So this is it! We’ve circled the Monopoly board and we’ve come full circle, from the cheapest browns of Old Kent Road and Whitechapel Road to the most expensive purples of Park Lane and Mayfair. Interestingly, as far as we can tell, Mayfair is the only square on the Monopoly board that isn’t a specific street but that has never stopped us all from enjoying one of the world’s most famous board games and we’ve loved telling the stories of these iconic London streets so for the last time, sit back, relax and read the tales of the purples…
Park Lane (£350) Rent £35; 1 House £175; 2 Houses £500; 3 Houses £1,100; 4 Houses £1,300; Hotel £1,500
Park Lane is one of London’s most iconic thoroughfares. Running from Hyde Park Corner to Marble Arch, on one side is Hyde Park and on the other are some of the world’s best hotels including The Dorchester, the Four Seasons and the Grosvenor House as well as showrooms for Lamborghini, McLaren and Aston Martin.
You can smell the money as you walk up and down but it wasn’t always like that.
When Hyde Park opened in 1536 by King Henry VIII, Park Lane (then known as Tyburn Lane) was nothing more than a track separating farm boundaries. The village of Tyburn had existed since the 11th century (although it declined in the 14th) and became synonymous with hanging. For hundreds of years, it was the principal location for the execution of close to 50,000 of London’s criminals until 1783 when public executions ceased and for the next half-century or so, ownership of the land changed hands a number of times until around 1820 when Decimus Burton built Hyde Park Corner.
Hyde Park Corner, September 1969 © Leonard Bentley
The Grosvenor Estate constructed grand family mansions to attract the wealthy to the area and the road became lined with some of the largest private homes in London as well as fast becoming the city’s most fashionable address. Famous residents included the Dukes of Westminster, philanthropist Moses Montefiore, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Fred Astaire and black market fraudster Sidney Stanley.
In the early years of the 20th century, residential Park Lane started to make way for commercial Park Lane as residents began to complain about the growing noise and smell from cars and buses.
The Marriott opened in 1919, the Park Lane Hotel in 1927, the Grosvenor House in 1929 and The Dorchester in 1931 which became the haunt of choice for the legendary literary figures of the age such as Cecil Day-Lewis and Somerset Maugham.
© Spanish Coches
Park Lane is the second most expensive property on the Monopoly board and it’s paired with Mayfair that were designed to be the equivalents of Park Place and Boardwalk from the American version and as a final Park Lane fact, the World Monopoly Championships were held there in 1988!
Mayfair (£400) Rent £50; 1 House £200; 2 Houses £600; 3 Houses £1,400; 4 Houses £1,700; Hotel £2,000
As with the vast majority of London before the 17th century, Mayfair as it became known was predominantly open, muddy fields swamped by the River Tyburn but in 1686, King James II granted permission for a fair to be held there in May. The May Fair allowed those who had survived the plague to let their hair down and indulge in dancing, music and general merriment (which the authorities branded ‘lewd and disorderly practices’).
The May Fair was banned in 1764 because the moneyed classes who had moved in felt that it lowered the tone of the area. Suffice it to say, the area now had a name.
Claridges Hotel © Dave Hunt
The unusual story of how the seeds of modern-day Mayfair were sown is down to a 12-year old girl called Mary Davies.
She was the daughter of a wealthy financier and she inherited 100 acres of swampland to the east of Park Lane and to the south of Oxford Street. As she grew up, she married Sir Thomas Grosvenor and their son, Sir Richard Grosvenor developed Grosvenor Square and then branched out to Hanover Square, Clarges Street and Brook Street and they became the residences of choice for England’s minor royals and of the first 277 homes in the area, 117 had titled owners.
Other families were developing to the south and Mayfair quickly became the most desirable residential location in London. So much so that it prompted the canon of St. Paul’s, Reverend Sydney Smith to proclaim ‘the area contains more intelligence and human ability – to say nothing of wealth and beauty – than the world has ever collected in one space before.’
During World War II, the City came under heavy fire and a large number of businesses relocated to Mayfair. In 1939, close to 75% of the homes in the area were used as offices and it took 50 years for those commercial premises to revert back to private homes.
