Aquatic Accomodations

There is no greater magnet for the hospitality industry than the sea, with towering hotels crowding the world’s finest stretches of beach, from the Côte d’Azur to Waikiki. For most travelers, a view of the ocean is the ultimate amenity, but luxury hotels that float or are submerged beneath the surface of the sea provide otherworldly experiences.

Floating is a term of art. There are some hotels that literally float, like The FloatHouse River Kwai in Thailand or the Off Paris Seine that is moored on the banks of the City of Light’s signature river. Others merely provide the illusion of floating, such as tropical overwater bungalows — these are quintessential French Polynesian accommodations but are found in the Maldives, Seychelles and Caribbean as well — where the design is fully integrated with the sea. Yet another category are hotels whose rooms or restaurants are submerged in the sea, providing guests with the underwater experience of coexisting with tropical fish amidst a coral reef.

The clubby Off floats on the Seine between the Right and Left Banks of Paris, not far from Gare d’Austerlitz in the up-and-coming 13th arrondissement. While the neighborhood is buzzing with fashionable bistros and nightspots, the barge-like Off provides an onboard restaurant and bar, even a lap pool. Those who splurge can choose between two fashionable suites whose décor was authored by designers Maurizio Galante and Tal Lancman.

Exotic species viewed from an elaborate underwater suite at Atlantis, The Palm. Above image and featured image:  © ATLANTIS, THE PALM; photos by Victor Romero

An underwater guestroom at The Manta Resort off the coast of Tanzania. Photo courtesy of the Manta Resort.

With its recent grand opening, Resorts World’s glitzy new $4.3 billion property is the latest hot spot on the Las Vegas Strip, but the company’s resort on Sentosa Island, Singapore is even more elaborate. It encompasses multiple hotels — among them the elite Crockfords Tower, the postmodern Hotel Michael and Hard Rock — along with several theme parks, a convention center and casino. The property’s Beach Villas hotel offers 11 two-story Ocean Suites that immerse their guests into an exotic ocean habitat. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide an undersea view of more than 70 species of marine animals amidst luxury accommodations enhanced by personalized butler service.

Offering the best of both worlds is The Manta Resort in Tanzania — it is located on Pemba Island amidst some stunning turquoise-hued waters — and its three-level floating suite is anchored to the ocean floor off the coast of Africa. Above water, guests enjoy a gentle rafting effect and panoramic views, but in the bedroom below they are treated to the eyepopping aquatic habitat of this corner of the Indian Ocean. Pemba Island is one of the world’s premier diving areas, but guests at The Manta’s underwater room can experience the same thrills without ever putting on a wetsuit. 

The Manta Resort’s own Kwanini Foundation is actively involved in protecting the rich marine habitat of Pemba Island, whose reefs are among the most diverse in East Africa. Rapidly increasing population is creating an unsustainable demand for fish, and the foundation is fighting to eliminate destructive practices like dynamite fishing near vulnerable reefs, as well as educating people on climate change and plastic pollution. These conservation efforts not only preserve the natural beauty of Pemba Island, but ensure the magic of The Manta Resort’s underwater accommodations as well.

Perhaps the most audacious example of a hotel with an underwater feature is the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland in China. Constructed at an artificial lake created at an abandoned quarry, most of the sleek, curvaceous structure is technically below grade, with 16 stories built into a subterranean cliff. All of the 336 rooms benefit from spectacular views of the lake and the property’s dramatically illuminated waterfalls and fountains.

One spectacular two-level suite at Shanghai Wonderland features an enclosed living room with outdoor terrace hovering just above the water, while its bedrooms are submerged beneath the lake’s surface, encased in a giant underwater aquarium. Lin Wang, chief marketing officer for IHG, Greater China, commented: “We’re delighted to be joining forces with Shimao Group [developer] again to open InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland — an architectural masterpiece that’s a wonder and beauty in the global hospitality industry.”

When it comes to underwater hotel restaurants, New Zealand civil engineer Mike Murphy is a pioneering force responsible for some of the most dramatic designs. His first underwater restaurant project, Ithaa, opened in 2005 and remains a stunning dining space in the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort. A decade later, Murphy completed the design for his largest underwater dining venue, named 5.8 Undersea Restaurant — it sits 5.8 meters beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean — at the Hurawalhi Island Resort in the Maldives. “Many projects must be canceled, as the sites aren’t suitable or the client desires a room size that’s unrealistically large,” explains Murphy of his niche specialty. 

