Five Star West Lake displaying new luxury dwelling standards

15:12 | 25/11/2019
Deputy general director of GFS Group Pham Hai Dang talked with VIR’s Hai Yen his new perspective for luxury apartment standards in the development of the Five Star West Lake project.
five star west lake displaying new luxury dwelling standards
Five Star West Lake is located on the south side of the affluent Tay Ho district in Hanoi

With a modern 15-storey building providing merely 32 apartments for sale, how can Five Star West Lake compete with other large-scale property projects?

five star west lake displaying new luxury dwelling standards
Deputy general director of GFS Group Pham Hai Dang

People often think that millionaires and billionaires love to purchase salient villas with luxurious interiors and furniture. And most people think they always buy supercars, wear luxury fashion brands, and pay for high-end services to show off their wealth in society.

However, among these people are many who prefer to enjoy their wealth quietly. They are willing to pay a lot of money to own luxury products and experience new high-end services without saying a word about it. This group has very different and sophisticated requirements. For them, luxury is not an outgoing performance but rather a unique and personalised experience.

Therefore, in real estate, some developers are seeking to satisfy this special group of customers with luxury boutique style projects that are elegant but discreet. Five Star West Lake is one of the few apartment projects in Vietnam being developed to satisfy this lifestyle. We call it a limited-edition brand name only for a few delicate owners.

It is believed that small-scale projects mean fewer utility services while homebuyers now prefer a good deal of utilities. How does GFS Group resolve this conflict, so that Five Star West Lake can be a worthy choice of the upper-class?

We are not surprised that clients often question whether Five Star West Lake offers more utility services than the others. There are many projects providing residents dozens or even hundreds of utility services, including various kinds of facilities and services like kindergartens, supermarkets, and medical facilities. It is undeniable that the more utilities a project has, the more easily it can convince homebuyers.

However, it is a fact that not all those utilities are used efficiently, and some are even forgotten. In addition, in such projects the investors will also open for outside visitors to ensure usage efficiency, which affects service quality to a certain degree. So, is it reasonable to invest in so many unused utilities?

For a luxury property, utility services should not only address the needs of homeowners but also stand out with their unique and distinctive features from those of other projects. By personalising services and catering to clients’ needs, the project itself and its residential community are brought to a higher class. Our ultimate goal is to provide a completely distinctive and exclusive experience for our clients living here.

Which convenient services have you personalised at Five Star West Lake?

We put ourselves in the position of our clients to be able to satisfy their requirements. In a luxury project like Five Star West Lake, essential utilities such as supermarkets, restaurants, gyms, and swimming pools come by default. On the other hand, we have conducted thorough research to offer homeowners unique additional services.

Initially, we were advised to build an infinite rooftop pool for residents to enjoy swimming while capturing a panoramic West Lake view. However, in our recalculations, this kind of pool can only be used during summer although for some people, swimming is considered an effective healthcare daily treatment. In addition, using chemicals for water treatment can adversely affect the health of swimmers. Therefore, we decided to turn it into a year-round saltwater swimming pool with salt as a disinfectant to ensure safety for users.

Our 24-hour convenience store concept imitates the Japanese model, exclusively available at Five Star West Lake condominium. One can freely choose the necessary items at any time without being limited by anything.

In addition, with GFS Group promoting a high-tech organic agriculture, clients can also find quality-assured organic foods that are strictly tested during production, harvesting, and storage process.

A factor that I think is crucially important for a luxury residence, is the speed and quality of services. Large-scale projects with a big ­number of apartments and house-dwellers often cannot keep up the quality and speed of services. Smaller projects have a much easier time in this area.

Normally, each staff member will be in charge of some 30-50 residents, but at Five Star West Lake the staff and resident ratio will be fixed at only one for every eight. This also means the speed of service will be faster, the staff will be more attentive and caring, and it is easier to personalise services to live up to clients’ needs. It is comparable to a super luxury resort where there are only a few dozen villas located on an area of 20-30 hectares and employees outnumber the guests.

In addition to 32 apartments for sale, we also have 38 serviced apartments for foreign experts to hire, so we can synchronise services such as housekeeping, laundry, and meal provision on a par with five-star standards.

Meanwhile, it is not uncommon in upper-class families to own a few luxury cars. Our clients also have quite a few cars and we can accommodate up to two parking lots for each apartment, which is extremely rare for centrally located projects.

These personalised services will create the luxury and differentiation for Five Star West Lake that residents cannot seek elsewhere.

The apartments at Five Star West Lake are all quite large, with the smallest one being around 126 square metres. Why does GFS Group not split the apartment area into smaller units to sell them more easily?

We are asked this question often. Many people even ask why we do not design a double-key apartment that is very fashionable today. However, this is dependent on our client needs. They are the ones who can afford to pay for an apartment with certain requirements. We defined that this project will only be for those who love spacious, airy living areas and want to enjoy their own private space while having neighbours with similar needs and lifestyles.

If the apartment was to be subdivided, the number of residents would increase, and the quality of services would be affected, including a loss of privacy. Many wealthy people want to assert their status, while others don’t like being noticed or scrutinised. At Five Star West Lake, because of the limited number of residents and the same cultural background, we believe that this project defines what luxury truly means.

How do you persuade your clients to pay for your apartments when they could also buy a shophouse or an outskirts villa instead?

The conception and demand on choosing a house has changed a lot over time. That is the reason why an extraordinary apartment can be as expensive and attractive as a luxury villa.

Particularly, the prime ­location is one of the most ­important factors to determine the value of a property. The luxury level is not only based on living standards and the landscape but also on the convenience of where it is ­located.

Normally, it’s hard for a property to satisfy all ­requirements of its owner, such as finding a compromise between green airy space and a central location. For ­example, if they love to live amidst green and spacious surroundings, they can choose to live in an eco-villa in the outskirts, but it takes time to travel home from the city centre. Many prefer to save time rather than being completely secluded because they may consider time ­precious.

With around VND10-15 billion ($435,000-$652,000), clients can buy a 50-70sq.m shophouse, but they cannot buy the state-of-the-art ­services and tight security that a modern apartment can offer. Instead, they can choose our 200sq.m apartments and enjoy our extraordinary details in architecture and design, as well as the salient features at their doorstep.

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