Muskoka Wharf Becomes a Star on SHOP TV Rogers Channel 21:

Posted by Katherine Bialczyk on Sep 30, 2011 2:56:00 PM

Learn About Condo-Hotels in Muskoka Managed by the World's Leading hotelier.
1 Bedroom Suites starting at only $171,750. Clich HEREMarriott Condo-Hotel

This weekend, The Residences at Muskoka Wharf and The Residence at The Wharf Condo-Hotel will be featured on The Condo Outlet TV Show which is the highest ranking Real Estate Show on TV!

A number of exciting new projects will be featured including, Theatre Park, Rain Condominiums, The King Charlotte and The Residence at Muskoka Wharf will be featured. Condo Outlet the TV Show airs every Saturday & Sunday at 11:30 PM. Don't miss it!

The Residence Inn at Muskoka Wharf by Marriott

The Residences at Muskoka Wharf Only 5 suites left!

On Lake Muskoka in Gravenhurst, these mid-rise condominiums offer you a four-season resort lifestyle with 2 bedroom suites.

The Residence Inn Muskoka Wharf
The Residence at The Wharf

In the architectual tradition of Muskoka's Grand Resorts, we offer these fabulous condo-hotel suites, an affordable alternative to having your own cottage on Lake Muskoka that is also a great way to diversify your investment portfolio.

Learn About Condo-Hotels in Muskoka Managed by the World's Leading hotelier.
1 Bedroom Suites starting at only $171,750. Clich HEREMarriott Condo-Hotel

Topics: 2011 real estate, Muskoka Wharf, condo outlet tv show

What's All the Fuss About Condo-Hotels?

Posted by Katherine Bialczyk on Sep 30, 2011 2:20:00 PM

Learn About Condo-Hotels in Muskoka Managed by the World's Leading hotelier.
1 Bedroom Suites starting at only $171,750. Clich HEREMarriott Condo-Hotel

Lately, condo-hotels have been popping up in Canada which leaves many people wondering "What is a condo-hotel" "what are they used for" and "how does it benefit me, the investor?" Hopefully, this will start to build a foundation for your understanding.

What Are Condo Hotels?

Condo hotels, also known as condotels, are typically large, high-rise developments in prime locations. They look and operate like an upscale hotel, offering five-star amenities and services to thier guests, but each suite in the hotel is individually owned.

The Residence Inn Muskoka Wharf Marriott

Hassle-free Ownership

As an owner, you can use your condo hotel suite whenever you want and place it in the hotel rental program whenever you're not there. In return, you'll receive a share of the revenue it generates.

Hassle-free Ownership 

When you buy a designer-furnished suite in a Marriott condo hotel, you own a piece of the Marriott dynasty. You get a beautiful vacation home in a magnificent location. You have access to five-star amenities like a full-service spa, resort pools and fine-dining restaurants.

Best of all, ownership is 100% stress free. The hotel management company takes care of all the details, from maintaining and operating the property, to finding guests to rent your condo hotel unit.

A Real Estate Investment

Because condo hotels are prestigious properties located on prime real estate, they typically appreciate over time. For that reason, they are often used to diversify an investment portfolio. Consider the value of the Mariott name, and you can see how investing in a Marriott condo hotel has extraordinary upside potential.

Learn About Condo-Hotels in Muskoka Managed by the World's Leading hotelier.
1 Bedroom Suites starting at only $171,750. Clich HER

Marriott Condo-Hotel

Topics: 2011 real estate, condo-hotel, condo-hotels

Muskoka Events: Pick Your Own Harvest!

Posted by Katherine Bialczyk on Sep 29, 2011 10:27:00 AM

Learn About Owning Your Own Piece of Lake Muskoka for only $171,750. Full Ownership. Click Here

Apple picking

September 2011: Apples have started! September and the beginning of October is the big time for apples! Blueberries are finishing in the Southern areas but are still going in cooler areas, don't miss them! In most areas, peaches are going strong, as are figs.

Why not go pick your own apples, bluberries and vegtables? Its fun for the whole family. There are many pick your own produce farms in and around Muskoka.Brooklands Farm

You could try
Brooklands Farm. They have asparagus, beans, beets, broad beans, carrots, corn (sweet), onions, peas, pumpkins, raspberries, rhubarb, summer squash, winter squash, strawberries, tomatoes & other vegetables. They also produce Maple Syrup which is available late March onwards.

Brooklands Farm is a family farm that practices sustainable farming while encouraging eating locally. Children (for that matter adults) of all ages are encourage to learn and ask questions about farming and the importance of fresh produce!
Muskoka events
Pick up an apple today!

Address: 1375 Butter & Egg Road, RR # 6, Bracebridge, ON P1L 1X4.
Phone: 705-764-1888. Fax: 705 764 1695. Email: Directions: 1375 Butter & Egg Road is located 1km north of Hwy 118W at Milford Bay in Muskoka.
Hours of Operation: May to October from 8AM to 5PM (weather and produce permitting). Remember to call ahead to double check!

Learn About Owning Your Own Piece of Lake Muskoka for only $171,750. Full Ownership. Click Here

Topics: muskoka events, family activites muskoka, apple picking in muskoka

FALL CRUISES - A Muskoka Thanksgiving on the Segwun

Posted by Katherine Bialczyk on Sep 27, 2011 4:47:00 PM

describe the imageThere is no better way to discover the unmatched Fall colours of Muskoka then with a cruise aboard the R.M.S. Segwun or Wenonah II.  Whether you choose a lunch or sightseeing cruise, your voyage will include the unparalleled scenery and grand summer homes of Lake Muskoka.  Daily cruises are available departing Gravenhurst through until October 10th.  Additionally, Wenonah II will be offering cruises departing Port Carling and showcasing Lake Rosseau from October 11th through 16th.

