For a more frontal view of the palace, there’s Admiralty Arch, overlooking The Mall – commissioned by King Edward VII as a gift to his mother, Queen Victoria. Many a lord, admiral and WW2 spy has beavered away in this building. It’s where Churchill wrote some of his wartime speeches. And it’s home, as every London black cabbie knows, to Nelson’s spare nose. But with the 40,000 sq ft basement, housing a swimming pool, ballroom and private members club, now fully excavated, the coming year will see the final fit-out begin, including four extremely exclusive residences serviced by what promises to be one of London’s swankiest hotels, the Waldorf Astoria – with views down The Mall to Buckingham Palace.
If you have to ask…
Admiralty Arch also illustrates a growing trend in London’s ultra-prime property sphere for only revealing the price to buyers who can demonstrably afford that number of noughts. The four residences are “discreetly available now”, says Rafael Serrano Quevedo, founder of the developers Prime Investors Capital, but off-market and “by invitation only”, informs Quevedo. Prices, naturally, are confidential.
It’s similarly cloak and dagger at The Peninsula Residences – the world’s oldest hotel brand’s long-awaited foray into the London market, with a Peninsula hotel and 26 residences overlooking the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner. With the Asian brand’s forensic attention to detail, their reputation for ultra-luxury and a prestigious Belgravia location, prices will be among the highest for London new-builds. But you’ll only find out if you’re in the market to buy one. “It’s very under the radar,” says Simon Fernandes, head of sales. “The information will be on the Land Registry eventually, but you’ll never get it from us.”
Launching at last
Battersea Power Station opens to the masses in summer 2022 after a decade or more of redevelopment. The first owners have taken up residence in the Grade II* listed icon, with interiors designed by Michaelis Boyd. Ray-Ban and Ralph Lauren among the brands set to take over the retail space over the coming months, along with a 25,000 sq ft Food Hall. Flats on the sale in the power station itself include this 11th floor three-bedder in Boiler House Square for £8.45m.
Also within grasping distance is the long-awaited opening of Crossrail, with TFL promising the Elizabeth Line will be open for business in central London in the first half of 2022, four years after its original deadline. Ready and waiting next to Bond Street’s Crossrail station on the newly half-pedestrianised Hanover Square is Hanover, a new boutiquey retail, office and residential destination spanning from Hanover Square to North Bond Street. The aim behind its architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and the Great Portland Estate is to lift New Bond Street to old Bond Street’s chi chi shopping levels, and give this part of North Mayfair a new lease of life. For a taste, head to The Maine Mayfair at 20 Hanover Square, Joey Ghazal’s restaurant with a private members club vibe, set in a beautifully revamped Georgian townhouse. Want to live in the heart of it? Two-bed apartments with world-class hotel services in The Residences at Mandarin Oriental in Hanover Square start at £5.05m.
Where the grass is greener
Not all the big money is looking at London. Wealthy Middle Eastern, Chinese and American buyers are looking “for a large slice of quintessential England – significant acreage with a significant house to boot,” reports Edward Heaton at Heaton & Partners buying agency.
This past year’s rural hotspot – the Cotswolds golden triangle around Kingham, Broadwell and the Oddingtons, where property prices rose by around 30%, comments Gemma Maclaren at Middleton Advisers – shows no sign of waning, either, “especially with the addition of Daylesford’s gym and pool,” she adds. “The local villages to Soho Farmhouse such as Great Tew and Sandford St Martin are also super-prime performers.”
The hot island of 2022
If Ibiza is on your radar, prepare for some stiff competition. Famous local architect Rolf Blakstad says he’s the busiest he’s been in 30 years on the island. Estate agent Charles Marlow also reports his busiest winter ever. “There seems to be a worldwide consensus that cities are lacking in community and people are searching for something new, which Ibiza offers. Clients are relocating here, putting their children in local schools and buying homes with land,” says Marlow of Charles Marlow & Bros.