Hitting it out of the park
London’s luxury living has become a tale of two cities, with pioneers of cool drawn firmly to the east, and global traditionalists upholding the centuries-old heritage of the west. Nowhere is this more evident than in the current battle of the parks. A new landmark is rising in the West End’s Hyde Park – The Bryanston, designed by Walkie-Talkie architect Rafael Viñoly as his debut in London housing. On the cusp of old-money Mayfair and modish Marylebone, the undulating 18-storey tower contains just 54 apartments (priced from £2.6m, through thebryanston.co.uk) with rare south-facing views over the park and access to an array of amenities, from a spa and screening room to a children’s play area and underground parking.
On the other side of town, overlooking the more newly regal Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, The Stratford Lofts are defining urban must-haves for Generation Rent. Intermingled with a boutique hotel, two restaurants, three bars and a gym, the minimal-chic serviced apartments (from £2,100 a month, through thestratford.com) provide access to both a vibrant “vertical” community (with organic herb garden, curated cultural events and on-tap housekeeping) and East Bank, London’s major new cultural quarter, soon to house outposts of the V&A, UCL, Sadler’s Wells and the BBC.
Urban cool in Berlin
Few cities in Europe have seen a greater transformation in recent decades than Berlin. Thirty years on from the fall of the wall, a city of renters is increasingly keen to buy (an appetite reflected in a price rise of nearly 70 per cent from 2014 to 2019). Fortunately, for both local and international purchasers, new-build domesticity is now upping its design game to rival such triumphs of public architecture as the Foster & Partner’s Reichstag and David Chipperfield’s Neues Museum restoration. The latest desirable addition, launching this spring, will be AM Tacheles, designed by Pritzker Prize-winners Herzog & de Meuron (authors of the Tate Modern extension). Built on one of the last remaining “gap sites” in the historic core of Mitte, this sleek new slice of urban living will incorporate everything from apartments (from €696,000 through savills.com) to townhouses and lofts – and, alongside its restaurants, cafés and shops, it should provide a suitably distinguished celebration of three decades of new-look Berlin.
Greek chic hotel residences
Marrying hotel service with your own personal space is an ever-more popular way to unite five-star wanderlust with the privacy, flexibility and freedom of home ownership, but luxury hotelier One&Only has only recently launched this coveted combination. Kea Island in the Cyclades archipelago is its first venture in Greece – and the EU – and will also be one of only five destinations in its portfolio to allow scope for purchase. Just a 10-minute helicopter flight from Athens airport, in a landscape punctuated by watermills, olive groves and ancient towns, the 148-acre resort will, of course, feature the brand’s hallmark blend of relaxed sophistication, bespoke service and local cultural resonance, but owners of the handful of private residences (priced from €3m through oneandonlyresorts.com) will enjoy not only all the benefits of the hotel (beach club, three restaurants, two bars, spa and deluxe sports facilities) but also the potential to gain a guaranteed income by putting their property in the rental pool.
Luxe living at the Waldorf Astoria
New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel – founded in the 19th century, rebuilt in the 1930s – has always been a record-breaker (first with en-suite bathrooms; first with 24-hour room service; first with telephones in the rooms), and equally has always been linked to the world’s richest and most powerful – former guests and residents include Cole Porter, Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and the Queen. Occupying an entire block of Midtown Manhattan, the art deco masterpiece is currently undergoing restoration and – another first – will now offer the chance to purchase a slice of its illustrious history in the form of 375 condominiums (priced from $1.7m, through knightfrank.com; waldorftowers.nyc) poised above a Hilton-operated hotel. Only a lift ride away from such Waldorf fixtures as the Grand Ballroom and The Peacock Alley, “The Towers” apartments will also provide owners with a supersize menu of just-for-them attractions, including a theatre, spa, billiards room, library, demonstration kitchen and residential art curator.