Editor’s Take: 3 Ways to Super-Charge Luxury Senior Living

Luxury senior living is booming, and it’s making me jaded.

Once, I might have been impressed by communities with bistros and formal dining rooms and wine bars, state-of-the-art screening rooms, fully equipped fitness studios, indoor pools, on-site pet grooming, and swanky spas.

Now, after innumerable press releases about the latest and greatest “luxury” community opening its doors, these amenities seem like simply table stakes for the high-end senior living provider.

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Lately, it’s been mainly hotels and multifamily projects that have been able to impress me with their luxe offerings. Senior housing, it’s time to step up your game if you want to drop jaws among the 1%. Here are three ideas to borrow.

Hot Tub Bar

The ACME Hotel in Chicago is about to open a bar modeled on a ski lodge, with the main attraction being a hot tub.

Called “Bunny Slope,” the “outrageous” bar will feature “retro decor” such as snowflake tile floors, log cabin timber walls, a snowball chandelier, and vintage ski lifts, Eater Chicago reported.

While it’s being billed as a great place for bachelorette parties, this concept has senior living written all over it.

Decor evoking a sense of nostalgia for residents? Check. Bathrobes acceptable as attire? Check—the bar will have them available for patrons, hung on vintage skis. Throw in the “ski-lodge drinks” being mixed by bartenders, and a hot tub bar sounds like the perfect way to elevate senior living happy hours.

Design by Deepak

Deepak Chopra gained fame as Oprah Winfrey’s “happiness guru.” Now, the endocrinologist-turned-alternative medicine hero is trying his hand at building design.

Chopra helped design some units in the forthcoming Muse Residences, a 65-story beachfront apartment complex nearing completion in Miami.

“Biological living is the next revolution in real estate,” Chopra told Forbes contributor Peter Lane Taylor. “This has been a long time in coming. Sleep patterns, breathing, color, light, movement, spatial flow, sound. These can all change our genome expression in the direction of health and well-being. The wellness features and technologies that we are designing (into these residences) will enhance both the physical and emotional well-being of the homeowner.”

The technologies and features include advanced air and water purification systems and a lighting system based on the body’s circadian rhythm. The finishings and colors also are meant to create a sense of nature blending with the living space.

Senior housing already is on the cutting-edge of creating spaces for enhancing personal well-being, so why not enlist Chopra to bring some star power to these projects? That will also put senior housing in line with another trend: branded real estate, which leverages the power of recognizable people and products to attract residents.

Top-flight brands like Porsche have affiliated themselves with posh multifamily projects; right across the street from Muse Residences, the Porsche Tower has a three-shaft car elevator to every floor, Forbes noted.

A Deepak Chopra-branded senior living community not only would potentially appeal to a wide contingent of aging Boomers who idolize all things Oprah, but could command astronomical prices.

As of late January, 70% of the Muse units had been sold, with prices staring at $5 million—and two penthouses are asking closer to $20 million, according to Forbes. And this in a market with a “luxury condo glut,” Taylor wrote.

Feel the Beat

Music already permeates senior living in the form of symphony partnerships, memory care technologies, opera competitions, and much more. So, ultra high-end communities will need to go big to stand out in this area.

How about taking a page out from the playbook of Magellan Development Corp., which is planning for a live-in musician at a newly opened 36-story residential building in Chicago?

The idea is that the live-in musician would provide free entertainment in the building’s common spaces and for residents’ social gatherings, and potentially also offer lessons to tenants at no charge, the Chicago Tribune reported in its article “The Latest Amenity for Attracting Luxury Rental Tenants: Live-In Musicians.”

In exchange for their services, the live-in musicians would get free rent.

Already, some senior living providers have welcomed student musicians as residents. Getting a knock-out professional musician would up the ante, but maybe senior living developers need to go even further … how about units with sound-proof music rooms or even on-site recording studios?

“Luxury building developers, in the race to stand out from competitors, are hoping to capture a musical market by providing in-house music rooms and recording studios to accommodate artists hit by a spontaneous muse,” Mansion Global reported last month.

Among the standouts is The Kent in New York City, offering a “Sound Lounge” designed by rocker Lenny Kravitz (branded real estate!).

If these ideas are too out-there, never fear: even more modest changes can add some pizzazz and a touch of luxury to otherwise staid environments. Just ask one master of branded real estate, President Donald Trump.

Written by Tim Mullaney

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