Tag Archives: luxury home

One Blackfriars: A Striking, Sculptural Addition to London’s Horizon

St George One Blackfriars Hepworth Interior Living Room

One Blackfriars: A Striking, Sculptural Addition to London’s Horizon

An inspiring new development in the heart of London, One Blackfriars offers sweeping views across the city, built by award-winning SimpsonHaugh Architects. When completed from Spring 2018, One Blackfriars is set to be a beacon of architectural brilliance, created for its future residents to relish the best that London has to offer.

The development is a 50-storey, 170-metre high tower, housing 274 spacious light-filled apartment units, ranging from studios to four bedroom half floorplates. With outstanding residents’ facilities, including 161 bedroom boutique hotel, all are linked by a landscaped public piazza with stunning water features. Sitting by the river Thames, on the south side of Blackfriars Bridge, the sculptural tower will be a magnificent addition to the London skyline.

Interior Design: Inspired by the cultural life of the Southbank

St George One Blackfriars Turner Bathroom

St George One Blackfriars Turner Bedroom

The interiors are based on these three design schemes: the Hepworth Collection, The Gainborough Collection and the Turner Collection. Designed by Tara Bernerd & Partners, the interior designs are inspired by the cultural life of the Southbank from the three leading British artists: the Thomas Gainsborough Collection; reflects the 18th century portrait and landscape painter and JMW Turner; is renowned for his Romantic and Impressionist landscapes and the Hepworth Collection; is inspired by the 20th century’s Modernist sculptor, Barbara Hepworth.

St George One Blackfriars Hepworth Interior Dining Area

Some of the premium interior specifications used throughout to give the interior a decadent finish includes luxurious materials, such as Italian marble, equipped with cutting-edge technology and bespoke joinery as well as organic stonework sculptures, incorporating Atlantic Lava stone, Italian marble and polished plaster.

In addition to the stunning living interiors, residents of One Blackfriars will benefit from the residents’ pool and spa that provides a calm oasis – a place to fully restore body, mind and spirit. Other exquisite onsite amenities, include a thermal spa with treatment rooms operated by Harrods Urban Retreat, a water massage in the Vichy shower, sauna and steam room, a 20-metre swimming pool, cinema, golf simulator, wine room and state-of-the-art gymnasium with yoga garden, making these facilities a perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday morning or end a hectic day.

Price: GBP 2.33 Million to GBP 12.5 Million
(Approx. USD 3.07 Million to USD 16.47 Million)

www.berkeleygroup.co.uk, www.oneblackfriars.co.uk

Miami luxury real estate market sees increasing demand from foreign investors

Property developer Gil Dezer owns 29 cars. And he plans to admire some of them from his couch in a swank Miami high-rise building, with the ocean in the background. Yes, Dezer is planning to park the cars IN his apartment.

Miami’s 60-floor Porsche Design Tower—the first of its kind in the world—has glass-enclosed elevators that bring sports cars up to the plush homes of their owners. The residential skyscraper, which has 132 units and opened in March, is the latest of several super-luxury buildings dotting the Miami coastline.

But what if you don’t own a Porsche? “Why wouldn’t you have a Porsche?” asked the 42-year-old Dezer, who developed the project at the request of the German automaker. Of course, if you paid between $5.5 million and $33 million for your apartment, chances are you own a Porsche.

The tower, which was designed by the Sieger Suarez architectural firm, is located on Sunny Isles Beach, a barrier island off Miami. The apartments include balcony pools, all with a glorious view of Miami Bay, high above the pristine sands. But the building’s signature feature is of course the three $40 million “Dezervators”—named for the developer—that lift the vehicles of the billionaire tenants into their living rooms.

“If you love your car and you see it as a piece of art … this is the kind of place you’re going to want,” said Dezer, who also played a role in the rise of Trump Palace and Trump Royale on Sunny Isles. “Instead of hanging your art on the wall, you have your art right behind your glass divider in your living room.”

How about a private island?

Tennis courts, saunas, gyms—those amenities are banal by Miami standards. In the southern Florida city’s uber-luxurious market, “Dezervators” are the kind of thing needed to impress the super-rich.

From the balconies of Porsche Design Tower, you can see the twin 16-story towers of Prive, also designed by Sieger Suarez. The complex is located on a private island connected to the mainland by a members-only bridge.

How much will it cost? A cool $2-8 million.

At The Grove at Grand Bay, designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, two 20-story glass towers twist up into the sky with views over the waters of Coconut Grove. The towers have rooftop pools—and a pet spa.

All about flash

“Generally if you’re going to do anything wild and crazy, Miami’s the place to do it,” Dezer said. “This was a test bed for us, and the market here was always very good for new things.”

Florida has a history of zany investments. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, clever developers seduced millionaires with exotic proposals to invest in the mosquito-ridden swamp area. Some of the earliest Florida developments were made by people like oil and railway magnate Henry Flagler, and railroad millionaire Henry Plant.

They entered the Sunshine State’s real estate and tourism market “by trying to attract as many of their fellow millionaires that they could,” said Craig Pittman, author of “Oh, Florida!” a book about the state’s eccentricities.

Since then, Miami has been defined by the flashy and ostentatious, people “who want to say, ‘Yes, I have a lot of money, and look at all of my possessions’,” Pittman told AFP. He added: “Miami really is all about flash. The nickname is Magic City. You can’t get much flashier than that.”

A prime pop culture example is the 1983 movie “Scarface,” starring Al Pacino as a Cuban immigrant who becomes a millionaire drug lord. The film “was all about the ostentatious use of ill-gotten wealth, and what happens to you when you do that,” Pittman said. “People don’t see that as a cautionary tale. They see that as something to emulate.”

Miami’s not-so-secret secret is that it is a safe haven for foreign investments — sometimes shady foreign money. In early May, federal police in Brazil launched a money laundering probe linked to the real estate market in Miami. The investigation was named “Operation Miami Connection.”

Safe investments

More than half—54 percent—of Miami foreign real estate buyers come from Latin America, according to the National Association of Realtors. Another 18 percent are Europeans and 13 percent Canadians.

A closer look at the figures show that Canadians were the top buyers of luxury apartments in 2016, followed by Venezuelans and Brazilians. “When people feel like they want to put money into a secure investment, they think of the luxury apartment market in Miami and Miami Beach,” said John Stuart, a professor at Florida International University’s College of Architecture + The Arts.