Despite his disciplined training as an engineer, Murphy appreciates the visceral reaction people experience in these underwater spaces. “Their mouths open in awe, they almost gasp in wonder at the beautiful underwater scene in front of them,” he says, and adds, “I, too, always get this feeling when I go down into these undersea rooms.”

The Hurawalhi project benefitted from advancements in fabrication, transportation and the availability of larger crane ships, reports Murphy, who notes these ventures work best in locations protected from severe waves or storm surges, generally inside a coral reef or protected harbor. “The design of the acrylic windows and arches is very important,” says the engineer, who explains, “The deeper you go in the water, the greater the pressure, and hence the thicker you must make the windows … and the more expensive it gets.” 

Murphy designed the largest underwater project to date, a villa at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island called The Muraka, a spectacular suite whose room rate begins at $9,999 per night. “Driven by our inspiration to deliver innovative and transformative experiences to our global travelers, the world’s first undersea residence encourages guests to explore the Maldives from an entirely new perspective below the surface of the sea,” said Ahmed Saleem of the Crown Company, which collaborated with the engineer on the
$15 million project. Murphy, who retired a few years ago at age 70, continues to receive proposals for projects and is hoping his design for the world’s first revolving underwater restaurant will be realized.  

Above, the view from an Ocean Suite at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore. Photo courtesy of RESORTS WORLD SENTOSA SINGAPORE.

At far left, an underwater suite at the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland. 

Above, the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, constructed at an abandoned quarry. Photos courtesy of InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland.

The FloatHouse River Kwai is a bona fide floating resort in Thailand, a country where floating homes and markets are not particularly unusual. The hotel’s string of thatched roof villas is essentially a lengthy pontoon boat parked along the river made famous by the novel and Oscar-winning movie Bridge on the River Kwai. Each villa provides nearly 1,000 square feet of comfort appointed with teak furniture and features a private terrace with a swing from which to lazily watch the slowly passing riverboats.

The luxurious Taj Lake Palace hotel is not technically floating on India’s Lake Pichola, but most certainly appears to be. The artificial lake, which was created in the 14th century, has several islands, and the white marble-clad structure — it was originally a summer palace for the ruling dynasty of Mewar — was constructed on one of them in 1746. The palace was designed in a manner that makes it look like an ornate floating raft, and while the illusion is convincing, nobody gets seasick. The hotel oozes elegance and romance, and the most extravagant suites, with hand-painted ceilings, crystal chandeliers and panoramic water views, are indeed palatial.

In a city that specializes in over-the-top experiences, Dubai’s 1,500-room Atlantis, The Palm offers a 1,775-square-foot underwater suite with floor-to-ceiling windows for viewing the resort’s signature aquarium, stocked with 65,000 marine animals. A guest lying on the bed or relaxing in the marble bath will be mesmerized by sharks, stingrays and vibrantly hued tropical fish sailing past. A private elevator ascends to the suite’s intimate lounge, offering surface views of a lagoon, and guests’ needs are attended to by a dedicated butler.

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Oh! Canada

Featured image: ©istockphoto.com / benedek

Canada, a land of beautiful scenery and congenial spirit, balances energetic city life with a calmer, relaxed lifestyle by the water. And if you ask Billie Pat Dall, sales representative at Bernice Whelan Realty Inc., about the real estate market, she’ll tell you that the area in which she sells (the Lake Simcoe and Barrie area of Ontario) is attractive for buyers who are looking for more space.

Only an hour north of Toronto, Barrie offers luxury homes at more affordable prices than in the city, ranging from $2 million to $20 million. Homes are complete with gourmet kitchens, main floor principal suites, home theaters, wine cellars, sports courts, and pools. Residents who live on the water enjoy charming boat houses with guest suites and tranquil water views.

According to Dall, Barrie is also an ideal area to raise a family, as residents have a wide array of outdoor activities at their fingertips.

“It is a place where kids can ride their bikes down to the beach and then over to one of the many tennis courts or to play basketball, and then back home to swim in their backyard pool. All of this is at your doorstep when you live in this region. There is also the added bonus of only being a one-hour drive away from Toronto, so parents can commute if they work in Toronto and visit for a Jays baseball game, theater or concert,” she explains.

