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How five-star amenities are attracting renters

Screening rooms. High-end gyms. Private chefs. New-build developments are adapting to meet renter and buyer needs

Communal living room

A new type of resident is entering the new-build market, attracted to the lifestyle and amenities it offers. In turn, luxury developments are constantly innovating to offer incredible services that reflect the needs of the market: club rooms, flexible working spaces, wellbeing facilities and green spaces are all high on the list.

Impressive working spaces

A shift in working culture has occurred in the past 10 years, as more companies offer employees the opportunity to work flexibly. This has impacted how new-build developments are approaching communal spaces, says Nina Coulter, Savills Sales and Marketing Director in London. “The traditional workspace is rapidly changing,” she says. “Lots of people enjoy flexible working and increasingly people are working from home. They want to be around people, and feel part of the community.” Every resident of Embassy Gardens can become a member of the Eg:le Club (above), which grants access to private, first-class amenities, along with the world’s first sky pool, a gym and spa, and an indoor swimming pool.

This trend for high-end communal space appears all over the world. “The quality is improving year on year,” agrees Edina Wong, Senior Director, Residential Services, Savills Hong Kong. “If a clubhouse is not available, there will always be some communal areas for the residents.”

And these spaces have to be attractive. Developers are bringing in big names to design spaces in the hope of attracting new renters and owners. For example, 9 Millbank will offer communal space designed by award-winning interior designers Goddard Littlefair.

“Residents want a nice view, they want to be around beautifully designed artwork,” explains Nina. Edina agrees: “The expectation of quality has increased. Appliances and finishes have improved, namely because developers are trying to outperform each other.”


Television Centre development lobby with high ceilings

Luxury wellbeing facilities

“Wellness continues to be an important focus for residents,” says Nina. “At the Television Centre development in London (above), the Soho House gym is impressive.” The health club has an 18.5m pool, steam room, sauna, fitness and yoga studios, as well as a spa that gives a full range of beauty treatments – all in a high-end, contemporary space.

“Small, dark amenity spaces are a thing of the past. Developers today realise the best way to maximise amenity space to benefit residents,” explains Nina. “People would rather live somewhere where they can meet and interact with other people.”

Garrett Derderian, Director of Data and Reporting at Stribling, Savills New York associate, says the New York market is seeing the same trend for high-end wellbeing facilities. “We see developments offering many amenities that cater to the wellness crowd. Those amenities include everything from juice bars, indoor/outdoor pools, hammams, rock-climbing walls, and private spa/treatment rooms. At 252 East 57th Street, New York, there’s a huge range of luxury amenities, including a swimming pool, spa, state-of-the-art fitness centre with pilates room (below), screening room, children’s playroom and dog play space to name just a few.


Modern pilates room with view of New York city

Creating a community

Interacting is now more important than ever for residents. Indeed, they want a community – not just somewhere to live. “Residents want to speak to the concierge and build a rapport with them, and with their neighbours, too,” says Nina. “People love communal space and green space that is theirs, whether it’s on a roof or it’s a garden. And they care about the retail provision. They want to be able to get groceries, go out for a nice meal and be able to walk home.”

“Convenience tends to be a driving factor in the New York market,” Garrett agrees. “Anything close to transportation and local shops in any of the boroughs does well.”

Edina has noticed a similar trend for a sense of community in Hong Kong new builds: “Communal spaces are important,” she says. “Management companies are offering different activities for residents, such as festive events, tours and classes.” Nina agrees: “The schemes that are run well put on events and create communities, inviting residents to yoga sessions or craft classes.”

Growing with your family

Another change to the needs of apartments is family-friendly living. As younger residents start their families, they want their development to grow with them. “We are seeing more children living in flats,” says Nina. “The future of amenities will include an element of childcare, and allow children to play outside in friendly communities.”

Garrett says family is also front of mind for New Yorkers: “Many buildings in New York offer children’s playrooms, allowing a space for the younger residents and their guardians to connect.”

The high-end extras

Then there are the more unusual, high-end amenities: cleaner-air initiatives, electric-car charging points, screening rooms and even private chefs. The private residents cinema at Queen Anne’s Gate and the wine storage room at Rathbone Square, and the car-club scheme at The View are just some examples of this. “You can have dining facilities where chefs come and cook for you and your friends,” says Nina. “And people love screening rooms where they can play computer games or watch football.”

Incorporating technology into new-builds

A key trend from Hong Kong that Edina highlights is younger residents wanting to utilise technology. “A trend we have seen that’s capturing young people’s imagination is high-speed internet and quick or complete connectivity,” she says. “They’re also interested in apps and high-tech gadgets. They want innovative apps to streamline repair management and payment of fees.”

This is also something on the minds of developers in the UK. Many schemes lack signal due to the way new-builds are constructed, but this needs to change. “Both signal and broadband speeds will be a key factor in future development, with certain construction methods required to change,” concedes Nina.

Buildings in New York are realising the power of social media for both their marketing objectives and also for building a community for residents. “Nearly all buildings have online portals where residents can interact through bulletin boards,” says Garrett. “These online centres also offer resident-only discounts at local shops, and calendars where events are posted. We also see the use of photo-sharing platforms, such as Instagram, being incredibly popular with new buildings, both from a marketing perspective to garner interest from potential renters, but also to showcase events and shops and restaurants in the area.”