Tag Archives: luxury villa

The crown jewels of the Mediterranean—Mykonos Luxury Villas

The crown jewels of the Mediterranean—Mykonos Luxury Villas

For millions of jet setters and A-lists, cruising the inviting waters of the Mediterranean Sea includes a stop at the iconic island of Mykonos. This beautiful speck of land in the Cyclades is a popular world-celebrity island retreat, particularly famous for its legendary parties, bustling nightlife, luxury seaside apartments, highly private resorts, and raw, natural beauty. Amidst all this divine allure stand three luxury villas that comprise the crown jewels of the Cyclades Queen. Welcome to Villa Indigo, Villa Alaia, and Villa Feelings.

Refined Beauty & Fantastic Ocean Views—Villa Indigo

Distinguished by architecture brilliance that speaks of the Mykonos glam, Villa Indigo occupies a pristine cliff-side location at Agios Lazaros region. Enjoying expansive views of the glistering Aegean Sea, the elegant 8-bedroom property offers all comforts and amenities necessary for a VIP stay. From chic and spacious living and dining interiors and a fully-equipped modern kitchen to a fully-furnished terrace and exquisite pool and lounge areas with comfy seating and unobstructed vistas of the enchanting Mykonos coastline and the ocean from every corner of this charming holiday abode, everything is thoughtfully designed for your maximum comfort and convenience. And, if you are longing for a dive in the crystal waters of the famous Psarou beach, dipping your toes in its fine sand is a matter of just a few minutes; as are all main island attractions, including, of course, Mykonos Town – the pulsing heart of the island.


Where Lux Meets Magic—Villa Alaia

An exclusive villa of unique appeal and magnetism that stands on a hilltop at Agia Sophia area. Offering sweeping views of the Mykonos Town and all the way to the mystical, almost ethereal Delos island, Villa Alaia is a magnificent specimen of all the majesty that characterises the mythical island. With sublime interior and exterior spaces providing ultimate privacy and relaxation via its multi-level design, Villa Alaia greets guests with state-of-the-art amenities, a wealth of modern conveniences, luxurious dining and breakfast areas, classy and elegant en-suite bedrooms with king-size beds, covered verandas with heart-stopping panoramas, a pool-Jacuzzi, and superb pool, lounge and sitting outdoor zones that can comfortably cater for the needs of up to 14 people for al fresco entertainment, be it sunbathing, enjoying their morning coffee or evening cocktail under the star-lit sky, organising a meaty BBQ or simply savouring a good book in their personal, cosy nook.

Splendour Under the Cycladic Spell—Villa Feelings

Home to the new bustling port and one of the most cosmopolitan and organised sandy beaches on the island, Tourlos region is where you will find the most deluxe mansions that provide sumptuousness at its supreme. Built on a 4,000m2 land, Villa Feelings truly stands up to its name as it evokes hypnotising sensations. Allowing maximum, cultivated privacy due to its unique construction, with three individual guest rooms besides the main building, it enables guests to relish startling seascapes from all around the property. Able to accommodate the needs of up to 10 guests, Villa Feelings offers an impressively long list of facilities and services that ensure a comfortable and palatial holiday, including a private chef, upscale en-suite bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen and bar area by the infinity pool, and several covered outdoor areas specifically designed to gratify the wishes of guests in need of seclusion, dining, or having fun with drinks and cocktails while watching the sun slipping behind the horizon.

Gladden is the Most Private Island Resort in the World

Gladden, located off the coast of Belize, is the Most Private Island Resort in the World

Located off the eastern coast of Central America, the most private island resort in the world lays bordered by Mexico on the northwest by Mexico, the Caribbean Sea on the east, and on the south and west by Guatemala but for all intents and purposes, given the nautical distances involved, the Gladden Private Island Resort is the perfect villa for two in the most remote spot in the world.

Gladden, the Most Private Island Resort in the World

One of the most beautiful locations in the world, Gladden private island resort lies directly on the edge of the widest and most picturesque section of the Belize Barrier Reef in the Caribbean sea. It is the longest reef in the Western Hemisphere and the 2nd largest in the World. Located 20 miles off the coast of Placencia, Belize, Gladden is the furthest island out from the mainland and closest to the protected side of the reef where the water is calm and clear. Incidentally, Gladden private island resort is near the magical “Gladden Split” where the whale sharks congregate once a year is a mere few miles away leading for the most instagram-worthy and picturesque dives and snorkelling, all arranged via concierge with the assistance of boat captains.

Gladden luxury island resort: Just you and the views

The two-bedroom hotel is the only villa on Gladden island and it’s all yours. Even the staff which await to serve your every whim and fancy are located on a nearby smaller island, thus, living on the Gladden private island isn’t life in your own episode of Survivor, it’s really an all-inclusive experience. There is a second master suite should you wish to share Gladden with friends or family. A “privacy meter” indicates if a member of the staff is on the main island for any reason.

After a day of exploration and the idyllic beach life, guests can choose to dine on local specialties prepared by a roster of (at least one Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef ) and an assortment of guest chefs from celebrated kitchens around the world. Spa treatments and boat charters are also available through your personal concierge.

While most private island experiences require jetting to the far reaches of the globe, Gladden Private Island delivers the natural beauty and tranquility of a Polynesian atoll only four hours from Miami.

Gladden Private Island Resort for US$3000 a night. Book Here.

Impeccable Luxury Accommodation in Mykonos

One of the main things that attract visitors to Mykonos is the great availability of luxury accommodation. Mykonos has developed fast during the last few decades, creating high-level accommodation and services to cover the uprising demand of the rich and famous coming to the island from all over the world.

No matter what luxury means to you, it is certain you will find it in Mykonos. 5-star hotels, luxurious villas, lavish jeeps or vans with a driver, private chefs and beauty treatments are only some of what you can find in Mykonos for an incredibly luxurious accommodation.

5-Star Hotels

A big range of 5-star hotels is ready to serve any guest. From big brand resorts to cosy boutique hotels, you will find out that Mykonos’ luxury hotels offer impeccable lavish accommodation and services.

In case you are the kind of traveller who wants everything near them, you should pick a 5-star resort or a hotel in Chora. Resorts have their own restaurants, bars, spas and even their private area on the beach. Some of the resort restaurants are among the best gourmet dining places in Mykonos.

Some of the best 5-star Mykonos hotels are:

  • Boheme, Semeli or Myconian Kyma Design Hotel in Chora
  • Palladium Boutique Hotel or Myconian Ambassador Relais & Chateaux at Platys Gialos
  • Bill & Coo Suites and Lounge at Megali Ammos
  • Kensho Boutique Hotel & Suites at Ornos
  • Myconian Imperial Resort at Elia
  • Mykonos Princess at Agios Stefanos
  • Mykonos Grand at Ai Giannis

Luxury Villas

If you prefer privacy without giving up any of the lavishness or services, the best accommodation for you would be one of the many Mykonos Luxury Villas. They can be found almost everywhere on the island, either near well-known beaches or at more serene locations.

Stylish decoration, expensive furniture, spacious rooms and outdoor areas, beautiful gardens and pools and high-quality services make Mykonos Villa Rental a dreamlike accommodation to relax and enjoy your vacations. Concierge services can arrange everything you may additionally need – transportations, staff or even organizing a party.

Chauffeur services with luxury cars

You will see many luxury cars on the island. They usually belong to a concierge service agency, aiming to make rich visitors feel like home. Luxury cars are manned with experienced chauffeurs who know every road and beach in Mykonos and have been trained to serve the most demanding guests.

Some of the biggest hotels also have their own limousines and chauffeurs for their clients’ transportations. It is essential to book your transportation in Mykonos as you can easily find yourself spending the night at a beach wild party. The safest way to go home after a crazy night at Mykonos is always an experienced, sober driver.

Private chefs

Either you are throwing a party at your Villa Mykonos or arranging a private gourmet dinner for two, a chef with his team is always there to do his best. Hiring a private chef is something common in Mykonos and you can easily arrange it through your hotel or an agency.

As gastronomy is very highly rated here, be prepared to try some of the most delicious dishes of your life. Make sure you give your chef all the details of what you like or dislike and enjoy a perfect meal.

Private chefs have a deep knowledge of wines and champagnes and you can ask for their opinion about which wine to choose to accompany your dinner. Wine lovers will have a great time here tasting some of the world’s best wines – or even some rare labels.

Beauty treatments

A celebrity could not live without his or her beauty treatments and for this reason, you will find a lot of beauty services in Mykonos. Big hotels have their own spa, gym, private trainers and hairdressers but you can also find independent agencies that specialize in beauty treatments.

Beauty rooms and spas offer a big range of treatments like massages, face or body beauty treatments wellness treatments or spa rituals. Relax in a warm and cosy atmosphere and let the well-trained staff pamper you as you deserve. The positive effects of your beauty treatments will follow you even after you dive again into everyday routine.

To experience a world of luxury, visit Mykonos Luxury Villas.

Joali Maldives: More than a Holiday, A Joy of Living and Life itself

Make no mistake, a trip to Joali Maldives is more than a holiday, it embraces a joy of living. The first in a brand new genre of luxurious retreats, the recently opened Joali Maldives is located on its own private island in the Raa atoll. The totally immersive art resort is an unforgettable and unique experience, even for frequent visitors to the Maldives luxury resorts. The first of its kind, the immersive art resort curates the finest in architecture, art and design for discerning guests. A stay at Joali Maldives is to experience the kind of sustainable luxury and be immersed in sophisticated artforms never before seen in the world’s most popular resort atolls.

The 24-acre Joali Maldives luxury resort begins at inviting Maldivian entrance with what Joali GM Phillips describes as “the unintentional whimsy of two kissing fish” the result of an architectural artisan wood “sculpture” that seeks to express the feminine spirit of the property through natural, subtle colors and smooth transitions that blend with the island’s spirit and culture. The luxury resort’s sustainability story begins with its master plan and layout, which preserved over 1,000 trees during the construction process.

