Property

Joining the elite

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At the end of last year, PwC’s annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2018 put Kuala Lumpur at number 21 on its list of markets to watch for the year, with fair investment prospects, though not as good as Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta or Manila. Citing oversupply, only moderate take-up by downsizing energy multinationals and weak consumer sentiment, PwC was cautious about KL’s commercial sector. In the residential sector, “the same situation applies…where the number of unsold units has continued to rise, leading developers to delay launches. Previously strong demand from Chinese buyers has softened as a result of capital controls imposed by the Chinese government,” said PwC.

But that was late 2017. In the interim, an election saw the Pakatan Harapan end 61 years of National Front rule, leaving “no
doubt about the desire for change among Malaysian voters,” as The Washington Post stated. Despite the expected shocks to the market after the election, Malaysia remains one of Asia’s most attractive investments for foreign investors. The predictions of “stability” and “flat performance” for KL property this year could shift drastically depending on how quickly the new (and former) Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad makes changes, though most industry observers expect the election to give the property market a boost. 


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Boutique Time

In the meantime, Kuala Lumpur forges ahead as a tourist destination and as a popular investment location for premium property. When Four Seasons Place was announced, and its Residences went on sale four years ago, it was the first of its kind in the Malaysian capital. Four Seasons’ second property in Malaysia (after Langkawi) is the first major international brand to bring a boutique vibe to the city’s hospitality landscape; most other hotels feature 400, 500, or 600 rooms.

“It’s about comfort and creating an experience [that] maybe Kuala Lumpur hasn’t seen,” begins hotel general manager Tom J Roelens. Located next door to the Petronas Towers and across from the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Four Seasons Place rises like a beacon from its surroundings. Designed by NRY Architects, the 77-storey tower’s glass structure (the country’s second tallest after Petronas) meets the street, integrating seamlessly with KLCC and the city around it. “You can’t miss it. The most important thing, as the saying goes, is location, location, location. I think we’ve got it right. It’s in the heart of the city, right next to the Petronas Towers. We’re truly excited,” notes Roelens.

Complementing the 209-room hotel are 27 serviced residences, the first for the brand outside Hong Kong, double-floor retailing in the signature Shoppes at Four Seasons Place Kuala Lumpur, and a rash of dining and leisure options Roelens expects will make the address the place to stay as well as to live in KL. “We’re preparing a great destination within the destination. Around us is great shopping, great dining, and we want to draw on that. The offering we have from a food and beverage point of view is locally relevant. It will also be the place to be seen, hold events and so on.” Roelens and Co recruited Hong Kong interiors studio AB Concept to design the spaces in the lobby lounge, the Malaysia-focused Bar Trigona and fine Cantonese dining outlet Yun House. “They’re quite bold in their approach, and it will truly elevate the experiences, not only from a culinary point of view but from an experiential side too,” states Roelens.


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Upping the Stakes

Experiential gratification, to Roelens, is key to making the residences stand apart. “What differentiates us is that we insist on providing service. People purchase a Four Seasons residence likely because they have bought into the lifestyle and service levels; they’ve stayed with us before and they know us. We have to ensure we continue that level of service.” To go along with the boutique vibe in the hotel is the Four Seasons Private Residences—the largest residential offering for the hotel to date. The 242 homes, which are scheduled for completion later this summer, will be finished as either turnkey properties or left to owners’ designs. Unlike many branded residences, the private residences are just that: private. The residences are never hotel stock.

"The benefit of owning a Private Residence is that it is yours only. You get to tailor make it to your personal taste while also benefiting from privileged access to all of Four Seasons’ services on a daily basis. This makes it incredibly attractive, especially for international buyers who appreciate turnkey solutions and the prestige of the best address in town,” says Roelens. “Specifically, what it means is that while each unit comes finished with the highest grade floorings, perfectly appointed kitchens, bathrooms and so forth, each home owner also has the enhanced option of decorating their unit to suit their own sense of style.” Four Seasons’ design and decorating crews are available to help. “It’s the most luxurious home ownership solution in Kuala Lumpur which is why it has attracted a lot of interest from foreign home buyers, many of whom are our customers.” 

Among the amenities at the Private Residences are full access to the hotel’s services and facilities, a private 35th floor lounge, outdoor swimming pool, laundry and shopping services, in-residence dining, event catering, and views across the 20-hectare KLCC Park as a start. 

The remaining freehold residences for sale come in two- to four-bedroom configurations, and prices begin at approximately MYR3,000 per square foot (HK$6,000). Sizes range from 1,496 to 3,843 square feet (approximately HK$9 to $23 million). For more details refer to venusassets.com.