London’s most exclusive neighborhoods: new luxury homes at coveted addresses
ith their elite One Hyde Park apartments, the world’s most expensive when they launched a decade ago, developer Candy & Candy has rewritten the definition of luxury living in London.
The brothers took luxury to a new level and the magical dust they sprinkled spread across the market. Builders, large and small, have clung to the luxury label, creating new sub-categories such as “bespoke luxury” and “premium luxury” – or even “affordable luxury” – for buyers with different budgets and tastes. different.
Luxury has come to mean much more than opulent interior design, although this remains a hallmark of upscale homes, with ever more exotic finishes sourced from far flung places. A Mayfair project features walls covered in seashells sourced from the coastal waters of the Philippine province of Capiz, while an office is covered in stingray skin from Indonesia.
High-end developers continue to push the boundaries, not only with design, but also with technological innovation and highly personalized lifestyle services – from valet parking and dog walking to personal trainers.
Some developers employ art galleries to hold valuable works of art that are available for purchase as props. Luxury homes have gender-specific clothing spaces (“her and her”) with mirrors connected to cameras allowing the body to be seen from all angles; bathrooms double as living rooms, with sinks and special amenities that can be used by visiting stylists and hairdressers. Internal glass walls can turn opaque for more privacy at the touch of a switch. There may be a panic room, or a vault for valuables, and perhaps a room for private medical consultations.
Luxury is a matter of aspiration and exclusivity as much as of comfort and sensory pleasure. The cachet of a coveted address still matters a lot. And the demand is increasing.
In central London, the luxury home market largely applies to properties valued above Â£ 3,000 per square foot (compared to a London average of around Â£ 500 per square foot). Savills data shows there were 237 sales over Â£ 5million in the first six months of 2021, 61% more than in the same period in 2019 (before the pandemic).
Traditionally, Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Kensington, Mayfair, St James’ and Belgravia formed the heart of luxury homes. In recent years, St John’s Wood, Regent’s Park and Notting Hill have become part of the fold. And now Bayswater is about to join them.
For decades, high-crust realtors have dismissed Bayswater as the “bad side of the park.” Hyde Park, that is to say. According to Knight Frank, there is a remarkable disparity in values ââbetween the neighborhoods surrounding the park. Despite its grand architecture and beautifully central position, Bayswater is the most undervalued, up to 70 percent.
This is due to the decline of Bayswater in the 20th century and what author Peter Ackroyd has described as his “bewildering cosmopolitanism”. The area was laid out in the mid-1800s when large plazas and cream stucco terraces began to fill the acres between Paddington Station and Hyde Park. Even then, Bayswater had a reputation for walking the streets and socializing at night. Later, the influx of rail travelers triggered the conversion of houses into studios and guesthouses. The area retains a few seedy tourist hotels, but gentrification has become widespread with the launch of boutique hotels and niche apartment buildings.
A chic project called The Lancasters was a game-changer. This redevelopment of the old Thistle Hotel overlooking Hyde Park has brought in 76 lavish apartments with multi-million pound price tags.
Now a group of public realm projects and improvements are bringing a major upgrade to Queensway, the region’s âdowntownâ area. The regeneration is being led by Westminster City Council and includes a redevelopment of Whiteley’s listed department store into homes, shops and leisure center, as well as a new parade and plaza. Tellingly, the Sultan of Brunei is one of the region’s investors. The first is Park Modern, a new block of 57 apartments priced from Â£ 2-60million. This project faces Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and is across from a new gateway to the Royal Park.
The modern, flowing architecture has a wave-shaped facade and a covered walkway leading to a double-height entrance hall with marble floors, stone and bronze columns, a custom-designed concierge desk, a sitting area and library. An underground spa includes a glass-walled gym, treatment rooms, a swimming pool, and a 16-seat cinema.
Due to completion next year, off-plan purchases have reached Â£ 5,000 per square foot, said James Van Den Heule of developer Fenton Whelan. Call 020 7629 2669.
