The Sweetest Treats

Lady M Cake Boutique, known for elegant, multi-layered Mille Crêpes cakes, has partnered with  French luxury brand Baccarat to launch its first luxury cake truck in California.

Alongside 3D Artist Kurt Wenner, the five-year partnership will launch the cake truck in New York City at the Baccarat Boutique on Madison Avenue, and travel across the country before commencing operation in California. Set to start serving August 2019 in Northern California, the 28-foot multi-functional luxury cake truck will journey throughout California greeting new and existing clients of both brands with a unique cake experience.

“Baccarat is thrilled to be partnering with Lady M on this new and innovative collaboration,” says Jim Shreve, President and CEO of Baccarat North America. “Our partnership reinforces the Baccarat message of enjoying beautiful things every day. We are excited to share delicious cakes on beautiful Baccarat. Everything tastes better on Baccarat.”

From the sidewalk, pedestrians and guests will experience the Kurt Wenner 3D, life-sized rendering of the cake truck that will be affixed to the boutique’s glass façade. Inside, guests will meander through the boutique surrounded by Lady M cakes, capturing the feel of being in an actual Lady M boutique. Within the boutique, guests will be greeted with a glass of champagne as they approach yet another version of the cake truck, where Lady M Mille Crêpes will be served through a functional service window. 

The Lady M x Baccarat cake truck is a stunning and luxurious feast for the eyes. On the exterior, Baccarat has mounted two large Tuile de Crystal Chandeliers ($29,100 each) and 1 small Tuile de Crystal ($12,600) that will gracefully hang suspended from two long beams that are collapsible when the food truck is not in service. Four Baccarat Mille Nuits Torch sconces ($2,150 each) will mount on either side of the service windows. During the day, Lady M will provide legendary service to clients who pre-order cakes.  During the evening, Lady M and Baccarat will illuminate the night and create an outdoor dining experience for those who want to experience both brands.

“The collaboration with Lady M and Baccarat has allowed me to have an entirely new experience with interactive art. Placing my art on a food truck is a first for me,” says artist Kurt Wenner, who invented 3D Pavement Art in the 1980s. By combining his art with digital printing, Wenner offers stunning, durable, interactive illusions.

This collaboration is the first of its kind, and Lady M Cake Boutique is thrilled and honored to partner with Baccarat. We are excited to expand the concept of the Lady M experience and take our cakes (including a new confection made exclusively for the collaboration), on the road, introducing them to those both new to and familiar with the brand. We look forward to sharing our signature cakes on beautiful crystal, and sharing happiness.

Ken Romaniszyn

CEO, Lady M Cake Boutique

“My 3D illusions are where the language of proportion and innovation meet. I’m so excited about this project as the illusions I have created will be partnered with elegant chandeliers and the world’s finest cakes. The marriage of all three will shift the perception of what is reality,” says Wenner. 

The cake truck will start service starting this month in Northern California, and guests are encouraged to tag and follow along with the hashtag ​#ladymxbaccarat. ​A microsite tracking the cake truck’s journey throughout California will be live at ​www.ladym.com/thecaketruck​. 

All photos courtesy Samantha Nandez / BFA.com

Many travelers want to experience adventure while discovering a remote, exotic destination. But the hassle of long flights and extensive travel can often be a deterrent. For those who want to explore the world without wasting a huge chunk of time on travel, here are some exotic getaways closer to the U.S.

Want Bali?
Try Belize.

For those who want Bali’s ancient ruins, pristine jungles, tranquil seascapes and laid-back lifestyle, try Belize. Located along the tranquil Caribbean Sea, travelers will be able to experience preserved Mayan Temples, lush jungles, rainforest canopies, archaeological sites including the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, and the second largest barrier reef in the world and ultimate world-class destination – The Great Blue Hole. 

Photos courtesy of Belize Tourism Board

Want Ibiza?
Try Cancún.

For those who want Ibiza’s ultimate party scene and beach retreat with world-class DJs, try Cancún. Cancún has long been considered one of the top beach quick getaway vacation destinations in the world with sparkling, turquoise blue water, Ancient Mayan sites, mouthwatering cuisine and a pulsing nightlife. 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Melody Maker Cancun

Want Barcelona?
Try Mexico City.