Besides athletic endeavors, the Lake Simcoe region also hosts Canada’s largest camping and country music festival, The Hearts and Boots Festival, and Ontario’s biggest waterfront festival, Kempenfest.

Oakville, located just 45 minutes south of Toronto, boasts a thriving market as well, being one of the most densely populated regions in Canada. Lesley Cumming, sales representative at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, describes Oakville and Burlington as the “home to hikers, bikers, economic trail glazers, casual boaters, and local vendor enthusiasts.”

In Oakville and Burlington, you can find condos situated on the shores of Lake Ontario and 50-plus-acre properties with rolling hills, bank barns, horse stalls, ponds, and paddocks. Locals can head over to lakes, beaches, marinas, and conservation trails to absorb the stunning landscape.

Cumming notes that most new buyers in this region were previously urban dwellers from the Greater Toronto Area, in search of a smaller community with more property space. With varied landscape, cuisine, and population, Oakville and Burlington find a way to keep residents and visitors entertained while also cultivating an at-home feel.

“There is so much that is attractive about our region from the diverse cuisine, our local specialty shops, to our beautiful landscape. We have something for everyone,” Cumming says.

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Experts Report: Park City

Utah is known for its top-rated ski slopes, mountain resorts, and vast natural landscape that lends itself to a slew of outdoor activities.

Park City in particular, located east of Salt Lake City, especially optimizes the exhilarating outdoors, housing three of the best ski resorts in the world as well as Utah Olympic Park. However, skiing doesn’t fully encapsulate the essence of Park City. The terrain also allows for mountain biking, horseback riding, golfing, and paddle boarding, just to name a few.

Park City also specializes in luxury resort living, which blends sumptuous indoor facilities with the expansive outdoors. Promontory Club, a private residential community that is the epitome of luxury living, spans over 6,400 acres and offers a myriad of indoor and outdoor amenities. Chris Messick, the director of real estate sales at Promontory Club, describes it as a four-season private club, with relatively less humid summers and lighter winters.

“As people started spending more time here in the summer, people figured out Park City has more of a four-season feeling than some of the other spots. Summer is as important to us as winter,” Messick explained.

Messick credits Promontory’s appeal to its diverse selection of amenities, all of which occupy 190,000 square feet. Among them are a world-class equestrian center, a clubhouse and spa, multiple golf courses, a beach club, an Outfitter’s Cabin, from which members can embark on a number of outdoor adventures, and over 30 miles of trails.

According to Kerry Oman, associate broker at Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, this lifestyle along with the ongoing pandemic has yielded a booming real estate market in Park City.

“Because of COVID-19, we’ve seen an increase in out-of-state buyers coming and spending longer periods of time or even relocating to Park City. The last 12 months in Park City has been phenomenal with unprecedented growth. The demand has
been extremely high and properties sell really fast,” Oman said.

Along with Promontory Club, Oman speaks highly of Glenwild Country Club, which is rated the No. 1 golf course in Utah, and Deer Valley Resort, one of the world’s best with breathtaking mountain views. The opulence of these resorts are juxtaposed with Park City’s small-town charm. Visitors can venture to Main Street for quality shopping, fine dining, and historic attractions. Both Messick and Oman reiterate that Park City surprises people with its beautiful summers and the accessibility of outdoor activities during the season, making it an ideal, year-round retreat.

Photos courtesy of Promontory Club.

This story originally appeared in Unique Homes Fall ’21 issue. Click here to see the digital version.

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Tidal Waves of Elegance

Featured image: ©istockphoto.com / Chinnapong

It’s time to discover these 10 extraordinarily refined places, each with distinctly different waterfront experiences.

Birmingham, Michigan

What’s tucked inside a Great Lakes luxury property? The better question is, what’s not? Aside from fantastic lakefront views, plenty of room for entertaining, and a spot for any water toys you may fancy, the area itself is famously well-known. Janine Grillo, a Keller Williams Domain Associate Broker, tells Unique Homes that the Great Lakes region is the
No. 1 freshwater boating destination in the U.S.