Depending on the angle, the jetty of Joali Maldives looks like a pair of kissing fish

Joali Maldives: More than a Holiday, A Joy of Living

Surrounded by tranquil lagoons, picturesque pristine white-sand beaches and the instagrammable iconography of coconut palms, Joali Maldives, nestled in the one of the largest and deepest atolls in the world features elegant overwater and luxury waterfront villas with a selection of two, three, and four-bedroom residences boasting over 5,000 square feet featuring its own private beach enclave, offering guests sunrise and sunset views.  Influenced by individual stories and designed to take guests on a sensory journey, each villa features a private infinity pool, butler service, artisanal amenities, curated in-villa libraries, thoughtful design and handpicked art as well. Residences come with lavish living space and access to two striking infinity pools, a spa room and sauna, 24-hour butler and valet service and an on-call Dhoni, a Maldivian sailboat. Beyond eye-catching art, there’s something at Joali Maldives for bookworms, and quiet relaxation is offered in the resort’s Living Room, where guests can decompress with the luxury resort’s library of over 1,000 books.

“In pursuing our team’s collective passion for nature conservation and Maldivian culture, we are thrilled to announce such a special opening and have the utmost confidence that Joali will set a new bar when it comes to a meaningful and immersive luxury hospitality experience.”  – Steven Phillips, General Manager at Joali Maldives

Aerial view of the Joali spa

Art Immersive Joali Maldives

Even the mainstay retinue of luxury resort amenities like the Joali Spa by ESPA, an Art Studio & Gallery (inviting international guest artists to exhibit throughout the year), and four innovative restaurant concepts with a distinct focus on design, make emphasis with on an artistic experience. Joali Maldive’s is home to an extensive collection of well curated selection of paintings and sculptural pieces –  an exclusive art map which spotlights areas of interest including those works created in collaboration with local artisans to support the Maldivian community. All featured art pieces across the resort incorporate surrounding nature and celebrate young designers, including Misha Khan, Nacho Carbonell, Porky Hefer, London-based Studio Glithero, Zemer Peled, Chris Wolston, Doug Johnston, Ardmore and more.

The Joali Experience

The Joali experience begins shortly after arrival at the Male airport where guests are invited to relax in a private lounge before taking a 45-minute seaplane to the resort. By definition sustainability is the ability for something to remain prosper, to endure throughout time and stay persistent. But sustainability is not only about longevity it is also about quality. In the luxury industry, sustainability is all about preserving the art and “savoir faire” and respecting the environment, the 24-acre Joali Maldives luxury resort embodies that ideal. In that respect, it’s does not merely just express a joy of living but the joy of life itself.

Luxury villa with original Picasso pool goes up for auction

A palatial beachfront villa with a PICASSO in the swimming pool is to be auctioned off without a reserve. El Martinete, near Marbella, Spain, was previously owned by Antonio El Bailarin, a Spanish Flamenco dancer. A a close friend of the famous artist, Picasso was a frequent visitor to the house.

In a stay in 1961, Picasso signed the bottom of the outdoor pool, giving the El Martinete home a unique piece of artistic heritage.

Inspired by Renaissance architecture, the villa offers the ideal home for entertaining. Boasting a grand foyer, the villa is complete with marble columns and moulded ceilings, which leads to a modern kitchen, dining room for 20, indoor pool with sauna and five luxurious bedroom suites. The bottom of the pool is marked by Picasso, drawn and signed personally.

All four floors are serviced by a lift, including the roof terrace with kitchen, dining area, bbq and hot tub. Additional outdoor areas include exotically landscaped gardens and a raised beach terrace, a rare feature for properties in the area with direct, private access to the beach. Two guest houses offer a further three bedrooms and three bathrooms and there is additional staff accommodation. Underground car parking for up to six cars is available.

The home, in Puerto Banus, has previously been on the market for €15 million (SGD$27m) , will now be sold by Concierge Auctions without a reserve.

Bidding on El Martinete will open on May 29 and will go to the highest bidder on May 31.


Charlie Smith, European advisor for Concierge Auctions, said: “Beachfront properties are rare in this sought-after area of Southern Spain and beachfront villas offering this level of luxury living even more so.

“El Martinete is truly unique. The buyer of the villa will not just be purchasing one of the region’s most prestigious properties, but also a one-of-a-kind piece of art, in the unusual feature of the swimming pool, signed by Pablo Picasso himself.”

Puerto Banus is one of the most famous marinas in Europe and is home to a wide selection of restaurants, hotels and boutiques. Marbella is reached in 15 minutes by road and Malaga Airport, offering international flights, in 40 minutes.


The property is open for preview daily, from 1pm to 4pm, or by appointment.

To book an appointment or to register to participate in the sale, visit the auction site here.

For Sale: La Garibaldina Costa Smeralda, Italy

Blissful Paradise: La Garibaldina Costa Smeralda, Italy

Set on a hillside surrounded by rocky hideaways, olive groves and allotments, the La Garibaldina Costa Smeralda situated in Sardinia, Italy is an impressive estate offering privacy and some of the region’s most magnificent and charming scenic views along with a spacious yet enviable outdoor living. The highly desirable location is close to the beaches, marinas and the village of San Pantaleo.

The bespoke property resides on a landscape that has been thoughtfully-designed to integrate people with nature. The entire development features six separate residences, comprising of the main living area, master accommodation with four en-suite double bedrooms and four guesthouses, all sprawling over an interior size of 10,212 sq ft.

The bespoke home exudes touches of neutral tones with the use of wood, stone and wrought metals to set a timeless rustic charm, whilst providing homeowners a quaint setting within a luxury space to live, entertain and rejuvenate.

Homeowners who prefer a quieter pursuit can head over to the outdoor terrace to practice yoga, enjoy a leisure swim at the infinity pool, overlooking the archipelago of La Maddalen, or simply go for a relaxing stroll to take in the views of the nearby ocean, hills and mountains.

The residence features also a remarkable outdoor entertaining areas, including a fully equipped outdoor kitchen, barbecue and traditional pizza oven, all so perfect for sunset feasts. Don’t forget to pop open a bottle of bubbly to kick start the wonderful evening!

Visit Christie’s International Real Estate to make enquiries on the featured property.

(Source: Christie’s International Real Estate)

Floating homes: 5 unique accommodation concepts on the water

Photo: Dymitr Malcew

Coastal or seaside residences have a certain allure that allow you to enjoy a view that is worth every pretty penny. However, we have discovered something that offers much more than a scenic view of the ocean far out in the distance. Since 2015, architectural firms have teased us with the designs of floating homes that give a whole new meaning to “right on the water” and with this new venture, your dreams may just be a reality. The idea of floating residences has long been a concept explored by design firms. With the recent interest of these buoyant babies, we take a look at five of the most promising ventures in the pipelines!

1.BMT Asia Pacific (BMT) SeaScape

The first on our list is the SeaScape, which is a floating villa conceptualised by BMT Asia Pacific. Unlike your usual oblong shaped villas, the SeaScapes take on a triangular platform base provides you with the perfect opportunity to attach several of the 700-square-foot units together for a larger villa to suit your needs. By combining multiple units, you can look forward to  sundecks and pools to lounge in, on top of a stunning underwater master bedroom. This state of the art modular design could allow owners to transform their villas into a variety of styles such as a floating bar with a submarine lounge.

For more information, do visit BMT.

2. Dubai’s Floating Seahorse Villas

One of the many unique designs to have garnered an immense amount of hype recently happens to be the Floating Seahorse Villas. A truly unique luxury experience, the Floating Seahorse is a three-story villa, with one submerged story. The first edition has been completely snapped up and it’s easy to see why. The underwater portion features a master bedroom and bathroom, with a spectacular coral garden right outside the walls. What’s better is an upcoming “Signature Edition” Villa designed for larger groups. With these $12 million dollar upgrades, you will be able to add your own personal touch to the villas. The new edition will be fully customizable to your personal style — bringing a whole new meaning to the term “signature”.

For more information, do visit The Heart of Europe.

3. The Floating House

Designed by Singapore based architect Dymitr Malcew, The Floating House is an imaginative project that is based on the idea of living on the water. This house is a picture perfect example of serenity for those who enjoy having nature right at their doorstep. With floor to ceiling glass walls, the house celebrates the feeling of freedom and openness, the main goal of the architect is to complement the houses’ surroundings. With nature being the underlying theme, most of the interior is made from wood. An engine can even be installed upon request to cater to the wanderlust of homeowners!

For more information, do visit Dymitr Malcew.

4. Unidentified Floating Object 2.0 (UFO)


This ultra-futuristic floating home is like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. The UFO 2.0 spans nearly 4,000 square feet and consists of three levels. The various levels include a living space, a kitchen and — you guessed it — an underwater bedroom. Made almost entirely out of fiberglass, this incredible villa was created by Italian design firm Jet Capsule, and is the second of its kind. The floating villa is equipped with two 80-hp electric engines, which are able to move the structure at a maximum speed of nine knots.

For more information, do visit Jet Capsule.

5. Amillarah Private Islands

What’s better than having a whole floating home to yourself? Why it’s having an entire floating island abode!  With the Amillarah Private Islands, not only are these residences fully customizable, you can also choose the location of your home. Each villa comes with a private beach, natural greenery as well as a jetty. Designed with its owner’s absolute privacy in mind, the Amillarah Private Islands are truly a chance for you to create your own exclusive paradise.

For more information, do visit Amillarah.

Where to stay in Phuket, Thailand: Four stunning holiday accommodations for a quick getaway from Singapore

Looking for a holiday in tropical paradise not far from Singapore? Take a look at Amanzi, Naam Sawan, Lom Talay and Baan Maprao—four stunning private residences in Phuket by our friends at Afini. With a global portfolio of more than 25 rare properties over 12 destinations under its belt, Afini has your vacations in Asia well-covered. The luxury destination club also has a team of Lifestyle Consultants on hand to make sure the details of your trip, from planning to on-site concierge services, are taken care of. Your wanderlust begins now!

Baan Maprao

Perched atop a hill, the Baan Maprao estate is a contemporary four-bedroom villa that overlooks the scenic view of Phang Nga Bay. Surrounded by lush greenery, the estate draws inspiration from traditional Thai temples with wooden wing-tipped roofs. Its wooden elements meld with the amazing view to provide a sense of tranquility. Steeped in culture, Baan Maprao is perfect for a family getaway.