The South Florida real estate market lost steam in 2016 due to the US presidential campaign, but experts predict it will stabilize this year. “Pricing is adjusting to reflect more supply on the market,” said Antoine Charvet, corporate communications director at Integra Realty Resources.

But for Dezer, the Miami luxury market is in a world of its own, immune to market ups and downs. For Charvet, South Florida is “the French Riviera of the eastern United States, and Miami is Monaco.”

Luxury properties for sale, New Zealand: Skyline and harbour views from The Pacifica, Auckland

The Pacifica, Auckland, New Zealand The 178 metre, 54-level tower will house 295 apartments and 40 hotel suites. It’s being developed by Hengyi Pacific, a respected Australasian developer. Housed in the heart of Auckland’s CBD, it is one block back from the water’s edge and boasts spectacular views of the impressive city skyline and stunning harbour.

Interested buyers will have 34 different floor plans to choose from, among them one-bedroom, one-bedroom plus study, two-bedroom, three-bedroom and penthouse apartments. The apartments range in size from 54-235 square meters (approx. 581-2,530 square feet). Each will have a luxurious interior, and a balcony or winter garden (or both) with many overlooking superyachts, cruise ships and boats on Auckland’s iconic harbour.

The landmark development will offer residents a luxurious lifestyle and will boast a lap pool, sauna, steam room, spa, gym, yoga studio, cinema, residents’ lounge, library and barbecue terrace. 24-hour valet parking will also be available.

PRICE: NZD 657,000 (approx. USD 460,000)

This article was first published in Palace 19.

Luxury freehold condominium “Baan Mai Khao” in Phuket, Thailand

Set on the beautiful Andaman Sea, Baan Mai Khao is the first freehold beach condominium development in the Thalang district. Encompassing 5.4 acres, Baan Mai Khao features 206 units across six three-storey buildings and three five-storey buildings. The developer, Sansiri, has created the concept of “barefoot luxury”, creating the experience of a luxurious and high-end getaway surrounded by nature.

This spacious two-bedroom duplex offers owners the enjoyment of living in a tropical getaway with an expansive 1,420.84 square feet of space designed by Chanintr Living. The property features a light wood palette complemented with neutral-tone furnishings, as well as stunning floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to an outdoor terrace and swimming pool, allowing natural light to filter in.

In Baan Mai Khao, the gardens feature local trees unique to Mai Khao Beach, while the development’s architectural design is in a Sino-Portuguese style, a tribute to Phuket’s historical roots. A long pool stretches the length of the property, with some units having direct pool access from their terrace. Access to the sea and to 230 feet of beach is also only a few footsteps away, past a beachfront pool.

The entire development features three swimming pools, a fitness centre, 24-hour security and concierge service, as well as multiple outdoor recreational areas. Exploring the area of Mai Khao beach is also quite a unique experience. Other than the incredible beach itself, which is tranquil and mostly untouched, there’s a mixture of lakes, restaurants, 5-star hotels and shopping.


This article was first published in Palace 18.

Celebrity homes for sale: From Meg Ryan’s So-Ho loft to Warren Buffet’s Laguna Beach estate

Photo: The Corcoran Group

We take a look into the homes of distinguished influencers, those who have shaped and defined a generation of filmmaking, musical theatre and even market economics! From showbiz greats like Jane Fonda, Meg Ryan and Cole Porter, to investment superstar Warren Buffet, these stylish and quaint abodes do not disappoint.

When Ryan meets Soho 

One of the definitive faces of romantic comedy, American sweetheart Meg Ryan reveals a penchant for interior design as she lists her stylish fifth-floor Soho loft on the market for a cool USD 10.9 million. Housed in an 1888 pre-war building, Ryan’s 4,100 sq. ft. residence is a sun-drenched monochromatic palette featuring 13 large windows, high ceilings, ebony wood flooring and deep wood furniture pieces.

Matte black finishes are set against expanses of white, an elegant touch complimented by a set of floor-to-ceiling French doors leading to the home’s three bedrooms (including a master bedroom with eight closets!), formal dining room, media room and a spacious eat-in kitchen. Several original architectural columns and exposed brick walls also lend an industrial aesthetic to the place, whilst a stunning 40 ft gallery near the foyer presents views onto Mercer Street from five large windows.

Fonda Power 

A two-time Oscar-winning actress, political activist, fitness guru and eco-warrior, the multi-hyphenate Jane Fonda has recently listed her 7,102 sq. ft. Beverly Hills home (shared with long-time partner and veteran music producer Richard Perry) on the market. Purchased in 2012 for USD 7.3 million and now listed for close to USD 13 million, this contemporary four bedroom and six and a half bathroom residence sits on a 36,000sq. ft. lot in the stylish Trousdale Estates area.

Boasting stunning views over the canyon and ocean, the home features interconnected, open-plan living spaces including a statement glass elevator, a media lounge with bar area, a sprawling kitchen, and multiple covered and open patios. A solar-heated swimming pool, viewing pavilion with fire pit and a meditation garden with fountains adds to the resort-like tranquillity of the place, whilst a lower level gym keeps with the exercise tycoon’s mantra of healthy living. Ever the eco-minded advocate, Fonda’s residence also bears green amenities such as photovoltaic electric panels, thermal glass windows with motorised shades, eco-friendly ventless fireplaces and bamboo floors. Sleek, sophisticated and bold, the home is listed with Jade Mills and Valerie Fitzgerald of Coldwell Banker.

The Wizard of Emerald Bay

A glimpse into the family retreat of billionaire investor Warren Buffet (affectionately known as the “Wizard” of Omaha) yields a humble yet spacious abode befitting one known for his frugality despite being America’s second wealthiest individual. Originally purchased in 1971 as a vacation home, Buffet’s six-bedroom Laguna Beach estate is now on the market for USD 11 million. For those who revere its legendary owner, or for anyone really, with a love for the beautiful beaches of the West Coast, this 3,588 sq. ft. property is a gem of an investment.

Located in the gated community of Emerald Bay, this remodelled beach house offers stunning ocean views in most rooms thanks to its corner lot position, a large family room with an expansive viewing deck, and a beautiful beach just steps away. Other amenities also include six community tennis courts, beach volleyball courts, parks and a pool. Though modestly appointed by billionaire standards, the home’s grey carpeting and pristine white furnishes lend a soothing and cozy ambience that makes for the perfect relaxing beach getaway.

It’s De-Lovely!

Times have changed for Sniffen Court, one of New York City’s smallest historic districts and home to a quaint brick building once belonging to famed Broadway composer and songwriter Cole Porter. In olden days this four-story townhouse was a Civil War-era stable, before it was refurbished into an engraver’s home and studio in 1915.

