Knightsbridge, Belgravia or Mayfair? That’s the choice that faces most high-rolling new residents or investors in London. The areas border each other (the boundary between Belgravia, Knightsbridge and neighbouring Chelsea is notoriously fluid), and while none is exactly shabby, each has a different vibe and soul.
Mayfair, the most historically significant, houses the best boutiques and brass-plaque fund headquarters, but until recently lagged behind on residential desirability – it’s catching up, though. Belgravia is home to the most significant real estate. Nowhere else in Europe has the abundance of truly palatial, architecturally significant houses in a super-prime historic area as found within the boundaries of Eaton Square.
But for a blend of prestige, hauteur and vibe, nothing can quite match Knightsbridge, as evidenced by the fact that hotels and boutiques which are technically in Belgravia now claim to be in Knightsbridge. After all, it’s the home of Harrods, Harvey Nichols, the Bulgari hotel, it encompasses the better end of Sloane Street and shares a border with Hyde Park.
“I am always keen to invest in prime real estate where the values are secured by high worldwide demand and rarity of availability” – Javad Marandi
While Knightsbridge has never been anything other than exclusive, some trace its current status as the must-buy area for any self-respecting billionaire back to the 2011 launch of the Candy brothers’ Norman Foster-designed One Hyde Park development. Insiders go further back and point to the earlier creation of the Knightsbridge Apartments at 199 Knightsbridge by the Hong Kong-based Cheng family, back in 2002, to bringing world-class apartment amenities (proper hotel-style concierge, pool, gym) to London, once a city of houses rather than apartment towers.
Now, with the emphasis away from bling, the places to own in Knightsbridge are in less flashy developments. Enter Knights House on Cheval Place, a brand new development that has arrived under the radar. In the heart of Knightsbridge proper, in a quiet street opposite Harrods, the development by Finchatton, “the discerning man’s Candy & Candy”, has sold out rapidly even while we were creating this story. At the time of going to press, only the penthouse remained, a three-bedroom, two-terrace, 210 sq m lateral apartment with the peace of a village.
Says Alex Michelin, MD of Finchatton : “It’s in a lovely part of Knightsbridge village, right by Harrods. It’s incredibly quiet, with no through roads: you hear no traffic or other noise. It has wonderful views over to the park and the dome of the Brompton Oratory.” Michelin says they were fortunate in that the previous building on the site had no historical value, so it could be knocked down and replaced with a new-build low-rise – a real rarity in the area.
Javad Marandi, a British-Iranian global property investor and one of the project’s financial backers, who himself has a house nearby, says: “London is considered worldwide as one of the safest, most liberal and most desirable places to invest. Knightsbridge, with its close vicinity to Harrods and all the premium shops of Sloane Street, is the most attractive area in London; and Cheval Place is an ultra-luxury development in the heart of Knightsbridge village. I am always keen to invest in prime real estate where the values are secured by high worldwide demand and rarity of availability.”
A fabulous home and a watertight investment; what more could you need? Oh, it’s a two-minute stroll from Zuma, so you can fire the driver.