Berkeley Square © Herry Lawford
Famous residents have included Lord Nelson, composer Handel, statesmen Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden and Benjamin Disraeli, guitarist Jimi Hendrix and eponymous shopkeeper Harry Gordon Selfridge.
To end, here’s a fun Mayfair fact – HM The Queen was born at 17 Bruton Street, the home of her maternal grandfather and Prince Philip had his stag night at The Dorchester!
at 17 Mar 2016
This month, Britain’s house prices have broken some unwanted records. The average UK home asking price has gone above £300,000 for the first time with six regions hitting new highs. In the North West the average price is £177,500 and in the West Midlands it’s a shade over £200,000 but in London, the average price for a home is a quite staggering £644,000. Six hundred and forty four thousand pounds – are you kidding?! A huge amount for sure, but mere pennies in comparison what the super-rich are paying for a roof over their heads…
Last week, we read an interesting tweet from a middle-aged guy in the creative industry. It basically said that when he started work in the late-70s, his salary was £5k pa and the flat he lived in cost £19,000. Now, people in his position then are earning between £25-30k and the same flat in south London costs £800,000. It’s insane how much house prices have gone up and the latest ‘deposit’ stat – there seems to be a revised number every few months – says that first time buyers need somewhere north of £60,000 in cash just to get on the ladder.
That’s a topic for another day, but once you’re on the ladder and you’re sitting pretty on the top rung, what’s out there for you?
A quick (almost voyeuristic) Google search of ‘London’s most expensive houses’ kept pointing us to one house once owned by a Saudi prince and the Prime Minister of Lebanon that went on sale in 2015. It’s a super-mansion in Rutland Place near Hyde Park and the numbers are simply staggering!
- Price: £280,000,000
- Bedrooms: 45
- Size: 60,000 sq.ft
- Interior Design: Alberto Pinto
- Refurbishment Costs: c£50,000,000
- Floors: 7
2-8a Rutland Place Interior © ProAuction/SWNS
From what we can gather, it didn’t sell and the owners decided to turn it into luxury apartments.
Another super-mansion made the headlines last year, this time in Upper Brook Street in Mayfair. Mere pocket-change in comparison to Rutland Place but this newly-renovated, seven-bedroom 21,000 sq.ft Regency mansion was on the market for £90,000,000. It included a ballroom for 200 people, a mews home for staff, a 49-ft swimming pool, library, cinema, after-dinner bar (we’re not even sure what an after-dinner bar is), a master bedroom suite taking up an entire floor and it was described by a London property consultant as ‘a truly palatial home ideal for luxurious 21st century living’.
Upper Brook Street Entrance © SWNS
Of course £100m homes in London are rare but there’s no shortage of multi-million pound mansions to buy if you’ve got the cash. Even Zoopla are listing a 17,000 sq.ft, £45,000,000, 6-bed, 6-bath, 6-floor des-res in Mayfair!
But, while London is undoubtedly a very, VERY expensive place to live, these numbers pale into relative insignificance if we look further afield. Like with many exclusive asset classes such as property, classic cars, fine wine or art, getting exact sales figures are often impossible to come by given the fact that people with that much cash usually don’t want the likes of us to know what they’re spending!
Naturally, many of the world’s most expensive homes are in America and are (or have been) owned by celebs and business leaders, but how much are we talking about?