Now on the market for USD 6.5 million, the home has cultivated for itself a certain celebrity pedigree, tucked away off East 36th Street in an exclusive neighbourhood of only ten townhomes, once playing host to the likes of musician Lenny Kravitz and model Claudia Schiffer. Bearing a charming exterior with unique eyebrow windows under a mansard roof, the 3,865 sq. ft. property features a well-preserved interior boasting original wood mouldings, whimsical spiral stairways connecting the floors, as well as a charming interior courtyard.

Multiple windows let in an abundance of light across the home’s five bedrooms and four baths, and a spacious living room makes for an excellent gathering space for friends and family. With Midtown Manhattan and Grand Central Station in close proximity, the home is— in the words of the musical maestro himself, best known for musicals like “Anything Goes”— “De-Lovely”.



Luxury property in France: Villa Du Pinet in Saint Tropez offers beachside views and lush greenery

This charming Bastide is ideally located from the centre of Saint Tropez and just 400 metres from Tahiti beach, one of the most beautiful and well-known beaches in the area.

Set within a hectare of beautifully landscaped gardens, with rose beds and Mediterranean plants, this stylish property has an extensive terrace affording views over the pool and the garden. There’s also plenty of parking space available.

At its entrance is an imposing central atrium, which leads to a reception room with a fireplace. Inside, you will also find an immaculate dining room, fitted kitchen and professional kitchen, an office, five bedrooms, four baths or shower rooms and a separated en-suite bedroom. A real haven of peace and privacy.

Price on Application

This article was first published in Palace 18.

Shama Medini serviced apartments in Iskandar joins Malaysia’s growing luxury real estate

Iskandar Malaysia, home to 2,217 square kilometres of economic opportunities, is leaving most of Malaysia in its wake as a development hotspot. An increasing number of projects are ushering in people from across the region to the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia.

Part of the UMLand Medini Lakeside masterplan, which sits across from Legoland, Shama Medini features 213 serviced apartments. Within the upscale development, residents and guests will have access to retail in UMC Mall, as well as multiple restaurants, a gym, swimming pool, kids’ play areas, outdoor pavilion and a surau within the development itself. Covering more than two hectares, the development overlooks a beautiful five-hectare lake.

There’s an enormity of things going on in this region of Malaysia. Besides the aforementioned Legoland with its seven themed areas of family fun, there’s also a number of universities based there. EduCity, a fully integrated education hub, plays host to a number of international universities including the University of Southampton, Raffles University and Newcastle University. Students can live on campus and receive an international education from a top university, all while not being too far from home.

Pinewood Studios can also be found in Iskandar. Many people will be familiar with the British studio due to its part in producing the Harry Potter film series in the U.K. The 50-acre site has turned Johor Bahru into a regional hub for producing television shows and films. Netflix’s Marco Polo series was shot here. Just down the street, Kota Iskandar, the administrative capital of the region, sits in a vast complex near the luxurious Puteri Harbour with its waterfront shops and restaurants only moments away.

Other than the incredible Shama Medini development and the attractions in the region, there are further incentives to move to and invest in Medini. When it’s time to sell your property, there’s no real property gain tax up to 2020. As a foreigner, you can purchase property here, and if you plan to open a business, there’s a 10-year corporate tax exemption for approved companies. These tax incentives stretch even further with reduced income tax for qualified knowledge workers.

UMCity is just a hop, skip and a jump (10-minute drive) from the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link, and only 15 minutes from Johor Bahru. The proposed high speed rail link with nearby Gerbang Nusajaya station will offer even faster connections to Singapore and the rest of Malaysia.

South Korean company Samsung C&T, famous for building the Petronas Twin Towers and the Burj Khalifa have been contracted to build the tower. The construction is set to be completed in the third quarter of 2018. Shama Medini will feature a range of different sized units. From studios at 583 sq. ft. all the way up to three beds, with the largest topping out at 1,192 sq. ft., the development offers great options for singles, couples and large families alike.

All units will be operated by Onyx Hospitality Group. Owners will also have access to the Shama Privilege Card, bringing perks above and beyond your typical investment including 14-days of free stay at Shama Medini. Forecasted annual returns are expected to be high in this sought-after development.

For those of you looking to move to the region or are purely looking to invest in property within Malaysia, Shama Medini should definitely be on your radar. It offers a great location, lots of potential for future development, and is a renowned quality product from UMLand and Shama.


1. Growth Location

2. No Real Property Gains Tax

3. No Sales Restriction on Foreign Ownership

4. 10-Year Corporate Tax Exemption for Approved Companies

5. Reduced Income Tax for Qualified Knowledge Workers

For more information, visit www.shamamedini.com.my

This article was first published in Palace 18. 

Luxury real estate in Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Diamond Island will boast a skyscraper condominium project called CASA by Meridian

The prestigious CASA by Meridian is situated on Diamond Island (Koh Pich) at Sangkat Tonle Bassac, Chamkarmorn) a location soon to become the most sought after residential and retail hub in Phnom Penh.

33-storey high skyscraper condominium development with a total of 512 residential units. With state-of-the-art architectural design incorporated with ancient principles of Feng Shui (Geomancy), and equipped with cutting-edge technology, CASA by Meridian promises not only absolute comfort and security but also an environment basking in positive Qi to induce good health and prosperity for its residents. The design of the building resembles an ancient spade coin (Symbol of wealth) and with an opening between the towers, identified as the Dragon’s Gate in the ancient arts of Feng Shui, to invite positive energy (Qi) from the mighty Mekong River beyond.

Covering more than 61,354 square feet in size and carefully planned public areas complete with cutting edge amenities. A sky pool features with a relaxing sun deck surrounded by landscaped tropical gardens. While a well-equipped fitness center, library, a tech-savvy lounge, children’s playground, covered car park, a round-the-clock butler service and a 24/7 state-of-the-art security system further accentuate the development’s slogan; Celebrating Prestige Living.

Price on application. For more information, visit CASA by Meridian

This article was first published under Palace Finder in Palace 18. 

Luxury real estate in Phuket Thailand: The Emerald City Life Condo Patong offers luxurious condominiums for grabs

Just 30 minutes from the newly-upgraded Phuket International Airport is Emerald Development Group’s latest project, The Emerald City Life Condo Patong, a new luxury condominium development located right in the heart of Patong. The resort-style property spans over two rai and comprises of two, eight-storey buildings with a total of 256 units.

