The Evolution of Luxe Living: Part 1

When residential developers plan their projects, considerable thought goes into which amenities will most impress buyers and ‘out-feature’ their competitors. Continually striving to offer distinctive design, cutting-edge innovation and 5* facilities, the bar gets raised ever higher as developers compete to deliver new and original conveniences and comforts in their luxury residential buildin

Since the turn of the Millennium, a global trend of consumers aspiring to the finer things in life has seen the fortunes of luxury brands rocket skywards. The ‘on demand’ accessibility of high-end luxury has also driven an appetite for super-prime real estate, propelling demand for exceptional private facilities, interior design, one-of-a-kind architecture and world-class services, to deliver the ultimate luxury lifestyle.

Certainly, real estate developers in Sri Lanka are competing to offer the most sophisticated living experiences, spearheaded by Colombo’s Sapphire Residences, which are widely regarded as some of the finest luxury apartments ever seen in South Asia. Sapphire Residences ticks all the boxes when it comes to luxury real estate in Colombo. 

However, in recent years there has been a marked shift from a focus on physical elements to experiential features. “The World Ultra Wealth Report accurately predicted that service would become a strong differentiator for luxury brands, highlighting a growing desire for personalization in the search for exclusivity, peace of mind and uniqueness,” observes Chris Graham, author of a leading report on luxury branded residences, “and it is no surprise that luxury experiences are overtaking luxury purchases – a shift from ‘having’ to ‘being’.” To illustrate this, Mr. Graham cites Luxe Hub Consultancy, which defined luxury as seamlessness, convenience, speed and quality of personalized service. “There’s no mention here of any tangible elements.

interior of sapphire residence
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Luxury means different things to different people; so, in the context of hospitality and real estate, how can we benchmark it? Luxury Portfolio International opined that ‘what passed as a luxury experience even five years ago, today feels tired and uninspired. The principle of luxury that matters today is emotional connection.’ Certainly John Hitchcox, co-founder of YOO (with the legendary Philippe Starck, who designed the spectacular interiors at Sapphire Residences) strongly believes that emotional attachments lead to higher engagement and satisfaction among residents.

“The definition of luxury isn’t static. It shifts with the times,” observes Patrick Whyte, Editor of Skift. “What was once considered appropriate for the high-end traveler can quickly fall out of fashion as tastes change.” Mr Graham points out that for decades 5-star was accepted as the hospitality pinnacle, yet now this is up to 7 Star. “How long until we reach 10 Star – and what will it look like? It’s no longer enough simply to offer a wider range of features, more marble, gold-plated taps and 5-star facilities; the focus is on creating a truly personal and emotional engagement.”

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There is little doubt that purchasers at the top of the market expect something special, and Sapphire Residences is certainly pushing the boundaries through ‘The Splendour of Gracious Living’ that offers residents an exceptional, unique lifestyle to supplement the spectacular Sky Mansions, through their luxury real estate in Colombo. Indeed, recognizing that luxe lifestyle afficionados appreciate the extra value that renowned brands can deliver it is no surprise that the developer, WelcomHotels Lanka, assembled a world-class collection of leading global brands with the finest minds in the business to deliver Colombo’s newest landmark.

Sapphire Residences Experience Centre, 21, Galle Face Centre Road, Colombo 1

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