Owner: Petra Stunt, Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter
Where: Los Angeles, California
How Much: £54,000,000
Features: 123 rooms, bowling alley, tennis court, gym, 56,000 sq.ft
Odd Fact: There are three rooms purely for gift-wrapping presents
The Manor © paradiseleased.com
The Promised Land
Owner: Oprah Winfrey
Where: Montecito, California
How Much: £56,000,000
Features: 42 acres, 14 bathrooms, indoor AND outdoor theatres, 600 rose bushes
Odd Fact: The house was named after a Martin Luther King speech
Owner: Microsoft supremo Bill Gates
Where: Medina, Washington
How Much: £100,000,000
Features: 66,000 sq.ft, unbelievably high-tech, 60ft swimming pool, heated driveways
Odd Fact: The house was named after the title character’s house in Citizen Kane
The Playboy Mansion
Owner: Playboy legend Hugh Hefner
Where: Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California
How Much: £138,000,000
Features: 29 rooms, five acres, grotto, zoo, home theatre
Odd Fact: If you buy the house, you have to let Hef live there
Villa La Leopolda
Owner: Lily Safra, Brazilian billionaire
Where: Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
How Much: £485,000,000
Features: 19 bedrooms, 80,000+ sq.ft, tennis courts, bowling alley, 50 full-time gardeners
Odd Fact: King Leopold II of Belgium built the house for a mistress
Villa La Leopolda © www.moneybagsfull.com
Owner: Mukesh Ambani, Indian billionaire
Where: Mumbai, India
How Much: £650,000,000
Features: 27 floors, 400,000 sq.ft, 168-car garage, 3 helipads, 9 lifts, 2-floor health centre
Odd Fact: 600 staff look after the property in a ratio of 1:100 (six residents)
Antilia Mumbai © fireflydaily.com
at 1 Mar 2016
Some people enjoy travelling on business and see it as a perk of the job and others find it a tiring, lonely experience but in the non-stop world we live in, it’s a necessity that can rarely be avoided. Most short trips involve airports, client offices and nondescript hotel rooms but for longer stays and secondments, Euracom has the answer, and the benefits of business travel are better than you think….
As we’ve said, coming to London on business for a few days is easy and quick to organise. Flights are cheap and you can find decent hotel rooms all over the city. You meet with your clients, they take you for dinner and you’re back on the plane home before you know it.
As a long-term business traveller, it’s slightly more complex than that. Flights are no problem but accommodation might be. Three or more months in a hotel is prohibitively expensive for all but the biggest organisations, as is eating out three times a day. Organising laundry, work, entertaining and relaxation is also a hassle in a hotel.
London Skyline Picture © Neil Howard
But there’s a solution, and it’s much, much easier than you think…
As a business traveller, the things that are most important to you when staying in another country are:
- Comfort with plenty of space
- A home-away-from-home feel
- Close to the tube and mainline rail stations
- 15-20 minutes to Central London
- High-speed wireless broadband
- Weekly housekeeping
- Modern, high-tech apartments
- Immediate availability
- Fully-equipped kitchen and all mod-cons
Have you considered West Hampstead? If you haven’t, it’s time to start! Our brand new apartments are perfectly located just to the northwest of central London and offer some incredible advantages over staying in a hotel.
West Hampstead Picture © Nico Hogg
As we’ve mentioned, apartments are much cheaper than equivalent hotels and it’s exactly like being at home. You come and go as you please; you do what you want, when you want; you can cook, clean and relax in the lounge; you can entertain friends, colleagues or clients, you can work in spacious comfort and you can be in the beating heart of London in 10-15 minutes.
West Hampstead is west of Hampstead, one of London’s most exclusive (and expensive) residential areas and you should expect no change from £10m if you want a five-bedroom family home there. West Hampstead is a thriving, friendly community with a real, old-school Bohemian vibe. Some say it’s a yuppie stronghold and while that’s true to a certain extent, you’ll find all sorts of people buzzing around, from City-types to peaceful old hippies to families, young urbanites and the newly crowned millennials.
The main road that cuts through the middle of West Hampstead is West End Lane and it’s one of the very best high streets in London full of fantastic restaurants, bars and cafés, quirky, independent shops, delicatessens, bakeries and boutiques with a true village feel. You’ll find all sorts here including furniture, art, books and clothes and you are a few minutes away from the delights of Primrose Hill, Hampstead and Regent’s Park.