A unique juxtaposition of contemporary character with a vintage interior concept, the property sees unit sizes range from 291 square feet for the smallest one-bedroom apartments, all the way up to 527 square feet for the largest two-bedroom. Inside you will find quality furnishings, with wood and tile flooring throughout.

Eco-friendly layered gardens between the floors and buildings add a sense of tranquillity and wellness amidst the bustle of Phuket. Residents can stay in shape with the funkily-designed, fitness centre. Large windows allow you to work out on the treadmills while overlooking a pool and lounge area. This also allows for copious amounts of natural sunlight to enter, creating a productive working space. After all, Emerald City is all about taking advantage of the sunny climate Phuket is known for.


As a resident, you are in an excellent location for the very best of what Phuket has to offer. Situated in the vicinity is the Jungceylon Shopping Mall. This huge complex features more than 200 stores and was designed to handle 45,000 visitors per day. There is something for everyone in this behemoth of a shopping centre. The clear waters of Patong Beach are also just a short walk away.

The Emerald City Life Condo Patong is set to be completed in December 2018 and returns from the management company guarantee a total of 35% over a period of five years. This is a great investment for anyone looking to purchase a property in the heart of Phuket.

Price: From THB 2.79 million (approximately USD 81,000). For more information, visit Emerald Development Group 

This article was first published under Palace Finder in Palace 18.

Celebrity homes for sale: From Hollywood to Miami, Palace visits 4 luxury properties on the market

From singers to actors, it is no doubt that we’ve all been enraptured by the glitz and glamour of the celebrity world. We all want a sneak peek into the lives of the glitterati, and what better way than to take a look at the stunning properties these A-listers call home?


Reminiscent of the medieval hilltop villages of Central Italy, this Tuscan- style property in Montecito, CA, oozes grace and elegance and boasts stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Owned by Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges and his wife Susan Bridges, the estate is up for sale for USD 18.5 million and comprises of a 9,535 square foot main residence, a one-bedroom guest cottage, a two- bedroom caretaker’s cottage, and a swimming pool, all set on a 19.5-acre lot.

Featuring a total of six bedrooms and six and a half baths, some property highlights include a private tower study that opens onto a rooftop terrace with panoramic views, a music studio and a home theatre. The beautifully designed gardens are also a standout feature, with oaks and Italian Cypress trees, walking paths, a sculpted fountain and a fruit orchard, further enhancing the home’s exquisite Old-World charm.


One of Asia’s best-known leading actresses, Li Bingbing made her English-language film debut in “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan”, followed by roles in blockbusters such as “Resident Evil: Retribution” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction”, which brought her to Hollywood. Following her upcoming portrayal as the first Chinese female superhero in Stan Lee’s film “Realm of the Tigers”, the star has recently sold her movie-star-worthy residence near Bel Air for USD 2.75 million through Sonny Saito of Hilton & Hyland Christie’s. Located near the MoungtainGate Golf Course, this 5,834 square foot French-style property features five bedrooms and seven bathrooms, a spacious 1,800 square foot basement with a sauna and home gym, and an expansive deck boasting stunning views of the downtown Los Angeles city skyline. The property’s many windows allow natural light into the home, and a beautiful circular entryway and staircase lends a relaxed, yet luxurious atmosphere to the place.


Rising 4,300 feet above sea level, Villa Maggio sits in the San Jacinto Mountains overlooking Coachella Valley, Palm desert and Palm Springs, a secluded exclusivity accentuated by an accessibility only through gated mountain roads or by helicopter. Named after Sinatra’s Oscar Award- winning role as Private Angelo Maggio in “From Here to Eternity”, this sprawling chalet-style retreat was custom-designed in 1967 by the famous crooner himself, in collaboration with architect Ross Patton. Completed in 1970, the complex comprises seven and a half acres and three residences: a main house, guesthouse and a pool house, boasting a total of seven bedrooms and 12 bathrooms across 6,428 square feet of space.

Now on the market for USD 3.9 million, the property was intended as Sinatra’s haven away from Hollywood, though it also served as an entertainment venue for some of the industry’s biggest stars. In particular, fellow members of the Rat Pack were hosted as frequent guests. With luxurious amenities like a private helipad, parking space for 24 cars, swimming pool and fire pit, and an outdoor dance floor, the property is certainly a party-perfect piece of Hollywood history.


Grammy Award-winning rapper Lil Wayne has recently lowered the price of his Miami beachfront home from USD 18 million to USD 12 million. Situated on the exclusive La Gorce Island, this palatial 15,101 square foot property features nine bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, a two-bedroom guesthouse complete with kitchen, living room and patio, sky terraces, and a glass elevator that provides access to all three levels.

Not one to shy away from indulgence, the best-selling artist has lavished his ultra-modern residence with a rooftop skate park, an outdoor pool overlooking the canal, a private dock on the property’s 120 feet of water frontage, and even a shark lagoon! Potential buyers and their families need not worry though, for the lagoon houses nurse sharks that are generally harmless to humans. Interesting and no doubt unique, the home is certainly a draw for families and entertaining.

This article was first published in Palace 18. 

Luxury holiday rentals: Airbnb now provides luxurious vacation accommodation options with concierge services

Comfort? Check. Affordability? Check. Airbnb has long been a crowd favourite, offering short-term vacation rentals as the budget-friendly alternative to hotels. The company is reaching out to yet another demographic, expanding its offerings to include luxury retreats that come with concierge services. The news comes following the company’s acquisition of Montreal-based vacation rental company Luxury Retreats, which lists 4,000 homes in 100 destinations around the world. Listings are upscale properties that may include a villa in Tuscany or a seaside retreat in the Turks and Caicos.

While Airbnb’s existing database includes everything from treehouse lodgings to boats and castles, the acquisition is meant to expand Airbnb’s clientele from budget-conscious tourists to wealthier globetrotters for whom money is seldom an object.

“From airbeds in an apartment to castles to villas, Airbnb has always been focused on providing a broad range of amazing experiences and trips,” said co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky in a statement.

“I have spent countless hours with Joe [Poulin, Luxury Retreats CEO] and his team and seen firsthand their passion for delivering amazing hospitality and unforgettable experiences in spectacular places around the world. They share our values and I’m excited to work with the Luxury Retreats team to serve more travellers.”  In the short-term, Luxury Retreats will continue operations as a standalone entity and remain headquartered in Montreal. The listings will gradually be integrated into Airbnb.