Why not try a Thanksgiving Day Cruise!?

A few tickets still remain for the Segwun’s annual Thanksgiving Day Cruise sailing on Monday October 10th from 10am to 7pm.  Featuring the fabulous Fall colours of Lakes Muskoka & Rosseau and a traditional Thanksgiving lunch served at Clevelands House Resort, this cruise is truly a magical Muskoka experience.

picture 261Before or after your cruise, be sure to visit Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre.  This year's feature exhibit,The Muskoka Bay Story, invited guests to step back in time.  Get your ticket at the recreated Wharf Station ticket office and travel back in time where you will experience the discovery and development of Muskoka Bay through the eyes of the earliest settlers, recreationists and entrepreneurs.  Meet the McCabe's, "Mickey" and "Mother" and find out why she can lay claim to the title "first promoter of Muskoka tourism" and appreciate the impact of the arrival of train service at the Muskoka Wharf.  Enjoy a model railway display arriving at a scale model Wharf Station and more ...

The steamship docks were abuzz with the CBC filming of “Sunshine Sketches of a Small Town” aboard the R.M.S. Segwun this past week.  In celebration of CBC Television’s 75th anniversary, Segwun will take on the role of the steamboat “Mariposa Belle”.  The Segwun will be captured on film with both day and night time scenes over the four day window. 

For cruise reservations and information, please contact Muskoka Steamships at (705) 687-6667.

Topics: muskoka events, thanksgiving in muskoka, segwun cruises, fall events in muskoka

Muskoka Wildlife: Gray Treefrogs

Posted by Katherine Bialczyk on Sep 26, 2011 4:39:00 PM

tree frog 1Every time I go to my cottage in Muskoka I see a classic tribute to Muskoka's wildlife - a Treefrog! Or at least I see them every time I try to BBQ (they like to hide in there at night), and I hear them all the time! Now as the temperature drops I wonder where do they go? 

tree frog 4tree frog2



Habitat: These treefrogs may be found on trees and shrubs near permanent water. They prefer mature or second growth woodlands although they may also inhabit orchards. They are rarely seen outside the breeding season.

tree frog 5Treefrogs are usually little gray or green beasties that must bury themselves soon under leaves. Unlike frogs, they don't bury themselves in mud. I will be so sad to see them go, or rather, not see them. The bright yellow flag on their upper thigh is amazing.

tree frog 3So long, tree frogs. I will miss you. Fall approaches, and time to sleep. The dead, dry leaves are falling off the branches. I know snow will fall before you know it. I adore each season and the gifts change brings.

Topics: Gravenhurst history, muskoka wildlife, things to see in muskoka

Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 23, 2011 7:23:00 AM

Start: September 24, 2011 at 10:00AM

Ends: September 24, 2011 at 6:00PM

picture 94The Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour is proud to continue its rich legacy of the arts in 2011, our 33rd year of presenting scores of diversely talented artists. Conceived by one individual three decades ago, the idea of giving people a glimpse into the studios where raw materials are transformed into superb art pieces still holds its appeal.

This informative and rewarding experience bridges the gap between creator and patron, as visitors witness the artistic process at work through demonstrations and displays. The Muskoka landscape and the artists who draw their inspiration from it extend a special welcome to visitors on this glorious weekend in Autumn.

Come and discover a variety of art studios in the Muskoka region this weekend. The members of Canada's original studio tour invite you into their workplaces to discover the inspiration behind their talent.

For a complete list of studios and additional information, visit:

Topics: gravenhurst events, muskoka events, Muskoka art shows, muskoka art

Film North: Huntsville, Muskoka International Film Festival

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 22, 2011 7:27:00 AM

Location: Algonquin Theatre

Start: September 22, 2011

Ends: September 24, 2011

All Day Event

picture 93

Film North, Huntsville International Film Festival, is the newest place for a simple and excellent festival. Films will be screened on Thursday September 22, Friday September 23rd and Saturday September 24th, 2011. Screening times will be 2 pm - 5pm, 6 pm - 8:30 pm, 9 pm - 11 pm.

Movie lovers can continue after attending the Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF, the first two weekends of September, to the lovely setting of Huntsville, Ontario, Canada, the third weekend of September. Huntsville is a two hour drive north of Toronto, in the beautiful lake district setting of Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.

Their mandate is to create a user - friendly environment for emerging Canadian and International Filmmakers to exhibit, promote, entertain and inform the audience. They are an incorporated non profit organization.

The board of Directors are from the film, arts and business sectors. The founders are residents of Toronto and Huntsville, with backgrounds in the Film and Arts professions.

Tickets and information avaliable at

Topics: cheap gravenhurst events, muskoka events, muskoka international film festival

Q&A for Living Restrictions at a Condo-Hotel

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 21, 2011 7:00:00 AM

Man Thinking about condo hotelsLiving Restrictions at Condo Hotels

Q: Why is there a limit of use of your unit?

A: A condo hotel unit is intended to be used as a second home, not a primary one, and it is to be operated as a hotel. If everybody could use their own condo hotel units as much as they wanted, then there's a strong likelihood that the hotel would not have enough rooms to rent out to guests. This would greatly limit the revenue the hotel would make.

Plus, because the hotels could not pre-book units, since there might not be units to rent, it would be hard to get a good management company to take on the assignment.

Also, a city does not collect a hotel tax from owners using their own units. Cities collect hotel taxes from hotel guests, and that factors that into their budget when they grant the developer the right to build a condo hotel when he may have preferred to build a straight condo.

Many cities are imposing living restrictions on condo hotels, even though the individual property may not have usage restrictions. Therefore, before buying a condo hotel unit, be sure you know the living restrictions that apply not only by the condo hotel's management company but also by the city in which the condo hotel is located.

Q: What happens if I stay longer than the allotted time to stay in my unit? Or if I would like a friend to use my unit?