Not only that, but also, the overall benefits of long-term business travel can’t be ignored:
- See new and exciting cities with new foods and new experiences
- Meet new and interesting people from all over the world
- You don’t suffer from routine burnout with such variation
- Network with businesses you wouldn’t normally have access to
- Your confidence and business acumen grows
- Days are structured for you to get the most out of them
Heathrow Airport Picture © Sergey Yellseev
See! Coming to London on business for three months of more needn’t be a chore, a hassle, a bind or in any way stressful if you contact us on 020 8420 7666 firstname.lastname@example.org and book your corporate apartment in West Hampstead today!
at 22 Feb 2016
Everyone loves the Greens, don’t they? Unlike most of the sets on the Monopoly board, Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street are three of the most famous and instantly recognisable streets in all of Europe but they weren't always about shopping!
London’s history is all at once fascinating, vibrant, funny, dark, macabre and two thousand years old and here is the history of the Greens…
Regent Street (£300); Rent £26; 1 House £130; 2 Houses £390; 3 Houses £900; 4 Houses £1,100; Hotel £1,275
Named after the Prince Regent (who became George IV), Regent Street runs north to south from Portland Place down to Piccadilly Circus and is instantly recognisable for its wide, sweeping Nash terraces as well as, these days, the flagship Apple Store and Hamleys, the world’s greatest toyshop.
Regent Street Picture © Gabrielle Ludlow
Regent Street was one of London’s first examples of town planning, dispensing with the ‘industry standard’ of the day, a throwback to the mid-17th century of Wren’s classically formal model and it was intended as a commercial centre, hence the distinct lack of public spaces and gardens. In 1850, it was the first shopping area in the UK to see the value in late-night shopping with stores staying open to 7pm, perhaps a precursor to the highlight of the year, the Christmas lights that attract thousands of tourists and Londoners alike.
The only surviving Nash building on Regent Street is All Soul’s Church completed in 1823 and today, major residents include BBC Broadcasting House, Café Royal and Liberty as well as the aforementioned Apple Store and Hamleys.
Oxford Street (£300); Rent £26; 1 House £130; 2 Houses £390; 3 Houses £900; 4 Houses £1,100; Hotel £1,275
Oxford Street is one of the most iconic shopping streets in the world – think Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Fifth Avenue in New York and L’Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris – and the 300 shops and restaurants that traverse its 1.2 mile length from Marble Arch at the western end to Tottenham Court Road at the eastern end welcome more than 200m visitors a year.
It follows the route of a Roman road called the via Trinobantina and became famous – or infamous – as the route taken by condemned men from Newgate Prison to the gallows at Tyburn, where Marble Arch now stands. In fact, as the prison guards were transporting their charges to their final destination on a horse and cart, they would often stop at an inn along the route for a flagon of ale. When the innkeeper asked if the prisoner was to drink, the guards would reply ‘no, he’s on the wagon’ and this became a phrase that has entered the common parlance meaning to abstain from alcohol.
Oxford Circus Picture © Ihuga
When Harry Selfridge opened his eponymous store in 1909, Oxford Street became world famous and it’s now home to the department stores of John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams as well as flagship Nike, Hennes, TopShop and Adidas shops.
Bond Street (£320); £28; 1 House £150; 2 Houses £450; 3 Houses £1,000; 4 Houses £1,200; Hotel £1,400
Off the hustle, bustle and crowds of Oxford Street and you’ll find Bond Street, one of the world’s most luxurious shopping streets. As the bourgeoisie populated Mayfair in the 18th century, Bond Street – named for landowner Sir Thomas Bond – became a retail area for locals and a pretentious group of residents known as the Bond Street Loungers would parade up and down in expensive clothes and wigs to affirm their superiority.
Bond Street Picture © DncnH
In the 19th century, Bond Street took shape, with auctioneer Phillips and jeweller Asprey opening and these auspicious names have been followed by Sotheby’s, Tiffany, Chanel, Breitling, Bulgari, Rolex and De Beers. Where haute couture fashion is concerned, there’s no better place in London. Walk up and down Bond Street and the names scream out at you – Ralph Lauren, Fendi, Gucci, Prada, Donna Karan, Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Ermenegildo Zegna –so don’t forget to take your wallet and don’t forget to have your picture taken with Churchill and Roosevelt, if you can find them…
In commercial property terms, Bond Street is widely considered to be the best retail location in Europe and even if you’re not a Russian billionaire, it’s fun to go window shopping!
at 25 Jan 2016