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Four Seasons heads to Bahrain as branded home market booms

Four Seasons Bahrain Supplied
The Four Seasons Private Residences Bahrain Bay is one of many branded developments in the Middle East
  • Four Seasons private residences in Bahrain follow sell-out in Dubai
  • Elie Saab-branded residences also to open in Lusail in Qatar
  • The first Six Senses Residences in Dubai planned for 2024
  • Developers target high-net-worth individuals attracted to the Gulf

Four Seasons has unveiled plans to build bespoke homes in Bahrain Bay as the demand for branded residences gathers pace in the Middle East.

The hospitality company has teamed up with Bahrain-based real estate developer Bayside Developments for the Four Seasons Private Residences Bahrain Bay project.

Buyers of the 112 homes will be able to access the neighbouring Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay.

“As we expand our private residences portfolio globally, we seek locations where our luxury lifestyle offering can be thoughtfully integrated and where we can build upon the success of existing hotels and resorts,” said Bart Carnahan, president, global business development and portfolio management, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. 

“Following the complete sell-out of our private residences in Dubai and our extensive residential expansion in Egypt, I am confident that the upcoming Four Seasons Private Residences Bahrain Bay will give homeowners another opportunity to embrace this destination through its vibrant culture, history and lifestyle.”

The announcement comes as the Middle East’s growing number of millionaire residents is attracting the attention of global brands.

The region has recorded a 400 percent increase in the supply of branded residence schemes over the past decade, according to real estate adviser Savills.

Developers and brands are identifying the hotspots for high-net-worth individuals to enhance their offer.

Over the past five years, the highest growth rates in terms of number of HNWI were seen in North America (53 percent), followed by the Middle East (34 percent) and Asia Pacific (31 percent). 

Savills said this mirrored the increase of branded residence stock over the same period: 27 percent in North America, 86 percent in the Middle East and 48 percent in Asia-Pacific.

By volume of pipeline, the US, UAE, Vietnam and Mexico are forecast to add the largest number of schemes – more than 30 in each country by 2027. The US is projected to add over 70 schemes in its already large and established market. 

By scale of increase from current supply, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are among the leaders, each with growth of more than 300 percent, Savills added.

Dining Room, Dining Table, Table
Elie Saab branded residences to open in Qatar following their popularity in Dubai

In Qatar, for example, Saudi property developer Dar Al Arkan is entering its neighbouring market with branded residences by Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab.

Called Les Vagues – French for Waves – the luxury development will be situated on Qetaifan Island, the manmade islands off Lusail, the new city near Doha that will host the World Cup final.

Sheikh Nasser bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, managing director of Qetaifan Projects, said: “We’re looking forward to working with Dar Al Arkan and Elie Saab on this premium project. 

“Qetaifan Island North is being developed as the first touristic entertainment destination in Qatar, that will put the country on the regional and global tourism map, and Les Vagues residences is an integral project within the masterplan of the development.”

Jonathan Goldstein is CEO of real estate investment firm Cain International, which works with Six Senses on branded projects. He said: “In terms of geography, branded residences are reaching more parts of the world and increasing in supply in already established regions.

“We predict that this will continue, especially with economically growing regions such as the Middle East.”

AGBI recently revealed that 75 percent of units have already been sold in the first Six Senses Residences in Dubai, planned for 2024.

CEO Neil Jacobs said the 162-unit Six Senses Residences The Palm, now under construction alongside a 61-room hotel, represented a “new milestone for the brand”.

Six Senses Residences Dubai
The Six Senses Residences The Palm development is due to open in Dubai in 2024

The Four Seasons development in Bahrain will include manicured gardens, an outdoor infinity-edge pool, fitness centre and a private cinema.

“In partnering with Four Seasons, we look forward to introducing an unparalleled luxury lifestyle offering to residents of Bahrain Bay,” said Yusuf Haji, sales director at Bayside Developments. 

“The early sales success and international interest in these residences is a testament to the desire to live in this wonderful community,” he added.

Set on a private enclave overlooking Bahrain Bay, the project will include 98 luxurious apartments, eight duplexes and six penthouses with architecture by Gensler and interior design by Rive Gauche.

Four Seasons operates 51 branded private residence developments around the world, with three-quarters of future Four Seasons projects including a residential component.

According to Savills, Dubai, South Florida and New York are the top three locations for branded residences globally, based on their supply of completed and pipeline schemes. 

However, growth in these markets is slowing – although still high – as many brands look to growth and expansion opportunities in emerging cities and resort locations. 

Although branded residences originated in North America, brands are increasing their global presence. Today, there are 640 schemes, accounting for nearly 100,000 units, operating across every continent except Antarctica. 

The growth of the sector is set to continue, with supply levels forecast to exceed 1,100 schemes by 2027, nearly doubling current supply levels.

Four Seasons leads hotel brands in the residences market, followed by the Ritz-Carlton and St Regis. Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton have been competing for first place in the rankings for years, and 2022 marks the first year that Four Seasons has clinched the top spot for hotel brands, according to Savills.

St Regis has the largest pipeline with the brand projected to increase its supply by 138 percent by the end of 2027. 

Most non-hotel brands have fewer than 10 schemes in operation. However, projected pipeline growth for most of these brands is strong.

Goldstein said: “We predict that we will see lots more non-hotel brands entering the sector – there are many already – meaning all brands will have to elevate their offering to compete, and hotel brands will dominate less and less.”

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