Step inside Mandarin Oriental's first European standalone residence

By Rachel Ingram | 02 Sep 2019 | Design, Property

As the luxury hotel chain's Barcelona residences go on the market, we shine a light on the rise of branded properties

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Longing for an apartment that offers the familiar luxury of a prestige hospitality brand but without feeling like you’re staying in an actual hotel? A new branded residence development in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities lets clever investors enjoy the best of both worlds.

The branded residences sector has blown up in the last two decades, with more than 400 schemes globally – most are in the US, the UAE and Asia (notably Thailand and China) and they’re also growing fast in Europe. There are a number of reasons why such schemes are gaining in popularity – according to Savills, brand association instils buyer confidence, and is especially attractive to globally mobile, time-poor people seeking high service, hassle-free ownership as well as the prospect of rental returns when they’re not in residence.

One of the more exciting developments under construction is Mandarin Oriental Residences, Barcelona, which goes on the open market this summer, ahead of completion in 2020. Located at the top of Passeig de Gràcia – a high-end shopping avenue that is Barcelona’s equivalent of Paris’ Champs-Élysées or London’s Bond Street – and just a stone’s throw from attractions including Gaudi’s Casa Batlló and Casa Milo, it’s a prime real estate spot. Properties rarely come up for sale here – experts from Savills reveal this is because owners in this neighbourhood tend to pass homes from one generation to the next.

Housed in former bank headquarters, the 20-storey tower, designed by Spanish architect Carlos Ferrater and developed by KKH Property Investors, will be the tallest residential building in Barcelona. It will not only be the first branded residences in the city, but the Mandarin Oriental group’s first standalone residential building in Europe.

When it opens, the property will feature 34 200sqm to 580sqm units, including four fully customisable full-floor apartments – perfect whether you want a giant one-bed bachelor’s pad or a four-bed family-friendly flat. There’s also a duplex penthouse with 360-degree views of the city. Tempus was invited for a hard-hat tour and we can confirm that, even under construction, views from the roof are breathtaking. Looking directly in front, down Passeig de Gràcia, lies the sea; behind you, the hills of Serra de Collserola Natural Park loom over the city; while to your left lies world-famous landmark La Sagrada Familia. >>

Related: The Athenaeum's red brick Residences are shaking up how guests can experience Mayfair

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Inside, private facilities will include a fitness centre and spa, an indoor swimming pool and a residents-only lounge. On top of the adjacent building, accessible by a private walkway, there’ll be a private 625 sq m rooftop garden and a restaurant – the only space open to the public. British studio Muza Lab has been commissioned to do the interiors and owners can choose whether they wish for their apartments to be designed in Mandarin Oriental style.

As a residential building with connections to a prestige hotel chain, owners benefit from more than just great design and branding. As with the hotel, residents receive an array of hotel-standard services, including a 24-hour concierge and a doorman providing services such as in-residence dining. And while it’s not physically attached to the city’s Mandarin Oriental (just a five-minute walk along the avenue) residents will have access to the hotel and its facilities – this will not be a reciprocal arrangement for hotel guests.

The development is one of many that have cropped up in Europe in recent years – Mandarin Oriental has opened residences in London’s Hyde Park and has buildings in development in London’s Mayfair (2021), Munich (2024), Moscow (2021) and Istanbul (2022).

“We’re seeing a growing global trend for branded residences and Barcelona is the ultimate urban destination with its mix of city culture and lifestyle,” says Rod Taylor, head of Savills’ international new developments. “With Mandarin Oriental, you know the level of service you’re going to get. The brand sets a very high standard in the quality of its finish, design and that legendary service.”

Mandarin Oriental Residences, Barcelona is scheduled for completion at the end of next year. The off-plan residences, which are built-to-order, will soon go on the open market through Savills, starting from €2.3m (£2m) for a one-bed apartment. The prices for the full-floor units and penthouse are available on request – if you want a fully-customisable space then get in quick as floor plans will be fixed when the next phase of development begins at the end of this year.

Whether you’re looking to expand your property portfolio or need a new base in the city, it’s a great investment with the added benefit of the guaranteed quality of one of the finest hotel groups in the world.

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