High-end hype
Some enterprising developers are selling their high-end residential projects by setting up 5-star club resorts within premises at less cost

While the overall demand for luxury residential property in Asia’s third biggest economy has been dampened by the impact of demonetisation and the newly introduced Good and Services Tax (GST) regime, it was mainstream luxury, also considered an investment asset class in the past, which was affected the most.

Moreover, this segment is also at least partially driven by home loans and not solely by private wealth.

But some enterprising developers across the country have found a new way to lure buyers and sell their high-end residential projects by setting up 5-star club resorts within the premises at less cost.

The premium apartments and villas in these high-end properties range from a minimum of Rs 50 lakh to Rs 2.4 crore to Rs 8.5 crore to Rs 12 crore and some even Rs 18 crore.

Hitherto developers were making club houses in their residential projects for the convenience of the residents/owners in the residential complexes is passé.

Today the new trend emerging in large high-end residential projects is primarily to create an ecosystem of wellness and convenience. Undoubtedly, the stress level of individuals with high paying jobs or successful entrepreneurs and business people on average is very high and on the increase. What they normally do is head out to resorts on the outskirts of the city or plan short holidays, especially weekends to de-stress.

Enterprising developers are now looking at creating such spaces within their residential properties to provide a better lifestyle to their customers.

Interestingly, these club resorts have all the facilities that you would see in a 4 or 5 star hotel or resort – right from rooms to restaurants to pools, spa, various sports arenas and nice landscaped spaces or mini golf courses in a few of them.

The guest rooms are run like regular hotel rooms. Once you stay in the room, you are allowed access to the bar, the restaurants and the pool. The sports facilities are reserved for members and guests.

Thus, they are providing the customers top class sports facilities and to also play an ideal host to any type of event. Curated to match the tastes and lifestyles of the high-net-worth individuals across India, these residential projects are a well deserved facility for them.

Moreover, these club resorts are now increasingly also being made open to non-apartment/project home owners on a membership basis, corporate and others.

“The prices too along with the facilities are competitive to augment sales to avoid running the business in a loss,” Vineet Verma, executive director and CEO at Brigade Hospitality, Brigade Group told Financial Chronicle.

The Bangalore-based 32-year-old Brigade Group have developed its Signature Club Resort at their 130-acre township called Brigade Orchards in the outskirts of Bangalore city called Devanhalli. Comprising of 4,000 residential units, the starting price of 1,080 sq ft two-BHK apartment is Rs 50 lakh while a 5,000 sq ft villa costs Rs 4 crore.

“Developers have to justify such high expenses in terms of investments in such club facilities. Because if they create these high-end facilities and have memberships restricted to only home owners, the expenses of maintenance become very high and the burden again falls on home owners who have already made a sizable investment in their own homes. Selling new memberships makes it easier to monetize the club resort,” Verma said.

The Signature Club Resort spread across 85,000 sq ft in Brigade Orchards has all the facilities of a 5-star hotel. It provides its customers the perfect destination for a get away from the hustle bustle of the city in the laps of nature.

A few other club resorts by builders are Angsana Oasis Spa and Resort developed by Bangalore-based Prestige Group at their Prestige Oasis residential project at Doddaballapura Main Road, Bangalore and Palm Meadows Resort developed by Bangalore-based Adarsh Developers in Palm Meadows at Whitefield, East Bangalore.

“Luxury is making a very gradual comeback, way behind affordable and mid-range housing, and there is a lot of ready supply on the market,” Anuj Puri, chairman at Anarock Property Consultants told Financial Chronicle.

In such an environment, developers of new luxury projects need to introduce impactful differentiators, and providing high-grade club facilities to emulate 5-star luxury amenities and services is one such differentiator.

“Residents can avail of these facilities to entertain themselves and their guests at a much lower cost than would be incurred in a 5-star hotel,” Puri pointed out.

Along with the added convenience of the facility being right within the project, developers can also offset the costs of establishing and running such facilities by inviting outside patronage, as well, he said.

The running of such facilities falls within the purview of hospitality and is therefore not part of most developers' field of expertise.

“As such, outside hospitality operators and facility management agencies focused on luxury premises are called in for this purpose,” Puri said.

Arvind SmartSpaces, the 10-year-old BSE-listed arm of the Rs 11,000 crore Arvind Group conglomerate, is also developing a 5-star Club Resort within their Upland integrated township spread over 135-acre campus in Ahmedabad. It is the first of its kind project in Gujarat.

“The first phase of 300 villas will be delivered by December 2018,” Kamal Singal, managing director and CEO at Arvind SmartSpaces told Financial Chronicle. The company has already sold out 150 villas till now to business people, NRIs and high-networth individuals, he claimed. The company plans to build a total of 1,000 units of apartments as well as villas as per the market demand in phases.