For those who want Barcelona’s historic streets, world-class museums and mouth-watering culinary offerings, try Mexico City. Cosmopolitan and cultured, Mexico’s largest city boasts a flourishing culinary scene and a cultural renaissance with similar vibes to the Catalan capital. Explore the mysterious Teotihuacan pyramids, become immersed in Mexico city’s vibrant culture, taste local bites and visit Michoacán’s craft workshops.

 

Photos courtesy of Original Travel

Want the Galapagos Islands?
Try Kauai Island.

Known as Hawaii’s “Garden Island,” Kauai Island is filled with tropical rainforests, emerald valleys, and unbelievable mountains. Perfect for adventurists and foodies, Kauai has all the activities and restaurants that guests can ask for. Go ziplining through Kauai’s lush valleys, surf along the heavenly Hanalei Bay, or hike Waimea Canyon aka The Grand Canyon of the Pacific. 

Photo courtesy of Aqua-Aston Hospitality

Want Siquijor, Philippines?
Try Miches, Dominican Republic.

Those seeking a vacation destination with stunning waterfalls, lush palm groves, secluded beaches and Insta-famous swing sets without 24 hours of travel time can head to Miches, Dominican Republic instead of Siquijor, Philippines. 

Photos courtesy of Club Med

With the guidance of experts, travelers are able to experience more than simple sightseeing.

Spanning across Africa, Europe and The United States, these expert-led trips — curated by Architectural Adventures — blend world-class vacations with a deep appreciation for culture, history and architecture. Serving as the official travel program of The American Institute of Architects, Architectural Adventures plans each trip alongside knowledgeable architectural experts — unlocking the historical, cultural, and aesthetic significance behind the world’s most notable architecture.

©istockphoto / Daniel_Keuck

©istockphoto / TomasSereda

“In both Barcelona and Rome, we stay in the same city, and each day discover more about it. Staying in one place affords developing a more intimate look at the architecture and culture of the city.”

Sophia Gruzdys

Barcelona, Spain

Whether she’s embracing the local language, indulging in local cuisine, or exploring historic architecture, Sophia Gruzdys — an Architectural Adventures expert since 2017 — brings her own perspective to each tour she plans.

The licensed architect and educator has led tours in Barcelona and Rome, and will lead two Barcelona tours in 2019. “In both Barcelona and Rome, we stay in the same city, and each day discover more about it. Staying in one place affords developing a more intimate look at the architecture and culture of the city,” Gruzdys explains.

In Rome, travelers explore a wide range of architectural styles — including Contemporary, Fascist-style, Art Deco, and Renaissance. Meanwhile in Barcelona, travelers visit Antoni Gaudí’s iconic Sagrada Família and recently opened Casa Vicens, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s famed Bareclona Pavillion, and the modern urbanism of the @22 District. “It’s fascinating to compare the styles that emerged in our culture in different periods of history in different cities,” Gruzdys says.

Gruzdys, who encourages travelers to engage with local languages and embrace local culture, values the importance of hands-on experience. “It’s so rewarding to travel with people who are interested in the architecture — and to share their enjoyment. Each time I visit the sites, I’ll notice something new, and continue to learn from the experiences of others,” she says.

©istockphoto / TomasSereda

“I have traveled all over the world, but traveling back to San Antonio makes me more aware of its architectural history, and its many layers and textures.”

Jane Martin

San Antonio, Texas, United States

First discovered by Spanish explorers in the 1600s, San Antonio’s identity has always been strongly rooted in Mexican culture, history, art and architecture. From exploring the city’s Spanish colonial past at the Alamo and other UNESCO World Heritage Missions to cruising along the San Antonio Riverwalk, those who travel to San Antonio will be deeply immersed in local culture.

Jane Martin — architecture educator, historian and resident of San Antonio — will lead her first trip with Architectural Adventures in 2019 in her hometown. “I have traveled all over the world, but traveling back to San Antonio makes me more aware of its architectural history, and its many layers and textures,” she says. “There is a lot to see in San Antonio, and I am constantly discovering new things. There are a great variety of architectural styles — with everything from Spanish Colonial, all the way to International Modern.”

