Prestigious location and brand add premium to Dh4m Abu Dhabi apartment

One million US dollars is an awful lot of money.

Dr Evil in the first Austin Powers film may have been sadly out of touch when demanding that sum to ransom the world back in 1997 but in property circles the figure still represents something of a watershed. It separates ordinary housing from the sort of luxury homes many of us can only aspire to own.

So what should we make of a two bedroom apartment in Abu Dhabi which has come on the market for just over that price at Dh4 million?

As two bedroom flats in Abu Dhabi go, this one would certainly be a very pleasant place to live.

Located on Abu Dhabi’s prestigious Saadiyat Island, it is one of just 259 apartments to make up the St Regis Residences nestled between a Gary Player-designed golf course and the beach and linked to the nearby St Regis hotel.

The second floor flat in a four storey block comprises a total area of 1,548 square feet. A spacious kitchen/dining room leads to two generously sized en suite bedrooms on either side.

There is a long thin balcony of another 184 sq ft outside the master bedroom and living room and another smaller balcony outside the second bedroom. And of course the flat comes with two dedicated parking spaces.

But the real benefit to buying here comes with the St Regis brand. As part of the St Regis complex on Saadiyat, residents get access to the St Regis beach as well as facilities including a lap pool, leisure pool and kids pool.

And, as a branded apartment, residents are also able to make use of a plethora of benefits and services linked to the luxury hotel – charged at similar rates as guests at the hotel would pay.

Just by picking up the phone they can enjoy a housekeeping and maid service, laundry, 24-hour in residence dining, a personal butler, grocery shopping, massages and even an in-residence personal chef.

“The fact that these apartments are branded with the St Regis name adds value,” says Almer Agmyren, managing director of selling agent Rex Real Estate.

Q&A

How many branded apartment developments are there?

Branded apartments can be found all over the world. Brokers estimate that in Dubai alone there are around 300 branded residences with famous names including Dunhill, Ferrari and Versace.

Why do branded apartments cost more?

Linking a five-star hotel or global luxury brand with a residential development is about far more than being able to order room service and having top notch facilities. According to Savills, you are likely to pay 20-30 per cent more for a branded property than its bog standard equivalent.

Why do developers build them?

Branded residences, which are usually attached to a hotel, make sense for developers. Free-standing hotels are expensive to build, with no inflow of cash until operations start, followed by a minimum of three years to reach a stable income. Branded residences make new projects more economic, since the proceeds from the sales of the flats reduce the financing requirements on the hotel development.

Why do people pay a premium?

For the prestige and because many international buyers like the reassurance of a big luxury name whose style and standards remain the same wherever they are in the world. More practically, these developments tend to see a similar premium for rentals and on resale, so buyers feel confident their purchase will hold its value.

How much will they sell for?

According to Knight Frank, luxury branded residences around the world command an average uplift of 31 per cent compared with non-branded schemes. In Cape Town that uplift is as high as 51 per cent.