Earlier this month, another accommodation site AccorHotels also announced plans to acquire an elite travel broker representing luxury villas around the world. The acquisition of private rental platform Travel Keys would be the latest addition to the group, which also includes private vacation rental services like onefinestay and Squarebreak. This goes to show the widening reach that rental sites similar to Airbnb are gaining in the accommodation and travel industry.

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. 

New hotel opening: Mandarin Oriental unveils plans for Mana’olana Place in Honolulu, Hawaii

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has recently unveiled its plans to open a new luxury hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii. The hotel group, known for its luxury establishments in prime global locations, has announced that it has its eyes set on an early 2020 release. This marks a new venture for the group that has not set up new properties since the Kahala Hotel and Resort was rebranded as an independent property.

Honolulu presents itself as a great opportunity for the Asian group to establish deeper roots across the ocean, having already an extensive list of establishments in locations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Paris. Named Mana’olana Place, the building will stand at 36 storeys high and will consist of both a hotel and private residences. The group’s first Hawaiian hotel will have 125 rooms and suites. Visitors in search of higher-end luxury will even have the option of checking into the private residence managed by the Mandarin Oriental, located on the higher floors of the Mana’olan tower.

Just a few minutes’ walk from Waikiki Beach — one of the most famous beaches in Hawaii — guests can soak in the scenery right from the comforts of their own home. Alternatively, they can also head to Ala Moana Beach, three kilometers from Waikiki for a quiet lounging. The Honolulu Mandarin Oriental will have a spa, including eight treatment rooms, an outdoor pool and a fitness center. Coupled with a rooftop restaurant and bar with views over Diamond Head, the famous Hawaiian volcano, the hotel promises an exquisite luxury experience.

“We are delighted with this opportunity to open a hotel in Honolulu and look forward to bringing Mandarin Oriental’s legendary hospitality back to Hawaii,” said James Riley, Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental.

Luxury residence in London: Oceanic House presents 6 apartments and a 2 story penthouse for purchasing

The neoclassical façade of the Grade II listed Oceanic House conceals a storied piece of British history, a turn-of-the- century memory of mankind’s transatlantic travel ambitions that is sure to inspire attention today. Originally the London headquarters of the famous White Star Line, the company behind the RMS Titanic and Olympic Ocean liners, the building has been transformed into a luxury residence containing six spacious apartments and a two-storey penthouse occupying the top two floors. Units range from 1,679 sq. ft. to 5,447 sq. ft. in size and feature bespoke interiors by BLDA, reminiscent of the glamour of early 20th century ocean travel, Poggenpohl fitted kitchens, under-floor heating, comfort cooling, and en-suite bedrooms. Residents can also benefit from round-the-clock security.

The building’s sumptuously renovated ground floor was once the company’s First Class booking office, playing host to eminent Titanic passengers such as the Countess of Rothes, Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon. With high- ceilings and an Edwardian-inspired interior, the entrance hall provides a reception area for guests, a dedicated 24 hr concierge, and a refurbished foyer featuring a scale model of the luxurious Titanic liner on display.

Commissioned by White Star Line Chairman Joseph Bruce Ismay, the descendent of a sailing and shipbuilding dynasty, and designed by architect Henry Tanner Junior, Oceanic House was completed in 1907 and sits in the heart of London ’s West End at 1 Cockspur Street, adjacent to the ritzy Mayfair and Belgravia districts. The surrounding Trafalgar Square area also accommodates some of the capital’s finest hotels such as The Savoy, Corinthia, and The Waldorf Hilton. Though the building was later converted into offices for Barclays Bank, the Ministry of Defence, and then the Texas Embassy, a promotional centre for the State of Texas, its prestigious White Star Line origins are definitely not to be forgotten with the residences serving as a fitting homage to its rich history. Scheduled for completion in Spring 2017, the development is helmed by Misland Capital and Oceanic Developments Ltd.

This article was first published in Palace 18.

Luxury properties in Pattaya, Thailand: Palace explores the Baan Plai Haad Resort near Wong Amat Beach

For those who crave the peace, relaxation and exclusivity of vacation resorts, luxury developer Sansiri introduces its latest residential development designed to bring the breeze and ocean waves to one’s doorstep. Situated in the prime location of Wong Amat Beach, the most peaceful and private beach in Pattaya, the Baan Plai Haad Resort Condominium promises a world of unparalleled comfort and serenity.

Designed by the award-winning Stephen J. Leach Architects Limited, who was selected as one of the TOP TEN Architects in Thailand 2013 by the BCI Asia Awards, this new beachfront property bears the perfect juxtaposition between modernity and the natural world. Residents are able to indulge in a beachside Jacuzzi offering exceptional respite close to the beach, a fully equipped Fitness Centre boasting beautiful sea views for a relaxing workout, a sprawling swimming pool set amidst lush tropical gardens created by the renowned world-class firm of T.R.O.P, and direct access to a private beach. The Infinity Sky Pool located on the rooftop also creates a stunning vision of an indigo sea connecting to a seemingly boundless horizon. At Baan Plai Haad, everyone is able to experience exceptional rest, from the young to the elderly, and the property features a specially fitted lift that easily connects residents down to the beach.

Staying true to a design concept that emphasises tranquillity, Baan Plai Haad offers a nature-inspired décor and an inspiring environment for relaxation and rejuvenation. Rooms with ocean views and a common area crafted to fit outdoor living are made with superb craftsmanship and fine materials, and a lofty and open lobby allows cool natural breezes to flow through. The development comprises one 31-storey building and one seven-storey building, with a total of 353 units. Sizes start at 431 sq. ft. for the single bedroom unit and increase to 1,658 sq. ft. for the largest three-bedroom apartment. With its serene beachfront lifestyle beckoning, the development is currently ready for immediate move-in.

For more information, visit www.sansiri.com

This article was first published in Palace 18. 

New luxury property in Los Cabos, Mexico: Ritz-Carlton Reserve Residence brings villas with an ocean view

Bearing a name that is synonymous with luxury and elegance, The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Residence in Los Cabos, Mexico, is one property that many are keen to explore when it opens later this year. Boasting ocean views and luxurious interiors are 27 villas, located in the West Enclave neighbourhood.

Each of the villas features a 10,000 square feet area of indoor and outdoor living space that looks out onto the Sea of Cortez. For the interiors, the Ritz-Carlton chose to utilise sleek and modern architecture accompanied by floor-to-ceiling windows. The double kitchen is fitted with Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, that helps make it the heart of the home. Owners will be able to choose between cream marble and black granite for the countertops and Encino Oak wood, Douglas Fir hardwood marble and limestone floorings.