Travelers will also visit Sir David Adjaye’s cutting-edge Ruby City, the newest of the city’s world-class museums, and learn about historic Pearl Brewery, now a 22-acre complex with housing, retail and fine dining. “I hope this trip helps to bring San Antonio to the world, encourages people to sign up for the tour and enjoy the city,” Martin says.

©istockphoto / Marco_Bonfanti

Milan, Italy

From marveling at Milan Cathedral, touring Santa Maria delle Grazie (home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper), to visiting the UniCredit Tower, those who travel to Milan will surely learn a great deal from Architecture Adventures expert David Rifkind.

Leading a nine-day tour in 2019, the architectural history professor and practicing architect will explore the city’s range of historic architecture, as well as its recent cultural renaissance — which led to the creation of new museums, sustainable architecture, and Contemporary art exhibits. “I was surprised to learn that architects tend to be very interested in Contemporary architecture,” notes Rifkind, who also finds that non-architects tend to be more interested in historic structures.

Rifkind’s trip to Milan will bring together a unique group of travelers, consisting of both architects and non-architects from around the globe. “The dynamic of the people on the trip really does impact the experience in a really positive way,” Rifkind says. “Experiencing architecture first-hand is a unique pleasure, and alongside a group of diverse people who share your passion is truly magical. It has been rewarding to learn how travelers experience places that I thought I understood.”

While Rifkind understands the importance of an informative lecture, he also highly values hands-on learning. “It is really fascinating when a relatively small group of people experience a city together,” says Rifkind, who made unique contributions for this trip to contrast classroom learning.

“Experiencing architecture first-hand is a unique pleasure, and alongside a group of diverse people who share your passion is truly magical.”

David Rifkind

©istockphoto / Daniel_Keuck

“Although my studies will be very helpful, leading an Architectural Adventures tour will be a new experience for me. It will be very interesting to give tours to travelers who are already immersed in architecture.”

Stanley Ira
Hallet

Morocco

From volunteering in Tunisia for the Peace Corp to lecturing at the University of Kabul in Afghanistan, Architectural Adventures expert Stanley Ira Hallet’s range of cultural experiences has prepared him to lead a tour throughout Morocco in 2019.

“Although my studies will be very helpful, leading an Architectural Adventures tour will be a new experience for me. It will be very interesting to give tours to travelers who are already immersed in architecture,” says Hallet. The trip will include visits to the Hassan II Mosque, the French-designed Habous Quarter, and the Majorelle Garden (a two-and-a-half-acre botanical garden).

Whether travelers are exploring the ancient capital of Mauretania, Volubilis, visiting the medieval school of Bouanania (which was built in the 1300s), or marveling at the Sahara Desert, Hallet says they will partake in a “completely different urban experience.”

Hallet, who also has a passion for photography, hopes the trip will offer travelers a more complete story of Morocco.

Bruce T. Martin uses photographs as words to create a vivid story about the culture and history of Mayan caves and cenotes of the Yucatan and more.

Photography by Bruce T. Martin

“In 1975, my father gave me a Pentad Spotomatic 35 mm camera, that I still have today,” says Bruce T. Martin, an American Fine Arts photographer. Even early on Martin didn’t pursue other careers or jobs outside of photography. Initially, his interest in cameras and capturing moments sparked when he was studying abroad in Europe 1976 and he’s been studying the art form ever since. Now, Martin explains that he takes a literary approach to his photography. “Images combine like words do in a sentence to tell a story,” he says. “My motivation is to use photography to document our world, explore our perceptions and question our viewpoints. ”

 

Martin grew up in Chautauqua County in western New York where he studied at Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. His connection to photography continued to grow even building a darkroom in his parent’s basement and later began apprenticing for Irving Penn in New York City. “That experience opened my thinking to a whole new world of possibilities,” says Martin. Although the young photographer already had an affinity to landscape photography, his job at the Chautauqua County Office of Planning and Development led to a deep appreciation for architectural structures. One responsibility of Martin’s new job was to “contact the owners of interesting and important architectural structures in the community to secure permission to photograph their homes and buildings.”