A: Most condo hotels will permit you to stay beyond your allotted time at a discounted hotel rate.

As for a friend staying in your unit, that's not a problem. It counts towards your reserved days unless your friend is a paying guest.

Q: Don't living restrictions hurt resale value?

A: Not really. Many condo hotels have living restrictions so it's a commonly accepted practice. Also, most buyers of condo hotel units are investment minded. Otherwise, they could buy a straight condominium or even a hotel residence which is an individually-owned hotel room that is never put into the hotel's rental program.

Topics: 2011 real estate, Q&A about condo-hotels, condo-hotel restrictions

Clarity on New Mortgage Rules by Sasha Dear

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 20, 2011 7:00:00 AM

Mortgage rules changed this year, causing some confusion for homebuyers and homeowners.

For homebuyers, the biggest change is a reduction in the amortization period – the amount of time after which, if all monthly payments are made on time and in full, the mortgage loan will be repaid.

mortgage changes

Under the changes, the maximum amortization period was decreased to 30 years from 35 years for all new government-backed insured mortgages.  A shorter period for repayment will mean that your mortgage payments will be greater. However, this shorter period means your mortgage will be paid off faster and you will save on interest.

Generally, if you are just setting up your mortgage, it’s a good rule to go for a short amortization and not be tempted by the longest amortization possible. A longer-term obligation may seem appealing, as it will leave you with more cash in hand each month. However, if you seek out the shortest amortization schedule you can afford, you will pay down your mortgage faster and incur less in interest charges. Ask your Mortgaga Broker for advice on what strategy would be best for you.

For existing homeowners, the recent regulations do not cause any change in your existing mortgage. However, the biggest change is in the amount you can borrow against your home for refinancing. The maximum amount Canadians can borrow in refinancing their mortgages has been reduced to 85 per cent of the value of their homes, down from 90 per cent.

This is the second time in two years that the refinance limit has been tightened. In April 2010, it was reduced from 95 per cent of the value of your home to 90 per cent, and, with the latest reduction, this means a ten-percentage-point reduction in the amount you can borrow against your home.

This will mean you can borrow less against your home for things such as investing for retirement or for renovations. It may also mean that you will have to revisit your long-term financial plan — or explore other financing routes. A qualified financial adviser may be able to help.

While the recent rules will make home financing more difficult in some circumstances, in theory these changes should make for lower debt levels over time and could provide consumers with an incentive for more prudent financial management.

Originally posted by Sasha Dear in the Muskoka Real Estate Blog
Article provided in part by ScotiaBank

Topics: 2011 real estate, mortgage changes

Gravenhurst Events: Fine Films "The First Grader"

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 19, 2011 7:00:00 AM

Location Gravenhurst Opera House
Start:  September 20, 2011 at 6:00PM
Ends:  September 20, 2011 at 10:00PM

gravenhurst opera house

Take a night out and check out Fine Films at the Gravenhurst Opera House.

Refreshments start at 6pm with an art show in the Trillium Room. At 7pm a short Canadian film will be followed by the feature film and premiere of "The First Grader".

Get your tickets at Penny Varney Jewellery Gallery and Gifts, and Stedmans for $6 in advance.

Topics: cheap gravenhurst events, gravenhurst events, muskoka events, Gravenhurst

Discover Phenomenal Lake Muskoka Investment Opportunities

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 18, 2011 7:00:00 AM

In breathtaking Muskoka, discover phenomenal opportunities to purchase whole-ownership residences at one of Canada’s finest resorts for incredibly affordable prices. Imagine owning a piece of Muskoka Wharf in the form of designer-appointed and refurbished suites with access to fabulous year-round amenities amid magnificent views.

muskoka fog

Even better, you can buy a residence for your own personal haven, or place it into a rental program for all or part of the year. With today’s hectic lifestyle, many people simply do not have the time or resources to buy and maintain detached cottages. That is why the current opportunities in Muskoka are ideal.

Muskoka Wharf's condo-hotel offers individuals the chance to own a luxury waterfront suite that earns rental income while they are away. You do not have to worry about maintaining the property or suite, it comes fully furnished and ready to use, and you have all year access to the amazing amenities that Muskoka Wharf has to offer from on-site docking to sunset cruises on one of Canada's oldest and most romantic steamships that literally departs right from your doorstep!

Remember that history has proven that real estate is a great investment, regardless of economic dips over the years. In Ontario, one of the most loved forms of real estate is the cottage or vacation property – and the beautiful Muskoka area attracts vacationers from all over the world. As I always say, things may come and go, but Muskoka is forever!

Topics: Gravenhurst, hotel condo, condos in muskoka, condos in muskoka, Lake muskoka, Condohotel, 2011 real estate

Muskoka Terry Fox Run: This Sunday

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 17, 2011 7:00:00 AM

Windermere (Muskoka) Terry Fox Run

The past 10 years have brought out the true spirit of the Windermere citizens as they rally behind the Terry Fox Foundation and we plan to continue on with the tradition in 2011.

 Once again it is time for Windermere’s Annual Terry Fox Run. The date for this year’s run is Sunday, September 18th beginning at 9 am and ending at 11am.

This Muskoka Event is 10km in length and participants can walk, bike, jog or wheelchair the event.

runningThe course will begin at Windermere Village Park, traveling along Windermere Rd, to Brackenrig Rd and back again. The road will not be closed during the run. Signage and enthusiastic volunteers will be used to warn drivers of the run in progress. As in the past, a trained first aid responder will be in attendance.