Naam Sawan

Picture waking up to the sight of the sparkling ocean, amazing sunrise views and sound of waves: Afini’s Naam Sawan will bring you that, and then some. The sprawling property features four master bedrooms, along with glass walls throughout the estate to create an airy, open concept. The living room area is dressed in earthy accents and natural lighting, making it a cosy spot for group gatherings.


A contrast to the earthy concepts of many villas in Phuket, Amanzi boasts a sleek contemporary exterior with clean lines and grey-white colour palette. While the estate provides a breathtaking view of crystal waters, its 15-metre infinity pool creates the illusion that it is one with the ocean. Located in Cape Amarin along the west coast of Phuket, the estate weaves itself into nature with a majestic granite rock formation located along its north boundary. Surrounded by palm trees, the villa boasts six bedrooms, each with their own ensuite bathrooms.

Lom Talay

A jewel along the Andaman Sea, Lom Talay is another cliff-side sanctuary. Another perk is that it offers an unobstructed view of the horizon. With an open concept thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows and large patios, this property is one driven on wellness. The estate consists of four spacious bedrooms, each complete with their own view on the shimmering ocean beyond. There’s an infinity pool—perfect for an evening.

Go on, explore Phuket

Besides relaxing in these luxury residences, step out to the many beaches filled with powdery white sand. Beef up your travel experience with visits down to the many villages of Phuket and soak in the vibrant culture of the country. The Afini properties are available for booking for the upcoming Easter weekend, do visit Afini for more information.

If you’ll like to get in touch with Afini to find out more, leave your personal details below and someone from the team will reach out to you shortly.

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Town for Sale: Poggio Santa Cecelia, Tuscany

During the summer months, the Tuscan countryside is drenched in sunlight, a golden honey-colored hue that spills over the hills and catches on the stone sides of farmhouses, medieval castles and historic villages. One such village, Poggio Santa Cecelia is perched on a hilltop in the coveted stretch of land between Florence and Siena and includes characteristic medieval features like stone arches, narrow streets and a tall city wall. To access the borgo, one must step through an imposing gate set in an entrance of travertine stone and topped with coats of arms.

The views from the village look like a quintessential Tuscan postcard: Cyprus trees and rolling fields of green and amber. However, what distinguishes this particular borgo from other hilltop towns is that it’s currently available for sale. The owner has listed the entire historic village, which comprises about 50 buildings, for $44 million.


The town, which first appeared in historic records in 1198, contains a church, a grain store, a foundry, a carpenter’s workshop and a handful of other buildings that are laid out along three parallel streets of the original medieval plan. The sale further includes surrounding farmland: 200 acres of woodland, two lakes, 23 acres of fruit trees (plums and apples), 55 acres of vineyards growing Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG grapes, 26 acres of olive groves, 270 acres of irrigated arable land, as well as several stone houses and animal byres.

Around 200 people used to live and work at Poggio Santa Cecilia farming the surrounding land. As was common practice at the time, workers gave the landowner half of their produce in exchange for the use of a house and some land and animals. However, following the Second World War many of the estate’s inhabitants left in search of a new life, many of them working in the travertine quarries of Rapolano, and so the houses and farms were gradually abandoned.


The village’s deserted state is in part what allowed the architectural and historical treasures to be well preserved. The current owners, a family from northern Italy, have been operating the estate’s organic farm, but left the village portion largely untouched, save for weatherproofing and installing a security system to keep vandals out.

“The owner is in his 80s”, explains Francesco Carlucci, founder and CEO at Essentis Group who represents the listing. “It’s a big commitment. As you can imagine, it’s not the type of project you might want to develop once you are in your eighties. It’s a project of a lifetime”.

An ambitious individual seeking a passion project, an art aficionado, say, or a history buff is the type of buyer Mr. Carlucci has in mind for the property. Passion is important given the amount of renovation and restoration required. At this quiet hilltop village, time has stood still, be it for the slow forces of nature, the roots and vines that have begun reclaiming the stone houses. Carlucci, who specializes in historic restorations, estimates a full restoration would require five years and an additional EUR 150 million ($167.6 million). “Everything needs to be restored”, he says. “It’s basically a EUR 200 million project. This is something you should do if you are passionate about Tuscany, about art, architecture and vineyards, if you have the money and you have the dream”.


Tuscany has long been a dream destination for buyers around the world. Travelers fall in love with the region’s natural beauty and cultural riches, which include, to the west, the famed Amalfi Coast with its dramatic cliffs and sparkling beaches, and to the east the Chianti region, Italy’s foremost wine producer, with its rolling green vines and famous Sangiovese grapes. Along the winding country roads there are fields of sunflowers, vineyards, silver olive trees and the smells of lavender, mint and rosemary, aromas that are laced through the region’s mouthwatering cuisine.

Florence, the region’s largest city and birthplace of the Renaissance is home to a dizzying array of notable art and architecture, including Michelangelo’s ‘David’ and the Duomo basilica which features the largest brick dome ever constructed. Sienna, 70 kilometers to the south, is home to immaculately preserved medieval buildings and the fan-shaped Piazza del Campo. Even the smallest of villages are layered with history. Medieval churches are built on the foundations of Roman baths; Renaissance frescoes now embellish their earlier austerity.


The area’s sought-after status, however, means that top quality villas rarely come onto the market. When they do, they often discreetly change hands. “The type of people that own them try to pass them on to the next generation”, says Carlucci. “Owning a property in Tuscany is an asset; people dream of it their whole lives”, Even more extraordinary, he says, is procuring an entire Tuscan town. “This is big. This is a piece of history”.

Over the last decade, several Tuscan hamlets have been restored and redeveloped as luxury hotels. The most notable, Il Borro, was developed by the Ferregamo family. Ferruccio Ferragamo first discovered a Tuscan village while on a hunting trip in 1985. At the time, the hillside village, once owned by the Savoy dynasty, was in a severe state of disrepair and, in spite of being surrounded by fertile land, its inhabitants were struggling to make a living. He bought the hamlet, as well as a neighboring villa that had been half-destroyed during WWII and spent much of the past decade overseeing the restoration. Ferragamo transformed the hilltop village, which dates back to 1039, into a luxury resort where the rooms and villas retain many original features, but include modern comforts like air-conditioning, mini-kitchens with espresso-makers, mosaic-walled bathrooms and Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries.


Borgo San Felice, located about 50 kilometers east of Il Borro, has also been transformed from medieval town to a luxury hideaway. The village, which dates back to the 8th century, retains its narrow streets and picturesque squares, its Romanesque chapel and shrines, as well as 140 hectares of surrounding vineyards. The hotel’s rooms and suites are scattered throughout the main villas and other buildings.

Developing a luxury resort with villas is one option available to the future owner of Poggio Santa Cecilia, but Mr. Carlucci believes the property could also sell to a single buyer. “In the world we live in today I wouldn’t be surprised if some visionary family decide to actually own the town and do what they want with it”, he says.


The one point on which Mr. Carlucci remains firm is that the estate be sold in its entirety. “Splitting it up would be like so many other properties on the market. And the second you split it you lose the entire ability to control it”, he says. Careful, considered restorations have become an Essentis Group trademark, which is why the current owner has entrusted the company with the restoration. The company has its own stonemason academy and restores everything from original arches, to facades and floors. Its craftsmen also have the capability of building historic features anew using traditional materials and centuries-old techniques.

In the southern Italian region of Puglia, the group recently built a range of luxury contemporary masseries (courtyard farmhouses). The buildings have traditional features such as a barrel-shaped vaulted stone ceiling made of hand-cut limestone and sandstone, but they also have modern touches like swimming pools, pizza ovens, wine cellars and indoor spas. Such an approach, albeit adapted to a Tuscan setting and style, would guide Essentis Group’s restoration of Poggio Santa Cecilia.


Most of the village houses have traditional Tuscan wooden doors, terracotta tiled roofs and floors and wood beamed ceilings. There are about 20 farmhouses in total, each one resembling a quintessential Tuscan scene complete with cypress trees and open fields. And although they were originally peasant homes, the properties are stately and large ranging from around 3,800 sq. ft. to more than 10,000 sq. ft. of potential living space. The centrepiece of the village is the summer residence of its former aristocratic owners, the counts of Buoninsegni. The majestic villa, completed about 100 years ago on the site of the original castle still evokes the grace and ease of nobility with its grand salons, conservatory and formal English gardens.


So far Poggio Santa Cecila has piqued the interest of numerous potential investors. Although Mr. Carlucci cannot comment on who has expressed interest, the real estate professionals in the region say international buyers are currently a strong force. “In Umbria and Tuscany, there is a return of foreign customers, American, Chinese and Southeast Asia”, says Fulvio Biagioli from Italy Sotheby’s International Realty. In particular, he says he receives requests from buyers from Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Current real estate prices in Italy are around 30% below their pre-2009 peak, but this trend is starting to change. In 2015 inquiries on Italian property increased 57% year-on-year according to data from Knight Frank, with Liguria, Umbria, Sardinia and Tuscany all seeing an increase in sales volume. Overall sales were up 7%.


Mr. Biaioli’s listings include Casigliano, a 16th century manor in Umbria, 1.5 hours from Rome, which includes 13 country houses with views of the Umbrian hills. Eight of the buildings have been renovated, while the remaining four still require restoration. The property, which could make an ideal boutique hotel, is listed for $11.1 million.

Though investors may find other opportunities for development, Francesco Carlucci remains adamant that nothing quite compares to a medieval village in a premium Tuscan location. “There are many beautiful farmhouses, great residences to rent or own, but they are not comparable to a whole town located just 20 kilometers from Siena. This is something that simply doesn’t happen every day”.



Poggio Santa Cecilia, Italy

Hilltop village:
96,875,19 sq. ft.

Total land area:
700 hectares

500 hectares

Fruit trees:
9.5 hectares

22.5 hectares

Olive groves:
10.5 hectares

6 hectares

Additional uncultivated land:
42 hectares

Farmhouses and outbuildings:
118,403 sq. ft., of which 53,820 sq. ft. has planning permission to be a residential development.

