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Race to the top: What defines a luxury property?

The Property Addict / Luxury Lifestyle

Aug 22 2017

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With every new residential development from Milson's Point to Milperra billing itself as "luxury" what does it really mean anymore? In a world where anyone can charter an Uber jet or rent a castle or private island for the weekend via Airbnb, luxury has never been so accessible or affordable. In real estate terms this translates to infinity pools, Miele appliances, custom joinery and stone or marble benches all becoming standard features in new apartments. But where does that leave the one per cent privilege? What is true opulence and exclusivity in property to justify multi-million dollar price tags? We asked Australia's top developers and property experts what genuine luxury looks like in 2017 and beyond.   Erin van Tuil, Knight Frank Director, Sales & Marketing The term "Ë?luxury' in residential development has typically always related to a fixture, a fitting or an amenity. We think luxury is when the needs of the resident have truly been understood and met.  At One Queensbridge, Crown Residences, for example, we have defined our future residents and have really sought to understand the way they live - ultimately "Ë?luxury' for most people is time. If we can fulfill practical needs through impeccable service we can give time back achieving a true luxury development.   crown_one_queensbridge_artist_impression_2 Buyers want a home that works for their lifestyle. Typically in this segment of the market knowing your doorman and him knowing you by name is far more important than the technology that turns the lights on. Branded residences are becoming more popular " people enjoy staying in their favourite hotel and the idea of not having to check out is a very appealing one. Branded residences offer all the benefits of a hotel " security, staffed gymnasium and pool, day spa, bars and restaurants within your building, concierge services and even in room dining and daily room servicing " all provided for by your trusted hotel brand. In luxury property it's all about service. Technology is great but face-to-face service will always win out in the luxury market. People want to be called by name, want their needs understood and want solutions to their problems all handled by a warm and understanding human. I don't think anything can replace incredible face-to-face customer service in luxury property or hotels from the sales agent through to the doorman. It's likely we will see more residential developers entering into the luxury or "Ë?super prime' market in Australia. Knight Frank's The Wealth Report 2017 states an extra 4,000 high-net-worth-individuals emerged in Sydney last year and 3,000 into Melbourne " the top 2 performers globally. The demand for prime property has certainly outweighed supply and with a further 70% increase in HNWI's expected over the next 10 years developers will need to respond and build accordingly. We see interesting trends coming out of New York but London remains at the forefront for breaking new ground in the luxury or "Ë?super prime' market.   Tim Gurner, GURNER Founder Luxury has become a catch phrase that is thrown around way too often, as it is hard to define, difficult to achieve and even harder to maintain. For us it's not just about the pretty pictures and branding, it's everything from the marketing, the way our sales staff present themselves, to the detail in our lobbies, amenity and then of course the actual apartments not only in terms of finishes but also functionality of kitchens, bathrooms and storage. Buyers are a lot more sophisticated now. They want a premium service offering and they want to touch and feel it before committing. So in our display suites we build a full-scale kitchen, living, bathroom and bedroom of each development, so that our buyers can actually experience it for themselves, rather than just take our word for it. It's like buying a luxury car; you want to take it for a test drive first. We also commission between 10 " 15 renders for each project so that we can communicate our vision for every aspect of the design down to the smallest detail. Basically we are constantly striving to ensure that when you buy from us, you know exactly what you are getting. People ask me all the time why we sell out quickly but there is no one reason. It's a combination of everything from the overall design and the nature of the building, to the way we create our apartments right down to the type of fittings and finishes we select, through to the experience of walking through our display suites the way we proactively communicate with our buyers throughout the whole process. In terms of design we offer choices in colour scheme, finishes and floors so there's always a degree of personalisation.   First-glimpse2 Our attention to detail is the same for our one-bedroom apartments as it is the penthouses. We try to emulate luxury fashion brands in that you can buy a $5,000 designer handbag or a $2,000 one. Either way, the quality and materials are the same. We are always looking for inspiration from other luxury industries like fashion and cars. If you spend half a million dollars on a car you expect everything to work as it should, with no surprises. That's another big thing for us, we want to make sure when buyers walk in the door everything's been well thought out and exceeds expectations. We're always looking to New York and London, which are much more mature markets where luxury apartments are large homes in the sky. We use the best designers in Australia who understand the need to combine sophistication with liveability. For example, when you arrive at your front door, you want to have an area to put you sunglasses and wallet. Again it's that attention to detail that we are always striving to achieve.   