After the run a BBQ with live band will take place in the Windermere Village Park from 11am until approximately 2pm.
Event Schedule
Run: Sunday, Sep 18, 2011 9:00am
BBQ: Sunday, Sep 18, 2001 2:00pm

Windermere Events and weather muskoka events

Contact Information & Location
Organizer: Randy Jackson
Contact: Randy Jackson
Address: Windermere, Ontario

Topics: muskoka events, Gravenhurst, Lake muskoka, Lake muskoka, terry fox race, windermere race, huntsville activites, Muskoka

10 Reasons Why Condo Hotels Are the 
Perfect Vacation Home

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 16, 2011 7:00:00 AM

10 Reasons Why Condo Hotels Are the
 Perfect Vacation Home
Article by Joel Greene

kidsjumpingCondo hotels are cropping up in many premium resort locations. Operated by renowned hospitality companies such as Hilton, Marriott, Four Seasons, Hyatt and Trump International, condo hotels are being built in leading vacation spots such as Las Vegas, Miami Beach, the Caribbean, Canada and Dubai.

They often include luxurious features and amenities, making them the quintessential vacation getaway. As real estate holdings, they offer the potential to appreciate in value. Combine all these qualities with their ability to generate rent revenue, and you have a very appealing second home.

To decide if a condo hotel is right for you, consider these 10 factors:

1. Escape to your vacation home when you want.

With timeshares or partial ownership, you can use your condo one, maybe two, weeks of the year, and always the same weeks every year. Condo hotels, on the other hand, allow you the flexibility to use your second home any time, given the proper notice.

2. Visit your favorite place again and again.
Condo hotels are built in fantastic locations -- on the ocean in Miami Beach, next to theme parks in Orlando, on a golf course in the Bahamas, near a ski slope in Telluride, on prestigious Lake Muskoka or right on the exciting Las Vegas Strip.

condohotel plaza3. Relax in luxury.
Enjoy first-class living right in your own second home! With amenities like a full-service spa, a resort-style pool, gourmet restaurants and state-of-the-art fitness center, you'll have everything you could ever want right on-site. Plus, don't forget the hospitality extras, from housekeeping and room service to concierge assistance.

plaza condo hotel4. Ownership is hassle-free.
Concerned about taking on responsibilities to maintain the property? No problem. Condo hotels have a professional operations team that handles everything, from maintenance and housekeeping to the efficient operation of the amenities.

5. Be proud to own a respected brand.
When you own a condo hotel, you possess a piece of that property. Just imaging possessing your very own Trump, Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton or Ritz-Carlton. How cool is that!

6. Receive rental income.
When you're not using your condo hotel unit, you can place it into the onsite rental program. The hotel's professional management team takes care of marketing the property to guests, and you'll get a portion (usually around 50%) of any revenue your unit generates. This income will offset some or all of your costs of ownership.

rental income7. Resell your condo unit when you'd like.
Timeshares can be difficult to resell, since you only own a specific week or two of the year. With a condo hotel unit, you have deeded whole ownership. You'll find it easier to resell your property, as it's comparable to reselling any other type of real estate.

8. The condo hotel concept is in its infancy.
Condo hotels are a relatively new kind of real estate. As the concept becomes more well known, expect demand for available properties will grow. Now is the time to get in at the beginning of this trend.

9. Your property may appreciate.
Condo hotels, like most good quality real estate in desirable destinations, are likely to appreciate in value. You can maximize the appreciation potential by buying your condo hotel unit in the early pre-construction phase, when prices are at first-tier levels.

10. Diversify your investments.
If you're looking for an alternative to the stock market, condo hotels offer a means to expand your portfolio. Best of all, you can invest in real estate without assuming the responsibilities of becoming a landlord.

About the Author: Joel Greene is the President of Condo Hotel Center in Miami, Florida.

Topics: condos in muskoka, Condohotel, 2011 real estate, Condo Outlet, condo-hotel


Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 15, 2011 7:00:00 AM


Condo Hotels and Second Homes

Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
Reprinted From The Wall Street Journal Online

NEW YORK -- Vacation-hungry Americans, disillusioned by the time-share experience but desperate to escape to a second home, have begun turning toward luxury condominium-hotels for refuge.

ny condohoteltrump sohoAnd a growing number of big-name hotel companies, such as Hilton Hotels Corp., Marriott International's Ritz Carlton, FelCor Lodging Trust and Four Seasons Hotels Inc., are eager to accommodate them.

"This is the most affluent generation to approach retirement, and these people are well-educated, well-traveled and demand comfort," said Aubrey Ferrao, president of Gulf Bay Group of Cos., which is developing a luxury hotel-condo at Marco Island near Naples, Fla.

Condo-hotel units are sold as condominiums, but managed by the hotel. Different from time-shares, owners can turn the units over to the hotel operator to rent out when they're not there and receive rent. Generally they would share the rent revenue on a 50-50 basis with the hotel - a feature that can help them pay off a mortgage sooner.

describe the imageThe rental option also allows owners to take in extra bucks rather than boarding up their apartments for six or more months a year and gives them access to many hotel perks - ranging from room service to saunas - while they're living in their units.

But condo-hotel owners also face certain restrictions: Forget any personal touches or outrageous furnishings as owners must comply with hotel guidelines when installing furniture or other decor. And owners cannot fly off to their vacation home on a whim because most must sign contracts with the hotel operator stating precisely when the apartment will be available for rent each year.

investorsThen there's the risk that a Motley Crue-like rock band or partying teenagers on Spring Break could wind up renting and subsequently trashing that cherished room.
Appealing To The Homeowner in Us All.

Still, for many buyers, the idea of owning rather than renting or buying an ownership share was the clincher.

"I like to own and you can't control it if you don't own," said Jim Creech, who owns two condo-hotel units at Myrtle Beach and has no interest in timeshare, leasing or rentals. (The Myrtle Beach development is a joint venture project between FelCor and Hilton Hotels Corp. (HLT)).