“The sheer size of this territory affords boaters a whole world of fun and a number of diverse places to explore on the water,” she says, noting that every day here feels like a vacation. “This summer, we are finding buyers are looking to enjoy life more, relax (and work) from home. The updated, roomy waterfront properties sell fast,” Grillo says.

Lake Tahoe, Nevada & California

“The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine. Bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be? It is the same the angels breathe,” said Mark Twain in describing Lake Tahoe. Chase International President and CEO Shari Chase characterizes it in the same way, recounting this quote from where she calls home, on the Nevada side of the iconic area.

“Lake Tahoe is a real treasure,” Chase says in painting a picture of the 22-mile-long, 12-mile-wide body of water, which is majestically surrounded by mountains. “Everything has a very spiritual essence to it here. The water is beautifully pure, with blues and crystalized greens,” she continues. The land boasts an outdoor lifestyle, where residents can easily take in treasured hiking trails, ski lodges, boating, beaches, art and more. Within one hour of the space are gems such as Virginia City, Genoa, and Jackson, California, which all are filled with wonderful recreation.

Prices here range from $3.75 million to $48 million, with most buyers prioritizing a spacious pier when considering their search.

Chase International Broker Trinkie Watson says that diversity of year-round outdoor activities, alongside good restaurants, art galleries and unique shopping are a huge draw to the area, as well as convenience to Sacramento and the Bay Area. Residents can easily take in treasured hiking trails, ski lodges, boating and beaches. “Whether it’s at the lake or on a beautiful trail in the mountains, it’s all gorgeous,” Watson says.

Londonderry, New Hampshire

The New England waterfront is known for its variety of seasonal landscapes throughout the year. Residents are able to experience the full extent of floral springs, fluttering snowflakes, peaceful waters, and crisp autumn leaves. And right now, in the summertime, the sights could not be better, says Morgan Smith, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty.

“We have hundreds of clean lakes with 360 degrees of spectacular scenery. Owners love to watch the loons, fish off the dock, kayak and waterski, and lazily soak in the clear, fresh water warmed by the sun,” she says. Coastal properties in New England feature properties with rocky ledges, crashing waves, and beaches that can be strolled for miles and miles.

With regard to how the market is faring, lower-than-average inventories are leaving very few properties for sale at a time. Prices of waterfront properties range from $1 million to $25 million, with buyers privy to direct access to the water, spacious frontage, and plenty of room for a watercraft, Smith says. She enjoys her daily life in the area, and wishes to share the elegance with new buyers. “I love spending time in Cape Elizabeth,” she says. “If I can be on a boat (or a hammock), and smell fresh air next to a body of water, I’m happy.”

Coronado, San Diego, California

The California oceanfront is star-studded with luxury at every turn. Coronado, San Diego is absolutely no exception. Broker Associate Scott Aurich of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty has lived in 17 different houses throughout the town and loved every second of it. To get away from it all, Aurich enjoys his early mornings more than anything else; he spends it surfing in tranquil waters, golfing through immaculate links, or entranced by friendly creatures at the stables. He stressed that Coronado camaraderie cannot be replicated anywhere else he’s seen.

Whether it’s the unique amenities the town has to offer, the community center with a gym, or the iconic $34 million Crown Manor estate he is representing, Coronado is truly special. But his favorite piece of home, he says, is the people. “The best thing is the people; it’s hard to describe,” Aurich mentioned. He finds that the kindness of his neighbors is where he feels the most pride. It’s not just Aurich that has noticed the grandeur; the temperature of real estate in Coronado is booming, to say the least. The demand is so high that at press time, only 54 houses were for sale. “The market is white hot,” Aurich said, explaining that the value of homes has gone up exponentially in the last 20 years.

Egg Harbor, Wisconsin

Door County, Wisconsin, is a gorgeous peninsula with 250 miles of coastline — it’s surrounded by the waters of Lake Michigan on the eastern side, and Green Bay on the western side. For weekenders or vacationers, the area boasts incredible opportunities for sailing, water sports, fishing, boutiques, restaurants and quaint villages that dot the shoreline, explains Jamie Sanger, a managing broker with Coldwell Banker Realty.

