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Lifestyle redefined - July 07, 2007. Times Property (Times of India)

" With builders promising to offer the best that money can buy, luxury living is no longer the stuff of dreams"

Imagine a luxury apartment with its landscaped grounds, a pool side view and an executive club. This could be your permanent residential address. Today's home buyer is no longer looking for a mere apartment. A property has to have some character and some amenities to draw them towards it. But like all good things, great lifestyles come attached with hefty price tags. An 8000 sq. ft. five bedroom duplex at Cuffe Parade, one of Mumbai's premium residential areas, with a complete sea view, is valued at a premium rate of Rs. 50,000 per sq. ft. Or a spacious 6000 sq ft, 18 crore house at Juhu sea and beach facing, another sought after location for home buyers.

There is a rising demand in the Indian real estate market for bigger and better apartments, mainly from Executives, Non-Resident Indians [NRIs], and High Net worth Individuals [HNIs] in their mid thirties and forties working for Financial Institutions, Banks, IT, Software companies or running their successful self/family owned businesses. Taking a cue, developers and builders are offering high-end properties that become landmarks in their own locations over time. Pallazo, in Juhu is a 'By Invitation Only' project offering eight exclusive five-bedroom apartments, one on each floor, with advanced home automation, a lavish sun deck and even a lotus pond/plunge pool in every residence.

Usually a premium apartment is a three bedroom of 3,000 sq ft. The size automatically increases in a high-end unit. Very high-end spaces in Mumbai mean apartment sizes of 5,000-10,000 sq ft of eight to ten bedrooms with a terrace or garden spaces and even a swimming pool. Among the most impressive buildings under construction in Mumbai is Shapoorji Pallonji's Imperial Towers at Tardeo. Two 65-storey towers, with 10 levels of parking and twolevel lobbies are followed by 28 floors of duplex and another 20 floors of penthouses with options of a terrace garden or a private pool.

Standing tall at 38 storeys, the first 20 storeys make up the automatic car parking and other amenities at Orbit Heights, Nana Chowk. From Orbit Corporation, homes here come in three sizes and interiors are contemporary, ethnic Indian or Mediterranean, with double glazed soundproof windows. Villa Orb at Napean Sea Road is an 18-storey tower where each floor is a 'Theme Floor'. Detailing is the key factor; points like the ones below truly define Lifestyle maintaining Indian aesthetic values.

Panoramic ocean view from all floors 7 star Aura and Vaastu conformed suites for homes. Art-deco styled elevation features integrated with Italian stone and fully lit dome Stainless steel reinforcement bars in the entire building. Well-equipped health and fitness centre along with swimming pool.

Well planned five-bedroom apartments with large sea-facing decks offer a panoramic view. Lodha Group's Bellissimo, a 50-storey tower located at Lower Parel has a total of 18,800 sq m of open space where there will be waterfalls and areas for barbeques. On offer are residences that open into a sprawling sky garden and biometric fingerprint that gets you access to elevators and floors.

Needless to say, these apartments are centrally air-conditioned equipped with modular kitchens sometimes fitted with a chimney, fridge and a cooking range. In order to classify as a lifestyle apartment, servant's quarters, parking space for at least two cars and state-of-the-art security systems are the more basic amenities. The interiors of a luxury apartment could sport Italian marble/wooden/imported tile flooring, acrylic emulsions, the best modular kitchens basically, the works. Bathrooms are fitted with the best sanitary fittings with master bathrooms having add-ons like sauna, steam, and Jacuzzi. Typically these places would also offer splendid views of either a picture-perfect city skyline, or a sea view and green open spaces with a host of entertainment and recreational options.

As an innovative approach, buyers are provided an option for shell apartments or bare walls with no other finishing - thus the idea of a Designer Home, furnished with your own personal preferences. These unfurnished lifestyle homes minus flooring, plastering or woodwork are still priced between Rs 15 and 40 crore.

The prices of premium properties in Mumbai differ from location to location. At Nepean Sea Road and Worli, a two-level penthouse of 8000 sq ft is offered at Rs 40 crore and 32 crore respectively. In line with international standards, most highend premium properties fetch high resale values. A two level 4250 sq ft duplex in the premium Juhu belt is available on lease for Rs 5.5 lakh per month and a single level 5 bedroom at Bandra at Rs 9 lakh a month.

There is a big misconception that the price tag of an apartment alone puts it into the high-end bracket. Exclusivity is the buzzword in the premium segment market. With builders promising to offer the best that money can buy, luxury living is no longer the stuff of dreams.