Essentis Group

$44 million

Estimated price of restoration:
$167.6 million

[email protected]
+44 (0) 782 571 7758

This article was first published in Palace Magazine. Palace Magazine is published by Lux-Inc.

SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS Review: Anamaya Samui, Koh Samui

The beautiful tropical Thai island of Koh Samui lies 35 kilometers northeast of Surat Thani in the Gulf of Thailand. Nestled on its north east coast with striking panoramic views over the sea and surrounding countryside is Anamaya. A futuristic glimpse into high-end luxury coastal living.8-bed-b

Koh Samui’s property market grew exponentially over the past several years. The airport has expanded, allowing for more direct flights from overseas destinations and the amount of tourists from Asia has increased. Thus, what was typically a haven for European travelers looking for an upmarket holiday destination in Thailand, has now transpired over to travellers from Asia looking for their next luxury hideaway.

A 10-minute drive from Koh Samui International Airport sees you at Cheong Mon Beach just below the Anamaya development. As you wind your way up the hillside you find yourself at the site of the latest development by the team behind the award winning Samui development. Thought up by lead designer Misha Povstaniuk of architects A-MDM, he sought out to create a contemporary tropical living style. The villas show a glimpse of how to push the boundaries of design, style and functionality in this segment of the market, as they rest on twin peaks overlooking the clear blue seas below.5-bed-b

There are five different types of villas on offer, in up to 11 different layouts. Villa A at 26,759 sq. ft. is the grandest. With 7 + 2 bedrooms, these beautiful villas feature two infinity pools, enabling guests to view the sunrise and sunset from the water. There’s a gym with ocean views, digital cinema and recreation rooms. At 1,162 sq. ft., the master bedroom is larger than most city apartments and while all suites have ocean views, the master bedroom has views both east and west.

Villa B at 16,877 sq. ft. sits along the hilltop crest of the Anamaya Estate. With 6 +1 bedrooms and a contemporary flowing design, reminiscent to something Sir Norman Foster would be proud of, Villa B creates a private oasis with panoramic views of the beautiful sea below. Residents have the choice of having two infinity pools or one pool and an ornamental water feature with a sunken breakfast bar. Villa C ranges in size from 6,748 sq. ft. to 11,668 sq. ft. Boasts five large bedrooms.8-bed-c

Villa D ranges in size from 4,101 sq. ft. to 8,406 sq. ft. The four-bedroom villas are available in three different styles. Villa D1 is the largest, including a sizeable staff quarters. However, both D1 and D2 feature a digital cinema, gym, and recreation room. D3 is laid out over floor floor except for a private self-contained suite on the lower level.

Villa E ranges in size from 3,013 sq. ft. to 6,243 sq. ft. The three-bedroom villas feature an abundance of space. Available in two layouts, the property comes equipped with a recreation room, digital cinema and private terrace with a plunge pool a few footsteps away from the master bedroom.

Owners and guests will also have access to a number of facilities including the Anamaya Club. This will include all the amenities one would usually find at a 5-star hotel, including a world-class restaurant and bar, sports courts and gymnasium, rooftop pool with 270-degree sea views, health and beauty spas and a children’s day-care center to name a few.Dining-Room

Anamaya also offers property management services by In-Villa Luxuries, enabling owners to have their villa well maintained and if they choose, rented out. Set to be the next must have residential address in Koh Samui, Anamaya Samui looks to create a design style not yet seen in such a quality product on the island.

Buyer Information
Property Anamaya Samui

Location Koh Samui, Thailand

Architects A-MDM

Highlights Panoramic sea views, open-plan living, Up to 26,759 sq. ft., private infinity swimming pools, Private clubhouse with sports facilities, restaurant and bar, children’s day-care
Property Management Price From $940,000 – $5,900,000

Contact www.alfainvestors.com

This article was first published in Palace

Waterfront Villas Anamaya Koh Samui

Invest in These: 4 Waterfront Villas

We’ve been talking up quite a number of destinations over the course of the year where waterfront living presents both a great lifestyle option and a credible investment prospect. From a Philippe Starck project in Boracay to the entire Royal Phuket Marina itself, the options are overwhelming and seem to suit every kind of investment goal. To help us all focus a little, we revisit here four magnificent landed properties with either direct access to the waterfront or a commanding view of it.

Ocean Drive Bungalow, Sentosa Cove, Singapore

Ocean Drive, Sentosa Cove

A properly rare option here, the Ocean Drive Bungalow offers both the leisurely island lifestyle and organized pace of a developed nation. Unlike most Sentosa Cove projects, this one actually does have both a combined seaview and Singapore city skyline view. The bungalow is done up after the Balinese style. The Sentosa Cove area is the only place in Singapore where foreigners can independently purchase landed property.

MontAzure Private Estate, Phuket, Thailand

The Estates at MontAzure at dusk

Phuket has always been on the radar of people seeking second homes or just looking for a good investment. The MontAzure Private Estate might be just the ticket here. It is a self-contained development with its own shopping, wellness, security and retirement facilities. There are only 13 private estates (in the first phase) so conflict with the neighbors won’t be an issue. Oh yes, the view is of Kamala Bay so you can immediately tell that tourists won’t be nearby. Take note though of Thailand’s restrictions on foreigners owning land.

Kayu Villas, Lombok, Indonesia


Lombok requires more research than the other options on the list. Located west of Bali, it isn’t quite on the global tourism superhighway and that is perhaps part of the charm. Property prices certainly reflect an influx of demand, with prices increasing some 300% in the period from 2011 to 2015 (the international airport was completed in 2011 but that might be coincidental). What we looked at was the Selong Selo residences called Kayu Villas, of which there are only eight. While Indonesia has recently allowed foreign ownership of landed property, there are strong limitations in place that developers will have to explain carefully.

Anamaya Samui, Koh Samui, Thailand

Anamaya Samui

These villas captivated us the moment we saw the renderings. Lead designer Misha Povstaniuk of architects A-MDM really did a bang-up job here, if strong design is a major factor in your decision-making process. There are actually five types of villas on offer, in 11 different configurations. The smallest start at 3,000 sqf, topping out at 26,759sqf. The view is of the Gulf of Thailand, where the island of Koh Samui is located. The entire Anamaya Samui project is self-contained and owners have access to 5-star hotel amenities. Once again, take note of Thailand’s restrictions on foreigners owning land.

These properties were all originally covered in Palace magazine.

Indulge in These: 5 Luxury Residences for Summer

There are holiday rentals, and then there are luxury holiday rentals. If you’re planning that well-deserved break, might as well do so in absolute class and opulence. With rental services companies such as Airbnb on the rise, travelers have been shifting their preferences for hotels to these more homely options.  Whether you’re in the exotic Seychelles, or perched atop the French Alps, make yourself right at home with these five dream properties.

At the summit

Lease of Luxury_LO_Courchevel

Name: Le Hameau de la Volière.

Where: Courchevel 1850, in the French Alps. Amid the lush vegetation of the Chenus, at an altitude of 1,850m (which gives the town its name) and a stone’s throw away from the centre of Courchevel 1850. Right by the skiing pistes, with unblocked views of the valley.

What: A trio of ultra-luxurious chalets in pale wood. Exotically named Les Bastidons, Cryst’aile and Nanuq, each comes with five rooms bathed in natural light over three or four levels, all designed by Christophe Tollemer in an exquisite, contemporary style.

Capacity: 12 persons per chalet.

Services: Evok Hôtels Collection, managers of this property, have provided everything, and more: indoor pool, spa (with Clarins products, no less), gym, wine cellar, and a home cinema.

Extras: Personal chef, butler, fitness instructor on demand.

Price: €40,000 (S$62,000) per week for 12, or €3,300 per person.


Private island

Lease of Luxury_LO_

Name: Cousine Island.

Where: The Seychelles; 6 km south-west of Praslin Island.

What: A little private tropical paradise caressed by the waves of the Indian Ocean, Cousine Island had until recently only had four pretty villas decorated in a graceful colonial style. A new presidential villa was launched in April this year. Nestled amid the luxuriant vegetation, but at only 30 m from the beach, the 625 sqm villa contains two spacious suites with bathrooms, a study, living room, dining room, gym and spa. To get around, guests use the electric golf carts.

Capacity: 16 to 20 persons for the five villas.

Services: For the presidential villa: A butler, a chef and a chambermaid.

Extras: The Guest Conservation Ambassador, an ambitious eco-system sustainability program that encourages guests to participate in the conservation of this exceptional natural environment.

Price: On request.


Blue sky

Lease of Luxury_LO_Paros Villa Lavinia 1

Name: Villa Lavinia.

Where: Paros, in the Cyclades islands, a 30-minute flight from Athens. On a hill overlooking the port of Naoussa.

What: A large, all-white and recently built villa, with an adjoining two-bedroom guesthouse. The main villa contains five double rooms on two levels (with verandahs on the upper floor) and a bright, sun-lit interior, blending perfectly with the modern décor. The guesthouse has direct access to the charming garden featuring olive tress and aromatic herbs. Day beds next to the pool and a large outdoor reception area ideal for barbecues.

Capacity: 14 persons.

Services: Daily cleaning, cooked breakfasts and concierge services.

Extras: The magnificent Kolymbithres beach with its beautiful sand and enormous granite formations is just a few minutes away on foot.

Price: €15,000 per week.



Lease of Luxury_LO_

Name: Villas Stylia

Where: In the village of Trou d’Eau Douce, on the east coast of Mauritius. In a pretty garden at the edge of one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. A 10-minute boat ride from l’Ile aux Cerfs.

What: Six modern, comfortable villas recently opened by Patrice Hardy (ex CEO of the Naïade Group) and his son Alexandre. Four villas with a garden view, and two villas with direct access to the lagoon. The beach is a mere 50m from the garden. Each villa contains three bedrooms (including one for kids with bunk beds) and three bathrooms, as well as a vast open concept living-cum-dining room that give on to the private pool.

Capacity: Up to nine persons per villa.

