The dining area of a One Palm apartment designed by Elicyon Image Credit: Picture courtesy of Omniyat

Omniyat’s luxury One Palm development on The Palm Jumeirah last year grabbed the headlines for clinching the deal for the most expensive apartment in the Middle East, a Dh102-million penthouse, sold to a GCC national. The 29,800-sq-ft triplex penthouse includes 11,500 sq ft of exterior space with a 25m lap pool on one of the floors.

The building also houses a 21,000-sq-ft and 24,000-sq-ft duplex penthouse with a price range of Dh88 million to Dh91 million; and three-, four- and five-bedroom single-floor apartments. The building has 23 floors, plus a roof terrace, with 94 units in total, of which 70 per cent has already been sold. Every home has a terrace, while the bigger units also have a lounge pool.

The open-plan kitchen next to a spacious lounge

Mohammed Hmeid, general manager of LIV, Omniyat’s sales and marketing team, says, “Much has been spoken about the penthouse that has achieved the highest price point in the Middle East. But every unit in this building is special. One Palm will be the ultimate address in Dubai. That was the vision when we started out with the project and we are ready to go through whatever heights it takes to achieve that.”

Explaining the journey in building the project, Hmeid says, “It all starts with the location. The building is the first plot on the trunk of The Palm and it enjoys the best views from all directions. We have also brought in the best interior design firms, Elicyon of London and Super Potato of Japan, to work on the apartments, used the finest of materials from kitchen appliances to the flooring and fixtures, and the best landscape architects. So every detail has been looked into, with nothing left to chance.”

And when everything came together, Omniyat announced its partnership with Dorchester Collections, one of the biggest names internationally in tailored hospitality services. “The building will be managed by Dorchester Collection that has operated unique projects in LA, Paris, Milan and London. They are renowned for their customer-focused service.”

We have limited launches in a year, and we have never dropped our prices. We are not in a place to negotiate.

Mohammeid Hmeid

Talking about the price points of the units, especially the most expensive penthouse, Hmeid says, “We have an identified customer base in the super luxury market. We have limited launches in a year, and we have never dropped our prices. We are not in a place to negotiate. This was a fully funded project and we came in strong. People initially thought this to be another luxury development. But when they came and looked, they realised what we were offering.

“The penthouse sold at Dh102 million will have a bespoke design. At such price points it becomes a journey tailored to a specific expectation. This is something we have had to work on very hard. It takes a lot of skills, perseverance and determination to reach here.”

Four-bedroom show apartment

Catering to the top of the luxury market, One Palm is indeed spectacular in its architecture. A look at the final renderings brings to mind the spatial nature of the building — units that almost float in the sky with beautiful gardens. Construction is as per schedule and the developer plans to have the handover by the end of the year. Last week the developer revealed its latest show apartment, a 4,000-sq-ft four-bedroom unit, boasting a large open plan, lateral living space with a greenish-grey colour palette and magnificent views of Dubai Marina, the Ain Dubai and the Arabian Gulf.

The master bedroom uses hand-painted silk wallpaper

Styled by London-based design studio Elicyon, one of the two interior partners on the One Palm project, the show apartment displayed the use of opulent materials and bespoke craftsmanship. Each room of the show apartment — the spatial formal living area for entertaining guests, the luxurious powder room, the snug family lounge, the master bedroom that uses beautiful hand-painted silk wall paper, the walk-in closet and the play room — reflect a very elegant international aesthetic from the global top end of the market. Charu Gandhi, founder and director of Elicyon, says the experience of designing the show apartment has been marrying a bit of London to a bit of Middle East.

London in Dubai

“I think the idea for us was to bring the London aesthetic into a Dubai setting,” explains Gandhi. “On the one hand, we have Arabic references in the outer and inner majlis, and on the other we have used pieces of furniture from all over the world, especially Europe. For instance, the Armani Casa lamps in the second bedroom, the Eames Chair from Vitra in the snug family room, the Chandelier from Baroncelli in the master bedroom. These cater to the taste of the international global elite customer.”

The only room that doesn’t have the luxury of space is the guest bedroom. But the designer has made it functional and intimate with comfortable beds and a fitted wardrobe with lots of storage. There is an attached toilet with floating shelves.

In super-luxury apartments as this one, we do spend time to understand how the family lives and we visit their homes and understand their style. It is a combination of what the client wants and our vision.

Charu Gandhi

For Gandhi, who will be designing the Dh102-million penthouse, it is an exciting time. “While we cannot talk much about what the client wants at this stage of the project, in super-luxury apartments as this one, we do spend time to understand how the family lives and we visit their homes and understand their style. It is a combination of what the client wants and our vision. For the One Palm triplex penthouse we are at the concept design stage. It is ultimately their home and we will help to bring their vision to life. We are hoping to complete this project by the end of 2019.”

What does an ultra high-net-worth homebuyer want?

1. A very boutique experience steeped in creativity.

2. Homes that are not too geeky. Too much technology all over the house is frowned upon. It is welcome only in particular spaces. For example, clients prefer a smart toilet with a wash and clean function, or a tech-savvy media room with chairs that move with film sequences. But they don’t want to walk into a home that offers too many choices in technology.

3. Homes that are easy to use and intuitive. Their home should be a sanctuary where they can relax.

4. A move away from excess and glossy textures.

5. Limited home automation features. They want to be in charge of their homes, and not the other way around.

As told by Charu Gandhi