Tag Archives: Knightsbridge

Destination Shopping beats eCommerce: We need stores like Bvlgari’s New Curiosity Shop


Bvlgari’s New Curiosity Shop on Via Condotti

Bvlgari’s New Curiosity Shop on Via Condotti

Online shopping has never been easier. Heck, luxury conglomerates like Kering Group have been clocking their best profits ever thanks to burgeoning online sales. According to German analytics firm Statista, residents of Hong Kong are the eCommerce champions of the world. By far. Spending an average of $2,900 per capita in 2015, they are followed closely by Norwegians with an average of $2,450. Prima facie, online spending appears to correlate with a country’s wealth but the statistics are far from conclusive on deeper analysis – Geographic distance, once considered a factor in contributing to increased eCommerce, appears to bear no correlation.

Over in the United States, the evidence supports the idea that regardless of distance (metropolitan NYC or far-flung Boulder, Colarado), the majority of American consumers want the tactile experiences offered by physical stores.

Consumers want shopping experiences. Destination Shopping beats eCommerce.

Consumers want shopping experiences. Destination Shopping beats eCommerce.

Online sales are growing but More Offline shoppers are returning

According to the 2016 American Customer Satisfaction Index, the nation’s retailers are finally reversing years of declining satisfaction and doing a better job of making their customers happy. US retailers were up 4.7%, scoring 78 out of 100 on consumer satisfaction. Sure, the data did also reveal that online retail was a sales point of leading satisfaction with a score of 83, it was the physical store with the larger improvement.

By a fairly wide margin, the primary motivation for in store shopping was ability to see, touch and feel products. Hand raise, how many of you bought a jacket online which didn’t fit right or purchased a watch online and had the excitement ebb on delivery after you realised that the bracelet wouldn’t fit immediately and you needed to get it resized? (Cartier has the answer. P. XX). Though statistics show that it is female shoppers overwhelmingly want the tactile experience before purchase; while men want the immediate satisfaction of taking items home with them. Both genders, at both ends of the age spectrum want a true shopping experience.

Bvlgari New Curiosity Shop provides a destination shopping experience. Exactly what retailers need to draw traffic back to their physical stores.

Bvlgari New Curiosity Shop provides a destination shopping experience. Exactly what retailers need to draw traffic back to their physical stores.


Destination Shopping beats eCommerce: We need stores like Bvlgari’s New Curiosity Shop

The most damning statistic comes from a report from digital think tank L2. As reported to Forbes, there are a growing number of online retailers who are investing in physical stores because online-only is not a viable retail model. Essentially, “walk-in traffic doesn’t exist online” while stores can generate organic traffic while building brand equity. You can’t homogenise the experience either – if you have the same store concept in every shopping mall on a singular stretch of road, like in Singapore’s Orchard Road, the traffic trends reverse downwards. In short, you need more stores like Bvlgari’s New Curiosity Shop.

“Old Curiosity Shop” as envisioned by Sotirio Bulgari, was named for a Charles Dickens’ novel. It evoked a sense of wonder and curiosity for foreigners who had chanced upon the store on along streets of Via Condotti, Rome. Now, 113 years on, a modern take has been conceived in a new space next to the historic curio boutique on 10 Via Condotti.

While all the trappings of a Bulgari store like Venn chandeliers and assortment of luxurious fixtures can be found in the “New Curiosity Shop”, what sets it apart is the mysteries that are hidden in the outlets many drawers and shelves which line walls and floors from corner to corner. A curated selection of objets d’art, Italian decorative arts pieces, mirrors, Chinese porcelain and naturally, high jewellery and Serpenti watches can be found in every nook and cranny. Every visit is an experience and every new curio is a boutique exclusive. For jewellery lovers, it means exclusive editions of the CONDOTTI10. For watch aficionados, it means a 20 piece limited edition Serpenti Twist Your Time with caseback engravings “Only in Rome”.

Closer to home, we have Malmaison at Knightsbridge and the latest newcomer, Watch Wonderland at Suntec City. While Watch Wonderland isn’t as lush or cultured as Malmaison, watch retail’s newest addition makes up for in very cool, affordable timepieces. In one cabinet, you can find watches from Octavio Garcia, the former Chief Artistic Officer at Audemars Piguet. Garcia’s offerings, Gorilla Watches were the brainchild with colleague Lukas Gopp, using exotic materials and construction techniques (in a screwed down bezel sort of way, wink wink).

