The Home Service

Published on: "British Airways: First Life"

When One Hyde Park threw open its substantial glass doors in Knightsbridge in 2011, it was the price tag- £6,000 per sq ft-that claimed the headlines. But behind the razzamatazz of Candy & Candy’s latest London offering- with its Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners architecture, sweeping views over Hyde Park and facilities ranging from golf simulators to private cinemas something else was at play.

One Hyde Park is the first European example of The Residences at Mandarin Oriental. Residents of the 80 apartments benefit from having one of the world’s most prestigious hotel brands next door. There is a dedicated staff of 60 and room service direct from Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, along with the usual concierge, housekeeping and health facilities of a premier five-star hotel.

The appeal of this is evident. Anything you desire will be sorted in a heartbeat, whether it’s a midnight feast, an early morning workout or securing that elusive restaurant reservation. The usual hassles that come with a second or third home -such as routine maintenance, or turning up to a cold house and an empty fridge- evaporate while you enjoy luxe facilities and 24-hour pampering. Branded developments such as One Hyde Park, which link a luxury hotel or designer name with high-end residential space, are a growing trend. The idea started in New York (where else?) in the 1920s at the Sherry Netherland Hotel on Fifth Avenue, where there’s currently an apartment for sale for £4 million. They’ve been popping up across the globe, though, in recent years. Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, Aman and Ritz-Carlton are among the successful operators, with designers including Armani getting in on the act. Just like a designer bag on your arm or the finest Swiss watch on your wrist, a home linked to a luxury brand confers an instant reference point.

‘The standout bestseller in branded residences has been the Four Seasons,’ says James Price, Head of International Residential Development at Knight Frank. ‘It provides an average 30 to 40 per cent uplift in prices. When the Four Seasons launched in Marrakech, it was the first big brand in thal markel and sold well, setting a previously unattainable price point.’ This is a popular option in cities for high-net-worth individuals who jet in for short stays and want a home with hold facilities. The new Raffles Makali in Manila, for example, opened with 237 residential apartments for sale. In Vienna home to the Opec HQ and a UN office the first hotel residences opened at Sans Souci Hotel in December, with design brand yoo, co-founded by Philippe Starck, creating the interiors. In March, the city saw the opening of the Kempinski Group’s Palais Hansen, a hotel with residences for sale, and next year sees the opening of Park Hyatt in the prestigious 1st District The 143-room hotel will be surrounded by exclusive boutiques Prada, YSL and Marni -and 12 rooftop apartments with picture-perfect views across Vienna’s imperial architecture. Across in Canada, the residences in the new Four Seasons Toronto are the most desirable address in the city. Of the 210 units, just 12 are still for sale-and the penthouse in the West Tower sold for £18 million.

The concept has spread beyond the city to beach properties too, with buyers after holiday homes set in the grounds of, or close to, five-star hotels. In early 2014, Mandarin Oriental will open a 102-room hotel on a sweep of Paradise Bay, in Bodrum, southern Turkey. Threaded through the ten-acre grounds will be 98 contemporary glass and stone villas and 116 apartments, for sale from £1.02m. Over 70 per cent of these were snapped up immediately.

In St Lucia, Sugar Beach Residences formerly known as Jalousie Plantation but now refurbished and operated by Viceroy- has 42 three- to five-bedroom homes for sale (from £1.5m). Across in the Bahamas, meanwhile, the Rosewood Residences at the new Baha Mar Resort has one of its beach villas still for £7.9m.

Among the most spectacular coastal developments is at Aman’s new Greek resort, the 38-suite Amanzo’e, in the Peloponnese, where seven two- to five-bedroom bespoke villas have sold off plan, from £2.5m to £17.5m. Designed by renowned architect Ed Tuttle, the first two were completed this spring and interest has been huge.

‘Behind every brand there’s a famous designer, which is another part of the appeal,’ says Miltos Kambourides, founder of Dolphin Capital Partners, Amanzo’e’s owners and developers. ‘It would be almost impossible to get Ed Tuttle to design you a private home, so it’s quite a coup. The furniture design is by him too- he even suggests artwork, and of course everything is bespoke.’

While being linked to a hotel brand undoubtedly appeals to buyers, the ability to lease the property through a rental pool when not in use is an added bonus, even to the wealthiest clients. A sizeable villa at Amanzo’e would have a rental value of up to £8,500 a day.

‘Buyers like the security of aligning themselves with a known brand, the exclusive facilities and the cache that goes with it,’ says Joanna Leverett at Savills. ‘But importantly, rentability should also be considerably higher compared with a similar non-branded product It’s a win-win situation. No wonder the demand just continues to rise.’

BA Amanzoe
Coast with the most
The villas at Amanzo’e in the Peloponnese are decorated in soothing neutral hues

Source: "British Airways: First Life"