Jemimah Barnett is a Property Advisor & Acquisitions Specialist guiding her clients through buying and investing in property. Required to have her finger on the pulse of all changes in the luxury property industry, Jemimah is an expert at spotting emerging trends and here she shares her thoughts on the Hotel Home trend currently taking the industry by storm…
As property prices have risen, so have buyer expectations. The past couple of years have seen an explosion of fashion-focused forays into the housing market. The latest iteration sees permanent homes adopting hotel-style services & amenities – and this trend looks like it’s here to stay.
In the past decade we have seen the emergence of a new genre of hotel – the ‘fashion concept hotels’ – savvy collaborations between fashion’s biggest names, and the market leaders in luxury hospitality. Versace offered up its uber decadent ‘Palazzos’, first in Sydney and then in Dubai, Karl Largerfeld entered the arena with the Monaco ‘Odyssey’, Armani and Bulgari opened multiple sites, and old hotel stalwarts like Claridge’s and St Regis clamoured to bring in big name design houses to rework their spaces in line with this unstoppable trend.
These highly notable forays into the space have set the standard for a new sort of lifestyle – one where the experience of fashion, art and living become more fluid. These hotels and brands cater to the wealthy and mobile (the new ‘global super-rich’), and these consumers demand an end-to-end experience that requires the luxury aesthetic & level of service to be maintained, as they move throughout their lives, and around the globe. Just like couture, fashion predictably filters down to the high street, we now begin to see this trend for ultra-amenitied & stylish living flowing downward and outward, into other markets.
The next step down this path should have been obvious: The Hotel Home. No longer is a house just a house; developers are scrambling to deliver new offerings that provide a seamless transition from the world of hotel living and concierge service. Buyers, even in the mid market, are beginning to scrutinize the developer offerings, and seek out style, and added extras. Blending the hotel experience with the idea (and the privacy) of a fixed and stable home is the new holy grail of housing. And since these savvy consumers are the ones with the cash, homebuilders are paying attention.
Delivering comfortable, private homes, with the amenities & services of a hotel… the hotel home is a trend that’s here to stay.
Technology has reshaped our lives in a number of ways; modern buyers are busier, and more mobile than ever. That makes managing and maintaining a permanent home much more difficult. It’s unsurprising that we have seen buyers begin to favour apartments rather than houses, especially those in portered blocks. The number of new developments boasting 24hr concierge service has increased enormously, and buyers are willing to pay for this added safety and convenience. Whilst we go about our busy lives, it’s nice to know there is someone there to collect the mail, or let in the maintenance team.
Pools, gyms and ‘resident spas’ have been on the list of must-haves for a while now. In-house luxuries make the home much more like a hotel stay, and more and more developments are plump for cinema rooms, bowling alleys and indoor golf ranges.
Technology has also driven a demand for a more stylish home. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and the blogosphere raise our awareness of trends, and give us a real-time glimpse into the stylish homes (and lives) of the rich and famous. Whilst the big developers often used in-house design teams, these days many are falling over themselves to bring in big names from the world of fashion, art and interior design. It’s no longer uncommon for buyers to ask “who did the interiors?” – they assume a notable name would have been drafted in for the task. It can even command a premium.
Even the humble ‘furniture pack’ has been transformed in accordance with this trend. ‘Like the show homes? – they’re done by three different designers; you can choose your favourite, and buy the lot – right down the candles & flowers.’
Buyer expectations have risen enormously, and the market has quickly adapted to deliver what they’re after.
As always, these luxury trends filter down from the top; see some of London’s most boujis developments, from The Lancasters (one of the city’s first ‘super prime’ developments), right up to the forthcoming 20 Grosvenor Square (by luxury developer Finchatton, with services provided by the Four Seasons). The Mandarin Oriental Knightsbridge services the infamous One Hyde Park residences.
But the hotel home is no longer the preserve of just the moneyed few, as more and more homebuilders get in on the action. Large scale British developer Berkeley Group now offer concierge services, pools and gyms at most of their inner London sites, and units can be bought for significantly less than £1m. Luxury is becoming a necessity, and it will be interesting to watch these value added trends ripple out from major cities to more suburban enclaves over the next 10 years.