Creech, who lives in Benson, N.C., and recently retired at the age of 50, said tax breaks associated with mortgages and depreciation, as well as the cash flow from renting out the unit have made condo-hotel units a profitable venture. Also, he said, the units have appreciated, offering him even bigger returns when he sells. A hotel-condo unit he purchased for $192,000 in 1994 is now selling for $300,000, said Creech.

And demand appears to be growing.

Creech said he wound up having to buy special lottery tickets at $5000 a pop just to get the chance to make a pre-construction bid for a condo-hotel unit being built in the newest development at Myrtle Beach. "There were 370 lottery tickets for 200 units," with the units being sold about two years before construction would wrap up, he said. "I paid $262,000 for a 3-bedroom unit, and at closing, similar units were selling for $400,000, he said.

describe the imageSteven Perricone, a restaurant owner in Miami, purchased a junior one bedroom at the Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne in 1998 - more than two years before the development is slated to open. The idea of owning a vacation property that has all the chi-chi services of a high-quality hotel was too good to pass up, he said.

Condo Hotels Go Global
Smaller, less lush, condo-hotels cropped up in South Florida in the 1980s, but demand waned when the Tax Reform Act, which snatched away many of the lucrative tax breaks that had attracted buyers, was passed in 1986.

Louise Sunshine, president and chief executive of the Sunshine Group Inc., a marketing group, brags she was the first to begin peddling a five-star luxury condo-hotel with the rollout of Trump International Hotel & Tower at 1 Central Park West in Manhattan in January 1997.

Since then, Sunshine has been selling units in a Ritz Carlton condo-hotel in Key Biscayne, Fla., and "we have three or four others on the drawing boards all on a five-star luxury level." Details on the latest developments, to be located in Palm Beach, Fla., Las Vegas, Los Angeles, London and New York, will be unveiled in the next six months, she said.

"We think this is a very good product type and one that has an unlimited future and broad market appeal," said Sunshine. "There is a huge demand," she said.

For hotel owners and operators, the benefits are three-fold:
    •    It's often easier to get financing for condo-hotels than pure-play hotels;
    •    Marketing costs are significantly lower than for time-share units;
    •    Condo-hotel units offer additional hotel room inventory.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., a unit of Marriott International Inc. (MAR), is taking part in a condo-hotel development in Key Biscayne, Fla., which is slated to open in March 2001. Although Ritz-Carlton already runs several hotels that include a residential condominium component, the Key Biscayne resort will be the first that gives residents an option to turn over their units to Ritz Carlton to rent when they're not there.

condo hotel poolThe resort will include 188 condominium units and 302 regular hotel rooms, with condo prices ranging from the low-$100,000s to more than $800,000. All units were sold by March 2000 - a year before the project's official open.

The project's developer, GB Hotel Partners, found financing easier for a condo-hotel than a traditional hotel because many lenders were worried about overbuilding hotels.

Also, said Doug Weiser, GB Hotel's president, by including a residential component within the hotel, the company was able to sell the units and use the proceeds to lower the debt on the overall.

Weiser preferred a condo-hotel over a timeshare project. "The Key Biscayne market is so strong that we thought it would be easier just to sell the units once and be done with it than to sell them 40 or 50 times through time-share," he said. 'Weiser estimates advertising and marketing costs eat away anywhere from 35% to 50% of the sale price of a time-share unit compared with only 10% to 13% of the price of a hotel-condo unit.

Foreign Owners Know the Concept

The condo-hotel concept has been a popular fixture in Europe and Latin America for many years, said Weiser. About 60% of the buyers in the Key Biscayne project are from outside the U.S., he noted.

Among the big hotel operators, Phil Kab, vice president of development at Ritz Carlton, doesn't rule out further condo-hotels developments, although none are currently on the books. He said the company will likely monitor the Key Biscayne project to determine if the concept should be expanded.

Hilton Hotels (HLT) inherited its partnership with FelCor on the project in Myrtle Beach when it acquired Promus Hotels Corp. in 1999, and the company is not seeking other condo-hotels.

"We're not in the real estate game," said David A. Sherf, senior vice president of real estate and investment analysis at Hilton, "We'd rather own the project ourselves than sell it."

By contrast, FelCor Chief Executive Thomas Corcoran is bullish on the condo-hotel concept and has little interest in time-share. "We like dealing with one owner," he said.

Bill Stuckeman, who heads up development for FelCor, said demographics are working in FelCor's favor as aging babyboomers begin inheriting their parents' wealth and more start seeking out a "high-end" second home.

At Myrtle Beach, all 200 units in the latest tower that opened in July were sold out by the Spring of 1999, noted Corcoran. Plans are in the works to begin selling units in a new 267-unit tower, which will open in the Fall of 2002.

condo hotel myrtlebeachAside from the Myrtle Beach project, which includes an Embassy Suites hotel and more than 1,100 condo-hotel units located in high-rise towers, low-rise buildings and villas scattered across a 145-acre site, Corcoran is already scouting his next condo-hotel site.

Gulf Bay's Ferrao, who has built 14 condominiums in the Naples, Fla., area, had originally planned to only construct a small 250-seat restaurant and beach club at Marco Island that residents from his nearby Fiddlers Creek development could access. But a nasty community fight that delayed the groundbreaking invoked Ferrao's wrath, and when he won the legal battle, he decided to build not only restaurants, but a full-blown hotel-condominium and 350-car parking structure.

About 75% of the 103 units at the Marco Beach Ocean resort complex have been sold since marketing began in the fall of 1998, with prices ranging from $260,000 to $575,000. The project is expected to be complete next August.

Donald Trump describes his lone condo-hotel venture at Trump International "a great success" and said he'd consider similar developments if the "right opportunity in the right location" came along.

Topics: Condohotel, 2011 real estate, Condo Outlet, condo-hotel


Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 14, 2011 7:00:00 AM

faqCondo hotels are a fairly new concept. Here are the most often asked questions and answers.

