In the current luxury real estate market where pet spas and rooftop pools are considered passé, developers are going all out to woo potential buyers with outrageous amenities. Which of these over-the-top features are fads and which are here to stay? I talked to top experts Jeremy Stein (JS), Senior Global Real Estate Advisor at Sotheby’s International Realty, and Noble Black (NB), Leading Manhattan Luxury Real Estate Agent at Douglas Elliman to find out.
#1: Private jet
At the luxurious 111 Murray Street (New York City), there’s an unprecedented private jet concierge for residents willing to shell out an extra $125,000 for 25 hours of flight time. Each paying resident could get a SkyCard from Blue Star Jets that includes access to 13,500 aircraft and helicopters from around the world. Price-wise, at 10 percent lower on light and medium-sized jets and 20 percent lower on heavy jets, this beats scouring for your own private jet service elsewhere.
Jeremy Stein: The jury is out on how helpful this amenity actually is. Granted, it’s useful in potentially saving you the hassle to book your own private jet service, but there may be more to this amenity only if there’s a special rate involved. Even so, my doubts remain since there’s a wealth of amazing deals from private jet services out there, so I wonder how much staying power this amenity has. Yet, people are talking about it, so this is certainly an effective way to brand property to a certain clientele.
Noble Black: Just like the sky garage, there’s an ongoing appeal about this amenity. But again, it won’t be a mass market. As one of the sales agents at 111 Murray Street, I think this is a great example of how the layering of several top amenities (this along with Drybar, the morning patisserie and huge spa) can really illustrate the type of lifestyle offered by the building.
#2: Rooftop helipad
When traffic gets bad and even the trip to your private jet becomes too time-consuming, there’s always the option of taking a helicopter from your building. Well, that’s if you’re one of the residents at Zaha Hadid Architects’ One Thousand Museum (Miami).
Jeremy Stein: It’s a good amenity to have that really distinguishes the lifestyle offered in this building. As long as it’s allowed in cities, I would say it’s here to stay.
Noble Black: This is another amenity with the ongoing appeal but obviously not going to be widespread. This makes luxury travel even easier, especially if you can combine it with the private jet service.
#3: Sky garage
With private garages on the same floor as the residences at Missoni Baia (Biscayne, Florida) and 200 Eleventh Avenue (New York City)—plus one that’s big enough to hold up to 11 cars at the penthouse of the Porsche Design Tower (Sunny Isles Beach, Florida), this is the ultimate amenity for paparazzi-proof privacy and unparalleled convenience.
Jeremy Stein: I found this idea ridiculous at first, but it definitely grew on me. Unlike the many over-the-top amenities out there, the sky garage gets used every day, and they actually change the way people live. In my opinion, this is perhaps the amenity with the most staying power.
Noble Black: Given the level of privacy and security you can ensure with this amenity, I’d definitely say it isn’t a fad. While it would be especially popular among auto-enthusiasts who’d want to interact with cars as part of their luxury living experience, I doubt it would be a widespread one simply based on the cost involved.
#4: Stroller valet
As if Park Slope needs further confirmation for its stroller-heaven status, there’s now a condominium at 251 First Street (Brooklyn, New York) that has a stroller valet and a dedicated room that can store up to 50 strollers. This means you could request for the strollers to be ready when you leave, and stored in the room (for you and visiting guests) when you’re home.
Jeremy Stein: This is pretty hilarious, but it makes sense. It’s nice that developers are trying to consider who the unit owners are and what kind of service they’d appreciate. For sure, it’s a location-specific amenity for neighbourhoods with lots of families. But with some people preferring to load and unload items to and from their strollers in their apartments, I don’t know whether the idea will stick.
Noble Black: I think this amenity certainly has staying power. It responds to parents’ concern about where to park their strollers. Of course, some people may choose to not use the service. But even for residents without children, there are times when a stray stroller could get in the way within hallways, so this is a great amenity to provide.
#5: Feng shui consultant
To many people, one of the most important components of a comfortable home is hinged on the principles of Feng Shui. Given the global appeal of this sophisticated Chinese system of creating harmonious spaces, PARAMOUNT Miami Worldcenteradded this amenity in response to the building’s popularity among buyers from 38 different countries and 25 confirmed sales to Chinese buyers.
Jeremy Stein: It can’t hurt to have a Feng Shui consultant in the building, but this sounds faddy to me.
Noble Black: Interesting. There’s definitely a global appeal to this amenity, and it may be good now that there aren’t many buildings (if any) offering the same service. But I can’t really see this having staying power. An effective amenity is something you can use regularly, but a Feng Shui consultant may only come in handy when you’re moving in or renovating your apartment. In my opinion, what could make a bigger difference is to apply Feng Shui principles into the floor plan.
#6: In-house lifestyle curator
Now that you’ve got a swanky apartment, there’s a ‘lifestyle curator’ who could help you look the part too. At Residences by Armani/Casa (Sunny Isles, Florida), there’s a ‘lifestylist’ who’s there to help residents from fulfilling standard concierge requests to acting as an in-house fashion expert, personal stylist and liaison with nearby Armani boutiques.
Jeremy Stein: Pointless. People with a desire for lifestyle or fashion curation should find someone who represents their style.
Noble Black: Great one! This is a very appealing amenity that people could use on a regular basis. I like the idea of having a high-level concierge service to help curate your lifestyle. A lot of the buyers may not have the knowledge or the time out of their busy schedules to lead the lifestyle attached to these luxury apartments, so a service like this would come in handy. And let’s not forget the pied-à-terre buyers who could very well benefit from all the local knowledge.
#7: Hotel-style room service
Oftentimes, the most pampering treatment is a proper meal (think table cloth and fancy silverware) at home. That’s what you could easily get at SLS Hotel & Residences Brickell (Miami) from Très and The Bazaar by José Andrés; and SLS LUX (Miami) from Katsuya by Sueshi Katsuya. For fancier fare, you can request for a chef (or Andrés himself!) to prepare the meal in the unit starting at $250 person; or have Katsuya whip up a private 20-course omakase. The whole team of waitstaff and sommelier is available for an additional charge.
Noble Black: This winning amenity shows how luxury is really in the details. Yes, you can order food from anywhere, but this is a deluxe service where you can have someone set the table and properly layout the dishes. And for residents who want to throw an impromptu party, that’s almost like having your in-house catering staff.