Kensington Palace Gardens has been called “London’s most exclusive address”. Notable for its embassies and security lodges at both ends, this tree-lined avenue connects Kensington High Street and Bayswater Road. A mega mansion with driveway at the end of Kensington called One Palace Green, which was previously owned by Crown Estate, has been taken over by a Monaco-based developer to be converted into luxury side apartments.
Address security credentials are likely to be a big draw. The armed police checkpoints are guarded by armed offices of the Diplomatic Protection Group and have guardrails and wrought iron gates. This brings the advantage of extremely low traffic volumes, although pedestrians normally have access to them. Call REDD on 020 8016 4350.
More thoughtful, old-fashioned luxury
With one-bedroom apartments costing between Â£ 4.25million and Â£ 5.35million, Mayfair Park Residences proves that even small, luxurious spaces (typically 827 square feet) are super expensive.
This project is an ingenious redevelopment of listed Georgian townhouses and modern old offices overlooking Stanhope Gate and Curzon Street. Prices reach Â£ 24.5million for the penthouse with a magnificent roof terrace. Call Clivedale on 020 3705 8425.
Sumptuous fitness facilities are provided by 45 Park Lane, an adjacent luxury hotel that was once the Playboy Club. Resident amenities extend to private dining, florist and sommelier services.
The elegant and understated interiors of the apartments designed by Parisian duo Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku are a sign of the times.
Real estate agents are reporting a backlash against âwhatever the money can buyâ bling and a move towards more thoughtful, old-fashioned luxury. People want tasteful yet understated design and they love British brands and craftsmen because of the integrity that goes with the products.
The Berkeley Group, which resists the label “volume homebuilder”, made the conscious decision to use British design talent and opened a “luxury collection” showroom in Mayfair allowing buyers to see specification details and room layout when choosing a portfolio London home. This includes The Dumont, a tower block on the Albert Embankment where the Alta collection of triple aspect top-floor apartments that have arguably the best views in London starts at Â£ 7.8million. Call 020 8003 6636.
The switch to ultra luxury has pushed expectations down the ladder
Royal designer David Linley started out as a maker of bespoke furniture, but his business has grown into a designer of high-end residential developments, including 1 Queen Anne’s Gate, Westminster.
This project is part of a quiet enclave bordering Birdcage Walk which is home to some of London’s most desirable historic homes, many dating back to the 18th century. Of the 30 houses on the street, 26 are Grade I listed.
As such, it’s one of the capital’s most scrutinized conservation districts, with eagle-eyed locals keeping callous developers at bay.
1 Queen Anne’s Gate is a remarkable amalgamation of 12 different plots and buildings, with 39 homes created behind restored facades and meticulously designed new ones.
David Linley’s interiors have signature custom joinery and cabinetry – dark wood doors with metal inlays, herringbone veneer cabinet fronts, and bespoke cabinetry. He also designed the luxurious lobby and club lounge, as well as a gym, sauna, therapy rooms and private dining room.
Prices start at Â£ 1.865million. Savills says rentals are also available. Call 020 7409 8756.
While reflecting the demands of today’s market, perhaps that is how luxury homes in London are doing. High transaction costs, including stamp duties and other tax increases, have made buying high-end homes much more expensive. Leasing also gives buyers more flexibility.
A listed seven-story mansion at 7 St James Square is raising the stakes. Under a Â£ 40million renovation, it has 12 bedrooms, a cinema, a gym, an eight-car garage and not only staff quarters but also staff quarters. . The purchase would likely cost Â£ 150million, but developer CPI Group chose to put it on the rental market for Â£ 100,000 per week, a record for the UK. The interior decoration is by Martin Kemp Design, whose one-off projects range from super yachts to Manhattan penthouses.
The switch to ultra luxury has pushed buyers’ expectations lower down the real estate ladder, meaning that luxury in one form or another is also inhabiting the mainstream market.
Just as previously there were only high-end cars with a built-in navigation system, it is now standard. Kitchens are equipped with steam ovens, hot water taps and champagne refrigerators, while integrated âsmart homeâ systems provide control over heating and lighting, security and audiovisual comfort.
The walk of the luxury market in the age of Covid may focus more on health and wellness than on material comfort and convenience.