1. In a nutshell, describe the concept of the condo hotel.
Condo hotels are usually large, high-rise, luxury hotels operated by big names including Four Seasons, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Sonesta, Starwood, Hilton, Trump, Rosewood, Regent International Hotels, Clarion, Conrad Hotels, Bulgari and Le Meridien.

Condo hotels have condos that are sold to individual investors who may use their unit as a vacation home whenever they like. When they're not using their unit, owners have the option of placing it into an organized rental program. Rental revenue, which is shared with the operator, helps defray the owner's expenses.

2. What are the benefits to the condo hotel buyer/owner?
Owners have a luxurious vacation home in a premier location at their disposal. Owners who choose to place their condo hotel units in the property's rental program receive revenue which helps defray the expenses of ownership.

Most condo hotels have wonderful features and services that enhance their appeal to potential buyers as well as future renters. Typical amenities are spas, health and fitness centers, fine dining, business centers and more. Services could include valet, concierge and housekeeping.

Condo hotels offer hassle-free vacation home ownership. The on-site management company takes care of all upkeep, maintenance and interaction with renters.

Owners of condo hotel units have the right to resell their unit at any time. They keep any profits derived from appreciation. Thus condo hotels combine vacation home ownership with investment potential.

3. What is the role of the condo hotel operator?
The operator of the rental program, in exchange for a share of the revenue, markets the units as a hotel, takes reservations, operates the front desk, maintains the property and provides the services hotel guests expect, such as housekeeping, food and beverage, and concierge.

4. Describe the typical arrangement between the condo hotel buyer and the hotel management company?
Some of the items spelled out in a typical owner agreement include:
    •    The amount of revenue the condo hotel owner will receive. 

    •    The amount of revenue the hotel management company will receive. 

    •    Typical deductions before each of the parties receives their share, including money for a furniture, fixture and equipment reserve. 

    •    The financial responsibilities of the individual condo-hotel owner, which usually include the real estate taxes, insurance, capital improvements and debt service.

    •    The financial responsibilities of the condo hotel management company, which usually include operational expenses like housekeeping, maintenance, front office, administrative and marketing. 

    •    A rental program agreement which outlines the number of days per year and notice requirements for owners regarding use of their condo hotel units.

5. Can condo hotel owners rent out their units themselves and keep most or all of the revenue?
In most condo hotel properties they can, but doing so defeats one of the prime benefits of condo hotels which is hassle-free ownership. Most owners prefer to have the onsite professional management company find and handle renters.

In addition, owners are likely to receive a higher level of rental income by participating in the property's rental program which is administered by a recognized professional operator that can capitalize on the hotel's national affiliation, its brand name, its sophisticated reservation system and management expertise.

6. What are the keys to a successful condo hotel?
The essential ingredients to a successful condo hotel include a good location, an attractive amenity package, a respected developer, a strong brand and good management.

7. Are developers willing to guarantee the rental of the condo-hotel units when not used by the owners?
No, they are not. Developers are aware that potential security law issues can arise out of the sale of condo hotel units. In order to avoid coming under the scrutiny of any federal or state securities agencies, developers refrain from setting rental revenue expectations for prospective buyers. Instead, the developer's emphasis in the condo hotel's marketing materials and sales presentations is always on the real estate itself.

Generally, it is best to consider a condo hotel unit purchase to be similar to the purchase of a second home or vacation home. Choose a desirable building in a good location, and there is likely to be appreciation of the investment over the years. As icing on the cake, owners who choose to participate in the rental program can receive income from its rental to help defray ownership costs.

8. Where are most condo hotels located?

Condo hotels are typically found in highly desirable areas, often near the ocean, lakes, theme parks, golf courses, or in major cities. Miami and Miami Beach were the first areas to get large-scale condo hotels, and for a few years had the most condo hotel inventory in the nation.

Now that most of those original condo hotels are sold out and raw land is virtually nonexistent, the trend has moved north to places like Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Daytona, Destin and Tampa. Outside of Florida, the area with the most condo hotels is Las Vegas, particularly on or near the Las Vegas Strip. Also popular are condo hotels in thriving cities like Chicago, New York and Toronto including nearby areas people from Toronto vacation (cottage country).

Outside the U.S., condo hotels can be found in the Caribbean including resorts in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos islands and Jamaica. The condo hotel concept has also become popular in Mexico. In the Middle East, Dubai is the dominant force in the condo hotel market with many five-star resorts under development.

9. Are all condo hotels newly built?
There is a mix of condo hotels that are newly built from the ground up and those that were originally hotels and have been upgraded and converted into condo hotels. Because land in prime locations is so limited and costly, it is possible that condo hotel conversions will eventually outpace new construction condo hotels.

10. How much does a condo hotel unit cost?
That's a little like asking, "How much does a car cost?" The answer, of course, depends on which car, or which condo hotel and which unit. Factors that can influence price are the property's location, the quality of the amenities and the brand name. Individual condo hotel units are priced based on their size, view, floor height, features and furnishings.

Generally speaking, across the entire spectrum of condo hotels, prices can range from $200,000 - $2,000,000.

11. Does it cost extra to purchase a condo hotel using a real estate broker?
No. The price is the same whether you use a realtor or go direct to the property. The seller (developer) pays all realtor costs in the form of a commission. In those cases in which no realtor is involved, the developer either keeps the additional revenue or pays a percentage of it to the property's in-house sales staff.

12. Where are most condo hotel buyers from?
Buyers come from all over the U.S. and from outside the U.S. as well. Because of the weak dollar combined with high property values overseas, many Europeans and Latin Americans find U.S. property extremely appealing. They like the idea of owning a hassle-free vacation home in a prime location in the U.S. that can generate revenue when they're not using it and is likely to appreciate in value over time.