Services: Service staff including villa manager, concierge, gardeners. On demand: massages, airport transfers, personal chauffeur, guide, baby-sitter, car or scooter rentals.

Extras: A shared kitchen with a chef who will cook breakfast and delectable meals at reasonable prices. The chef can also prepare dinners or barbecues by the beach.

Price: From €200 per villa per night.



Lease of Luxury_LO_Rua Iposeira 150-11

Name: Villa Iposeira.

Where: Rio de Janeiro. In the São Corado neighbourhood, within 10 minutes of Ipanema.

What: A futuristic architect’s villa. Completely see-through, the house is the centrepiece of a four-hectare park with lovely palm trees and a fountain. No walls can be found here, just immense bay windows that give incomparable views of the ocean and nature. There are even three majestic trees taking pride of place in the large drawing room… The 900 sqm of the villa boast not only elegant reception rooms with tasteful contemporary art pieces, but also four luxurious en-suite rooms. The dining room with its imposing table can accommodate up to 20 lucky guests.

Capacity: Eight persons.

Services: On demand.

Extras: A huge infinity pool.

Price: From €700 a night.



This story first appeared in a slightly different form in L’Officiel Singapore.

Urban Oasis: Asimont Villas, Singapore

Within District 11 of Bukit Timah, Singapore lies the latest luxury residential development designed by Aedas. Asimont Villas is a beautiful enclave of 21 unique villas, split between seven separate clusters. In an effort to fashion a special and an intimate community, landscaping is used to create privacy, screening wading pools and private patios from shared common spaces. It works in such a special way, that one really needs to see to fully appreciate.

HyperFocal: 0

According to Aedas, the villas have been conceived as a series of “frames” and “floating boxes”. Apertures have been placed in specific locations allowing filtered daylight into the tropical garden. The villas are 3-story affairs with strata title and consist of four bedrooms, a private pool and basement parking. The design is contemporary and offers residents an unbeatable living experience in the heart of Singapore within short walking distance to a number of shops and restaurants.

Visit Asimont Villas for more details.

Focus: Villa Clairefontaine, France

This magnificent villa is located in the Mougins village, close to all daily amenities and only 25 minutes from Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, France. Situated near a prestigious golf course and international school, this Provencal style villa of approximately 600 sqm is set in a landscaped garden of more than five hectares with a large rectangular swimming pool and pool house. The villa has its interior designed and dressed by an Italian designer with modern fittings and designer furniture; it comprises two living rooms, an office, a large kitchen with dining room plus seven en suite bedrooms.Villa-Clairefontaine-interior


One Fullerton

1 Fullerton Road, #02-01, Singapore 049213

Tel: +65 9168 6888

[email protected]



Story Credits

This story was first published in Palace.

Focus: Samujana Villas, Koh Samui

Koh Samui is today a renowned international holiday destination, with visitors and investors from all over the world. The number of visitors from Asian countries is increasing due to improved air links, with direct flights from Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The large increase of high-end resorts between years 2012 to 2014 has repositioned the island as a luxury resort destination. The real estate market has also seen prices increased over the last few years.Palace-Koh-Samui-Samujana-Featured

Boutique luxury villa estate, Samujana, has unveiled its second phase of eight expansive new properties, adding to its existing collection of 25 luxury hillside villas. The project first opened in March 2012 as Koh Samui’s most exclusive and discrete luxury villa estate. Positioned in the most sought-after location on the island, it offers complete privacy, yet is within a few minutes’ drive from Samui International Airport. Set in a prestigious hilltop location which is walking distance from beaches of Choeng Mon and popular Chaweng, the all-pool award-winning villa estate overlooks a coral cove, giving each villa uninterrupted sea views and private beach access.Palace-Koh-Samui-Samujana3

The 25 villas at Samujana have been designed by Asia’s celebrated Gary Fell of GFAB Architects — each sensitively constructed in harmony with the natural rock outcrops and vegetation with a contemporary spacious design. With large en suite bedrooms, living spaces and dining areas, state-of-the-art kitchens, dedicated parking and private infinity edge pools, each property boasts uninterrupted luxury in a home away from home.Palace-Koh-Samui-Samujana4

Villa 30 is known not only as the jewel in the crown of Samujana, but the most impressive villa in Koh Samui, as one of the few places on the island with 360-degree sunrise and sunset views of Chaweng and Lamai, Choengmon and Plai Laem, Big Buddha and the neighbouring island of Koh Phangan. Situated at the very top of the estate, Villa 30 features five en suite bedrooms, a state-of-the-art cinema, private gym and a handcrafted spiral staircase. The villa also offers a breathtaking infinity pool, two fully equipped kitchens and incorporates the use of contemporary Asian art and accents throughout. From rain showers to Nuovo sound systems, a full service bar and rooftop barbecue deck, the villa is suitable for functions such as a soirée or intimate dinner party with friends.Palace-Koh-Samui-Samujana7

Villa 28, which has six bedrooms and extensive gardens, is perched high up on the estate and offers panoramic sea views. This 1,209sf villa is fully equipped with two designer kitchens sufficient to accommodate group functions, a private cinema complemented with a wide selection of films and TV shows, and an infinity pool.Palace-Koh-Samui-Samujana6

Guests can also enjoy the various amenities offered on the estate — private villa hosts, local and international cuisine from top, private chefs, an all-weather floodlit tennis court and access to water sports. Samujana has also partnered Koh Samui’s leading spa centers and a wide range of beauty and relaxation treatments can be provided in the privacy of villas. There is also exclusive charters of various sailing and motorboats, suitable for activities such as water-skiing, picnics on hidden beaches, snorkeling, sightseeing or sailing.Palace-Koh-Samui-Samujana2

Kurt Berman, General Manager of Samujana says, “we are focused on offering owners the very best return on their lifestyle investment. By operating as a boutique villa retreat with the provision of exemplary hospitality in such a stunning setting, we create an environment where owners and guests can discover a new state of mind”.Palace-Koh-Samui-Samujana

The development has been awarded various accolades, including the ‘Best Villa Development in Southeast Asia’, ‘Best Villa Development in Thailand’ and ‘Best Residential Architectural Design in Southeast Asia’ at the South East Asia Property Awards 2013, and was highly commended for ‘Architecture of Multiple Residences in Thailand’ at the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2014, among others.Palace-Koh-Samui-Samujana8

Buyer Information

Property: Samujana

Location: Bontji Moo 4 Koh Samui, Ko Samui District, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand

Architect: Gary Fell of GFAB Architects


Walking distance to nearby beaches

Selected villas offer 360-degree sunrise and sunset views

Some in-villa facilities include large en suite bedrooms, a state-of-the-art cinema, private gym, infinity pool, kitchens, full service bar and rooftop barbecue deck

Spa treatments provided in the privacy of villas

Exclusive charters of various sailing and motorboat

Access to activities such as water-skiing, picnics on hidden beaches, snorkeling and sailing

Price: Price on Application

Date of Completion: Phase Two is complete, all villas are open.

Contact: www.samujana.com

Story Credits

Text by Domenica Tan

This story first appeared in PALACE Magazine.

Mona Lisa’s Tuscan Villa for Sale

The Villa Antinori, once home to the most likely candidate to have modeled for Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic painting, is up for sale One of Tuscany’s most famous villas, its owners will be hoping to make bank thanks to the property’s links to the Mona Lisa.

The Villa Antinori was once owned by the family of silk merchant Francesco Del Giocondo, whose wife Lisa Gherardini is widely believed to have sat for da Vinci’s portrait, arguably the most famous in the world.

Located in the hills outside Florence, “the villa is priced at over 10 million euros ($11.3 million),” but may well go for much more, a press officer for the Lionard Luxury Real Estate company told AFP.

Villa Antinori, which boasts a chapel, extensive grounds and a vast lemon grove, lies some five kilometres from the Tuscan capital and was owned by the Del Giocondos from 1498 to 1517.

At the end of the 19th century it was sold to Tuscan wine masters Antinori, and it was Nicolo Antinori who decided to put a drawing of the property on the family’s Villa Antinori wines.

The move was a challenge to wine rivals in France, with Antinori reportedly saying: “they have their chateaux, we our villas”.

Most historians believe Lisa Gherardini, who was born in 1479 and died in 1542, modeled for the Mona Lisa, which was painted between 1503 and 1506, when the Del Giocondos owned the villa.

Some art sleuths think, however, that da Vinci might have used a male model for the Mona Lisa – or that the sly grin is because the painting is a self-portrait.

In September last year, Italian archaeologists trying to solve the mystery of the model’s identity said they had found bits of bone which could have belonged to the ‘real’ Mona Lisa – but had failed to find the DNA to test it against.

Focus: Studio Munge

From Toronto to Hong Kong, Studio Munge’s interiors transport guests and residents into a world of sumptuous luxury.

Design aficionados often talk about how a carefully curated space affects the way you feel. This is certainly the belief of Allesandro Munge, design principal at Studio Munge, a Toronto based firm that specializes in luxury hospitality and residential interiors. “Most of my designs are emotion based,” he says. “Whether the guest enters a restaurant, a hotel lobby or a private residence, the initial burst of emotion is what I’m after.”

Since opening his studio in 1997, Allesandro Munge’s atmospheric interiors have reached an increasingly global clientele. His firm has partnered with Park Hyatt, MGM Resorts, Greenland Group, Wheelock Group and China Land Resources among others, often working on projects across several continents simultaneously.

Whether he’s creating a moody bar in Vancouver or a plush residence Hong Kong, Munge’s spaces are also decidedly upscale. “I will use every design element accessible, from bespoke furniture designs to the most luxurious finishes to translate our narrative and transport people into a world of hedonist luxury,” he says.01-Alessandro-Munge-Portrait

Born and raised in Germany to Italian parents, Munge came to design as a child when he began sketching designs for his mother’s drapery business. Later he expanded his visions to incorporate different elements of a room to create a comprehensive space. Professionally, he got his start at Yabu Pushelberg in Toronto where he worked for four years before breaking away with Sai Leung to form his own company. Fast-forward two decades and his firm has become one of Canada’s leading design studios.