“The smallest villa spread over 6,000 sq ft with a built up are of 3,000 sq ft cost Rs 1.5 crore while the biggest villa comprising of 27,000 sq ft with a built up area of 10,000 sq ft is priced at Rs 12 crore,” Singal said.

He said the Upland Club Resort, spread over 13-acre campus with a 1 lakh sq ft built up area, comprising of 20 rooms, food and beverage courts, dinging and partying lawns, super indoor and outdoor sports facilities, including a golf course would ready for commercial operation by December 2018-March 2019.

Nawabzada Omer bin Jung, executive director hospitality at Prestige Group, said its Angsana Oasis Spa and Resort at Prestige Oasis property on the Main Doddaballapura Road at the outskirts of Bangalore is spread over 8-acre campus. It is managed by the Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts. The Prestige Oasis property comprises of a layout of 181 plots and villas spread over around 10,000 sq ft area.

“The resort is not exactly a Club Resort, but a resort with sprawling landscapes, sporting and recreational facilities, an international spa, food and beverage outlets as well as conferencing facilities,” Jung explained. The residents and members have access to all these facilities and open to others too. It runs as an independent facility and the members get to enjoy the services at a preferred rate.

“The resort adds a tremendous value to the property and members get to utilize a facility of international standards at subsidised rates. This does increase not only the standard of living but uplifts the entire community,” Jung pointed out.

“Our Palm Meadows gated community property at Whitefield, East Bangalore, was rated as one of the world’s top ten destinations to live,” BM Jayshankar, Adarsh Developers, who run a top notch Palm Meadows Resort spread over 3-acre campus told Financial Chronicle.

He said while 570 villas have been sold out, about 20 more villas with a built up area in the 4,000-6,000 sq ft bracket are being developed. These villas cost in the Rs 6 crore to Rs 8.50 crore range.

Listed firm Vason Engineer’s Windermere is yet another project at upmarket Koregaon Park in Pune. It is a premium piece of uber luxury project, comprising of 76 apartments in two 22-storey buildings ready for occupation. It is the most sought after addresses in Pune by the leisured class and rich and famous.

With price starting from Rs 6 crore to Rs 18 crore for 3,000 sq ft to 8,500 sq ft, the project redefines luxury, boasts of sophisticated, elite and best in class amenities for the residents that include a multipurpose hall with spa, steam and sauna.

Extra large jogging tracks, golf putting, tennis court, three gymnasiums, best in class swimming pool apart from selected units with private swimming pools adds to the facilities with high living atmosphere. Year round heat and ventilation study conducted at the design level itself ensures minimum heat but maximum sunlight and ventilation across residences.

Residents will be pampered with concierge services by Quintessentially, renowned the world over for their class and efficiency. Seating area, courtyard, gazebos and barbeque corner only adds to the opulence of this project.

“Windermere, spread across 5-acres with 82 per cent open landscaped greens with uncompromising quality and attention to detail offers gracious living right in the most prestigious location of Pune,” Rajesh Mhatre, CEO, real estate at Vascon Engineers, said.

These club resorts at properties, apart from offering regular facilities of gym, swimming pool, table tennis badminton courts, also provide their customers with conference halls, boardrooms, ballrooms, and banquets and well appointed rooms for stay.

“These new club resorts instead of the old, regular club houses are pushing sales of apartments,” Adarsh Narahari, secretary at CREDAI-Bangalore told Financial Chronicle.

“If a person is looking at an apartment that costs say Rs 1.5 crore and he has two options, one of which provides him with the facilities of a 5-star club resort and the other a regular apartment complex with no elaborate club house, he will definitely opt for a resort like residential project,” he pointed out.

In fact, the new club resorts with all facilities motivate customers to either buy properties for their own use or invest in the project for better returns.

The investment is also made by home owners because a Club Resort is where the developer retains whole ownership. Residents are extended usage rights for a specific number of years. They pay a monthly charge as well as an entry fees. The advantage is that because it is owned and run by the developer, the quality of maintenance remains high.

“The idea of selling memberships is to make things more affordable for a larger number of people. Over a period of time these facilities are going to become a norm,” Narahari said.

Kalpataru’s luxury villa project South Park-Amoda Reserve in Lonavala hill station, near Pune, also boasts of world class club that parallels any luxury club. Designed by leading Singapore based design firm Eco Id (designers of Conrad Koh Sa Mui in Thailand, W Retreat and Spa, Maldives and The Marriott Hotel Pool Villas, Singapore) the Club is visualized as a floating pavilion surrounded by water. Te clubhouse comprises several leisure facilities as well as a separate sports arena.

The South Park-Amoda Reserve’s clubhouse is spread over six acres. The price of the 3, 4, and 5 bedroom villas start from Rs 3.85 crore upward.



Michael Gonsalves