 

Gruata Milenio, Yucatán 2012

In terms of style, the photographer has “tried to combine the excellence of many photographers such as the technical mastery of Ansel Adams, the unique viewpoints of Andres Kertesz and the eloquence of Irving Penn, to name a few,” says Martin. However, from a technical point of view, Martin describes his approach as direct. “Positioning my camera in a place where I believe will reveal what I feel is most important to the image … then waiting for or creating the lighting that best reveals the detail and color to express the emotion and purpose of the image.”

As an artist, Martin is always working on a number of projects such as a larger portfolio of Boston cityscape and architecture. A series called “Fragment Landscape” is also in the works and involves overlapping images gathered in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. However, there has been one persisting project that Martin has been expanding on since 1987.

“I have been working on a project on the Maya of Central America, using historical documents, academic research, and current events in conjunction with my photography and recordings from the field,” according to Martin. The first phase of the project resulted in the book and exhibit, “Look Close See Far, A Cultural Portrait of Maya”, and has now progressed into the next component. “Seeking Sacred Landscapes, Maya Caves and Cenotes of the Yucatan”. Martin describes the project as, “beautiful, mysterious, and compelling.”

The series “Seeking Sacred Landscapes” is a combination of images of the Yucatan’s caves and cenotes with archeological, historical, and environmental essays by established authorities, according to the experienced photographer. Martin’s images compel you to look closer at the detail that has formed over the years within nature.

It’s hard to imagine what being in those types of caves would be like, but Martin describes it as a time full of anticipation. “Knowing that I will experience and learn something new each time fills my mind as I begin the descent into these underground chambers.” This experience has been building over the years. When the project first began Martin became interested in many of the Mayan’s core mythology concepts, which later led to his deeper understanding of the culture. “Harmony in life is a daily struggle. With the rapid development of recent years, many contrasting and violent viewpoints have been introduced, so that the Maya and their environment are being overwhelmed,” says Martin. “Surviving these disruptive influences and maintaining their cultural dignity is the challenge for an uncertain future that the Maya now face.”

The series “Seeking Sacred Landscapes” is a combination of images of the Yucatan’s caves and cenotes with archeological, historical, and environmental essays by established authorities, according to the experienced photographer. Martin’s images compel you to look closer at the detail that has formed over the years within nature.  

It’s hard to imagine what being in those types of caves would be like, but Martin describes it as a time full of anticipation. “Knowing that I will experience and learn something new each time fills my mind as I begin the descent into these underground chambers.” This experience has been building over the years. When the project first began Martin became interested in many of the Mayan’s core mythology concepts, which later led to his deeper understanding of the culture. “Harmony in life is a daily struggle. With the rapid development of recent years, many contrasting and violent viewpoints have been introduced, so that the Maya and their environment are being overwhelmed,” says Martin. “Surviving these disruptive influences and maintaining their cultural dignity is the challenge for an uncertain future that the Maya now face.”

Through images that help to shape and tell a story, Martin is hoping that the series “Seeking Sacred Landscapes” will attract some attention to these struggles. “With a greater awareness of their issues, a more productive dialogue on the Maya and their land can begin, which will promote cultural diversity, protect their environment and respect for their fading traditions.”

Each part of Martin’s experience pushes him further and enhances his ability as an artist. A journey from architectural to landscape photography has proved there is more than what originally meets the eye, which can be seen in the details of his photos. According to Martin, “Each of these naturally-occurring, organic caverns and cenotes are unique yet similar architectural spaces that overwhelm your perceptions and preconceived notions of the world we live in.”

Cenote Ik kil, Yucatán, 2016.

This editorial originally appeared in The High End Spring 2019.

Upon entering Puerta Cortés — a 500-plus-acre property in La Paz, Baja California, I was immediately intrigued by its essentially untouched landscape and its proximity to the marvelous Sea of Cortez.

Puerta Cortés, is surrounded by the world’s richest body of water — home to rare sea life such as whale sharks, dolphins, grey whales, humpbacks, orcas, sea lions and more. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s sea life is represented in the Sea of Cortez, making it a prime destination for snorkeling, scuba diving, and sea life exploration.