13. Is financing available for purchasing condo hotel units?
Financing for condo hotel units is not difficult to find. Most lenders now are familiar with condo hotels and recognize them as viable real estate investments. Often the condo hotel property itself or your real estate broker can recommend reputable lenders.

14. When is the best time to buy a condo hotel?
The best time to purchase a condo hotel unit is in the early stages of pre-construction. That's when prices are at their lowest, and buyers have the best selection of available units.

Topics: hotel condo, condos in muskoka, Condohotel, 2011 real estate, Condo Outlet, condo-hotel, the residences at muskoka wharf, condo FAQ

Gravenhurst Farmer's Market

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 13, 2011 7:00:00 AM

Tomorrow at 9:00 AM is Gravenhurst's Famer's Market

Come Savour the Flavour of Muskoka. Established in 1992 in the heart of Ontario's scenic cottage country, the Gravenhurst Farmers' Market has become one of the region's most popular attractions.

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As many as 80,000 local residents, cottagers, and tourists frequent the market annually to partake in a broad array of fresh Ontario produce, arts and crafts, and special events. More, visitors can enhance their market experience by exploring Gravenhurst's many excellent shops and restaurants, or enjoying a swim and relaxing picnic at one of the community's lakeside parks.

And following the market visitors can cruise Muskoka's world-famous lakes aboard the Royal Mail Ship Segwun, North America's only remaining fully-operational steamship. All together, a visit to the Gravenhurst Farmers' Market can blossom into a full-day adventure your entire family is sure to enjoy.
September Schedule
Wednesday, Sep 07, 2011 9:00am to 2:00pm
Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 9:00am to 2:00pm
Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 9:00am to 2:00pm
Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 9:00am to 2:00pm

Contact Information & Location
Organizer:Gravenhurst Farmer's Market
Contact:Barry Anderson
Phone:705-327 8107
Address:Gravenhurst, Ontario

Topics: gravenhurst events, Gravenhurst, Lake muskoka, Muskoka Wharf, Muskoka Wharf, Muskoka Wharf events, Gravenhurst history, farmers market

Condo-Hotel Comprehensive Overview

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 12, 2011 7:00:00 AM

Have you been hearing about condo hotels but can't decipher all the facts from the hype? Should you invest in a traditional condo or a condo hotel?

Now you can get simplified answers to all your questions.

Condo hotels, also known as condotels and apartotels, are typically high-rise, luxury properties in outstanding locations. You can find them near desirable vacation destinations that are by beaches, golf courses, casinos, theme parks, and more.

Condo Hotel Description
Condo hotels are a new trend in second home ownership. Buyers can purchase a luxury vacation home at a world-class resort or location while receiving rental income whenever they are not occupying the residence. This helps offset the costs of ownership.

The Appeal of Condo Hotels 

Condo hotels are attractive because they offer a luxurious lifestyle and hassle-free ownership. In addition, low interest rates and a volatile stock market have caused investors to diversify and consider real estate alternatives like condo hotels.

Luxury Amenities & Services
Most condo hotels feature fabulous amenities and guest services of four-star caliber or better. These can include full-service spas, resort-style pools, fine-dining restaurants, and concierges, making them the ultimate vacation getaway.

describe the imageReceive Rent Revenue
Here's how the condo hotel concept works. You purchase a condominium in a world-class hotel or resort. Use your condo hotel unit when you'd like. 

When you're away, place it in the condo hotel's rental program and receive a portion of the revenue it generates. The condo hotel management company takes care of renting, cleaning and maintaining your unit. They also ensure the smooth operation of the hotel's amenities and services.

A condo hotel is a hassle-free, luxurious second home that generates rent revenue that can help offset the costs of ownership.

Condo Hotel Locations
The condo hotel concept began and currently dominates in places like Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale in terms of the quality and quantity of condo hotels. However, the concept is becoming popular in other parts of Florida including Orlando, Naples, Fort Myers and the Tampa-Clearwater area.

Condo hotels are also creeping into many other cities outside Florida, such as Las Vegas, Chicago and New York. Condo hotels are even becoming prevalent outside the U.S., particularly in Canada, Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Caribbean, and Dubai, UAE.

They are operated by prestigious hospitality companies like Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, Trump, Four Seasons, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton and Sonesta.

Condo-hotel owners capitalize on the hotel's brand through their pre established advertising, name recognition, national affiliations, centralized reservation system and management expertise in order to receive a higher and steady rental income versus owners of any other traditional vacation property.

fontainebleau miami beachCondo Hotels Versus Traditional Vacation Condos and Single-Family Homes
Condo hotels are not the typical second home. They are fabulously-furnished condominium suites in some of the most famous hotels and resorts in the country. Owners have access to luxurious services and amenities, ranging from state-of-the-art fitness centers and full-service spas to fine dining restaurants and concierge services.

Like a traditional vacation home, owners can use their home when they want (depending on the particular management or hotel brand). However, unlike a traditional home, owners have the option or a mandatory time period where they can participate in the property's rental program and dip into the revenue the home generates. Ownership is 100% hassle-free as all maintenance and rental issues are handled by in-house management company.

Traditional Condos Have Appeal Too
If you plan to live in your residence full-time or use it several months of the year as say your winter home, you may want to consider a traditional condo and avoid any of the usage restrictions imposed on condo hotels.

Condo Hotels Versus Timeshares

With a timeshare, owners are typically allotted just one or two weeks of the year to use their condo. They receive the same calendar weeks unless they go through a process to trade time with someone else.

With a condo hotel unit, owners have deeded ownership to their condo and can usually use it when they want (within the guidelines of the rental program agreement).

Furthermore, when they're not using it and the hotel is able to rent the room, the owner receives a portion -- usually in the 50% range - of the rent revenue.

