Holland Park Villas, W8
Oh this is swish, very swish. This is a heels, hair and handbag development. There’ll be no getting past the concierge by spluttering up to the entrance on a scrappy Honda scooter wearing an orange hi-viz jacket. Only a Bentley will do. People who want to live here might have to spend several million on their heels, hair and handbags first but it’ll be money well spent.
We’re in London though, and not even the swishest development can pretend there isn’t something interesting in the background that we wouldn’t all benefit from knowing about. So here it is – Holland Park Villas is built on what was the local government school’s playground. The land was sold by the council in 2004 to raise funds (£120 million) to build an entirely new school, designed by Aedas Architects, on the site of the old school’s crumbling 1960s buildings. In the process they gained a great deal more outside space than they’d had before by digging down and building up.
The north face of Holland Park Villas looks straight across a short walkway at the school’s looming bulk and its numerous, multi-function outdoor courts – an incredible amount of space by London school standards. 1,000 scruffy teenagers running around shouting at each other provides a lively contrast to the utter zen calm inside the flats and fortunately they don’t swear at going home time quite as loudly or as much as previous generations did. Try not to exit Holland Park Villas at 3pm in term-time though. There’s only one way out by car.
For those who would rather not have their zen or their views interrupted by other people’s noisy teens there are flats facing south over the Lovingly Tended Gardens and beyond. Then there are flats facing west over Holland Park itself – a wonderful green space that punches well above its weight. Utterly magical in the depths of winter, totally over-run in the summer. Like everywhere in London these days so we just have to get used to it.
No doubt Holland Park Villas is nuclear bomb, tsunami, and alien invasion-proof but if there’s a solid lead lining it’s very well hidden. Naturally, being pristinely new means not a ripple disturbs smoothness of the pool, the towels are piled in fluffy pyramids by invisible fluffy towel piling people, the weights (and the gym has a lot of weights) have no whiff of sweat. The cinema is not spoilt by a carpet of popcorn and the spa smells of Loire valley butterflies.
So when, we might ask, are the public road and path outside going to be fixed? The building is finished, the plantings almost obscure the local peasants’ view onto the drop-off area but the public road is frankly scrappy. The developers say, through gritted teeth, that they are just waiting for the council to sort it and one must of course be sympathetic. Though it might be churlish to point out that the scrappiness is caused by all the lorries and heavy building machinery piling up and down the road for the three years it took to build the development.
A word or two on the flats? Well they are lovely, they really are. Huge, lateral, well laid out space. Lavish interior design helps and that lavishness features everywhere – in the entrance to the development, in the meeting rooms, in the corridors when you exit the lift at each floor, in the Lovingly Tended Gardens, in the cinema and in the generous terraces. Most of the flats have sold and that isn’t really a surprise. The location is wonderful, it feels very secure, the quality is high, residents will feel very well looked after and there are only 72 apartments, four of which are penthouses.
Please tell us what you like and dislike about this area:
There’s no point pretending we wouldn’t all want to live in Kensington given half a chance and several million pounds. There are parks to the left, parks to the right (useful now that everyone has a dog), a variety of attractive Victorian architecture, plenty of schools, shops, cafes and a comprehensive range of beautifying services for the discerning resident who is probably beautiful enough already. Get rich, buy here! If only it were that easy.
Please disclose any commercial relationship to this development or developer:
I have no commercial or other relationship with the developers but I do have a child at Holland Park School.
A real one of kind development in terms of location, attention to detail and 365 approach to amenities and facilities. Developer Native Land has collaborated with the leading names in design and resident services to bring 6 * star hotel style feel to this Kensington development. The development has extensive residents areas including business suite, lobby seating area around fires and a residents library. The gym and spa is run by Bodyism, a local favourite gym/spa/wellness centre and the offer includes a large swimming pool, gym, treatment rooms, ping pong room! The actual development is down a quiet residential road and it is adjacent to Holland Park.
In desirable W8 comes another desirable development that is garnering a legion of admirers. Holland Park Villas, developed by Native Land and Grosvenor, was designed by John McAslan & Partners and features interior design by Weldon Walshe. It stretches across two acres of landscaped grounds, with 180,000 square foot of luxury housing in total – this equates to 68 apartments and four penthouses with views across leafy Holland Park. Here residents can enjoy the rare peace and tranquillity that this part of central London can offer. Busy professionals and families in particular will benefit from this enviable location. There are a number of garden apartments available for those looking for that extra slice of outdoor space, and buyers can expect to pay from around £2.25million for these one to five-bedroom homes. In terms of price per square foot, expect to pay in the region of £3,791, well above the £2,230 average for the area.
The London Underground can be accessed at High Street Kensington (Circle and District), Notting Hill Gate (Circle, District and Central) and Holland Park (Central), all within a 6-minute walk from Holland Park Villas, which is situated just off the top of Campden Hill in Kensington. For international commuters, London Heathrow is located just 12 miles away, which takes around 20 minutes to drive to. Sitting next to Holland Park and between Kensington and Notting Hill means that residents can easily take advantage of the abundance of amenities in both postcodes. When it comes to shopping, the upmarket high streets of Kensington, Notting Hill, Knightsbridge and Westbourne Grove will satisfy even the most seasoned of shoppers, whilst bargains and treasures can be found on Portobello Road Market. With a world-class line-up of restaurants, cafes and bars, evenings and weekends certainly won’t be boring, and a plethora of museums, theatres and galleries are just a stone’s throw away. In terms of green space, it’s hard to argue with Holland Park and Hyde Park as options in which to stretch your legs.
Within Holland Park Villas, residents can take advantage of an impressive range of fitness and leisure facilities. These include a 20-metre swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, treatment room and yoga studio. There’s also a fully equipped gym for fitness fanatics, as well as a dual-purpose tennis table and boxing room. Holland Park Villas has partnered with James Duigan’s Bodyism, which provides a range of beauty and spa treatments for residents to book, including facials, wraps, massages, manicures and pedicures that can be enjoyed in the dedicated treatment room or in their own homes. What’s more, a private cinema, business suite, high-spec wine cellar, catering kitchen and underground car park for car owners add to the reasons why buyers will be attracted to this high-class development. The apartment interiors are full of warm neutrals and layered textures, with rich subtle splashes of colour for a luxurious finish. The result is homely yet chic. The Balthaup kitchens feature brushed steel taps and marble backsplash, with integrated Miele appliances. The bathrooms are designed by C.P. Hart, with Dornbracht brassware, white marble flooring and veined marble basins, whilst in the living rooms, marble fireplaces and chevron oak flooring add to the flawless finishes. There’s plenty of handy storage throughout – perfect for busy families – with bespoke cabinetry finished in a rich timber veneer. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring the surrounding parkland in, and the ample outdoor space provided by the balconies and terraces boast views across the gardens and treetops.
Buyers should also consider Holland Green and One Kensington Gardens in this area.