With seven marinas, Puerta Cortés demanded that I spent a day out on the water to discover Isla Espiritu Santo, swim with whale sharks, and explore sea lions habitats. I followed my day-long boating excursion with an ocean-view dinner as the sun set on the water.

Vista Mar

El Cortés Golf Club

Only two hours from Cabo San Lucas, La Paz offers an experience that heavily contrasts the bustle of a major city. Downtown La Paz offers an authentic Mexican city experience, while Puerta Cortés exudes an unparalleled feeling of privacy, serenity and comfort.

“I love the fact that even though you are in the city, you have this feeling that you are not really in a city,” says President of Ascendancy Antonio Davila, who admires the small town feel of La Paz.

El Cortés Golf Club, boasting sweeping views of the Sea of Cortez from 17 of its 18 holes, is accompanied by a cliffside Clubhouse with views unlike any other. The perfect destination for a Mexican-style breakfast, the Clubhouse evokes a peaceful atmosphere — complete with a calming morning breeze coming off the sea, views of the course’s lush greenery and the crystal blue Sea of Cortez, and an assortment of growing cacti to complete the mountainous desert landscape.

Las Colinas

After spending a morning at the golf course, I headed to Blue Cortés — the signature beach club at Puerta Cortés — to enjoy an afternoon soaking in the sun, relaxing in the infinity pool, and indulging in fine international cuisine while poolside. 

Located only two hours from Cabo San Lucas, La Paz offers an experience that heavily contrasts the bustle of a major city. Downtown La Paz offers an authentic Mexican city experience, while Puerta Cortés exudes an unparalleled feeling of privacy, serenity and comfort.

“I love the fact that even though you are in the city, you have this feeling that you are not really in a city,” says President of Ascendancy Antonio Davila, who admires the authentic, comfortable and small town feel of La Paz. 

When Davila visited the property with his wife six years ago, he immediately fell in love with the serene landscape of La Paz. 

“My wife and I were amazed by the fact that La Paz wasn’t better known, because we just found it to be the most beautiful place we’d ever seen,” he says. “I was mesmerized by its beauty, spectacular scenery and extraordinary amenities.”

Last year, Ascendancy — a Mexican-based family office and asset management firm — purchased the property and launched a $5 million renovation, which should be complete within the next 12 to 18 months. 

Currently the property offers two residential options — Las Colinas and Vista Mar, and Ascendancy is negotiating the construction of two, five-star hotels. The property will also soon sell cliffside, ocean-view lots. Other upgrades will include additional restaurants, an expanded on-site market, and a complete face lift for the beachfront.

“Puerta Cortés is an exclusive hideaway for those seeking unparalleled, coastal living and adventure in one of the most privileged locations in the world. I have met so many well-traveled visitors and residents who have seen and experienced some of the most incredible destinations in the world and have decided Puerta Cortés is where they want to be,” Davila says. 

The biggest draw of Puerta Cortes “to me is the gateway to the Sea of Cortez, its beautiful colors and wonderful sea life.” Davila says his favorite thing about living in La Paz is “being about to go out on the water with my family and experience all of the beautiful sea life. I love the quality of life that my family gets living here.”

Photos courtesy Puerta Cortés

This editorial appeared in the Unique Homes Ultimate ’19 Issue.

Consistently ranked among the world’s top places to visit, Mexico City is a global capital welcoming more than 12.5 million visitors each year with its renowned cuisine, vibrant culture, rich history, unique neighborhoods and modern-day travel offerings.

Over the years, the city has become a sprawling metropolis bursting with a vibrant personality blending old and new. Each of the distinct neighborhoods, or “colonias,” attracts tourists from all over the world to experience their unique culture.

The Roma neighborhood is home to Mexico City’s trendy creative class. Bursting with colors, the streets are filled with restaurants, galleries, bars, foodies, artists and eclectic bed and breakfasts. The neighborhood is the namesake and filming location for Alfonso Cuaron’s internationally acclaimed movie, “Roma,” which won three Academy Awards in 2019.