Studio Munge is known for an innovative and eclectic approach to high-end interiors where choice materials and furnishings are often combined in playful, unexpected ways. At Taverna Mercatto, an Italian restaurant that recently opened in Toronto, Studio Munge combined barbed wire chandeliers and exposed beams with stained glass windows and reclaimed church pews to achieve a look that is part gothic industrial and part nonna’s living room. At Prohibition, the bar at Vancouver’s legendary Rosewood Hotel Georgia (where Munge’s studio also spearheaded a stylish restoration), Studio Munge created a sleek room with lush drapery and richly upholstered bar stools, a throwback to the age of decadence and glamour that includes an ornate ceiling clad in Macassar Ebosy, a custom glass-and-metal chandelier, an a 3,000 sq. ft. black stone bar.Studio_Munge_Prohibition_17

A keen eye for detail and love of lavishness also characterizes the studio’s prolific hospitality and residential work. (The firm is currently working on over 30 residential projects split between four design teams.) At the Ritz Carlton Residences in Toronto Studio Munge was tasked with creating model suites that exuded the refined elegance for which the brand is known. To convey tasteful sophistication the firm used rich woods like macassar ebony and patterned floors made of marble, limestone and granite. Since future owners would eventually customize their units, Munge concentrated on showing upgrade options such as brushed, satin-nickel hardware, walls custom-lined with wenge-stained oak and leather stitched panels. To add local flair Studio Munge commissioned art pieces from Toronto artists. To contemporize the space they designed a custom two-sided fireplace between the living room and the den.

Finding cohesive solutions for projects that demand a plurality of design languages and functions is not easy. Allesandro Munge attributes his success in part to his extensive world travels. “My extensive travelling is undoubtedly what influences me the most. The contact with foreign culture has had an immeasurable impact on my designs. It allows me to truly understand human nature, the psychology of the mind and what links us all.”Studio_Munge_Bisha-Sales-Centre_Credit-Evan-Dion09

Munge’s world travels became a central principle for another recent residential project, the Bisha Hotel and Residences. One of the developers, Charles Khabouth, was an early nightclub client of Munge’s who loves to travel and collect art and furniture. He wanted Bisha’s interiors to be ‘worldly instead of trendy’, filled with one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect the international inspiration of Studio Munge’s travels around the globe.

The flagship project is the latest private-label boutique hotel and residence brand to emerge in Toronto since the Four Seasons. It comprises a 41 storey tower, designed by Wallman Architects, 100 hotel rooms and over 300 residences that feature nine-foot ceilings, spacious balconies and custom-designed Studio Munge cabinetry.

Entering the building, Bisha’s interiors are meant to reflect the fusion of Toronto’s homegrown poise with an international flair. Studio Munge employed a tantalizing mix of opulent furnishings and textures including glass, wood, stone, gold-hued metals leathers and silks. The lounge features wireframe chairs from Minotti, a French sideboard bar unit from L’Atelier, a custom hide rug from Kyle Bunting and custom wall finish by Toronto’s Applied Arts Studios. At the bar, vintage Parisian wall sconces flank a gold circular fireplace; a glass sculpture by Jeff Goodman hangs from the coffered ceiling.

The opulence is palpable; yet the space is also designed to feel intimate, complete with ‘at home’ comforts. These days Munge says the lines between luxury hospitality and residential project are increasingly blurred.  While his luxury hospitality clientele is looking for intimate and curated spaces, “a home away from home”, residential developers are tapping onto the aspirational luxury hotel lifestyle. “They both are merging into a common sophisticated cosmopolitan lifestyle,” he says.Studio_Munge_IDS-Bisha-Credit-Tom-Arban_20

Munge says the biggest change he has experienced is to the actual scope of his design projects. “We’ve outgrown the client/contractor relationship and are now working in a much more symbiotic way with our prestigious clientele and developer partners.” This means the studio will come to the table with a deeper understanding of their client’s business needs, leading to stronger partnerships and more relevant designs both in concept and execution.

But business aside, the driving factor for Munge remains the desire to transport guests through his lavish and evocative spaces. “The beauty of Interior Design is that capacity to transform a human being’s mood and feelings through spatial experience.”

Q & A

You started your company nearly 20 years ago. Have your tastes and design ideals changed since then?

I wouldn’t say my design ideals have changed rather they have matured. As you age, learn more about yourself and become comfortable in your skin. It all starts influencing your aesthetic.Studio_Munge_Prohibition_04

Who are some of your favorite designers?

Many of our designs are inspired by architecture and fashion. I am not sure I can point to one favorite designer but I have always admired designers with a strong vision and sense of direction from the likes of Frank Ghery to Tadao Ando. They have such a great understanding of light and volumes; both artists perfectly materialize the intricate relationship between fluidity and human connectivity.

Do you think Canadian studios are sometimes overlooked when it comes to design?

15 years ago maybe… It’s a different story today. The digital world, ease of travel and communication have turned the industry into a village. Wherever you are based, clients are open to hiring you if you produce quality work. Plus our “conservative Canada” has evolved tremendously, clients are much more inclined to going out of their comfort zone.  I mean look at what Canada has produced…from the likes of Frank Ghery to Drake.Studio_Munge_Suites-at-The-Ritz-Carlton_Credit-Evan-Dion06

In addition to luxury condominiums you also work on private homes. Is there a private residence of which you are particularly proud?

The residential work I am the most proud of is a terraced private home I have been designing for the last four years. It’s one of those beautiful design stories that I cannot wait to share with the world. The architecture is extremely modern and resort like.  It is filled with gorgeous Canadian limestone, strong architectural features and sophisticated details.

What would you like to work on next?

I really need to find the time to finish my own residence! It’s been an ongoing project for years, a passion project of mine that requires much more attention that I am able to give right now. Hopefully 2016 will be the year.

Staff Credits
Text by Sophie Kalkreuth

This article was originally published in PALACE.

Review: Avadina Hills, Phuket, Thailand

Kajima Group, one of the largest engineering and development companies in Japan, has created one of the most exclusive and private, tropical residential developments in the world. Avadina Hills is located in Layan, on the west coast of Phuket. Known for its beautiful beaches and infamous James Bond islands, Phuket is one of the top destinations in South East Asia. The exclusive resort is located within easy access to two marinas, an 18-hole golf course, Phuket’s international airport and all the finest dining, entertainment and shopping Phuket has to offer.

Avadina Hills, Phuket / Kajima

Featuring 21 luxuriously appointed private villas on more than 16 hectares of land, the site was originally purchased in the early 1990’s while operating as a rubber plantation, with no public road access. Through working with master landscape architect James Hyatt and Japanese architects Sakakura Atelier, the development was brought to life.

Avadina Hills, Phuket / Kajima

When asked the style of architecture used in the villa’s design, Mr. Sakakura describes it as “a mix of Japanese spirit with modern architecture and design.”

Avadina Hills, Phuket / Kajima

The villas are set on a forested slope with beautiful views overlooking the bay of Bangtao and Layan Beach directly below. James Hyatt was able to create a natural balance between the bordering national park and the site’s contours. The grand staircase connecting the floors and leading out to that encompassing view was the idea of Mr. Kajima. Residents staying at Avadina Hills will experience complete privacy in their hideaway.

Avadina Hills, Phuket / Kajima

Each villa also features an Infiniti edge pool and two to three tiered levels of bedrooms, spa and meticulously designed entertaining space. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors allow for the entire living space to be opened up, creating a perfect harmony between the sunshine outdoors and the cool, natural colors, indoors.

Avadina Hills, Phuket / Kajima

With 4-8 bedrooms, villa utility space ranges from 19,020 sq. ft. – 22,281 sq. ft. and are priced from $7.61 – $9.86 million (THB270-350 million). The entire development is set to complete in 2020.

Avadina Hills, Phuket / Kajima

Buyer’s Guide

Thailand has a very stable and resilient property market, ensuring demand locally and from overseas always remains strong.

Thai Civil Code is based on the mainland European civil law.

Traditionally, under Thai law, foreigner buyers are prohibited from owning land in Thailand. They may only secure rights to use the land to build or buy a home.

The purchaser must obtain a registerable 30-year renewable lease with the option to renew indefinitely in 30 year periods.

There are some exceptions:

Companies can own land (Maximum foreign ownership of 49%; Use a legal power of attorney from the Thai shareholders to control the company)

Investments of at least $1,142,857 (THB40 million) into a Board of Investment approved project allows you to purchase 1 Rai (0.16 hectares) of land.

Always hire a real estate lawyer when purchasing property in Thailand, as much of the market is unregulated and a lawyer will be in the best position to ensure your transaction goes smoothly.

Buyer Information
Property: Avadina Hills
Location: Phuket, Thailand
Developer: Kajima Group
Highlights: 21 Private Villas, Exclusive Location, 24-hour security, Open plan design
Price: from $7.61 – $9.86 million (THB270-350 million)
Contact: www.avadinahills.com

Staff Credits
Text by Robbie Wilson

This article was originally published in PALACE

Review: Point Yamu by COMO

Tourism arrivals to Phuket continue to grow, alongside its strong reputation of being a popular property investment destination. Property investment, especially in Phuket, has generally given higher returns than gold or government bonds, according to Srinarin Paopongpaiboon, a Senior Analyst at Siam Commercial Bank’s Economics and Business Research Centre.52729580-H1-Verandah_Room_with_Balcony_view

Located on a peninsula on the east coast of Phuket on the tip of Cape Yamu, Point Yamu by COMO gives guests the chance to experience the lesser known side of the island. The newest resort and villa development by COMO Hotels and Resorts is a 25-minute drive from Phuket International Airport. The development features 79 hotel guest rooms, suites and 26 private pool villas. All rooms, suites and villas offer floor-to-ceiling windows and are ocean-facing with views towards Phang Nga Bay and its distinctive limestone outcroppings.52729507-H1-Bay_Suite_Bathroom