First-glimpse1 Every single one of our projects is different in the sense that it's tailored to the local market. So some projects are based on a six star resort-style concept while others have a distinct New York penthouse feel. At FV in Brisbane everything about this project, from the incredible lobbies, the FV Private Club over 2,500 sqm and 5-star resort-style service, through to the luxury-appointed interiors and striking faà §ade, has been designed to raise the bar for luxury residential living in Australia. I am definitely a perfectionist so we spent many millions of dollars throughout the construction process to deliver even more value into the design by adding more luxury upgrades to ensure this project is nothing short of breath-taking. We also upgraded a number of inclusions and materials throughout the buildings, including upgrades for all owners to floorboards, the largest ever LifeFitness gym equipment order in Queensland, a huge amount of extra landscaping, premium retail fit-outs, acoustic upgrades, and additional finishes throughout lobbies and amenity level plus many more surprises, all at no cost to purchasers. When people walk in we know they are going to be blown away. I wouldn't have any interest in developing something that I'm not personally proud of. I love luxury brands and creating beautiful things, so if I wasn't building luxury apartments I probably wouldn't be in development.   Iwan Sunito, Crown Group Chairman and Group CEO What distinguishes a luxury property from other properties is about offering the best lifestyle. We find for buyers the most sought-after features include well-designed internal areas, quality finishes, views and outlook, privacy, location and resort-style residents' amenities. To me luxury is not all about glitz; it's not simply about focusing on quality facades and interiors and stopping there. It is now beyond that. Personally, I feel luxury equals convenience. The luxury of saving time to reach everywhere one needs to go on daily basis. Hence a premium location is an essential component of luxury. It translates to the little but important things in life such as spending less time commuting to work and more time at home with family, complemented by being be able to enjoy your leisure time in an environment that exudes beauty and quality finishes. Crown Group offers buyers this luxury as our projects always provide convenient access to transport, quality education options, shops, restaurants and major employment hubs. Recently I visited LA where luxury seems to be defined by access to the best facilities at home. In LA, having access to a first-class personal trainer and top of the range fitness equipment at home is a key direction of luxury moving forward. With luxury there has to be a "Ë?wow' factor for when you walk into your apartment. Waterfall by Crown Group includes a specially commissioned seven-storey waterfall that cascades down one of the four buildings as well as a rooftop heated infinity pool, a ground-level water garden, as well as a rooftop cinema and gym with a glass-walled yoga room.   rsz_w18_waterfall_final_2000_lr It goes without saying that the fittings and furnishings of a luxury property need to be extremely high quality. Bathrooms in these types of properties are of a level where they're not a standard bathroom anymore; they're more like a day spa. Luxury buyers are typically used to staying in five and six-star hotels across the world and want the same when they are at home. Unique architecture, which stands the test of time, is also very important. Innovative architecture can transform cities and make history. Our affluent clients appreciate inspiring and intelligent architecture. We take great pride in crafting buildings that become icons for decades to come. Redefining the parameters of design is at the forefront of every new devolvement we do. We want a person to feel they have bought something that is unique and add many benefits to their life. We are building communities, not just apartments. We recognise living in an apartment is not just about staying in a box but living in a lively community that allows for interaction with friends and neighbours, and at the same time offers top notch services and amenities.   slideshow-building-mobile-01 High-density living is the future for city living. Urbanisation is one of the leading global trends of the 21st century. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that by 2050, over 75% of the world's population will live in cities. This means there is an increasing need for well-designed vertical communities close to transport and jobs. We deliver more than just an apartment; we create an emotionally rich space and experience. Each of our communities is an urban oasis, from our grand foyers to the landscaping and facilities. Our residents are proud of where they live and want to invite family and friends home to experience it with them. Words: Julia Hughes Images: Supplied   Save Save Save Save Save Save

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