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Best Of The Best Part XI: Property

The Big Idea: Suite Dreams

ILLUSTRATION BY SHOUT

Home is a suite for many of the global elite: for Coco Chanel, it was the Ritz in Paris; for Marlene Dietrich, Hotel Lancaster in Paris; for Robert De Niro, Chateau Marmont, Hollywood; for Oscar Wilde, the Savoy. After all, who wouldn’t like all the comforts of home with room service 24/7 and a concierge on tap? No wonder sales of homes attached to, or serviced by, large hotel brands are booming.

The first branded residence, the Sherry-Netherland in Manhattan, opened in 1927. There are 580 (containing nearly 100,000 homes) worldwide. Most are owned by hotel chains, but rock stars (Lenny Kravitz), fashion houses (Armani) and car designers (Porsche and Aston Martin) are getting in on the act, too. The branded-property sector has grown by 230 per cent in the past decade. Worldwide, the market is expected to exceed more than 900 schemes by 2026, according to Savills estate agency.

Dubai is home to the most, with about 35 schemes completed and 20 in the pipeline, followed by Miami with just over 30 and a further 15 to come. London has arrived late to the party with only 11 completed schemes and eight planned — but there are plenty on the market, though, including Raffles at the Old War Office in Whitehall;

Mandarin Oriental at Hanover Square in Mayfair; Six Senses at the Whiteley in Bayswater; and Peninsula London on Hyde Park Corner. Branded homes cost an average of 29 per cent more than unbranded ones, according to research by Savills. The premiums are highest in emerging markets where “luxury brands are particularly appealing to the newly wealthy as a trophy asset”, one of their research articles claims, while in more established markets like New York and London “with tighter competition at the top end of the market, non-branded products have the lowest premium”. In London you can expect to pay just 10 per cent more for a branded residence.

“London is an established international city, and people are attracted here for a number of reasons, including the currency play, its status
as a safe haven, quality education and family-connections,” says Ed Lewis, head of London residential development at Savills. “Super prime locations like Mayfair and Belgravia are so well-known in their own right, we don’t necessarily need that extra layer of a brand name.”

Some of the biggest sales in recent years have been branded residential projects: from billionaire hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin’s £100 million investment in the Peninsula London, a luxury development by the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, to the £40 million purchase of an apartment in the newly launched OWO by Raffles, which set a price record for the city at more than £11,000 per square foot.

Buyers see a brand as a point of differentiation, a hallmark of quality which gives them access to top-flight services, amenities and prestige by association. There are even devotees who collect homes around the world by their chosen group. This is probably a trend which is only just starting its ascent towards the crest of the zeitgeist.

Contemporary Penthouse: Park Modern, Bayswater Road, London

Ascend to your home on the ninth floor via your own dedicated elevator; walk through the grand entrance and hallway with double-height glass windows overlooking Hyde Park; stop by the cocktail bar that adjoins the main reception room, perhaps picking up a martini‚ shaken or stirred, depending on mood, before heading out onto the 2,400-square-foot terrace which wraps around your penthouse . . .

This six-bedroom, 6,800-square-foot lateral apartment has a 20-seat dining room with park views and a glass-fronted, temperature-controlled wine and Champagne room, a cinema room and a multipurpose work- and-leisure suite. The home features an open-plan kitchen for family  meals as well as a back-of-house kitchen for when you want a chef to take over. The principal bedroom suite has its own private-entrance lobby, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, an office and a huge dressing room.

Along Queensway, on which Park Modern sits, a series of Parisian- style dining pavilions, gardens and new shops and restaurants are planned as part of a £3 billion regeneration of the neighbourhood. The nearby Whiteley shopping centre is being converted into a Six Senses hotel and spa with luxury-branded residences, stores and eateries. The penthouse in Park Modern, by developer Fenton Whelan, is £60 million, with the option to buy studio apartments for staff from £2.15 million.

A Playwright’s Muse: Hanover Terrace, Regent’s Park, London

This fully refurbished Grade I–listed mansion, part of a terrace designed by Regency architect John Nash (who was also behind Buckingham Palace and Brighton’s Royal Pavilion), was home to Harold Pinter and his actress wife Vivien Merchant in the 1960s and ’70s. The couple entertained the likes of the Beatles, Michael Caine and Peter O’Toole there, whilst Pinter wrote several scripts in the house, including The Birthday Party (1968), The Go-Between (1971), The Homecoming (1973) and No Man’s Land (1974).

