Would you like a home in one of the capital’s most desirable districts, that epitomises luxury? Would you like it to come with access to world-class facilities and essentially look after itself? If so, then your search should focus on the increasing choice of branded residences in London.
What is a branded residence?
In simple terms, these are premium residential developments that are operated as – or linked to – a five-star hotel, usually a high-profile international chain. As such, all properties come with access to upmarket hotel (or hotel standard) facilities, often with the option of being managed for you. The concept was pioneered in the USA, before spreading to other international destinations, notably Dubai, the Caribbean and South-East Asia hot spots.
Today branded residences come in different formats, depending on where they are. In holiday destinations they tend to be a selection of villas or condos that form part of a hotel-led leisure resort. Or they can be a collection of apartments within a single hotel complex. Alternatively, in more urban locations, they are often residential-led developments linked to a hotel next door, or an entire residential development that is operated like a hotel.
London is championing the branded residence market in Europe. In the past decade Prime Central London (PCL) has experienced a mini-boom in this type of property, propelled by the launch of the iconic One Hyde Park at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge.
A fashion statement
Increasingly, branding extends to prestigious fashion, car and jewellery badges, often in collaboration with a hotel chain. It’s an attractive partnership – the hotel brings its hospitality expertise while the luxury brand adds the glitz, at the same time commanding a certain level of quality and design.
Versace, Bulgari and Armani, for example, all have branded apartments in Dubai, while Porsche is active in Stuttgart. It’s catching on in London too, examples being the Bulgari Private Residences & Hotel and LVMH’s (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) tie-in at the Cheval Blanc Residences.
Given lifestyle is the market’s main driver, branded residences will always be in prime locations. Mirroring the best hotels, in London you find them in fashionable city-centre sites, offering easy access to the best shopping, restaurants and entertainment spots.
Being associated with an international hotel and/or luxury lifestyle brand is reassuring for buyers in a number of ways, not least the reputation and cachet it brings. The quality of the properties and their interior finishes are matched by the way they are managed, typically by the hotel brand’s own dedicated management firm.
The amenities and services in branded residences are one of their biggest selling points. Being linked to a hotel means residents get to benefit from the hotel’s facilities, on top of any communal facilities within the residential building itself.
Purpose-built branded residences not linked to a separate hotel will have a full range of facilities on-site. Expect 24/7 concierge and security, house-keeping, in-residence dining, gyms and exercise studios, spas with jacuzzi and steam rooms, pools and sports courts, private cinema, private meeting and events rooms.
The quality of finish in the properties is another important benefit. Sleek interior design, cutting-edge technology and exciting architecture all feature throughout today’s new developments. While this translates to higher purchase prices, all evidence points to branded residences holding value when it comes to resales.
Another perk typically offered through large hotel groups is that owners can exchange usage of their property with similar standard ones located elsewhere in the group’s global network, usually through a type of loyalty programme.
Considering all the above, it’s easy to see why branded residences have a strong appeal and command premium prices in the luxury rental market. Typically, owners will have the option to enter their property into the on-site rental programme, making it a hands-off investment for you the owner.
Branded residences in London
Mayfair is the new hot spot for branded residences in London, with an estimated 15 new projects at various stages of completion. These include the head-turning Cheval Blanc Residences development, part of a £500m five-star hotel on Grafton Street.
But it was Knightsbridge and Whitehall that first attracted this type of development. In the former, the completion of the Candy brothers’ One Hyde Park at Mandarin Oriental was a landmark moment that took branded residences to new levels of luxury. Other notable developments nearby include the Bulgari Private Residences & Hotel, The Knightsbridge Apartments and Trevor Square Apartments. New projects on the horizon include The Peninsula at Hyde Park Corner.
In Whitehall, stand-out developments include the Corinthia Private Residences & Hotel, the ME Hotel and Marconi House Residences and the Great Scotland Yard Hotel.
In addition to Cheval Blanc Residences, Mayfair’s most prominent projects, both new and planned, include The Residences at Mandarin Oriental Mayfair in Hanover Square and Mayfair Park Residences serviced by the neighbouring Dorchester Collection London.
“Our residents will become the first people in the world to enjoy the renowned services of a Dorchester Collection hotel in the comfort of their own home,” enthused Tarun Tyagi, CEO at Clivedale London, developers of Mayfair Park Residences. “We are excited to set a new benchmark for private residential developments.”
Two noteworthy developments with five-star facilities on-site include No 1 Grosvenor Square and Clarges Mayfair, which overlooks Green Park.
While branded residences in London might offer the ideal solution for a hassle-free, lifestyle property in the capital, they come at a premium compared to properties without the hotel or branding connection or facilities. Typical prices in PCL can be anything between £5million and £30millon, even higher in some cases. And they don’t forget about the service charges and other associated fees they come with.