All That Glitters

The Gold Coast is back on the radar, attracting high-calibre property projects, sparkling new marinas and a sprinkling of Hollywood glamour.

By Belinda Aucott 18/12/2023

Like the majestic rollers that wash over the state’s golden beaches, a wave of luxury is cresting on Queensland’s Gold Coast, bringing a new sense of style and glamour to the Glitter Strip and beyond. And at the centre of this renaissance is premium property, reaching physically, and metaphorically, for the sky.

Of course, the national pilgrimage to the Gold Coast isn’t a recent phenomenon, but where visitors once came solely to worship at the altar of hedonism—à la Las Vegas—canny Australians, largely post-Covid exiles from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, are now seeing value in the sunny climes, easy access to the verdant hinterland and opportunity to invest in some of the country’s most luxurious new residences. Moreover, the region’s new lean towards high-living represents a psychological shift; gone is the cultural cringe once associated with “The Goldie”, replaced by a fresh tone of optimism, and affluence.

Adrian Parsons, Managing Director of Gold Coast-based project marketing firm Total Property Group (TPG), has seen the demand for high-calibre luxury homes erupt recently, a shift that mirrors the rise of co branded residences by the likes of Armani, Bulgari and Aston Martin around the globe.

His company are currently involved in marketing and selling a game- changing development, the Mondrian Residences at Burleigh Heads, scheduled to open in 2024. It sold out within five months of going to market. “The Mondrian is an international brand,” says Parsons. “It’s similar to what we’re seeing in destinations such as Los Angeles and New York where Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental and others are creating developments, where as a permanent resident you can tap into hotel-style services.” High-net-worth buyers have lofty expectations of this type of property, and developers are finally providing a product that meets their wishes.

The pool at Jewel Private Residences

In terms of projects, TPG have an embarrassment of riches on their books, including the 38-level Royale, due for completion in 2025, featuring six-star lifestyle amenities across its first two floors. Meanwhile, Escape offers apartments integrated with luxury services and design; Paradiso Place is a three-tower development encompassing an entire city block, with the first tower comprising 258 apartments. Parsons says each project has been a stratospheric success, with off-plan apartments and larger home-sized residences and penthouses selling rapidly.

CGI of apartment interior at Jewel Private Residences, Gold Coast

In the beating heart of Surfers Paradise sits another of TPG’s aces in the pack, the billion-dollar development Jewel, again, in line with global trends, offering a co-branded residential experience. Studding the shores of the beach, Jewel is instantly recognisable by its three black, faceted residential towers, which are completely integrated with the adjacent palatial resort-style facilities of the five-star Langham Hotel—so much so, you can barely tell where the residences stop and the hotel starts. Thirty apartments from stage three of the project sold during October 2023, totalling $60 million in sales.

Left: Adrian Parsons, Managing Director of Total Property Group. Right: Koichi Takada, Principal of Koichi Takada Architects (KTA)

“Prestige property buyers recognise this as a unique opportunity and have been acting quickly to secure their apartments, to enjoy absolute beachfront with five-star amenities, including a fine-dining restaurant, a sophisticated lobby bar and beachfront café,” says Parsons.

Burly Residences, situated on the headland at Burleigh Heads, is another landmark TPG project, which like Jewel and the Mondrian Residences, has been designed as a hotel-cum-resort “escape hatch”, according to architect, the Japan-born Koichi Takada. “Burleigh is like Bondi Beach was 20-30 years ago,” says Takada. “If you go to the Gold Coast you have the beach, but you also have lots of things to do … shopping, restaurants, dining, entertainment, whereas if you go to the south coast of Sydney and Melbourne you get the beach, but you don’t get this amenity.”

CGI of communal facilities at Burly Residences

The Gold Coast’s infrastructure is, helpfully, keeping pace with the speed of gentrification, thanks in no small part to the enthusiasm of a local council that incentivises development. Two marinas are due to be built before 2026, including one for superyachts at The Spit. The region boasts five modern hospitals, with a new facility currently being constructed at Tweed Heads. Higher education is well catered for at Griffith, Bond and Southern Cross universities. This abundance of facilities, coupled with the international airport on its doorstep, means the Gold Coast is luring a varied demographic—from cashed-up couples and power executives to start-up founders and parents with young families. Hollywood stars are taking note.