The county of Door has fantastic experiences in the arts, theater, and golf courses, but most of all, it is best known for its natural scenic beauty, she tells Unique Homes. With even multimillion-dollar homes and estates selling like hotcakes, any inventory that is available is selling for well over asking price. Sanger feels that her area and the lifestyles awaiting there are in particularly high demand: “I feel the pandemic has fueled our market, in that folks want to be able to ‘get away’ from the urban areas to enjoy a more peaceful, private, and healthy lifestyle,” she continues. This is what she sees in her own hometown as well, Ellison Bay, which she says has stayed tranquil and untouched by development in recent years.

Sarasota, Florida

Over in Sarasota, Candy Swick, president and broker at Candy Swick & Company, is dazzled by the diversity of people she meets every single day. “One minute you are having a conversation with an astronaut, a rocket scientist, an author, or an international ballet virtuoso from Russia,” she says.

Swick describes the water in Sarasota as “Carribean blue,” alongside a breeze that drifts in soft and cooling. Residents can enjoy multitudes of water sports, a world-class ice skating rink where Olympic figure skaters have trained, and ballet and opera performances.

As for the price tag, luxury homes are running from $2 million to
$20 million. Houses are frequently selling the day they enter the market, at list price or often in a situation with multiple offers. A typical bayfront home in Sarasota starts at $2.5 million, where buyers can view the magic, nightlife, and restaurants outlining the entire city. “We know that if an individual desired to enjoy a new restaurant for lunch and another for dinner, it would take more than a year to explore them all,” Swick said.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

“Think of a place that has beautiful beaches, with crystal-clear water and clean, silky-smooth sand; a place that is known as the yacht capital of the world, with spectacular vessels cruising in daily through the port,” says Shai Mashiach, a Coldwell Banker Realty agent, in painting a picture of his beloved home.

He notes that in the bustling housing market, several waterfront neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale are in high demand; particularly Las Olas and Harbor Beach, where prices start in the millions. Mashiach noted the convenience of the area as well; it’s only a one-hour boat ride to the Bahamas, a 30-minute drive south to Miami or north to Palm Beach, and one hour to the Florida Keys. “It’s a place that has the best restaurants, great nightlife, and magnificent people from around the globe,” he continued.

As far as his personal favorite to-dos, Mashiach and his family enjoy quality time on the water, fishing, or docking at a favorite restaurant on the Intracoastal for a spectacular meal. “From yoga on the beach to amazing deep-water fishing, Fort Lauderdale has a wonderful ambiance and everything you need to enjoy life,” he says.

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico is known as one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world. A hundred-plus feet of visibility in the pristine, cobalt water is perfect for a deep dive, whether you’re a novice or expert. “The clarity of the water is just extraordinary,” says Cindy Case, a Realtor with Douglas Elliman. The island takes pride in differentiating itself from the mainland; as opposed to cities like Cancun, Cozumel boasts a private, more intimate community.

“It’s a unique, small island with a very relaxed vibe,” Case says. Yet, this does not eliminate the availability of ample restaurants, shopping, and hospital care. There are many properties available for sale along the water, and well-priced at that. Case notes the affordability of property on such a prime Caribbean island. When recalling her favorites, Case enjoys beach hopping along the backside of the island; she treasures the chain of beautiful, wide, white-sand beaches with restaurants and bars.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Picture year-round warm weather and sunshine, vast cultural diversity and delicacies, and a fabulous cosmopolitan lifestyle when thinking of residential life in Honolulu, Hawaii, says Tracy Allen of Coldwell Banker Realty.

“Breathtaking hikes along the Ko’olau mountain ranges and scenic coastal trails offer incredible vistas second to none. Visitors and residents love the vast cultural foods found in Hawaii, and come to the island to enjoy many different dining experiences,” Allen describes.

For purchases on the water, prices start at around $6 million, and can range from $8 million to $20 million as well. Allen says that waterfront homes in the area have generally been built within the last 10 years, and include modern touches such as lighter wood tones, smart technology, gyms, home offices, and large, professional kitchens.

Surfing, paddle boarding, kite surfing, jet skiing, and canoe paddling are just a few activities keeping residents entertained. Allen wants buyers to know: if you’re looking for a diverse experience, Hawaii is for you. And when asked her perfect way to spend a day, her answer is simple; “The beach! You can never go wrong with our turquoise crystal-clear waters!”

Kaua’i, Hawaii

In another part of the islands, luxury on Kaua’i translates to “soulful” according to Hawaii Life broker Neal Norman. It is that very soul and heart that keeps residents smiling in the sunshine, just as Norman found himself when he moved in 25 years ago.