The Pinters were not the only famous residents of the six-bedroom, 5,372-square-foot home. In the 1950s it was the London base of British American racing driver Lance Reventlow, the son of heiress Barbara Woolworth Hutton. Now it’s time for a new star to take up residence in the four-storey mansion overlooking Regent’s Park. The house, priced at £16.95 million, comes with separate mews and a private garage. It has two main reception rooms, a dining room, a media room, a gym, a family room, a study and a west-facing garden.

Golfing Getaway: Hamilton Grand, St Andrew’s, Scotland

DTXimages

Set on the edge of the Old Course in St Andrews, the distinctive red- brick Hamilton Grand — once a hotel and hall of residences — has now been transformed into 27 luxury apartments for those seeking a bolt-hole within putting distance of the 18th hole on one of the world’s most famous golf courses.

All but two of the apartments have sold, one of which is on the market for around £2.8 million. A show flat, it is available to buy fully furnished (by negotiation). There are two double bedrooms, both with en suite shower rooms and an open-plan kitchen, dining and living room. The apartment looks out over the town of St Andrews, about an hour’s drive from Edinburgh.

There is a 24-hour concierge, a private lounge for residents and a large roof terrace with views over the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and the Old Course, as well as across the West Sands and out to sea. Other perks include spa membership for two at the Old Course Hotel nearby and the option to have meals delivered from the Hams Hame Pub & Grill in the Hamilton Grand’s basement to your door.

Iconic Address: Battersea Power Station, Battersea, London

TARAN WILKHU

One of the most recognisable landmarks south of the Thames, the huge brick building with Art Deco features and four high towers is also the star of the new Nine Elms neighbourhood, home to the contemporary and controversial (Donald Trump really didn’t like it) new US embassy.

The £9 billion regeneration project has seen some 254 apartments being built around the vast Grade II turbine hall of the power station and on top of the Boiler House. There will also be more than 100 shops, bars, restaurants and offices, including a 500,000-square-foot Apple campus. An underground station on the Northern Line opened last year. Meanwhile, Battersea Park and Sloane Square are just a short walk away. The first residents moved into the power station in May 2021 and the building opens to the public from this Autumn.
The 119 flats in the power station’s Switch House East have recently launched to market, while Sky Villas — 18 penthouse apartments positioned amidst the building’s four chimneys — start at £7 million. The Switch House East apartments were designed by WilkinsonEyre and interior-architecture firm Michaelis Boyd and sport exposed-brick walls and floor-to-ceiling Crittel-style windows.

Holiday Hideaway: The Nest, Costa den Blanes, Mallorca

Eduardo Marquez // Theory4

A freshly completed contemporary villa perched in the hills above the harbour of Puerto Portals in Mallorca is on the market for €15 million. The floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto south-facing terraces with a summer kitchen, plus a saltwater swimming pool. Inside there are open-plan living spaces plus four bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. There is also a cinema, a requisite gym and sauna, plus plenty of mod cons with brand names which install confidence: from the B&O music system to Occhio lighting to Gaggenau and Miele appliances. The villa is in the Costa den Blanes, a leafy area

of modern homes that’s a 15-minute drive from the centre of Palma de Mallorca and 20 minutes from the airport. There are several international schools nearby, including Agora Portals International School. For those looking for a holiday retreat, the marina is lined with restaurants and bars, and there are plenty of sandy beaches close by. Port d’Andratx, a fancy harbour town, is a 20-minute ride away while Deiá, on the forested northern ridge of Mallorca, is about 40 minutes by car.

Glitzy Country Estate: Turville Grange, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Built in 1887, Turville Grange has links to royalty, the Kennedys, the Ford dynasty, Hollywood celebrities, business tycoons and political figures, including Harold Macmillan. The house was bought in 1905 by the Marquis and Marquise d’Hautpoul de Seyre, whose friends, King George V and Queen Mary, visited regularly. It was Queen Alexandra, George’s mother, who gave the Marquise the house’s wrought-iron entrance gates, a smaller replica of the gates at Sandringham, the Queen’s Norfolk estate.

Some years later, in 1966, Jackie Kennedy’s sister, Lee Radziwill, and her husband, Stanislas Radziwill, an exiled member of the former royal family of Lithuania and Poland, bought the house. Lee named the guest cottage the White House in honour of her sister and her husband John F. Kennedy. The siblings would celebrate Christmas at Turville Grange and, during the Radziwill-Kennedy era, summer guests included Princess Margaret, Aristotle Onassis, David Niven, Sean Connery, Peter Sellers, Oleg Cassini and the Duke of Beaufort. Former model Kathleen DuRoss Ford used the house up until her death in 2020.