Kimberly Gardner is a Brisbane stylist with an illustrious, 30-year-long career working in film and editorial. She says that since Covid-19, the Gold Coast has dramatically boosted Queensland’s celebrity pulling power. “I’m often called to the Coast to style a lead actor’s press conferences or their media launches. This is happening more with each passing year.”

Indeed, Amal and George Clooney took up residence in the back roads of Tallebudgera during Covid-19 lockdowns, staying at the $30 million residence Bellagio La Villa, owned by Chinese billionaire property developer Riyu Li. On the city’s blonde sands, it’s not unusual to come across the likes of Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Pretty Little Liars’ Keegan Allen, Joel Madden, Nicole Richie and their families, just casually hanging out. Live on the Gold Coast and you may get used to seeing actor Annette Bening shopping at Max Mara in Pacific Fair, or one of the Hemsworth brothers emerging from the surf at Snapper Rocks. 

Left: A course from Pipit’s hyper-local degustation menu by chef Ben Devlin in Pottsville. Right: Alex Labart from Labart’s in Burleigh Heads

Big-budget film projects from the likes of Paramount, Warner Brothers and Netflix are adding another coat of glamour to the Gold Coast’s changing visage; following his 2021 movie 13 Lives, in which south-east Queensland stood in for tropical northern Thailand, director Ron Howard is currently shooting his new project, Eden, locally. These days, it’s not unusual to stumble upon a wrap party at one of Broadbeach or Burleigh’s hipper bars. When not working, celebrities and locals alike have scores of celebrated eateries at their disposal, from Isoletto Pool Club at The Dorsett (coconut water and prawn cocktails by the pool, anyone?) to Pipit just over the border in Pottsville, offering a hyper-local approach to modern Australian cuisine. And any namecheck of Gold Coast gastronomic hotspots isn’t complete without the perennially popular Tropic, Rick Shores and Labart restaurants, all congregated around Burleigh Heads.

Interior of Chuan Spa at The Langham Gold Coast

While the Gold Coast has always been a string of little villages joined loosely together to form a greater whole, fringe-dwelling suburbs that once languished, such as Coolangatta, Miami and Palm Beach, are now being treated to hipster makeovers, with coffee roasters, gin distilleries and poke bowl eateries gaining traction. The regional market update, CoreLogic, reported in September 2023 that Coolangatta home values surged 6.2 percent in the previous three months, followed by the Sunshine Coast Hinterland (5.8 percent) and Gold Coast North (5.6 percent). This upturn is being driven by strong internal migration, adding to the local population of 773,000. Art consultant Miriam Grundy and her partner Elliot Wheeler, a music composer for cinema, moved back to Australia from Los Angeles at the end of 2019 to work on a movie project. Only ever intending to stay temporarily, the couple ended up settling on the southern Gold Coast.

“I think for creatives, it’s the luxury of time and space,” says Miriam of the Gold Coast’s magnetism. “It’s a good culture to be making things in, or if you’re working in the music field, because there is a critical distance from the major epicentres such as LA and New York, but you are 20 minutes from the airport and one hour and half from Sydney or Melbourne. The difference is that on the way to the airport you pass echidnas and kangaroos.”

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Escape from the Ordinary

Ponant, the luxury cruise line known for its meticulously planned itineraries and high-end service, ups the ante on their upcoming European Journeys that promise an unrivalled exploration of the Mediterranean.

By Robb Report Team 19/02/2024

Not all cruises are created equally. Ponant, the luxury cruise line known for its meticulously planned itineraries and high-end service, ups the ante on their upcoming European Journeys that promise an unrivalled exploration of the Mediterranean. From the stunning Amalfi Coast to the pristine Greek Islands, the narrow Corinth Canal to the picturesque Dalmatian coast, historic Istanbul and beguiling Malaga, each destination is a unique adventure waiting to be unravelled. With Ponant, these aren’t just locations on a map; they’re experiences that come alive with the intimate knowledge and insight that their expert guides provide.

