31 January 2024, Gulf Business
Raffles the Palm Dubai, a rebranded icon – through a partnership between Accor Group and Emerald Palace group (EGP), has become one of the most desired addresses in the emirate, and arguably in the UAE. It sits majestically on the west crescent of the frond, with stunning views of the Arabian Gulf, which few can compete with – in sheer scale and grandeur.
The property, a nod to palaces of yesteryear, comprises of 388 rooms, suites and villas, restaurants, swimming pools and world-class spa facilities.
The architecture, inspired by Renaissance and Baroque-style motifs, is luxury at its finest. On the inside, the lobby features 24-carat gold carved ceilings, crystal chandeliers, red velvet drapes and lush carpeting, that surrounds residents and visitors alike, with luxury and opulence.
Seran Gheorghe, vice pesident of Emerald Palace Group and director of Sales for Raffles The Palm Dubai Residences speaks to Gulf Business’ Marisha Singh, as his team announced the listing of Dubai’s most expensive penthouse – Super Penthouse R1.
The property priced at Dhs600m, features a basketball court, an outdoor cinema, a spa, a cigar lounge, even a hay room – among some of its amenities.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
1. What makes Raffles the Palm Dubai unique in the city’s real estate landscape?
In the competitive real estate landscape of Dubai, and the UAE – branded residences are a class apart. In this segment which again has an array of offerings, Raffles sits right at the top with only a few other brands that share the same history, prestige and quality of services and lifestyle offered to their clients.
2. Can you touch upon some milestones the property has achieved?
We finalised our first apartment from The Contemporary Style Collection, and we are inviting the agents and the clients to come and have a tour with our in-house Sales Team and check the quality and finishings we are delivering. I’m proud to say that the response has been fantastic.
3. What explains the valuation of the penthouse that was put up for sale for Dhs600m?
Of course, the size matters and at 77,000 square feet this size is anything but ordinary. In terms of quality and design, no effort was spared when conceptualising, building, and finally designing this penthouse. From finishings to furniture, everything that we have on offer is the best in class. Combine all of this with the location of the property, and you have a product that is unique in the truest sense which is why we consider the price justified.
4. Who are your target customers?
The Super Rich with fine taste who are always looking for the best and unique possessions that can’t be replicated no matter the price you pay.
5. What proportion of purchasers buy their residences in turnkey condition – and are in-house design services available to those looking to personalise further?
Most buyers go for our design and finishings which is available for viewing in the display apartments that we’ve just completed but we also offer the option for further fine tuning to make it as personalised as possible.
6. What has driven the recent blurring of the lines between hospitality and residential around the world?
In a city like Dubai, branded residences offer the best option for rich clients – peace of mind, impeccable services and a lifestyle they are used to when in residence. Additionally, this client segment is extremely mobile and they prefer to not have to deal with issues such as maintenance, bills and other niggling details in which case a managed branded property combines the positives of luxury and hospitality.
Furthermore, when owners are not in residence, such properties also become revenue owners while appreciating in value, based on the associated brand. You actually don’t have many downsides to this powerful combination which is why they are so popular.
7. Do you see the market saturating for branded, luxury residences in Dubai?
If you actually look for brands like Raffles and other hospitality brands that launched branded residences the numbers are quite small. The market calls branded residences regardless if the brand is a dress maker, car maker or a 100 year old hospitality brand which has as its core of business maintaining the property at very high standards, creating a sublime living environment, pampering the clients with impeccable services and having the “know how” attitude from day one without tryouts at the expense of the clients.
So yes, all are branded residences, but some are more experienced than others which will eventually impact directly client’s lifestyle.
8. You have worked with multiple brands in Dubai. How did you start out in the industry, and what keeps you motivated?
I started in 2006 when I moved to Dubai with my wife and 2 young kids. On arrival, I opened my own real estate agency within the first 3 months and sold it in 2013 when two of my best clients at the time bought the Sotheby’s International Realty franchise for the Middle East and asked me to join and kickstart the business.
I was always attached to branded residences and starting with The Address Downtown, I was “sold” on the benefits and loved being part of that process. I sold my first apartment in Address Downtown in 2007 and end up selling over 100 apartments including 90 per cent of the Penthouses in that building with multiple records achieved.
I love working with the best projects and now being on the developer’s side for the last 5 years I can really put my experience and knowledge to the benefit of the project from the beginning, which I believe will always result in a product that will be taken as a reference by other developers.
9. What’s the best piece of advice you would give to a prospective customer?
Get a reliable real estate agent to guide you through the buying process and finding the right property for your budget, needs and availability. Dubai offerings are vast and takes time to know what is better and why, so an experienced and knowledgeable broker could be the difference between a great investment or a nightmare liability.