The 51-acre estate is now up for sale for the first time since the 1960s. The £18.75 million asking price will get you the Grade II–listed Georgian-style grange with its five bedrooms, five reception rooms, five staff bedrooms and a guest wing with a sitting room and two additional bedrooms. On the grounds, there is a two-bedroom guest house, along with two three-bedroom cottages, as well as a swimming pool, a gym and a sauna.

Alpine Lodge: Chalet du Crêt, Vald’Isère, French Alps

Yves Garneau

This six-bedroom luxury chalet is in a secluded part of the Alpine ski resort of Val d’Isère. There is skiing on the Tignes-Val d’Isère pistes from November to May, while in the summer the area is popular with hikers and mountain bikers. For those who prefer a slower pace, there is ice floating
on Ouillette lake (wetsuit required) and snowga (yoga in the snow).

This chalet, on the market for €12 million, is the perfect place to warm up following skiing or snowboarding. After being completely refurbished by the owner in 2005 and modernised again more recently, it’s in pristine condition. The feel is cosy chic: modern and luxurious but with traditional touches such as exposed stone, old timber beams and an original fireplace. The large plot size as well as the generous flat terrace and garden accessed directly from the living room are what make this home stand out the most, though. There are also a one- bedroom staff chalet on-site and a large double garage.

Historic Building: The OWO Residences By Raffles, Whitehall, London

Grain London Ltd

Herbert Asquith, Lord Kitchener, David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill all had offices at the OWO, a building which John Profumo used to entertain Christine Keeler, whose association with a Soviet naval attaché caused a national scandal. T. E. Lawrence (later Lawrence of Arabia) was posted here as a cartographer, and Ian Fleming developed James Bond’s character while working as a naval intelligence officer at this address during the Second World War.

The transformation of the Old War Office, opposite Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall, into the OWO — a Raffles hotel with 120 five-star rooms, a spa, 11 restaurants and bars plus 85 private residences for sale from £5.8 million — hit the headlines in December when one of the first apartments sold for a reported £40 million, or more than £11,000 per square foot, making it the most expensive in London. The duplex apartment had one of the building’s famous turrets on its roof garden.

The building’s entrance is dominated by a vast elaborate marble staircase leading to oak-panelled rooms, one of which was Churchill’s office when he served as secretary of state for war and air from 1919 to 1921. When the building is finished later this year, residents will be able to use Churchill’s old office for meetings or private dinners. It even has a replica of the Mountbatten desk he used to work at.

Manor House: Hinwick House, Wellingborough, Bedfordshire

Just over an hour from St Pancras, yet a world away from the capital in spirit, this Grade I Queen Anne house, built in 1714, was modelled on the original Buckingham Palace. It has just undergone a two-year restoration. In 1859 a Victorian wing was added to the main house for staff to reside in, and the “bell board” used to summon them remains today. During the war, the house was a hospital for wounded soldiers returning from the battlefront.

The main house has two kitchens, a wood-panelled dining room, library, drawing room, morning room, reading room and family games room plus 10 bedrooms, eight bathrooms and the Great Hall — a large entertaining space. Outbuildings include garages, stables/tack room, a clock tower, a dovecote and three estate cottages. There is also a Georgian walled garden, an orchard and a paddock as well as a mature parkland, two lakes, a woodland and a stream. All, via Savills and Beauchamp Estates, for £7.95 million.

Branded Residence: The Peniunsula London, Belgravia, London

When Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels’ the Peninsula London, close to Hyde Park Corner, opens next year, it will have 190 guest rooms and suites, four restaurants, a spa and 25 luxury residences. It will be the hospitality chain’s 11th hotel — but only its second residences in 100 years (the other being in Shanghai).

The London residences — one- to four-bedroom apartments — will have access to similar services to those for hotel guests coordinated by their very own director of residences (who previously worked at One Hyde Park). These perks include room service delivered from the Peninsula’s four restaurants, access to a chauffeured fleet of Rolls-Royces, laundry and dry cleaning plus daily housekeeping.

Then there’s the location: any aficionado of the British capital’s dream setting. “I love the truly quintessential London scene, that can be seen from the residences — with red London buses and black cabs going around Hyde Park Corner. The Household Cavalry can also be seen riding past the front of the hotel every morning, en route to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guards,” Clement Kwok, chief executive officer at Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd, tells Robb Report.

The apartments are large, with two-bedroom properties starting from 2,500 square feet and three bedrooms at 4,000 square feet. Prices are strictly on application, although US hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin hit the headlines in 2019 when he purchased property off-plan at the Peninsula for £100 million. Some 60 per cent of the apartments have now been sold discreetly off-market.

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