Finally, timeshares can be difficult to resell, even if the seller is willing to take a loss. Condo hotels, on the other hand, because of their prime locations, limited inventory and upscale quality, are a highly-desired commodity. They are more likely to appreciate over time and can be readily resold.

Condo Hotel Buyers

Typically, condo hotel buyers are vacationers who appreciate the many wonderful amenities available at luxury resorts or just the prime location. They may also recognize the appreciation potential of a revenue-generating vacation home.

The appeal is not limited to U.S. buyers. The concept has received international attention. Condo hotels are particularly attractive to international investors who wish to have a vacation home but don't want the hassles of caring for that home or renting it out when they're not using it. In particular, buyers from Latin America and Europe are competing with Americans for the best properties.

Additionally, the weakness of the dollar has enabled many international investors such as those from Europe to obtain upscale condo hotel units for what amounts to bargain prices.

See What’s Available
Before you buy a condo hotel unit or traditional condo, there's a lot you should know. How do you find the best properties? How do you select one that is likely to appreciate? Which amenities are most important? Where can you find financing?

Condo Hotel Prices
Prices for condo hotel units vary based on location, size, features and amenities. They typically range from $300,000 to over $1 million for prime properties. Popular cities like Miami Beach and Las Vegas have some of the highest prices while bargains can still be had in less well-known locales and also in countries outside of the U.S. like Mexico, Panama, the Caribbean and Dubai.

Condo Hotel Expenses
As part of the rental agreement, the hotel pays for most operating expenses such as housekeeping, administrative and marketing costs. The condo hotel owner typically pays the real estate taxes, insurance and capital improvements.

Condo Hotel Financing
Now that the concept has become accepted and well-known, U.S. lenders have been readily making loans on condo hotels, both to domestic as well as international buyers. Rates are slightly higher than for primary residences. Typically 20% to 30% down is required.

financeAre Condo Hotels Investments?
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) does not permit developers or realtors to sell condo hotels as investments. They are sold simply as vacation homes and a "lifestyle," and no income projections can be provided. Nonetheless, many buyers are interested in the investment potential of condo hotels. Some of the factors they take into consideration are:

•    Rent Revenue: Condo hotel units will produce rent revenue. That revenue can partially or completely offset the costs of owning and maintaining the vacation home.
•    Appreciation potential: Most condo hotels are located in areas that have seen the highest appreciation rates
•    Diminished supply of available land: Desirable locations to build are few and far between. A dwindling supply of available land in key markets, particularly sites along the ocean in Florida, popular lakes in Canada and on the Strip in Las Vegas, help ensure that condo hotels, like other types of real estate built in these locales, see significant capital appreciation.
•    Real estate as a stock market alternative: Many people seek to diversify their financial holdings, combining stock market investments with real estate holdings.

Best Time to Purchase a Condo Hotel
Buyers who purchase a condo hotel unit in early pre-construction phases or during builder's blowouts, when prices are lowest, have the best chance of seeing their investment appreciate. There is a limited inventory of condo hotels, and many properties actually sell out in the pre-construction phase.

As word continues to spread about condo hotels, more and more investors from around the country and around the world are learning of this new real estate trend and looking to participate. In addition, millions of baby boomers are approaching retirement and seeking second homes for their personal enjoyment. Demand is increasing. But so is inventory as developers recognize the benefits of creating a mixed-use property and seek to meet that growing demand .

The Dynamic Condo Hotel Market

line of peopleThe condo hotel marketplace is constantly changing as new properties become available and others are sold out. To find out what properties are currently on the market and to be able to purchase when prices in a development are at first tier and selection is greatest, choose to work with a realtor who specializes in condo hotels. He or she can help you define the type of property that will best suit your needs and identify specific condo hotels for your consideration.

Topics: hotel condo, condos in muskoka, Condohotel, 2011 real estate, Condo Outlet, condo-hotel, condo FAQ

Muskoka's Ironman Challenge

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 7, 2011 7:00:00 AM

Subaru Ironman 70.3 Muskoka takes place in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada, located just 90 minutes from Toronto. This swim, bike and run challenge will take place in Huntsville, Muskoka on Sunday, September 11th, 2011.

describe the imageThe 1-loop swim will take place in picturesque, Peninsula Lake and will challenge participants for 1.2 miles. The bike course circles Lake of Bays and is 56 miles. The run is 13.1 miles and is sure to be full of stunning Muskoka as the leaves begin to change. The pink granite rock and cascading waterfalls offer the perfect surroundings to enjoy the outdoors!

Register at

Topics: huntsville activites, Muskoka running

Find Deals & Promotions in Gravenhurst, Muskoka

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sep 6, 2011 12:06:00 PM

Thrive on Long Stays

Discover The Residence at Muskoka Wharf, Gravenhurst, a unique Muskoka, Ontario hotel. While searching for Muskoka hotels in Gravenhurst Ontario, you'll be delighted to find this hotel situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Muskoka, and located just 90 minutes north of Toronto.


Our Muskoka hotel in Gravenhurst offers complimentary breakfast, high-speed Internet access and is pet friendly. Stroll down the Wharf's boardwalk and dine at Regatta Steak & Seafood Grille or Boston Pizza. Discover the unique attractions that Muskoka has to offer, such as Santa's Village, Hardy Lake hiking trails, Muskoka Bay Club golfing, the Muskoka Heritage Centre and Museum or a cruise aboard RMS Segwun, North America's oldest operating steamship.

All attractions are just minutes from our Muskoka hotel in Gravenhurst Ontario. Experience the Residence at Muskoka Wharf hotel and see why we strive to be the number one choice when choosing hotels in Gravenhurst Muskoka for your vacation, business trip or corporate retreat.

Topics: Gravenhurst, Lake muskoka, Condohotel, Muskoka, Muskoka Wharf, Vacaion