The interior aesthetic is by renowned Italian designer Paola Navone. The collaboration sees COMO’s signature clean lines and pared-back, contemporary style united with Navone’s eclectic, colourful approach and the use of local materials. The result is a dazzling palette of bright aquamarines and burnt oranges, with Thai artisanal techniques such as traditional wood tiling and woven rattan adding texture reflecting the presence of the sea, Thailand’s Buddhist culture and the colourful influence of Phuket’s Peranakan culture. Intricacy of design is seen throughout the development—for example, the pillars in the lobby are decorated with broken ceramic tiles which are hand-cut and pieced carefully to liken that of a mosaic pattern. Thai handicraft is also an important element incorporated into the design, with extensive use of weave patterns in furnishing used around the resort.57890042-H1-_MG_2504FRDLGR_POINT-YAMU

Villas for sale include seven two-bedroom pool villas and 13 three-bedroom pool villas. Two-bedroom pool villas are approximately 2,433sf in size and have large private pools. The units are likened to a private residence more than a resort villa. It can accommodate up to six people and includes indoor and outdoor dining, pantry, laundry and storage room. The three-bedroom pool villas are approximately 3,638sf large and also feature its own private pool. There is an indoor and outdoor dining area for up to eight people, a kitchen, small laundry and maid’s room.63800007-H1-point_yamu_1bd_villa-4191

Rental of the two-bedroom pool villas range from THB65,000 ($1,923) per day during the low season and THB80,000 ($2,367) per day, while the three-bedroom pool villas range from THB90,000 ($2,662) to THB125,000 ($3,700) per day respectively, and is therefore able to offer significant rental yield.63799975-H1-point_yamu_1bd_villa-3982

Villa owners can enjoy access to the main resort’s facilities which include a 100-meter infinity pool, a fully-equipped gym and activity centre, with diving, water sports and boat excursions which offer private boat trips from Marina Pier to nearby beaches and islands. There are also various dining options—Nahmyaa which offers Thai cuisine; Italian restaurant La Sirena; and COMO Shambhala cuisine—and exclusive COMO Shambala Retreat which offers holistic, Asian-inspired therapies and treatments in eight treatment rooms.63799991-H1-point_yamu_1bd_villa-3220

Cultural activities such as Thai cooking classes and island tours of Phuket and its old town are also available to Point Yamu guests. An exclusive beach club which is scheduled for completion in July 2015 will be located on Naka Island which is a 20-minute private boat ride away. Hotel guests and villa owners can enjoy a large saltwater pool, water sports, and activities for children, spa retreats and COMO quality food.

Point Yamu by COMO has been awarded ‘Best Hotel Design and Best Villa Development’ at Thailand Property Awards 2014, amongst several other accolades.

Buyer Information

Property: Point Yamu by COMO

Location: 225 Moo 7, Paklok, Talang, Phuket 83110, Thailand

Architect: Jean-Michel Gathy

Interior Designer: Paola Navone


—25-minute drive from Phuket International Airport

—Floor-to-ceiling windows and are ocean-facing with views towards Phang Nga Bay and its distinctive limestone outcroppings

—Intricacy of design in the interior with COMO’s signature clean lines and pared-back, contemporary style alongside eclectic, colourful approach and use of local materials

—In-villa facilities include private pool, indoor and outdoor dining, pantry, laundry and storage room

—Main resort’s facilities include a 100-meter infinity pool, a fully-equipped gym and activity centre, with diving, water sports and boat excursions which offer private boat trips from Marina Pier to nearby beaches and islands

—Exclusive beach club located on Naka Island has a large saltwater pool, water sports, and activities for children, spa retreats and COMO quality food

Prices: Approximately $1.9 million (two-bedroom pool villas) and $3-5 million (three-bedroom pool villas)

Contact: comohotels.com/pointyamu or [email protected]

Story Credits

Text by Domenica Tan

This story first appeared in PALACE.

4 Booming Waterfront Real Estate Destinations

International buyers are drawn to the exclusivity of waterfront properties, keeping them in high demand. This, with a lack of supply, will see prices continuing to rise. Our friends at YachtStyle look at selected examples in Sydney, Auckland, Phuket and Samui.

Sydney, Australia

Record sales aplenty as the property market goes on an upswing.


By Sophie Kalkreuth

From the dramatic white shells of the Opera House to the steel arches of the Harbour Bridge and the yachts dotting the bay – Sydney’s harbour is one of the world’s most iconic. Waterfront homes, particularly those located just east of the city in Darling Point and Point Piper, comprise some of Australia’s most expensive real estate. They also epitomise the waterside lifestyle, with access to boat berths and beaches just minutes from the Central Business District (CBD).

Sydney’s real estate market is currently on an upswing. In 2013, Australia’s residential property market recorded the strongest annual growth since 2009, and Sydney house prices rose 15.2 per cent according to property information company RP Data. The city also recorded a strong top sale price of US$51.8 million, according to Christie’s Great Estates’ 2014 Luxury Defined Index.

“The luxury property cycle, having bottomed in 2012 from a high in 2008, has steadily improved over the last two years with several record sales being achieved,” says Ken Jacobs of Ken Jacobs-Christie’s International Real Estate, in Sydney. “We handled the two  biggest sales in Sydney last financial year (1st July 2013 to 30th June 2014) at prices of AU$37 million and AU$32 million.”


Housing supply in Sydney is restricted by geographical limitations, zoning regulations and limited land release. This is one factor driving price growth – developers have reportedly started converting outdated office buildings into luxury projects to meet demand. International investors, particularly Asian buyers, are also driving sales. Although local buyers still make up the majority of sales in Sydney – second-home buyers represent only 25 per cent of the luxury market – there were several significant sales to Chinese buyers in 2013, including the city’s top sale, a US$51.8 million estate on the waterfront.

“Sydney’s close proximity, safe economy, world-class lifestyle offerings, and relaxed cultural atmosphere are an incredible draw for overseas buyers looking for an accessible link to Asia,” Jacobs says.

Crown Group, a Sydney-based developer, launched Sky by Crown and Viva by Crown in 2013, and foreign demand accounted for 20 per cent of its sales. According to group CEO Iwan Sunito, Sydney has benefited from market cooling measures in Asia. “(Flat) prices in the CBD are 30 to 50 per cent less (than) an equivalent location in Hong Kong or Singapore.”


The highest prices are achieved by waterfront properties with picture-postcard views of the Bridge, Opera House and Harbour, although sales prices vary greatly depending on the property. “It is important to stress that talking rate per-square-metre on Sydney waterfront properties can be very misleading as there are wild variations due to location, view, contour, aspect, facilities, etc.,” says Ken Jacobs. “Compounding this is the lack of vacant land, so in the majority of cases, if a buyer wants to build a new home he needs to buy an existing home and demolish it.”

At Point Piper, for example, prices can range between AU$18,000psm to AU$30,000psm for waterfront homes that have been demolished, and AU$20,000psm to AU$39,000psm of improved value for established homes. These rates drop significantly outside of the super prime areas.

In recent years, new-build condominium projects have also reported strong sale prices. Apartments at Buckhurst at Point Piper sold for between AU$9 million and AU$13 million when the market was at a low. The project includes just six apartments of around 380sqm. At Pacific Bondi Beach, a waterfront development at one of Sydney’s trendy eastern beaches, two adjoining penthouses sold for AU$21 million. Some new waterfront projects are currently being developed at Barrangaroo, the site of a new casino.

Looking ahead, property analysts expect continued, albeit more moderate, growth in Sydney’s luxury sector. ‘’Unless there’s a big rise in interest rates or the economy crashes, both of which are very unlikely, we’ll see further gains in the super-prime property market,” says Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP capital. However, the intensity of demand seen in 2013 is unlikely to persist this year, says John McGrath, CEO of McGrath Estate Agents. “My guess is 5 per cent to 10 per cent growth in prices this year, but certain market segments will perform better than others,” he says. In particular, he expects that ‘lifestyle markets’, those close to the city and beaches, will continue to see price rises.


Market Summary

  • In 2013, Australia’s residential property market recorded the strongest annual growth since 2009.
  • Sydney house prices rose 15.2 per cent in 2013, while apartment prices gained 11.6 per cent. Price growth in the luxury sector is fueled by low supply and strong demand from foreign buyers.
  • A Chinese national was behind Sydney’s top sale of 2013, a US$51.8 million estate on the waterfront.

For Consideration

  • 112 Wosleley Road, Point Piper
  • Five-bedroom contemporary home with harbor views and 30m of exclusive harbor frontage, including a private jetty. Designed for a flowing indoor/outdoor lifestyle, pool and terrace, high-end fittings, cutting-edge security.
  • Price on application.
  • www.kenjacobs.com.au
  • 3 Lindsay Avenue, Darling Point
  • Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired property on a prime 1,725sqm site with views from Double Bay to Manly. Five bedrooms with balcony access, 3.5 bathrooms. Master suite with limestone spa en-suite. Parking for four cars. Capable of mooring a 100 foot vessel.
  • Price on application.
  • www.kenjacobs.com.au


Auckland, New Zealand

Limited supply and strong migration flow to sustain prices of luxury waterfront housing.

By Sophie Kalkreuth

Auckland may not have the dramatic harbor of Sydney or Hong Kong, but the city does offer a beautiful coastline with beaches, cliffs, quiet coves and plenty of waterfront homes. The city’s property market has been gaining momentum, too, driven by a shortage of homes, low interest rates and an open-door policy that has encouraged overseas investors.

“Auckland has been in strong demand across all sectors with the increase in overseas interest, particularly from Asia,” says Charlie Brendon-Cook of Luxury Real Estate Limited. “Investors are coming to us specifically from Singapore, China, the UK, America and Russia. There are still some attractively priced properties in outstanding locations. The Bay of Islands, in particular, remains one of the best-kept secrets. However, it is being discovered.”

Homes around the city are also becoming increasingly expensive by world standards. Average prices in Auckland were up 14.3 per cent year-on-year in March 2014 – a 4,000sqft luxury home near the city now goes for upwards of NZ$3.5 million. And prices are higher along the waterfront. Depending on the quality, size and location, prices for waterfront properties average around NZ$4,278psf.


Rapidly rising prices in New Zealand, particularly in Auckland, brought a note of caution from the International Monetary Fund in April. “The concern is that people start expecting prices to continue to increase and therefore they jump into the housing market now because they worry they’ll be priced out later and that puts even more upward pressure,” said Brian Aitken of the IMF.

