When the world’s super rich want to bed down in London, they look no further than One Hyde Park. Labelled the world’s most expensive residential block, this address boasts a list of ultra luxury amenities and an exclusive list of tenants to match.
Located in Knightsbridge, the apartments overlook nearby Hyde Park and the Queen’s cavalry regularly march by on their way to and from nearby Hyde Park Barracks.
Inside, it has all the bling you can imagine. High-end amenities include a 21-metre swimming pool, private spa, squash court, gym, wine cellar and virtual golf course.
Last year a five-bedroom apartment on the eighth floor was listed for sale at £75 million ($150 million), equating to $179,425 per square metre.
But it was a penthouse sale in 2011 for £136.4 ($211 million) that really set the bar at One Hyde Park. It was only eclipsed in 2014 by another One Hyde Park apartment, which reportedly sold to an eastern European buyer for £140 million ($255 million).
Four interconnected pavilions make up One Hyde Park with the tallest just 13 storeys – a far cry from Melbourne’s 100-storey skyscrapers.
Interior view from an apartment at One Hyde Park looking towards Harrods. Photo: View Pictures
Heritage regulations play an overarching role in the development of new London buildings, says Monash University architecture lecturer Jacqui Alexander.
“The precedent for contemporary architecture is a lot more restrained in Britain because of the history of the city and there’s a preference for more austere architecture,” she says.
Architect Richard Rogers, best known for the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the headquarters for Lloyd’s of London, was behind the design of One Hyde Park. With its expressed structure, it’s typical of his style, says Alexander.
One Hyde Park residents enjoy the proximity to Hyde Park. Photo: Jon Arnold
“For me it’s not really dissimilar to a lot of Richard Rogers’ work, he was made famous for high-tech aesthetic so it’s a lot about revealing structure,” she says.
“It does look quite understated and then you look at the interiors, and that’s really where the theatre comes in.”
The dazzle is courtesy of two British brothers, Nick and Christian Candy, who built One Hyde Park with Waterknights, a development company owned by former Qatar prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani. The Candy brothers were also responsible for the extravagant interior design, which features plenty of marble, chandeliers and oak flooring.
There are just 86 properties at One Hyde Park and they are owned by some of the world’s most wealthy.
Ukrainian billionaires, Russian real-estate magnates and Arab sheikhs are rumoured to be among those who call One Hyde Park home, according to Vanity Fair. But the building is widely speculated to be largely vacant with many of the absent investors residing in offshore tax havens.
Catering to the wants of the extremely wealthy is a worrying trend, says Alexander.
“These apartments are not really being sold or marketed to local Londoners, they’re being marketed to foreign investors,” she says.
“Often the case is the foreign investors aren’t living in the apartments so they’re not actually enjoying the views anyway.
“The property market keeps accelerating and every day people are being pushed further and further out and the city becomes much more vacant, and we’re seeing that a lot in Mayfair at the moment, with buildings falling into disrepair because there aren’t people living in them to keep up the maintenance.
“And there’s local business closing down because they don’t have the sort of everyday population on the ground to keep them afloat.”
One Hyde Park has divided Londoners. Where some see a global beacon of design, others see a symbol of obscene wealth.