Away from the kitchen, the four and five-bedroom villas come with their own indoor/outdoor stone showers, massage gardens and entertainment rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Additionally, the interiors are fitted with service areas that are accompanied by ¾ bathrooms and two powder rooms. Outside the 4,000-square-foot living space is fitted with a swimming pool and spa that joins a covered living and dining area. If that isn’t enough, each villa also has its own bar, fireplace and BBQ, fire pit, two golf cart parking spaces and a two-car garage. Apart from these private spaces, the West Enclave will also provide owners with access to unspoiled beaches, a world-class marina, private beach clubs, an estuary and two signature golf courses.

While it holds a $4.1 million price tag, buyers who have fallen in love with the concept have snapped up more than half the villas offered by the developers. Those still looking to invest in such a scenic location can keep a lookout for the 60 new condominiums that will join The Enclaves later this year. As part of the second phase to be launched, it will be part of the 125 Ritz-Carlton branded residences that will surround the 120-room Ritz-Carlton Reserve hotel on the property.

Las Vegas, Nevada real estate investment: A guide to buying property in Sin City

las vegas luxury property market palace magazine

The twin 37-story Vee towers are located towers within CityCenter on the Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas, like Macau or Dubai, is a dazzling monument of self-invention. Over the past two decades, the former desert outpost has transformed from a seedy gaming town into a hub for world-class entertainment, high-end hotels, Michelin star restaurants and the largest collection of high-end flagship stores in the United States. Yet, there have been setbacks along the way. Las Vegas was one of the most hard-hit housing markets in the post-bubble recession. Home prices tumbled more than 60 percent from their 2006 peak through their 2011 bottom with a foreclosure rate that topped the nation. But over the last few years, the market has shown signs of recovery. Affordable prices, a stabilising market, no state income tax and year-round sunshine are drawing home buyers back to the city.

After bottoming out at US$118,000 in January 2012, the median price of a detached property rose to US$204,000 in December 2014. This is still well below the US$315,000 peak set in June 2006, but demand is picking up, particularly in upscale areas away from the flashy casinos of Las Vegas Boulevard. “The recent upturn has been buoyed by the high-end market. Sales of homes for US$1.5 million and higher have led to the median price increasing,” says Keith Lynam, president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

las vegas luxury property market palace magazine

Rooftop amenities at the Ogden

Market Trends

  • The median price of detached homes sold in May 2015 was US$211,250, up 8.3 percent from US$195,000 the year previous
  • The median price of condominiums and townhomes sold in May was US$112,000, up 9.8 percent from US$102,000 one year ago.
  • Inventory is low and reflected in the volume of sales. Compared to May 2014, 2.6 percent fewer homes and 2.2 percent fewer condos and townhomes sold this May

According to the residential property tracker Trulia, median sales prices Vaknin, a partner at KRE Capital LLC. “Downtown Las Vegas has become the new hotspot,” he says. “Buyers love our proximity to the major roadways and highways, Chinatown, The Strip, great restaurants, museums and the airport.” Vaknin’s company recently redeveloped The Ogden in partnership with Dune Real Estate Partners, a condominium building they purchased in 2013.

The developers installed new lighting, hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances and upgraded amenities such as a sky deck, clubroom, fitness centre, and a renovated outdoor pool. Apartments at The Ogden range from 815sf one-bedroom residences priced at US$229,000 to three-bedroom 2,044sf homes at US$629,000. Residences feature private balconies and expansive views of downtown Las Vegas, The Strip and the mountains that frame the valley. Sales launched in November 2014 and to date, 85 units have been sold.

las vegas luxury property market palace magazine

A Tuscan-style home located in a gated community

According to Vaknin, buyers realise the value in a market that is still recovering. “Las Vegas is truly one of the last cities in America that is still on sale,” he says. “Real estate prices in other major metropolitan markets have recovered more fully, while Las Vegas is still catching up. That means there are still many great values to be had here, and The Ogden is among those exceptionally great buys, particularly before the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates later this year.”

Downtown Las Vegas offers a lifestyle different from The Strip—the area is home to the city’s museums, the Smith Centre for the Performing Arts, restaurants, bars, and the Life is Beautiful arts festival. Buyers looking for a more quintessentially Vegas experience tend to look further south along Las Vegas Boulevard.

las vegas luxury property market palace magazine

Veer Towers apartment

The Veer Towers, located in the heart of CityCenter is currently the only exclusively residential condominium project on the Strip and offers studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with prices starting from US$250,000. The project’s largest residence is located on the 21st floor of the West Tower and features 2,256sf with 270-degree views of Aria, Bellagio Fountains and the Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tower. The apartment is listed at US$2.3 million.

Only a handful of units at Veer Towers remain on the market and sales director Darwin Dizon says buyers have been drawn to the lifestyle that the location affords. “It’s an opportunity for owners to drop 15 floors and walk anywhere—to restaurants, luxury boutiques, casinos,” he says. Building amenities include a rooftop infinity pool, a 24-hour gym, a residential lounge and valet parking, though residents may not require a car—Aria is just steps away and there’s a tram that shuttles them to the Bellagio.

While condo sales are strong and energy is back in the market, not all housing sectors in Las Vegas are thriving. During the 2007 crash, townhouse and condos in some areas lost up to 90 percent of their value and have barely returned to half of their former median price. Oversupply and lack of interest from investors have put continued downward pressure on the prices of some condos. Many of the projects that were abandoned during the recession have been revived and analysts believe the market may be returning to where it is likely to have been had growth continued as normal during the bubble years.

Las Vegas at a glance

  • Las Vegas receives over 41 million visitors annually, more than Mecca
  • The average property tax rate for Clark county in 2012-2013 was 3.1 percent. The local sale tax rate is 8.1 percent.
  • The region averages just 21 days of rainfall a year, while the average annual temperature is about 21°c.

This story was first published in Palace Magazine

Maison Simba Bali

Best hotels in Bali, Indonesia: Visit to luxury guesthouse, Maison Simba

Maison Simba Bali

There is no place quite like Bali. Known as one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world, the Indonesian island offers visitors unspoilt beaches, breathtaking natural sites and a vibrant cultural life. When choosing where to stay on the Indonesian island, there are options aplenty. From luxury hotels to guest houses that overlook rice fields, visitors can get an experience tailored to their needs.