Located just a few blocks from the house where “Roma” was filmed, Ignacia Guest House is an ideal bed and breakfast for the visitor who wants to embrace the art and culture of the city. Blending history, Mexican artisan tradition and the city’s contemporary culture, Ignacia Guest House opened its doors in February 2017. The name is derived from the housekeeper who looked after this 1913 casona for over 70 years, Ignacia.

 

 

The bed and breakfast allows visitors to immerse themselves in the city’s culture. Each morning, the guest house’s chefs make a trip to the local market to purchase organic, local ingredients for the day. The design of the house itself also proves to blend a contemporary design and a reflection of the city’s timeless culture. With its chromatic color palette and unique interior furniture, the bed and breakfast creates a contemporary living space without losing the charm of the city’s culture.

The Ignacia Guest House is a quintessential example of a spot where visitors can expose themselves to the beauty of Mexico City and all it has to offer to tourists from around the world.

Photos courtesy of Jaime Navarro

New limited-edition beach cruisers created in partnership by Timbers Kiawah – Ocean Club & Residences and Peter Millar aim to raise awareness for the conservation of endangered sea turtles.

Available for both adults and children, the custom bikes don an original turtle print designed by Peter Millar and will first debut at Timbers Kiawah to mark the start of nesting season, a vulnerable time when guests of Kiawah Island must be most aware.

Residents of the oceanfront property, a prime new offering on Kiawah Island, will have exclusive access to the property’s fleet and can ride the cruisers on the island’s 30+ miles of scenic biking trails. The cruisers will also be available for sale to the public through a limited release. Retail for the cruisers is $1200 and all proceeds will be donated to the Town of Kiawah’s Turtle Patrol program, the impactful group behind protecting the area’s endangered turtles.

Another important aspect of the partnership is turtle conservation education, which will come to life for residents through sessions taught by local experts. Leaders from the Turtle Patrol and more will be engaged to lead education for adults and fun activities for Timbers’ smallest residents, The Timbers Tikes, highlighting the importance of recycling, keeping beaches clean and protecting the Loggerhead sea turtles, which are native to the area. The sea turtle programming will debut alongside the cruisers in Summer 2019 at Timbers Kiawah, which opened in October 2018.

Photo courtesy of Timbers Kiawah.

Raise your IQ as you indulge in these one-of-a-kind amenities. Communities are constantly coming up with new ways to create impressive amenities for their residents and guests, and these communities are doing just that. 

From studying the stars through a luxury telescope, to hands-on learning from conservationists, residents at these communities are offered the chance to learn from the comfort of their own homes. 

Study the Stars in Style

As you are perched atop a protected hilltop, set up a telescope and take in the stars at Headwaters — a tech-inflected home community developed by Freehold Communities.

The structure has been carefully deconstructed to become the setting for a stargazing amphitheater. Astronomers from the University of Texas frequently gather with Headwaters families to create a high-touch, outdoor classroom for residents to learn about celestial events — eclipses, meteor showers and supermoons.

Located in Dripping Springs, Texas, the Headwaters integrates 1,000 homes within expanses of natural habitat, eight miles of walking trails, as well as five protected hilltops.

Photos courtesy of Freehold Communities

Learn from Onsite Conservationists

With thousands of acres of unspoiled nature and 32 miles of riverfront, Palmetto Bluff offers a natural classroom where teachers — onsite conservationists and guides — run tours, classes, workshops and field trips open to all residents of the luxury, South Carolina community. Learn about life oaks, wild turkeys and other Low Country flora and fauna on bike, horseback or on foot, or head to the May River to explore by kayak, canoe or paddle board.

Looking to learn about the area’s rich history? Onsite archeologist Dr. Mary Socci leads artifact hunting expeditions from past communities dating back 12,000 BC and even leads cemetery walks that include past inhabitants’ pets.

Photos courtesy of Palmetto Bluff

Explore Surrounding Nature

At the Walden Monterey, the luxury agrihood where expansive lots will start in the $5 millions, developers are launching a tree-naming app described as “Pokémon go meets Google Sky, but for trees.” The goal? To increase residents’ interactions with nature through gamification.

