Guest suites seal luxury condo deals in South Florida

As buyers downsize from mansions, they still need a place to put the in-laws

Guest Suites Are Sealing South Florida Condos Deals
From left: Catalfumo Companies' Dan Catalfumo with the Ritz-Carlton Residences and Ytech's Andrew Kraynak with 1428 Brickell (LinkedIn, Ytech, Catalfumo Companies)

South Florida’s luxury condo buyers want a place for their in-laws to stay –– as long as it’s not in a spare bedroom.

While well-heeled single-family homeowners can host their in-laws, children, grandchildren and friends in detached guest houses, condo dwellers don’t have that option. That’s why developers across the tri-county region are offering guest suites — one-bedroom units available only to owners — to win over luxury buyers. 

“You can welcome someone wholeheartedly and still have that private environment within your own residence. You can separate, create that distance needed,” said Andrew Kraynak, chief sales and marketing officer at Miami-based developer Ytech. Ytech’s planned 70-story 1428 Brickell condo tower will include two guest suites.

The residential real estate boom spurred by the pandemic put the condo amenities arms race on steroids. Developers are touting private restaurants, pickleball courts and concierge medical services to sell units at their projects. While guest suites are not a new concept in condo development, their renewed popularity reflects a shift in how buyers use South Florida units. More and more, the condos are all full-time homes rather than seasonal getaways. 

In addition to Ytech’s 1428 Brickell, Mast Capital and Starwood Capital Group’s planned Perigon condos in Miami Beach, Catalfumo Companies’ planned Ritz-Carlton Residences, Palm Beach Gardens and Related Companies’ planned South Flagler House condo development in Palm Beach are all offering guest suites. They range from bedrooms with kitchenettes to fully-furnished one-bedroom units, typically running between 350 square feet and 600 square feet. Some developers are setting aside the suites for all residents to use, with bookings and maintenance managed by the condo association.

Guest Suites Are Sealing South Florida Condos Deals
South Flagler House

“You would call the front desk or the manager and say, ‘I want to book the suite,’” Catalfumo Companies CEO Dan Catalfumo said, describing the future reservations system for Ritz-Carlton Residences, Palm Beach Gardens. Residents only pay a cleaning fee, a fraction of what it would cost to book a hotel room. “It’s not a profit generator.”

Ritz-Carlton in Palm Beach Gardens will have two guest suites set aside for all residents, but its other four guest suites are for sale, Catalfumo confirmed. 

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He’s not the only developer seizing the opportunity to sell the guest suites and add to a project’s bottom line. Guest suites are for sale in the Perigon and South Flagler House, as well. Prices for the units range from $750,000 to as much as $2 million, well below the introductory units for these developments. Prices for the Perigon start at $3 million, the Ritz at $4 million and South Flagler House at $5.9 million. 

The guest suites will come with restrictions, however. They cannot be rented out, and upon resale, they can only be sold to other unit owners in the building. These stipulations are designed to maintain the privacy and security of the projects, something developers say is a top priority for their buyers. 

“We don’t want these guest suites to be a transient situation,” said Douglas Elliman’s Philip Freedman, director of sales for the Perigon. “That’s to keep the validity of the safety of the building.”

Often, the units are reserved for buyers of the most expensive units. Developers say many of the buyers in these projects are coming from larger estate homes, and still want the space to host large groups. 

“The demand is so great that we’re holding them for the larger units,” Catalfumo said, “for the person who needs 5,000 square feet and spillover.”

They are so popular with buyers, “We wish we actually had more,” he added.

Surging demand for guest suites reflects the broader shift in South Florida’s luxury real estate market. Between the widespread adoption of remote work during the pandemic, and the wave of corporate relocations to the region, many luxury buyers are now using their condos as full-time homes. More time in the units means they need more space, developers and brokers say. 

“It changes how they use it, their needs,” Ytech’s Kraynak said. “You’re going to change how you view amenities. Things like guest suites become more important.”