In October 2013, The Reserve Bank of New Zealand introduced restrictions on high Loan-to-Value Ratio (LVR) lending, which caused sales volumes to drop, but only slightly. “Sales volumes are still below the level seen before the LVR restrictions came into effect in October 2013, but do not appear to be falling any further — in fact June sales were only 2 per cent lower than in the same month last year,” says ASB Bank economist Daniel Smith.

He says a dip in new listings suggests the flow of homes coming onto the market remained fairly low. “Supply constraints have eased slightly over the last year, with total listings currently around 14 per cent higher than a year ago. That has been due to a slight decline in sales and a small lift in listings. The key words there are ‘slight’ and ‘small’ – the number of homes on the market remains exceptionally low by historical standards.”

Smith says that he expects prices to continue to rise in the Auckland region driven by strong migration flows and limited supply, though not at the pace seen over 2012-2013.

“There are a number of mixed messages in the NZ property market currently,” says Joe Telford of Sotheby’s International Realty. “But although the growth has slowed over the past six months there is still a high demand for quality property in the Auckland market.”


Waterfront property is particularly coveted and Telford says values still remain high and growth remains strong in key waterfront areas such as Herne Bay, Mission Bay, Saint Hiiers, Devonport and Takapuna. In Herne Bay, for example, there are less than 100 sales per annum. “The lack of stock and high demand drives growth,” he says.

International buyers are also driving prices up, drawn to the exclusivity of waterfront estates in Auckland and the lifestyle and access to water. “A large proportion of our inquiry on waterfront property comes from international purchasers,” says Telford. Unlike many other countries, New Zealand doesn’t have Stamp Duty or Capital Gains Tax, although some restrictions do apply for foreign property ownership. For example, property that is classified ‘sensitive’ by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) requires an Overseas Investment Application (OIA) for non-new Zealand residents.

This does not often apply to waterfront homes, says Telford. “Most central waterfront property in Auckland does not require an OIA as very few properties are larger than 6,500sqft, which is the threshold for waterfront to be classified as sensitive,” he adds.

Waterfront homes will always be in demand, Telford adds, and he expects growth will continue in line with the rest of New Zealand’s property market. “It is impossible to create more waterfront property and this is the greatest advantage of owning what is considered the best real estate in Auckland.”


Market Summary

  • Average house prices in Auckland were up 14.3 per cent year on year in March 2014. However, property prices cooled slightly during April with sales down around 15 per cent over the same time last year.
  • Properties over NZ$500,000 continued to sell well, with 547 homes sold in this price range during April, echoing the sort of figures achieved over the summer.
  • Growth remains strong in key waterfront areas such as Herne Bay, Mission Bay, Saint Hiiers, Devonport and Takapuna where supply is limited.

For Consideration

  • 17 O’Neills Avenue, Takapuna, Auckland
  • Waterfront property located on 1,303sqm site with views of Rangitoto Island from all three levels
  • Includes four bedrooms, four bathrooms and two parking spaces
  • Located a short drive over the Harbour Bridge to Auckland City
  • Price on application. Ref# BSA10245
  • www.auckland.nzsothebysrealty.com
  • 35-39 Beach Road, Castor Bay, Auckland
  • Located on a cliff top on the Peninsula between Milford and Castor Bay
  • Includes 1,000sqm floor plan, 6 en-suite bedrooms, home theatre, pool, Jacuzzi, outdoor living area
  • Asking price: NZD$8,800,000 Ref#NZE10153
  • www.auckland.nzsothebysrealty.com


Kamala, Phuket, Thailand

Luxury waterfront market regaining its lustre.

by Alex Frew McMillan

Phuket and Koh Samui have always held plenty of attraction for foreign buyers of villas, although in theory they are not able to buy landed property in Thailand.

Along the ‘Millionaire’s Mile’, a pitted road along Phuket’s west coast, near Kamala Beach, villas run to US$8 million or more. A quick search for the road’s name always yields a smattering of properties on the market. In fact, the high-end real estate market in Phuket is already showing an early trend toward stable growth and transactions have increased with major real estate players receiving multiple enquiries from around the world on a daily basis. By the end of 2015, it is estimated that more than 50 new luxury properties are set to be developed. This island is becoming the most demonstrated and vibrant luxury resort real estate market in Asia — fast overtaking others such as Bali.

Among these projects, the MontAzure development in Kamala has been called Phuket’s most ambitious resort residential project since the Banyan Tree Group launched Laguna some 25 years ago.


On a site that boasts a unique natural setting, MontAzure will be sensitively developed to offer 13 unique private luxury estates, 70 low-rise beachside residences, and will offer luxurious hospitality features such as a lifestyle retail centre, retirement and wellness facilities, sophisticated beachside dining and entertainment venues. The developers have engaged a team of world-class master planners, architects and designers. The project is a gem of rare quality, a place where untouched tropical forest gives way to a 250-metre stretch of soft sand, shaded by mature Casuarina trees.

The first phase of the development offers buyers a range of 13 expansive luxury estates, each set on generous land plots ranging from 4,900sqm (52,700sf) to over 10,000sqm (107,600sf) in size. A trinity of design talent was engaged to craft these exceptional homes — the doyen of modern Thai architecture, Lek Bunnag, Balinese interior design legend, Jaya Ibrahim, and Tierra Design’s Martin Palleros who also master planned the entire development.

Each estate will feature a private swimming pool, complemented with a children pool and Jacuzzi. Residents can also relax in privacy with private outdoor bathtubs and shower areas on the master bedroom pavilions’ wide verandahs. The roofs feature decks with lawns and covered dining spaces are accessible via a private lift. A wide variety of indigenous and planted tropical plants and trees decorate the beautifully landscaped garden, coupled with the breathtaking views of Kamala Bay, making the development a safe haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city.


Buyers can customize the interiors of the villas to their preferences. Beyond their luxurious private estate, owners have privileged access to the beach and a range of exclusive amenities and services offered at the MontAzure Residents’ Beach Club. The wider development will also feature a range of integrated hospitality components to ensure that residents’ requests and lifestyle needs are met with efficiently.


Market Summary

  • Foreign buyers remain attracted to Phuket and Koh Samui villas, although in theory they cannot purchase landed property in Thailand.
  • On the ‘Millionaire’s Mile’ along Phuket’s west coast, near Kamala Beach, villas run to US$8 million or more. Sotheby’s International Realty lists several beautiful Phuket properties, including a four-bedroom property in Ao Makham, five kilometres south of Phuket town, for THB165 million (US$5.2 million).
  • Bill Barnett, Managing Director at hospitality consultancy C9 Hotelworks, highlighted that Phuket is on a strong upward swing for high-end luxury real estate. Major infrastructure improvements and continued strong tourism growth are drawing institutional investment and creating a strong desire amongst the ultra high net worth community globally for luxury villas, particularly those with celebrity designers involved.
  • CBRE Research shows that more than 50 new high-end properties are set to enter the market by the end of 2015.

MontAzure, Phuket

On a site which boasts a unique natural setting, MontAzure will be sensitively developed to offer unique private luxury estates, low-rise beachside condominium residences, as well as luxurious hospitality components such as a lifestyle retail center, retirement and wellness facilities, sophisticated beachside dining and low-key entertainment venues. The first phase of the development offers 13 expansive luxury estates, each set on generous land plots ranging from 4,900m2 (52,700sf) to over 10,000m2 (107,600sf) in size.


Koh Samui, Thailand

In its infancy, but growing.

by Alex Frew McMillan

In Koh Samui, Knight Frank tracks around 420 villa units in a market that the brokerage says is still in its infancy. Some 89 per cent of the villas on the island are in private hands, many of them near Cheong Mon, Chaweng and Bophut beaches, the main tourist hangouts. Maenam and Lamai beaches are up-and-coming and more peaceful, but still a short distance from the action.

Knight Frank says 55 per cent of the villas on Koh Samui are still on the market, with the most popular in the THB20 million to THB40 million (US$630,000 to US$1.25 million) per villa range. “Villas in this price range typically included hillside locations, providing panoramic sea views, and some distance to the beach,” the brokerage notes.

An example is boutique luxury villa estate, Samujana, which has a collection of 25 luxury hillside villas. The development first opened in March 2012 as Koh Samui’s most exclusive and discrete luxury villa estate. Positioned in the most sought-after location on the island, Samujana offers complete privacy, just a few minutes’ drive from Samui International Airport. Set in a hilltop location, just walking distance from the beaches of Choeng Mon and popular Chaweng, the award-winning villa estate overlooks a coral cove, giving each villa uninterrupted sea views and private beach access.


All the villas have been designed by Asia’s celebrated Gary Fell of GFAB Architects – each sensitively constructed in harmony with the natural rock outcrops and vegetation with a contemporary spacious design and boast large en suite bedrooms, living spaces and dining areas, state-of-the-art kitchens, dedicated parking and private infinity edge pools.

The stock market is now watching the results of major developers in Thailand to give some guidance for the direction of the market. That may well be under way. For instance, Land and Houses, one of the country’s biggest developers, saw profits rise 20 per cent compared to 2013 in the second quarter of 2014, and sales grow 26 per cent. Condominium sales were higher than the expectations of analysts such as Thanatcha Jurukul and Nithi Wanikpun at Nomura. But they’re still expecting condo transfers to be delayed, so the analysts are projecting only a 5 per cent growth for this fiscal year for Land and Houses.

Single detached homes also picked up, which could suggest improved sentiment. But the analyst team still has a “neutral” rating on the stock – often interpreted as meaning sell the stock – while they wait to see if the rebound can be sustained and if the management comes out with predictions of longer-term growth in sales. They believe the developer Quality Houses looks best set as the main developer of landed property.


Samujana, Koh Samui

Samujana villa estate is a collection of 25 opulent villas, for sale and rent. All villas feature large private infinity pools and unobstructed sea views. Perfectly perched on a hillside overlooking a coral cove, the villas offer three to eight bedrooms and are ideal for families, friends and couples. It is conveniently located just minutes from Koh Samui International Airport and Chaweng Beach.