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20th Aug 2022

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Luxury vs ultra-luxury – What’s the difference?

BESPOKE LIFESTYLE: There are a number of key factors that distinguish ultra-luxury homes form the rest, not least that they’re at the pinnacle of quality, design and construction. Properties like this Blue Hills Equestrian Estate architectural masterpiece encompass all the right elements, from designer brand finishes like the Versace home office and Roberto Cavalli spa, to the 15-seater cinema and heated indoor pool, the fully equipped gym and imported Italian chef’s kitchen. On the market, fully furnished and equipped, for R 117,000,000, it encapsulates all that is ultra-luxury

In the residential market there are commonly three main sectors, namely entry level, mid-market and luxury with the latter being what most of us aspire to owning one day; the dream that keeps many people motivated.

However, beyond that is a rarified level of pure unadulterated opulence; properties at the pinnacle of quality, design and construction, offering a lifestyle so bespoke that they far exceed the accepted definition of a home. So, what exactly elevates these trophy homes to their ultra-luxury status, separating them from all the other exceptional properties at the top end of the market?

According to Grahame Diedericks, International Liaison for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty and Manager Principal in Midrand, there are a number of distinctive factors which set these ultra-luxury properties apart and add a hefty chunk to an already high price tag:


  • Location

This aspect is certainly not unique to high end-property as even a modest one-bedroom apartment will benefit from having a sea view but, over and above the ubiquitous views, ultra-luxury homes are always situated in very exclusive locations; usually ones with very limited opportunity for access or development.

Think expansive Manhattan penthouses that occupy entire floors atop status buildings, Beachy Head Road in Plettenberg Bay and exclusive lifestyle estates with generous stands where privacy is guaranteed.

  • Architectural excellence

Ultra-luxury homes are usually designed by renowned and highly acclaimed architects (or ‘starchitects’); creatives who are cutting edge and at the forefront of current design trends,

  • Square meterage

Size does matter and less is NOT more. Apartments are larger than most freestanding family homes and houses are usually substantial enough to require maps for guests to navigate them. Erfs are also usually extremely generous, not only to accommodate the build but also to ensure maximum privacy.

  • Designer features and finishes

Ultra-luxury projects are synonymous with international brands, especially when it comes to finishes and fitted features. And custom design work incorporating products from luxury brands like Fendi, Bentley and Versace are de rigueur.

  • Amenities

Spacious opulence, generous entertainment areas, the very best in home décor and top-of-the-range finishes are common denominators in luxury real estate but ultra-luxury properties take it a step further. For instance, instead of a pyjama lounge with designer sofas and cinema quality sound and a dedicated gym room, you’ll find a 20-seater, full screen cinema and a wellness centre complete with spa facilities.


“Homes at this level are not merely architectural and design masterpieces, they’re quite literally works of art in themselves,” says Diedericks.

“Because, over and above the fact that real estate remains the most popular investment among High-Net-Worth (HNW) individuals, especially in turbulent economic times, when they invest in residential property, return on investment isn’t their only incentive.

“Equally important is to acquire a private sanctuary that not only perfectly suits their lifestyle and caters to their every need, but is also a reflection of who they are and what they’ve accomplished and, as a result, these properties are not only exceptional but also distinctively unique.”

Despite the pandemic’s economic disruption, global wealth has grown during the past two years, with a 10% increase in High-Net-Worth (HNW) individuals worth over $30 million and, along with it, a spike in the demand for luxury real estate.

And, although this growth may not have been mirrored in emerging economies, South Africa still has its fair share of ultra-luxury properties and an inimitable lifestyle that continues to attract foreign investors.

“We’re currently marketing a property in the prestigious Blue Hills Equestrian Estate that ticks all the boxes and, with the Rand’s current value against major currencies, it’s highly competitive in the international arena,” says Diedericks.

“As an award-winning masterpiece at the International CEDIA Awards and a 2022 nominee at The International Design & Architecture Awards, this exceptional home is a luminary in modern South African architecture and the ultimate luxury haven for a very discerning investor.”

Set on an expansive 5065m² stand in one of the country’s most exclusive estates, this unique property is being marketed fully furnished with design pieces from the world’s most illustrious brands.

‘Deliverance’, a life-sized sculpture anchored at the façade, immediately sets the tone of this 100% smart home and five luxury vehicles inside an impressive glass display showroom further elevates its appeal.


Beautifully appointed living and recreational spaces include a Versace home office and a Roberto Cavalli spa and salon complete with a heated indoor pool and an equipped gym.

The imported Italian kitchen is every top chef’s dream and at the basement level is a lavish 15-seater cinema along with a temperature-controlled wine cellar with over 1500 bottles of wine, a champagne display and a stylish poker table.

The lavish master wing, complete with a boutique-style dressing room, en-suite bathroom and private balcony also boasts separate ‘his & hers’ rooftop lounges on either side of the property to maximise the views.

“Properties of this calibre very seldom come onto the market,” says Diedericks, “especially not fully furnished and equipped to the highest designer specifications with everything anyone could possibly want or need.”

Marketed jointly by Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, this property is on the market for R 117,000,000.

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