Then there’s Arcturus Watches, a Singaporean micro brand with an art Deco lineup founded by Alexander Ian Loh with interesting midcase details and even Mother of Pearl dials. Melbourne Watch Company, founded by former Malaysian Sujain Krishnan, draws muse from Melbourne’s icons and hipster ideals.

Finally, a joint study by IBM and the National Retail Federation, reported in Business Insider, showed that nearly all members of Generation Z, those born in the mid to late 1990s, all prefer bricks-and-mortar stores with a caveat:  “Generation Z expects the experience to be intuitive, relevant and engaging” – 67% of Generation Z shop in bricks-and-mortar stores most of the time, with another 31% shopping in-store sometimes. National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay concluded, “With technology constantly evolving but some shopping habits remaining the same, retailers need to be agile enough to serve both needs.”

Ultimately, a combination of compelling store concepts and unique products have to draw consumers in on the promise of adventure, excitement and discovery. Online stores simply can’t deliver the experience as you coast in on bunny slippers and boxer shorts. The future is likely going to be a mixed digital and physical experience, we just have to get the recipe right.

Generation Z has an estimated US$44 billion of buying power.

London Luxury Real Estate: Gulf Sheikh pays record £25m to live next to Harrods


Yesterday, LUXUO reported on the immense growth of high net worth individuals based on information provided in Capgemini’s world wealth report. Meanwhile, it was reported 25 September 2017 that London luxury real estate agent Rokstone recently just sealed an eye-watering £25 million property deal in Knightsbridge. The buyer of two lateral apartments within a stone’s throw to Harrods? A Gulf Sheikh from Oman in what is reported to be the highest transacted price for London real estate in the Knightsbridge district in over two years.

London Luxury Real Estate: Gulf Sheikh pays record £25m to live next to Harrods


The Gulf Sheikh from Oman paid for two refurbished apartments located in grand period buildings on Knightsbridge for a few reasons, among them, easy access to Harrods in the vicinity. The first of the Sheikh’s London real estate purchases is a fully furnished  6,000 sq.ft five bedroom lateral apartment located on the corner of Cadogan Square priced at £17 million. The other, is a well appointed 2,400 sq.ft four bedroom flat on Parkside, overlooking Hyde Park priced at £8 million. Both luxury properties are within 10 minutes walk of each other and of Harrods on Knightsbridge.

Collectively, the luxury real estate deals achieved a record  £25 million, valued on average, of over £3,200 per sq.ft, the highest price achieved for resale flats in period buildings in Knightsbridge for over two years.

“This £25 million Knightsbridge deal is a record period-flat sale for the area, the highest sale in over two years. The sales prove that London remains a leading location of choice for the super-rich. There were several key selling points for the family. Firstly they were only interested in Knightsbridge and they wanted to live within 10 minutes walk of Harrods. The other key attractions that led to the deal were the fact that both are large ‘family-flats’, recently refurbished and fully dressed, so just like a hotel suite the family could occupy both properties immediately.” – Becky Fatemi, Managing Director of Rokstone

According to Rokstone, the head of the ultra-wealthy family from the Sultanate of Oman was looking for a large family house, or two family flats close together, in order to provide them with a London base while within 10 minutes walk of Harrods and Hyde Park and were not interested in any address other than Knightsbridge.

A Primer: London Luxury Real Estate Market

London luxury real estate in Central London have been transacting for over £5 million and at the upper segments of the London property market, that is to say, above £10 million, property purchases have been dominated by Asian (Chinese, Hong Kong, Japanese, Singaporean) and Middle Eastern (Omani, Saudi Arabian, UAE, Iranian, Turkish) and African (Nigeria) clients.

For luxury residences above £10 million, Central London has become a buyer’s market, and purchasers have become extremely discerning and exacting on their requirements: It’s no longer about just great address but also well decorated interiors and amenities. If new luxury developments aren’t available, the resale property should ideally be newly refurbished as high net worth consumers are either looking for personal/family home-stays or for immediate rental to accrue maximum return on investment, the hassle to find furniture and furnishings just runs contrary to those ideals.

Parkside, Knightsbridge: Qatari regeneration equals Return on Investment

Another attraction for the family regarding the Parkside property is the fact that Knightsbridge is undergoing regeneration thanks to a new mixed use development at 55-91 Knightsbridge being undertaken for the State of Qatar, birthing a new luxury destination of shops and leisure facilities with apartments above behind a heritage period façade. Urban redevelopment investments of this nature further enhance the appeal and investment value of such an exclusive address.