“We’re seeing purposeful buyers who want to live the lifestyle: that luxury, soulful living that Kaua’i provides,” Norman says. In the North Shore region where he is located, buyers and sellers are connected on the ocean view at a variety of prices, ranging from $3 million to $50 million. Dream homes are purchased on the daily in this blue-sky paradise, where residents can spend quality time with loved ones and friends.

Offering numerous outdoor endeavors, hiking, surfing, sailing, snorkeling, swimming, beach combing and biking are just a few of the fantastic opportunities in Kaua’i. “Buyers are finding solitude and serenity on this little island in the Pacific Sea,” Norman says. “Kaua’i is a rare and special place.”

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE UH Summer ’21 ISSUE OF UNIQUE HOMES. TO SEE THE DIGITAL VERSION OF THIS STORY, CLICK HERE.

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Car-Free Communities

Culdesac will be the first neighborhood-scale community with zero residential parking, which will allow for more open spaces that can be used for socializing, events, and getting to know your neighbors.

Rendering by Opticos Design.

A five-minute city, car-free and golf cart centered communities are gaining momentum around the United States, from Port Aransas, Texas, to Tempe, Arizona.

With plenty of extra outdoor space, Culdesac will hold over 150 events per year, including concerts, food trucks on the plaza, outdoor yoga classes, and more that guests can enjoy close to home.

Rendering by Opticos Design.

Automobiles have long been a symbol of freedom and advancement, making it easy to overlook the strain they put on our communities and the environment. Even smaller cities are battling noise and air pollution as the number of cars per household increases. Long commutes, congested traffic routes, parking fees, and pollution have all encouraged a whole new way of thinking when it comes to cars.

Culdesac, in Tempe, Arizona is the first car-free community in the United States that has been built from top to bottom around the idea that cities can be made better. “The vision has always remained the same — to build cities for people and not cars,” says Culdesac’s general manager, Lavanya Sunder. Space that is typically reserved for roads, parking lots, and individual parking has been completely rethought in this rental apartment community. Parking lots and garages have been replaced with wide-open spaces that offer everything from fire pits and hammocks to water features and inviting courtyards.

Tempe, Arizona, offered the ideal canvas for a project like Culdesac. “We chose Tempe for its thriving job market, proximity to transportation, and forward-thinking, action-oriented local government,” says Sunder. These are among the added benefits when considering a car-free community.

“By removing parking lots, we were able to see all of the possibilities, twice the retail, triple the open space, and 55-percent landscape coverage, compared to less than 20 percent from comparable developments,” notes Sunder.

The community was designed as a five-minute city, meaning everything residents might need is within reach and life is at your front door. “Homes at Culdesac all open up to vibrant shared courtyards, versus impersonal hallways in traditional apartment complexes,” says Sunder. Seemingly small details such as this contribute to the overall atmosphere that is created when a place urges its residents to slow down. “Community is a key component of Culdesac. Culdesac will have over 150 events per year, including concerts, food trucks on the plaza, outdoor yoga classes, and more.”

Communities such as Culdesac are finding that residents are drawn to the idea of knowing their neighbors again. A notion that hasn’t been overlooked in other communities around the United States. Port Aransas, Texas, is a beautiful beach destination that is like traveling back in time. The eclectic atmosphere is entirely accessible by golf carts, including the 18 miles of beach, with spacious boardwalks that accommodate the carts and encourage foot traffic. The use of golf carts decreases traffic, noise and pollution, and creates a very relaxed pace around the island. Cinnamon Shore, the 1,000-acre, master-planned beachfront community is very walkable and designed with families in mind who want to enjoy the small-town feel in Port Aransas.

A private luxury community, Haig Point, on the northern end of Daufuskie Island in South Carolina is only accessible by ferry, and the island is almost entirely car-free. Residents and guests never have to worry about traffic, stopping for gas, or finding a parking space, as the island runs mainly on golf carts. Similarly, Fire Island, across the Great South Bay from Long Island, New York, is another popular summer retreat that functions smoothly without cars. Bikes, golf carts, and jet skis are the best way to experience the Fire Island’s top-tier accommodations.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “the mean number of vehicles in households is 1.9 personal vehicles…. Thus, it appears that households on average have more vehicles than drivers.” American cities, from New York to San Francisco, are struggling to provide enough space to merely park all of these vehicles, nevermind drive them.

