Luxury Amenities in a Post-Covid World
December 10, 2020|Super Prime Property
uper-prime property is all about the superlative, from the very finest materials to world-class amenities, the standard expected is nothing short of exceptional. Our globally mobile clients have experienced the world’s most exclusive hospitality, and therefore when they return home, they expect this same level of luxury at a minimum. As a result, hotel-style services such as 24-hour concierge, valet parking and a private pool has provided the benchmark for how a luxury home is measured. However, the impact of Covid-19 has seen interior design become increasingly personal, as our clients use their home for work, study, socialising and beyond, creating a new demand for private amenities. In the previous instalment to our three-part series on super-prime property in a post-Covid world, we focused on the role of wellbeing in the luxury home. In this final instalment, we speak with Trevor Kearney (@superprimesurrey), Director of Savills’ Country Department and Instagram influencer, to share the top luxury amenities our Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) clients are now seeking in their homes.
‘New-build homes offer high-level security and world-class amenities that are simply hard to match in a traditional resale home’
The elegant townhouses of Mayfair and Belgravia will always have an enduring appeal for our clients, but increasingly we are seeing a younger generation of global wealth who are seeking new-build homes. New homes now account for more than a third of London’s super-prime property sales, which is up from less than a fifth two years ago.* This appetite for new homes has been further accelerated as the number of properties in the golden postcodes granted planning consent fell to the lowest level in a decade. As Trevor states: ‘new-build homes offer high-level security and world-class amenities that are simply hard to match in a traditional resale home’. In addition, a new-build home offers our clients the unique opportunity to design, build and finish a home to meet their exact requirements.
Alongside new homes in London, a new-build country residence forms a highly attractive proposition for our clients seeking extensive internal and external space. In addition, it provides much-needed connectivity and access to nature, which has proven to be an important feature as we spend more time in our homes.
A new-build home presents the chance to weave embassy-grade solutions into the architecture of the building
With security beginning at the planning stage of the design process, a new-build home presents the chance to weave embassy-grade solutions into the architecture of the building. This is particularly important for exposed properties located in high-profile areas. Bullet, blast and bomb resistant windows and doors as well as panic rooms come as a standard in the majority of homes we design. With the UK’s current threat level recently increased to severe, the importance of these security precautions is even more apparent. As such, we are receiving requests for technology such as retina and iris scanning, fingerprint scanning and thermal detection, all controlled via an encrypted smart phone. In addition, our increasingly digitalised lives have placed an even greater importance on high-grade cyber security. As we continue to work from home, it is critical that devices that store sensitive information such as smartphones, laptops, tablets and computers are protected from an online attack.
Like terrorism, the pandemic has presented a new, unseen threat which is also changing the way luxury homes are designed and built. This begins as soon as you enter a super-prime residence: ‘the same physical space that a boot room traditionally occupied in luxury houses is now being rebranded as a dedicated room to control and minimise the risk of contamination’ says Trevor. Separate entrances and staircases for staff have long been a requirement in luxury homes, but the way this space is being utilised is now adapting to meet changing needs. This secure space now allows for contactless delivery of packages, groceries and meals via a separate entrance or annexe. Hand sanitising stations, thermal machines that provide temporary shoe covers and branded face masks and gowns all feature in this area. In addition, a separate front-of-house entrance room is being requested for residents and guests to use. This is just as functional as the staff entrance, but distinctly more sophisticated in design, providing a space to transition safely and stylishly into the home.
As in luxury hotels, high quality service is top of our client’s wish list. A round-the-clock concierge and valet service often come as a given in the homes that we design. Additional features such as a car lift to provide safe and secure storage of multiple vehicles is all the more attractive during this time. These lifts are typically temperature controlled, with some boasting glazed partitions so that their investments of passion can be admired from the heart of their home.
The kitchen is another key area of the home that exemplary service is expected, with a commercial-grade space situated at the back of the property for the house chef to prepare restaurant quality food. This space is now being designed to be as health-centric as possible, with antibacterial and antimicrobial materials, such as porcelain, quartz and granite surfaces. In addition, touchless faucets are gaining in popularity.
Alongside these new requirements, luxury amenities such as a gym and a home spa continue to be highly sought-after features. With gyms facing unforeseen closures due to changing government guidelines, a private gym is now a key space within most of the super-prime homes we design. Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, these spaces dedicated to fitness are yet another example of how health and wellbeing is being prioritised. A home spa perfectly accompanies a gym, providing a space to relax and rejuvenate after a workout. Trevor states: ‘the fixtures and finishes our discerning clients are seeking are inspired by the world’s finest spas and hotels, which they are looking to emulate in their own homes.’ Under floor heating, digitally controlled appliances and bespoke fixtures are just some of the features that we incorporate into the design of our luxury bathrooms, creating a functional yet beautiful space to luxuriate in. An accompanying sauna and steam-room completes this decadent at-home spa experience.
Its clear that properties with these private amenities will command an even higher premium than they have historically, as these features are viewed as essentials to daily living rather than a nice-to-have. As Trevor explains: ‘with ever-changing government guidelines, my clients want to be sure that any shared amenities are now integrated into the design of their home, so that it is fully able to meet their needs under any circumstances’. In the luxury developments we work on, we are seeing some shared amenities increase in importance for our clients. For instance, private parks are now a key requirement, providing much-needed outdoor space that is still close to home. In general, outdoor space is even more highly sought after in both city and country residences than before the pandemic. In pied-à-terre’s where space is often at a premium, this is likely to be in the form of a roof terrace or courtyard. In country properties that enjoy more external room, our clients are seeking landscapes gardens and space for an outdoor pool.
The pandemic has seen previously top amenities such as a gym, swimming pool and cinema rooms, superseded by a new wish list of requirements. Although these features are still highly sought-after by our clients as they continue to spend more time at home, we predict that private amenities that address safety and security will continue to take precedence in 2021 and beyond.