Away from the luxury chain hotels lining the coast, some luxury properties offer rooms to rent in the heart of the island. Those looking to immerse themselves in the local culture, and have a taste of Bali at its best, can look no further than the bed & breakfast known as Maison Simba.

Located near Tanah Lot Temple, Maison Simba is a warm and inviting guest house, that evokes a sense of tranquillity with its decor. Luxuo spoke to the Maison designer and manager, Eric Van Bruggen, about the property and Bali.

As someone who hails from Europe, an area filled with beautiful luxury properties, what made you decide to come to Bali?

Eric: I came to Bali by chance. After organizing a wedding in the South of France, my clients who owned a house in Bali decided to organize another wedding on the Island of Gods.

I fell in Love with Bali, as soon as I rented a motorbike and escaped far from Seminyak or Kuta. A Belgian friend had just built a house and offered to host me if I was to come back, which I did, one year later.

During a stay in Singapore, I met a fantastic couple, very open to the European culture and taste. After a few meetings in Bali, they asked me to design a house for them and gave me free reign over the interior design. They are away from Bali most of the time, travelling around, so they asked me if I was willing to turn the place into a guest house and manage it. We really want to insist on the concept of a “Private House” as I wrote on the brochure, “Welcome to my House”!

As an interior Designer and an art enthusiast, could you tell us more about what inspired the decor at Maison Simba?

Eric: Maison Simba’s architecture is inspired by the Black and White Singaporean houses, built by the English during the colonial era with just one difference: Maison Simba is green and white.

The idea was to create a cosy atmosphere, using local materials. I drew my inspiration from some photos, taken at the beginning of the 20th century, aiming to replicate the original look and feel, while adding my personal touch.

I paid particular attention to the three living rooms. Two are outside life spaces, located on the terraces and are equipped with fans while one is inside the house and is decked out in blue and white. The indoor living room hosts a few collections of artworks: painted shells, blue and white porcelains.

Art is a prominent component of the decoration and we are especially proud of the old Javanese furniture we found in the antique shops in Bali.


The indoor lounge hosts the manager’s collections of artworks and souvenirs, including, among many others, vases and dishes from China Quien Long era, a bronze bust of the first President of Indonesia, and paintings by Willy Levy.

What are the unique qualities of Maison Simba and its location?

Eric: Maison Simba is, first of all, a private house where we want our clients to feel like guests. The house is furnished and decorated like a home. The pool is between the river with its little waterfall and the house. Surrounded by the rice fields, the river and its “jungle”, Maison Simba is located in a small Balinese village and four kilometres from Tanah Lot and the fabulous Nirwana Golf Course. The Balinese staff of four, hail from the village.

What can guests expect on their visit?  

Eric: To live a new experience in Bali far from the busy Seminyak! They can explore the surrounding areas and I can help them to find the best places. Of course, breakfast is included. I can arrange for rent a car with driver and if they want to have lunch or dinner at home, they can order it 24 hours in advance. Yoga classes and massages can be arranged in the balé between the pool and the river. And of course, the Nirwana Golf Course nearby makes Maison Simba a unique place to stay for golfers.

8 Urban Residences with Sky Gardens

A private garden, a backyard with trees and flowers, these are luxuries that city dwellers must sacrifice for the conveniences of modern urban living. At least, that has been the prevailing notion. However, some of today’s architects view the matter quite differently.

“There is a huge disconnect between how we live in our cities and what we need, as human beings, for quality of life,” says Eran Chen, Founder and Executive Director at ODA studio in New York. “I don’t think that we should be forced to choose between enduring life in the city, or escaping to suburban areas.”

East 44th Street in New York City with a view of One World Trade Center and Sky Garden Terrace

East 44th Street in New York City with a view of One World Trade Center and Sky Garden Terrace

Chen’s solution to this disconnect is to combine the two typologies. His studio recently released plans for East 44th Street, a slender residential tower in Midtown Manhattan that has open floors for sky gardens. By “stretching” the building vertically beyond its original program, the studio was able to create gaps, 16 feet in height, between every two floors. The gaps in the building will contain full floor sculptural gardens equal to the footprint of the building and will be directly accessible from each apartment. In other words, each 2,800 sq. ft. apartment will have 1,400 sq. ft. of open private garden. The tower will contain 44 residential units in total, with one, two or three-bedroom layouts and a duplex penthouse.

Other Manhattan studios are also inverting the traditional sealed box approach to tower design. Nearby on East 37th street, a slim residential tower proposed by Perkins + Will, will have built-in parks and an outdoor cinema.  The concept for the 700 foot tower, which features four open-air sky parks at various heights, was to take the urban fabric of Greenwich Village, where row houses will have a small park at the end of the block, and tip it vertically. “It creates this balance of your own private apartment and shared outdoor greenery that becomes almost like that park at the end of the street, except in a vertical way,” says Robert Goodwin, design principal at Perkin + Will.

Designing for dense future cities that will house an increasing number of inhabitants raises a number of questions. “How do you create livability in a dense city?” Goodwin says. “How do you make tall buildings that people really want to live in?”  This is a challenge that confronts architects around the world. Today, many design innovative new projects that aim to achieve densification without compromising on quality of life.

Cloud Corridor, Los Angeles

Cloud Corridor, Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, Chinese studio MAD has designed plans for Cloud Corridor, a high-density building with nine interconnected residential towers, that turns disparate neighborhoods into a vertical village with public spaces and gardens in the sky. The tower is meant to address the concern of suburban sprawl and also aims to connect people and nature. “The garden patios and courtyards provide a lush environment amid the surrounding urban density, and provide a retreat from the everyday among nature,” the studio says. The elevated corridors and multi-level garden patios shape the city skyline and provide viewing platforms for residents to overlook the city below and the natural landscapes beyond.

In Dubai, a new project called Suites in the Skai has 60 storeys with more than 500 apartments featuring their own sky gardens. Some also have swimming pools. Hussam Abdelghany, the associated design director at Atkins Global, says the sky gardens at the tower, which is due for completion in 2017, will increase shade and encourage wind penetration, producing a microclimate that will make the gardens a pleasant experience for most of the year, even when it is hot.