Our personal space, green space, shared space, and even sidewalks have decreased significantly over the years as the need to accommodate a growing number of automobiles increases. 

Communities such as Culdesac are hoping it is time for the urban form to be rethought and upgraded. “We also will have an “Extend Your Home On-Demand” Program,” says Sunder. 

Communities such as Cinnamon Shore in Port Aransas, Texas, are embracing the idea that guests want a slower pace without sacrificing accessibility.

©istockphoto.com / IR_Stone

Car-free and golf cart centered communities are designed for those looking to reconnect with the outdoors and spend less time stuck in traffic.

©istockphoto.com / 300dpi

 “Residents will have access to a variety of bookable spaces to allow them to expand and contract their home as needed.” A modern way of living has melded with the traditional idea of small-town communities. “Culdesac will have bookable guest suites, podcast studios, hosting spaces, and day-use office spaces to allow your home to adjust to your needs,” Sunder explains. “Why pay for a guest room 365 days a year, when you only use it a few times a month?”

Forever shifting to accommodate the residents’ needs, a car-free community like Culdesac is ideal for many people, even during these changing times amidst a pandemic. “The idea of life at your front door makes Culdesac Tempe a place that a variety of people with different needs are interested in — young professionals, students, families, remote workers, retirees, empty nesters, et cetera,” says Sunder. More spacious apartments and public workspace are functional for those residents who are working remotely, as they also don’t have to worry about commuting into an office every day. Since the pandemic, “we’ve seen increased interest from folks particularly from New York and San Francisco, and 50 percent of our waitlist are people coming from outside Arizona,” notes Sunder.

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The Beauty of Victoria

Victoria, British Columbia’s Capital City, is located on the beautiful Vancouver Island in Canada. From the minute your plane touches down, your lungs will expand and relish healthy, fresh, ocean-circulated air.

Here you can enjoy boating, beaches, world-class shopping and a super natural environment.

Looking to settle down in Victoria?

Check out this Unique listing!

Victoria boasts a spectacular setting of ocean and mountain vistas and offers numerous economic, cultural and recreational opportunities. 

Victoria has the mildest climate in Canada and with greenery in evidence throughout the year there is little wonder that it’s called the City of Gardens!

The Inner Harbour is the heart of Victoria and for many boaters is the gateway to the City of Gardens. Bordering the harbour are the ivy-covered Fairmont Empress hotel, the world-renowned Royal British Columbia Museum and the magnificent BC Parliament Buildings.

UPLANDS ESTATES in Oak Bay | Victoria, British Columbia

Privately nestled at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, away from all drive-through traffic, this rare artisan creation awaits. 9,878 square feet of interior luxury living. 1,745 square feet of exquisite patio entertaining areas including a full outdoor kitchen and gas fire pit. All with .71 acres of surrounding, ever-changing flowering gardens and trees highlighted by a meandering river and waterfalls. This is the first time this property has been offered for sale since completion in 2012. Visit the website for Floor Plans, Video, 3D Renderings & 100+ Photos. $6,995,000

Listing provided by Cathy Duncan.

Cathy & Associates Ltd. | cathy@cathyduncan.com | 250.888.9343

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Elite Agent: W. Terry Potts

W. Terry Potts

Country Club Properties

183 West Main Street, Highlands, NC 28741 | 828.526.2520 | Fax: 828.526.2470

ccp4terry@gmail.com | www.ccphighlandsnc.com

Country Club Properties is a fully independent real estate brokerage firm serving the country club market in the Highlands-Cashiers area. Completely independent from any developers, speculators or sales programs, Country Club Properties offers an untethered relationship. Area country clubs include Highlands, Wildcat Cliffs, Old Edwards Club, Mountaintop Club, Trillium Links Club, Cullasaja Club and Highlands Falls. Whether your interest is buying or selling real estate in the Highlands area, give Country Club Properties a call.