Ponant’s luxury cruises are renowned for their individuality, with no two journeys the same. This is not by chance. Itineraries are scrupulously designed to ensure that each passenger is left with a feeling of having embarked on a journey unlike any other.

Athens-Venise. Photograph by N.Matheus. ©PONANT

In 2025, their fleet will set sail for a combined 56 departures from March to October, exploring the dreamy locales of Greece and the Greek Islands, Malta, Italy (including Venice and Sicily), Croatia, France, Turkey, Spain and Portugal. These European Journeys offer an intimate encounter with the Mediterranean, its people and culture. As you cruise in luxury, you’ll dive deep into the heart of each destination, exploring historic sites, engaging with locals, sampling scrumptious cuisine and soaking in the vibrant atmospheres.

The company’s small, sustainable ships, which can accommodate from as few as 32 to 264 guests, have the exclusive ability to sail into ports inaccessible to larger cruise liners, affording privileged entry into some of the world’s most treasured alcoves. Picture sailing under London’s iconic Tower Bridge, crossing the Corinth Canal, or disembarking directly onto the sidewalk during ports of call in culturally rich cities like Lisbon, Barcelona, Nice and Venice, among others.

Photo by Tamar Sarkissian. ©PONANT

This singular closeness is further enriched by destination experts who unravel the tapestry of each locale’s history and traditions.

Onboard their luxurious ships, every guest is a VIP and treated to refined service and amenities akin to sailing on a private yacht. Whether at sea or ashore, their destination experts guarantee a fascinating experience, immersing you in the rich cultural and historical diversity of each region.

Indulge in the finest gastronomy at sea, inspired by none other than gastronomic virtuoso and Ponant partner, Alain Ducasse. Each voyage offers an expertly crafted dining experience, from a-la-carte meals with perfectly matched wines by the onboard Sommelier at dinner and lunch, to a French-inspired buffet breakfast, featuring all the favourite pastries, fresh bread and quality produce.

Chef Mickael Legrand. Photograph by NickRains. ©PONANT

For a more intimate discovery, consider Le Ponant, with its 16 high-class staterooms and suites—perfect for private charter—sailing eight exclusive routes between Greece and Croatia, offering guests unparalleled experiences both onboard and ashore. Ponant’s commitment to crafting unforgettable experiences extends beyond itineraries. Aboard their ships, the luxury is in every detail. Unwind in opulent cabins and suites, each offering private balconies and breathtaking views of the azure water and destinations beyond.

Ponant’s upcoming European Journeys are more than just cruises—they’re your passport to a world of cultural immersion, historical exploration, and unrivalled luxury. Don’t miss this opportunity to embark on the voyage of a lifetime: the Mediterranean is calling.

To book European 2025 sailings visit au.ponant.com; call 1300 737 178 (AU) or 0800 767 018 (NZ) or contact your preferred travel agent.

 

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Saint Laurent Just Opened a New Bookstore in Paris. Here’s a Look Inside.

The chic new outpost is located on the city’s arty Left Bank.

By Rachel Cormack 14/02/2024

Saint Laurent is taking over even more of Paris.

The French fashion house, which only just opened an epic new flagship on Champs-Élysées, has launched a chic new bookstore on the Left Bank. Located in the 7th arrondissement, Saint Laurent Babylone is a mecca of art, music, literature, and, of course, fashion.

The new outpost is a tribute to the connection that Yves Saint Laurent and partner Pierre Bergé had to the Rue Babylone, according to Women’s Wear Daily. (In 1970, the pair moved to a 6,500-square-foot duplex on the street.) It is also inspired by the house’s original ready-to-wear boutique, Saint Laurent Rive Guache, which opened in the 6th arrondissement in 1966.

The exposed concrete in contrasted by sleek marble accents. SAINT LAURENT

With a minimalist, art gallery-like aesthetic, the space is anchored by a hefty marble bench and large black shelves. The raw, textured concrete on the walls is juxtaposed by a soft blue and white rug, a wooden Pierre Jeanneret desk, and sleek Donald Judd stools.

The wares within Saint Laurent Babylone are the most important part, of course. Curated by Saint Laurent’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello, the collection includes everything from photos by British artist Rose Finn-Kelcey to books published by Saint Laurent itself. Some tomes on offer are so rare that white gloves are required for handling.