Diamond Lotus, Ho Chi Minh City

Diamond Lotus, Ho Chi Minh City

In Vietnam, studio Vo Trong Nghia Architects recently unveiled plans for the Diamond Lotus project, three 22 storey towers located on a finger of land between two rivers outside of Ho Chi Minh City. The project, which includes 720 residences, will be shielded from the tropical sunlight by swathes of bamboo and are connected via a planted roof garden that can be accessed from each apartment. “The connected roof provides the residents with a large green space, which rarely occurs in the city,” the studio said. While other developments are expediting the loss of greenery in the city, the architects say the green bridge and green façade of Diamond Lotus are not only a dedication to the comfort of inhabitants, but also “a contribution to the landscape, appearing as a green screen in the city.”

Bosco Verticale

Bosco Verticale

Allowing city dwellers to experience greenery and outdoor space is one factor motivating architects to incorporate sky gardens. But there are other advantages too. One of the first residential towers to incorporate sky gardens, Bosco Verticale, was designed by Italian architect Stefano Boeri as part of the rehabilitation of the historic district of Milan between Via De Castillia and Confalonieri. The scheme comprises two towers, both of which incorporate trees, and one which houses 400 condominium units. In addition to providing residents with their own leafy oasis, the trees help to mitigate smog, produce oxygen and moderate building temperatures in winter and summer. The plants also attenuate noise.

Tower of Cedars, Lausanne

Tower of Cedars, Lausanne

Now Stefano Boeri has designed a new 384 foot tall residential building in Lausanne, Switzerland, that bears many similarities to the Bosco Verticale. Named Tower of Cedars, the project is set to house more than 100 trees, 6,000 shrubs and 18,000 perennials. The apartment units protrude from the structure and offer views toward Lake Geneva, while their roofs are designed to accommodate plants.

According to Boeri, the building in the Chavannes-Près-Renens district of the city will be the first tower in the world to be covered with evergreen trees, selected in part for their ability to withstand harsh climates, and also the environmental function of their leaves which absorb CO2 and produce oxygen. “With the Tower of Cedar Trees we will have the opportunity to realize a plain building that will have a great role in the Lausanne landscape. An architecture able to introduce a significant biodiversity of vegetal species in the middle of an important European city,” Boeri says. The tower will comprise 36 floors and include private residences, offices and commercial space. There will also be a gym and a rooftop restaurant.

While buildings with sky gardens easily invoke a sense of utopian wonder, they are not built without challenges, particularly when it comes to structural support. At the Bosco Verticale in Milan, the engineering team worked with botanists and horticulturalists to ensure that the structure could bear the load imposed by the plants. The steel-reinforced concrete balconies are designed to be 11 inches thick with 4.2 foot parapets.

Slender residential towers such as those proposed in Manhattan have small floor plates and architects must ensure the building porosity does not compromise the tower stability.

At East 44th street, ODA utilized structural lateral systems in addition to a central core that act as the main supporting spine. The initial design did not include beams as the floors were supported by the building’s core, but Eran Chen says this proved structurally challenging. “By adding the beams we created ‘sculptured gardens’ that doubled as a way to protect against inclement weather while still providing 360 degree views.” Each garden is effectively covered by the floor above it and is protected from rain and snow.

Chen says the garden gaps at East 44th street also serve to lessen the wind load impacting the building — other skinny skyscrapers accomplish this via unused gaps throughout the structure. And the expansive height of the garden space with also permit a suffusion of sunlight throughout the central core and perimeter.  “We are used to seeing New York City’s towers as monolithic boxes usually housing corporate power. But today, as these towers become more residential, they do not need to have the same scale or design. They shouldn’t express the same thing,” he says. “When it comes to residential towers, they should all contain accessible outdoor space for all residents.”

Still, some critics argue that outdoor gardens at these heights is impractical in a city like New York, where temperatures drop well below freezing in winter months and the wind, which is known to howl down the avenues, would in this case howl both below and above you.

In London some critics allege that developers use the guarantee of lush green spaces to get building plans approved, but rarely deliver on their promise. At 20 Fenchurch Street early CGIs showed a storyboard of seductive images with residents mingling among cherry blossom from a soaring vantage point. The tower was given planning permission in an area never intended for tall buildings on the basis that it would deliver a public sky garden. Once complete, however, the garden amounted to nothing more than a few spindly trees in pot planters.

While down in Singapore, green design is on everyone’s mind when it comes to new architecture and not just to get buildings approved. The latest project by architect Christoph Ingenhoven is at the forefront of green technology. Ingenhoven Architects coined the term “Supergreen”. A concept they live and work by. Their definition of Supergreen: ‘an awareness of energy and resources, both in design, construction and operation and in the realization of the building and its use.’ Marina One was designed with this in mind. Located in the heart of Singapore, at Marina Bay. The two towers will be able to take advantage of rainwater harvesting, solar power and natural ventilation. Most importantly, at heart of the development is a 65,000 sq. ft. park, landscaped to fit its natural surroundings. Whether or not other future developments will follow suit to this extreme in Singapore, remains to be seen. However, Marina One is certainly taking being green, to the next level.

As with all new building trends, early incarnations will include hits and misses. It may take some time determine which types of sky gardens are truly used and enjoyed by residents. But architects like Chen are bullish about the potential for vertical parks to transform the contemporary urban reality.  “We believe that true luxury evolved from the ability to have the best of multiple worlds without compromise, and in this tower, the best of urban living melds with the dream of a suburban backyard,” he says. “There’s going to be a time in New York City where living without a substantial outdoor space is just going to be unacceptable.”

Story Credits
Text by Sophie Kalkreuth & Robbie Wilson

This article was originally published in PALACE 15

Review: Waterfront Bungalow, Repulse Bay

Situated at the waterfront of Repulse Bay, the house enjoys stunning seaview over Repulse Bay Beach. The property is peacefully elevated above the junction of Repulse Bay and Island Road, a spectacular site overlooking Middle Island and Deep Water Bay.repulse-bay-hong-kong-stairs

The Hong Kong Golf Club, Hong Kong Country Club, the Aberdeen Tunnel and the excellent shopping and dining facilities of Repulse Bay, are all within a few minutes drive. This spacious 3,462 sq. ft. residence offers ample living space that comes with ornate features and unobstructed grand view over Repulse Bay Beach.repulse-bay-hong-kong-restroom

With a classy foyer and a sophisticated interior scheme, this elegant home provides a separated living and dining room, connected to 358 sq. ft. roof terrace ideal for barbecue. A well-equipped island kitchen, a state-of-art nautilus-shaped staircase leading to three spacious bedrooms with boutique-style closet & Jacuzzi bath tub in the master bathroom (original layout for 4 bedrooms), ample storage space and two side by side car parks.

This article was first published in Palace.