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Builders M3M, Lodha, Panchshil, Oberoi and others offer freebies to lure luxury home buyers

Anuradha Himatsingka, Kailash Babar & Ravi Teja Sharma, The Economic Times

September 13, 2011


If buying a luxury home wasn't enough comfort, builders are throwing in free laundrette, high-tech car wash and even personalised stationery to please the well-heeled. In Gurgaon, developer M3M has recently launched homes based around the sport of Polo. Here, the developer has tied up with Polo player Adhiraj Singh, who runs Equisport Management, to offer Polo training and horse riding for home owners. Here, each apartment buyer will also be given personalised M3M Polo Suites stationery.

In Mumbai and Pune, developers such as Lodha and Panchshil Realty are roping in world-renowned architects and designers to build signature properties. In May, Lodha Developers launched its new project in Goregaon which is being designed and styled by Jade Jagger.

Developer Forum Projects' luxury residential condominium project Atmosphere in Kolkata is offering mechanised in-house laundry and dry-cleaning to apartment owners. It will also offer ergonomically designed rainfall beds for relaxation and hydrotherapy and a multi-layered exclusive club hanging between two tall towers at a height of 400 feet.

Oberoi Realty's proposed ultra-luxury development at Worli in Mumbai will see a five-star hotel chain servicing and maintaining the residences. The project will see most of the five-star hotel services being provided to the home buyers at a cost. It will also offer celebrity chef service at home. The group is in talks with international operators for managing the luxury hotel that will be spread over one-third of the total 2.1 million square feet development.

"Swanky lifestyle options like recreational facilities, huge parking space, extensive landscaping and trendy architectural designs are the quintessential 'modern' pad being offered by one and all. With luxury becoming a necessity and people keen to live life king size, everyone now like to dwell in aesthetically designed sylvan surroundings. There's this mad rush to offer more and be the first to do so. So, innovation and unique offerings is becoming order of the day irrespective of the business cycle," was the universal refrain by all those into building luxury homes.

Kolkata-based Forum Projects managing director Rahul Saraf says, "The imagining stage is the most vital part of the process for any development. I flew to Singapore to see design architects ARC Studio Khoo Peng Beng and Belinda Huang groundbreaking Pinnacle@Duxton. The 12 sky gardens suspended between its seven tall towers amazed me and was also the genesis of Deya, a multi-layered sky garden in the form of a suspended cloud sculpture."

"We did not want to create another 'me too' product in the luxury space. To sell in today's market conditions, you need to have a unique proposition, create a theme-based lifestyle product that can attract people," M3M India's head of marketing Kunal Banerji points out. The apartment owners will also get exclusive access to international Polo events in Argentina and other countries as well as to Polo Safari holidays.

At World One, the proposed residential tower to be developed by Lodha Developers in Mumbai will not only be the tallest residential tower in the world offering the best snob value. The iconic development will also have exclusive observatory called '1000', located at a height of 1,000 feet above giving residents views of the city.

Inspired by iconic, cylindrical structures designed by ace designer, Philippe Starck, in Tel Aviv, Israel, yooPune being developed by Panchshil Realty is offering its residents a central vacuum cleaning system to get rid of all dirt, if there is any, that is - for the house is sheathed with glass walls.

Says Panchshil Realty chairman Atul Chordia, per square feet cost of these additional offerings sometimes work out to be as much or even more than the per square feet construction cost.While cost may not be key issue with ultra-rich residents, it is not easy to zero in unique concepts and structures. A lot of ideation and brainstorming sessions go into it so that the designs and innovation are impeccable and match global standards.

"The whole process is mutual where inputs come from developers, their marketing team and the architect. Suggestions about structure and design related aspects are given by the architect. However, services and facilities aimed at attracting customers are usually from the marketing team. Developer will have a final say on anything that requires any long-term commitment from his side," says Hafeez Contractor, an architect.

Even the selling processes of such homes are different. To sell its recently launched Polo Suites, M3M used niche art exhibitions, embassy balls, luxury roadshows in London and Dubai. "We can't hard sell luxury. It has to be sold subtly," says Banerji.