Focus on Sustainability and Environmentalism

Located along Ecuador’s Pacific Riviera in the town of Puerto Caya, Oceanside Farms allows residents to gather for onsite lectures and TedX presentations focusing on sustainability and environmentalism.

Discover Astronomy from an Astronomer  

For those interested in astronomy, Mountain Shadows is the place to be. The destination offers the Cocktails Under the Cosmos Series and the Spirited Sipping SeminarsAstronomy lessons take place at the hotel’s Camelback Overlook rooftop deck, offered to both hotel guests and residents of the community. Each astronomer-led event features a signature cocktail themed around that month’s astrological sign, which can be seen brighter in the valley due to its low light pollution and dramatic desert backdrop.

Are these architectural wonders on your bucket list?

These architectural marvels, as highlighted by Architectural Adventures, are must-sees for all architecture lovers.

© Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons

The Famed Duomo in Florence

ITALY

 

Dominating the center of Florence, the Renaissance dome is the world’s 4th largest cathedral and took about 140 years to build.

Milan’s Giant Gothic Cathedral
ITALY

 

As the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, Duomo di Milano has more figures than any other building in the world with 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles, and 700 figures.

The Todaiji Temple

JAPAN

 

Once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples, the Todaiji Temple houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana and serves as the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism.

The Parthenon
GREECE

 

Built during the Athenian Empire rule in honor of the goddess Athena, the Parthenon, the sublime Doric temple, serenely fulfilled its function as the religious centre of Athens for over a thousand years.

The Taj Mahal
INDIA

 

One of the finest and most sophisticated examples of Mughal architecture is the iconic Taj Mahal, or “crown of palaces,” which was named as such to refer to the beauty of the deceased Persian princess and wife to Shah Jahan.

Alhambra’s Beauty
SPAIN

 

The most famous of the three main sections of the Alhambra are the Nasrid Palaces, which feature the Alhambra’s signature Moorish architecture and mosaic-work.

©Travis Witt / Wikimedia Commons

The Mission Concepción
TEXAS, U.S.

 

The Mission Concepción is the oldest unrestored stone church in America, and part of the San Antonio Missions UNESCO World Heritage site.

Marek Holub / Wikimedia Commons

Sagrada Família
SPAIN

 

The Mission Concepción is the oldest unrestored stone church in America, and part of the San Antonio Missions UNESCO World Heritage site.

Richard Mortel from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia / Wikimedia Commons

Rector’s Palace
CROATIA

 

Notice effortless combination of Renaissance and Baroque elements showcased throughout the Rector’s Palace, also serving as Dubrovnik’s ornate cathedral.

 

We look at four areas outside the U.S. attracting international attention for their real estate.

By Alyssa Gautieri, Kristen Ordonez and Marlene Ridgway

©istockphoto.com / gradyreese

Turks and Caicos

With a booming economy, a rise in tourism, and massive projects underway, Turks and Caicos is attracting luxury buyers nationwide, according to Perla Nieves Chesterton of The Pearl Residences.

“Besides the lovely, sunny and warm weather, people flock to the islands to cash in on the opportunities,” says Chesterton. “There are no income, property, capital gain or estate taxes. There’s a shortage of and a need for just about any business, so success is almost guaranteed.”

 

Property in Turks and Caicos can range from $1 million to $75 million. According to Chesterton, luxury condos can be purchased for around $1 million, exceptional condos for $2 million to $3 million, and waterfront homes for around $1 million. Beachfront residences are typically priced between $5 million and $25 million, but may go up to around $75 million. “The entire country and its marketing is positioned at exclusive and luxury hotels, homes and services,” Chesterton explains.

 

Visitors, residents and investors are coming from geographically diverse locations — from Russia and China to the U.S., Canada and U.K. The primary market is Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. — with most American buyers coming from the Northeast.

Providenciales, Turks & Caicos | ©istockphoto.com / anouchka

Canada

Canada is one to boast some of the safest communities in the world, from the metropolitan areas of Toronto to quaint neighborhoods like Halton Hills. Melissa Krause, sales representative for RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., considers herself an expert here as she has witnessed the town evolve before her eyes.

