Adelina Wong Ettelson is the Global Head of Residences Marketing for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, a subsidiary of Jardine Matheson. Adelina has been instrumental in establishing the brand as a sought-after hotel partner for luxury residential developers globally. She has successfully launched branded residential properties in locations as diverse as Bodrum, Moscow, and Bangkok.
Within the last ten years, the number of globally branded residences has increased by 170 percent, with an addition of more than 52,000 units. Home have become more than just homes, especially within the COVID experience. Homes have become offices, workout stations, schools, and all types of educational learning centers. And, according to a recent interview, Ms. Wong Ettelson said, “Now more than ever, buyers are looking to upgrade their home and lifestyle with one keyword in mind: flexibility.”
JustLuxe was fortunate to interview Ms. Wong Ettelson, as she reflected on new meanings and expansions of the Mandarin Oriental Branded Residence concept.
JustLuxe: There is a sense of positive potential in hybrid ideas, and one of them in high-end real estate is the branded residence. According to Savills, this sector has experienced substantial growth, and especially with Mandarin Oriental. To what do you attribute this growth, and how has MO been an active part of this?
Ms. Wong Ettelson: The surge in the popularity of branded residences is directly attributed to the range of benefits afforded to both developers and purchasers. Owners at Mandarin Oriental enjoy a true turnkey experience with the assurance of a five-star hotel group taking care of their every needs 24 hours a day, access to luxury amenities, and worry-free living with lock up and leave capabilities that complement, and are typical of the UHNWI lifestyle.
JustLuxe: What unique dimensions does Mandarin Oriental bring to this branded residence concept?
Ms. Wong Ettelson: Residences owners and buyers of branded hotel residences care about innovative design and service, also access to top dining and wellness as a lifestyle component. At Mandarin Oriental, underpinned through all of these benefits is our unique Oriental heritage and commitment to delighting our guests and owners throughout the UHNW customer journey.
Also, our passion for creating memorable dining experiences has been recognized in the Michelin Guide, with a total of 25 Michelin stars being awarded to Mandarin Oriental restaurants in the 2019/2020 list.
With wellness being on the forefront of home life in 2021, Mandarin Oriental’s dedication to holistic wellness encompasses inner and outer strengths is also evident with a record 13 hotels being granted The Forbes ‘Five Star Spa’ award, more than any other hotel group in the world.
JustLuxe: How many new branded residences, and in what destinations, does MO plan to launch in 2021?
Ms. Wong Ettelson: We will double our portfolio with a total of 15 projects in our development pipeline in the next five years. Whilst we do not have any planned openings in 2021, we anticipated the completion of our two standalone schemes in 2022 (Barcelona on Passeig de Gràcia and New York, on 5th Avenue) which will mark our first foray into this business model. 2023 is projected to be a record year for The Residences at Mandarin Oriental with five developments expected to open.
JustLuxe: To your mind, which is the most exotic branded residence right now and in the future, in terms of destination and interiors?
Ms. Wong Ettelson: Destination wise, significant opportunity remains in the Middle East, parts of Europe, and regions in Africa. Our developments in Moscow and Muscat, once opened, will mark the first branded residences in these respective markets.
JustLuxe: What three amenities do you find the most necessary in the MO branded residence dimension right now?
Ms. Wong Ettelson: The growing demand for multi-functional space (both indoor/outdoor), enhanced home systems (from air filtration to circadian lighting), and innovative wellness facilities.
JustLuxe: How do you think that the annus horribilis year of 2020 has affected the branded residence buying public? Do you think this group will bounce back in 2021? Or later?
Ms. Wong Ettelson: Whilst many escaped vertical living in 2020, other markets saw record-breaking growth and sales. With buyer priorities shifting to lifestyle ease and improved well-being, the idea of five-star hotel living is only increasing in appeal. After all, a residential product like those we offer at Mandarin Oriental is not for shelter, it is rather a purchase of a luxury lifestyle, a discretionary buy.
JustLuxe: Are there any statistics to show how much more popular The Residences at Mandarin Oriental were in 2020? Possibly due to COVID-19?
Ms. Wong Ettelson: Our residences development pipeline is more than doubling in the next five years, demonstrating the brand’s commitment to Residences and the demand from Developers around the world. From Israel to Grand Cayman, we are expanding in locations that support our brand and unique level of services and offerings. Throughout 2020, we are proud that our Residential properties remain open and quickly adopted our Group’s We Care protocol to ensure the safety and comfort of our residents, our permanent guests and fans of Mandarin Oriental. We are grateful for their trust in the care of their home and well- being.