience.
New York, Singapore, Boston, Montreal... Saigon
The branded residence projects at One Central and the Grand Marina are gathering steam, with design mockups to be completed in December 2021, and both projects are expected to be fully operational by the end of 2024.
While Vietnam’s monied population anticipates a closer look at the kind of living to be offered at One Central and Grand Marina in Saigon, there are plenty of existing points of reference for the curious.
The Ritz-Carlton and Poggenpohl have had a long-standing relationship, having collaborated on eleven branded residence projects around the globe to date. Singapore and Bangkok are the closest at hand, while North America is home to multiple locations — Central Park and Battery Park in New York City where the entire concept began a century ago, as well as Washington D.C, Miami, Boston and Montreal.
As the collective of Masterise Homes, Poggenpohl, The Ritz-Carlton, and JW Marriot gear up to make a splash in the residential space in Vietnam, it’s going to be fascinating to see how each adapts their brands for the Vietnamese consumer, and how the modern Vietnamese buyers take to the entire concept of branded residences.
With the growing economic standing, the incredible pace of change, and a rapidly increasing taste for better living, it looks inevitable that the trend will catch on here just as it has elsewhere.