 

Featured Property: High Farm, NC

This highly unique property consists of over 90 acres of rolling land, flanked partially on one side by USFS land. The property has about 27 acres of open pasture with the additional acreage being wooded with streams and flanks the Chatooga River on a stretch of whitewater, waterfalls and swimming holes. $4,500,000 MLS #91498

 

 

W. Terry Potts originally appeared as an Elite agent in Unique Homes Spring ’21: Elite edition. See the ad here.

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Elite Agent: Lily Liang

Lily Liang

Strand Hill Properties Christie’s International Real Estate

716 Yarmouth, #202, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274

310.373.3333 | Cell: 310.902.7799 | lily@lilyliang.com | www.StrandHill.com

Lily Liang is an expert of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, a prestigious Southern California coastal community, as well as the beach cities along the Los Angeles coastline. Having been a resident of the Peninsula for more than 30 years, Lily knows this area quite well. She is the Co-founder and Executive Vice President of Strand Hill Properties, Christie’s International Real Estate. Lily is fluent in Chinese and English, and she has represented both buyers and sellers from around the world in transactions worth over $1 billion. Having worked and lived in Asia and Europe, Lily has a keen appreciation for working with clients from different cultures. She has been recognized as a leading South Bay business woman and she has been featured in Forbes, Time and Los Angeles Magazine as well as other local medias.

 

Featured Property: 1128 Palos Verdes Drive West

www.tuscanyvillabythesea.com

6 Beds | 7 Baths | 5,464 sq.ft | 17,000 sq.ft lot | 4-Car Garage

$4,999,000.

 

 

Lily Liang originally appeared as an Elite agent in Unique Homes Spring ’21: Elite edition. See the ad here.

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Elite Agent: Trudy Stambook

Trudy Stambook 

MODERNE Real Estate, Inc.

CA DRE 00363882

220 West G Street, Suite A, San Diego, CA 92101

Direct: 619.252.1944  |  Office: 619.231.0777

Trudy@TrudyStambook.com | www.TrudyStambook.com

Renowned for discreet, individualized client service, Trudy Stambook is a key resource for real estate clients and those actively engaged in the business, development and cultural community in San Diego.

– First named among the nation’s elite luxury real estate agents back in 1995 by Unique Homes Magazine, and recognized annually ever since

– Over three decades of experience as a luxury real estate professional, specializing in downtown San Diego

– Over three decades of worldwide marketing expertise

– Representing both Buyers and Sellers

– Repeatedly voted Five Star “Best in Client Satisfaction” by readers of San Diego Magazine

– Recognized by Forbes Magazine in 2019 and 2020 “Five Star Market Leader,” and recognized by Fortune Magazine in 2021.

 

Featured Property: MERIDIAN 2501

3 BED EN SUITE | 2 TERRACES | 3,390 SF

Glamorous architectural mastery embodies this stunning residence. Sensuously sculpted ceilings offset numerous rich architectural details as bespoke craftsmanship exudes regal luxury. $3,950,000 USD

Trudy Stambook originally appeared as an Elite agent in the 

Unique Homes Spring ’21: Elite edition. See her other

listings here.

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Elite Agent: Pamela Kutoroff

Decades of Experience Brought to
Your Listing

Pamela Kutoroff

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Van De Wende Properties

333 Bloomfield Avenue, #304, Caldwell, NJ 07006

973.519.5348 | Pamela@bhhsvdw.com | www.PamelaKutoroff.com

Northern NJ real estate professional, Pamela Kutoroff has found providing the best service is about putting her clients first. She does whatever it takes to market and negotiate on their behalf. She is accessible, a good listener, clear communicator, and quick to meet client needs. Pamela’s BA in Design and experience in the art field allows her to go above and beyond for her clients by expertly staging every property she represents. It would be her pleasure to bring her unique skill set and 20 years of experience to help you with your real estate needs.

Listing by Pamela Kutoroff

4 Piermont Road, Alpine, NJ

Exclusivity abounds for this custom-crafted 10,233-square-foot home. Nestled at the end of a private road, this Contemporary home boasts open-concept living, soaring ceilings, walls of glass, and numerous balconies that overlook just over 2 acres of lush grounds. There is an impressive 2nd-floor great room and endless possibilities for the 3-story expansive space. The lower-level provides hours of enjoyment with an indoor concrete Olympic-length lap pool. Minutes from Manhattan for an ideal commute.

$5,100,000

 

 

Pamela Kutoroff originally appeared as an Elite agent in the Unique Homes Spring ’21: Elite edition. See her page here.

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