One of the perks of great wealth is the ability to travel the world and stay in the finest hotels with the most wondrous array of luxuries, including full-time concierge service.
So why would such travelers expect less when they come home? As it turns out, many of them don’t expect less when they come home.
Which is why there is a boom in what is known as hotel apartment living, where apartment and condominium dwellers enjoy all the benefits of a stay at a luxury hotel or resort. A concept that seems to have started in London, real estate brokers in the world’s richest cities have caught on to the demand for full-time service personnel at home as well as on the road.
From New York to Sydney to Cape Town, there appears to be no limit to what luxury apartments offer in the way of hotel-style services.
“The global market has forced a lot of people to travel extensively around the world, and by doing so, they are being exposed to really some exquisite hotel living," said Leonard Steinberg, a sales broker with Douglas Elliman, to the Associated Press. "When they come home, they do not want a lesser experience."
The services that are being offered at some apartments and condominiums include around-the-clock concierge service, room service caterers, valet services, housekeeping, security, saunas, steam rooms, fitness centers and other amenities beyond the imagination of some people, but not all.
For example, In London, there is The Residencies, which were completed in 2011 with apartments beginning at $10 million. The six-bedroom penthouse sold for $236 million. It is linked physically to the Mandarin Oriental hotel, and offers services including 24-hour concierge, valet services, car cleaning, housekeeping and security. The list of facilities available also includes a private cinema, treatment and relaxation rooms, private exercise studios, a virtual games room and a wine cellar.
The London-based property management firm Rhodium offers “the rarest properties imaginable.”
“Over the last decade, there has been a surge in demand for high-end residential properties in Central London,’’ Rhodium founder Dean Main said. “And as high net worth individuals have become more accustomed to a personal approach to their property needs, we have seen a convergence of property-related issues and general lifestyle requirements. These individuals are calling for the stress of home ownership and maintenance to be outsourced.”
In New York, the company Abigail Michaels Concierge operates under the tag line “Your life on a silver platter.” Its stated mission is to “bring luxury hotel service to daily living with 5-star style and services. AMC works with 200 Manhattan apartments and condominiums.”
The tallest residential building in New York is Gehry, designed by architect Frank Gehry. It offers apartments, including a two-bedroom that goes for $10,000 a month. The tower offers a billiards room, a boxing studio, a lifeguard-manned swimming pool, a children’s library, a grilling terrace with dining cabanas and a squash court.
This sort of living goes beyond New York. In Alexandria, Va. you can rent an apartment at 3001 Park Center Apartments, which offers on-site dry cleaning services, a guest suite, an on-site car wash, a club room that goes out to a patio with multiple barbeque grills, and a business center.
There are hotel-style apartment complexes open now in Cape Town, South Africa, Denver, San Francisco and Dallas. Trump Tower in Chicago has condominiums on the floors above the hotel below, and many of the hotel services are available to residents.
At the New Gotham apartments on 43rd St. in New York, they offer a concierge 25 hours a day. Yes, 25 hours a day.
The new condominium building at 150 Charles St. in New York is a converted West Village warehouse that includes a 75-foot pool for residents. The highest price condominium in the building sold for $35 million, and the building sold 85 percent of its units within 30 days. The building won’t actually open until 2015.
All the amenities listed go beyond those offered by even some of the finest hotels in the world, but the one service that matters the most is the full-service, full-time concierge.
“Fifteen years ago, people started worrying about having very high-end branded kitchen equipment,’’ said Bjorn Hanson, a professor of hospitality management at New York University. “This is kind of next in the evolution.”
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.