Explore potential London Real Estate Investment at Singapore Rendezvous 2017

The thriving beat of London’s vibrant city life with Berkeley Group’s collection of luxurious apartments boasting iconic river views: One Blackfriars and Emery Wharf at London Dock will both have previews available at Singapore Rendezvous 2017, happening this October 5-8 at Raffles Marina


Luxury property in London, United Kingdom: A luxurious home at One Kensington Gardens next to dignitaries and royalty

Home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, illustrious foreign dignitaries and a selection of the world’s ultra-wealthy and famous, there’s truly no other neighbourhood quite like the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Fancy calling yourself a neighbour? One Kensington Gardens, a new residential development by De Vere Estates, offers a collection of 97 luxury apartments for the discerning homeowner in search of privacy and exclusivity with a touch of pedigree.

Designed by renowned architect Sir. David Chipperfield, with elegant interiors crafted by Karen Howes of London-based interior design firm Taylor Howes, the development is located on Kensington Road, and is opposite Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, one of the capital’s eight Royal Parks. Close proximity to the shopping and transport facilities of Kensington High Street and Knightsbridge also enhances the property’s ideal lifestyle element of fusing tranquillity with the sophistication and glamour of city living.

From studios to one to six bedroom apartments and a penthouse, the development provides residents with a 24 hr dedicated concierge service, valet parking, a private health spa, fitness centre, and a 25 m indoor swimming pool. All apartments come equipped with under-floor heating and comfort cooling, and are constructed with the maximisation of light and space in mind, providing an elegant yet welcoming home experience.

This article was first published in Palace 18. 

3 Quirky Holiday Fitness Classes

A vacation is the chance to create new habits and new regimes that we hope to follow long after the vacation is over (oh how naïve we can be!). Some hotels know just how good we are at following through with these newly cultivated rituals and have given guests a helping hand this summer. Far from a holiday of pure indulgences, these classes (open to guests and visitors) aim to improve one’s health and well-being. We take a look at three (or maybe five if you really want to be precise) quirky fitness classes to try on your next holiday.

Rooftop hula hooping classes at the Berkeley

Starting September 28, those in London can look forward to the return of the hula hooping master classes at the Berkeley Health Club & Spa located within the luxury hotel in Knightsbridge. Limited to four hula-hoopers per lesson, the weekly 60-minute classes will see HulaFit take guests through a rigorous workout that will help to burn 600 calories (per session). Of course, guests will also be able to enjoy the Berkeley hotel pool that overlooks Hyde Park and Knightsbridge.

Yoga at Kimpton Hotels

Among its many fitness offerings this summer, the Kimpton Hotels will offer rooftop yoga, full moon yoga and thug yoga at three of its hotels in America. At the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix, the hotel will partner with Sutra Studios for a rooftop yoga series that will take the action outdoors and make things a tad more scenic. With candlelight and DJ tunes, the classes are just another reason to stretch out under the stars. Over at the Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel in Miami, “full moon yoga” classes will be in full swing, held under the moonlit sky, which makes for a session that brings you closer to nature. For those looking for something a little more upbeat, the Kimpton Sky Hotel in Aspen is limbering up to host a series of classes that combine yoga, hip-hop and beer. Dubbed Thug Yoga (yes, it is really a thing), the classes will see the Aspen Brewing Company serve up refreshing drinks at the hotel’s pool deck.

Wellness Tree House by Bodyism at Amilla Fushi

This is one of the latest partnerships between London-based Bodyism and the Amilla Fushi Hotel in the Maldives. The health and wellness experts incorporate the Clean and Lean program it is known for with a mix of exercise and relaxation techniques. As guests enjoy their stay in a one-bedroom wellness tree house, they will be greeted with a wellness consultation, daily spa treatments along with the chance to hang out by the room’s infinity pool as you look out over the tree canopy. Twelve meters above the ground, the accommodation is obviously right in the heart of nature. Aside from being cool, the idea is to help guests rest and relax.

Rutland Gate Knightsbridge property

£300 Million House Up For Sale in London

Rutland Gate Knightsbridge property

A 60,000 square foot property in Knightsbridge, thought to be the most expensive ever marketed in Britain, is seeking buyers, at an asking price of £300m.

The 45-bedroom palace overlooking London’s Hyde Park has been offered to a few super-rich international players in the hope of finding a buyer.
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