 

“Halton Hills has a genuine sense of community, where people come together to support one another,” she says, also noting that many families are drawn to these communities. According to Krause, there are many aspects of this region that attract buyers both nationally and internationally.

Glen Williams, Toronto | Photo courtesy of Melissa Krause

 

 

”[Halton Hills], which features Georgetown, Acton and the quaint villages of Glen Williams, Limehouse and Norval, often brings about buyers from the larger and surrounding metropolis,” she notes, saying that many relocate from the bigger cities of Oakville, Mississauga and others with the desire to live in a small town. This need from buyers is satisfied in areas like this in Canada both through luxury residences and communities as well as extracurriculars and amenities for all.

The most desirable luxury homes in Halton Hills are in Glen Williams, or “The Glen,” which is home to the largest artisan’s village in North America. From the different studios, antique shops, and both fine and casual dining to the three exclusive subdivisions, the luxury lifestyle is within easy reach in this small town.

In terms of prices and listings, the highest priced listings in Halton Hills range anywhere from $1.5 million to $2.5 million, with these homes sitting in any of the high-end subdivisions, Wildwood Estates, Bishop Court and Meadows in The Glen. The highest-priced residential home can be priced upwards of $4 million, surrounded by 10-plus acres with all the “bells and whistles” included, from in-ground pools, gourmet chef’s kitchens, and more. “Rural homes of this magnitude do not come up often and when they do it can take a much longer time to sell,” Krause says.

Argentina

 

With foreign consumers coming from Spain, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom and The United States, Argentina is drawing in a range of luxury buyers. “Argentina has always been considered a top destination in Latin America and has an important position in the South American luxury market,” says Viviana Bonelli of Coldwell Banker Grupo Gardiol.

 

“From an economical and political perspective, new leadership in Argentina has created better expectations for the future,” says Bonelli, who notes that favorable exchange rates in 2018 have increased interest from foreigners in the luxury real estate market. Growing popular in the U.S., Argentina is particularly popular among residents from California, Miami and New York.

 

“Vacation homes have long been a draw for high-net-worth investors — whether it is ski, golf, mountain or beachside retreats,” Bonelli says. “In Argentina, we observed that affluent consumers look for something that is truly unique, and this has a different representation for each person.” She said the highest-priced listing in Buenos Aires area is around $10 million.

 

Bonelli also notes a rise in tourism in Uruguay, one of Argentina’s neighboring countries.

Bariloche, Nahuel Huapi Lake, Argentina | ©istockphoto.com / MaRabelo

 

“The tourism industry in Uruguay is an important part of its economy. Oceanfront luxury developments are attracting investors from Europe, Argentina and Brazil, looking for luxury living, with unparalleled degree of elegance and functionality plus extraordinary amenities,” she says.

 

Ireland

 

“The Irish economy is the fastest growing economy in Europe with a projected growth rate for 2018 of 5.6 percent,” says Phil Thompson, real estate agent for Des Lalor Auctioneers. This projection supports the notion that Ireland’s luxury real estate is solid and continuing to expand, which can partly be explained by the rise in net immigration. “A high percentage of luxury property buyers are coming from overseas, both returning Irish migrants who rode out the depression in more lucrative locations and high-net-worth individuals moving here for employment,” says Thompson.

 

Lake house in Republic of Ireland ©istockphoto.com / MaRabelo

Chinese and Asian buyers, as well as those “seeking a safe haven in the European Union,” are another source of expansion, according to Thompson. The rise in buyers has put a strain on the available housing in cities, which has boosted the value and popularity of space outside of Dublin. “Prices are increasing rapidly in the commuter belt, 10 to 20 miles from Dublin city center,” says Thompson.

Additionally, an area growing in value is The Docklands. This is the area where “social media giants such as Facebook, Google and LinkedIn have their European headquarters and is proving highly popular as the new workers try to secure homes close to where they work,” says Thompson.

Thompson reports no shortage of real estate options. “The luxury market in the Dublin area is generally considered to consist of properties in the €1 million-plus ($1.15 million-plus) range,” he says. The highest-priced listing is a 7-bedroom mansion in a coastal setting for €10 million ($11.5 million).

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