The store also offers an enviable selection of records that are no longer being pressed. Highlights include Sade’s Promise, Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love, and the debut studio album of electronic band Kraftwerk.

Other notable items on the shelves include Leica cameras, chocolates made in collaboration with pastry chef François Daubinet, prints by Juergen Teller, and brass skull sculptures. You’ll also find an assortment of YSL merch, including pens, lighters, and cups.

To top it off, Saint Laurent Babylone will double as an event space, hosting live music sessions, DJ sets, book readings, and author signings over the coming months.

Saint Laurent’s latest endeavor isn’t exactly surprising. With Vaccarello at the helm, the Kering-owned fashion house has entered new cultural realms. Only last year, the label established a film production company and debuted its first movie at Cannes.

The space is fitted with a Pierre Jeanneret desk and Donald Judd stools.
SAINT LAURENT

Perhaps Saint Laurent film reels and movie posters will soon be available at Babylone, too.

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The Best Watches at the Grammys, From Maluma’s Jacob & Co. to Jon Batiste’s Vacheron Constantin

Music’s biggest names sported some outstanding watches on Sunday evening.

By Rachel Mccormack 08/02/2024

Weird yet wonderful watches punctuated this year’s Grammys.

The woman of the moment, Taylor Swift, who made history by winning Album of the Year for an unprecedented fourth time, wore an unconventional Lorraine Schwartz choker watch to the annual awards ceremony on Sunday night. That was just the tip of the horological iceberg, though.

Colombian singer-songwriter Maluma elevated a classic Dolce & Gabbana suit with a dazzling Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon and a pair of custom, diamond-encrusted Bose earbuds, while American musician Jon Batiste topped off a stylish Versace ensemble with a sleek Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon. Not to be outdone, rapper Busta Rhymes busted out a rare Audemars Piguet Royal Oak for the occasion.

There was more understated wrist candy on display, too, such as Jack Antonoff’s Cartier Tank LC and Noah Kahan’s Panerai Luminor Quaranta BiTempo.

For the rest of the best watches we saw on the Grammys 2024 red carpet, read on.

Maluma: Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon

Maluma busted out some truly spectacular bling for this year’s Grammys. The Colombian singer-songwriter paired a classic Dolce & Gabbana suit with a dazzling Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon and a pair of custom, diamond-encrusted Bose earbuds. The sculptural wrist candy sees a four-arm movement floating in front of a breathtaking dial adorned with no less than 257 rubies. For added pizzaz, the lugs of the 18-karat rose-gold case are invisibly set with 80 baguette-cut white diamonds. Limited to just nine examples, the rarity is priced at $1.5 million.

Asake: Hublot Big Bang Essential Grey

Nigerian singer-songwriter Asake may not have won the Grammy for Best African Music Performance for “Amapiano,” but did wear a winning Hublot Big Bang at Sunday’s proceedings. Released in 2023, the Essential Grey model is made purely of titanium for a sleek, uniform feel. The 42 mm timepiece was limited to just 100 pieces and cost $37,000 a pop.

John Legend: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding

Multihyphenate John Legend wore a legendary Audemars Piguet with silky Saint Laurent on Sunday evening. The self-winding Royal Oak in question features a 34 mm black ceramic case, a black grande tapisserie dial, and striking pink gold accents. The watchmaker’s signature is also displayed in gold under the sapphire crystal. The piece will set you back $81,000.

Jon Batiste: Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon

American musician Jon Batiste received four nominations but no wins at this year’s Grammys. The “Butterfly” singer can take solace in the fact that he looked ultra-sharp in Versace and Vacheron Constantin. A tribute to the spirit of travel, the Overseas Tourbillon features a 42.5 mm white-gold case, a bezel set with 60 baguette-cut diamonds, and a blue dial featuring a dazzling tourbillon cage inspired by the Maltese cross. Price upon request, naturally.

Fireboy DML: Cartier Santos

Fireboy DML’s outfit was straight fire on Sunday night. The Nigerian singer paired an MCM wool jacket with a Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet, several iced-out rings, and a sleek Cartier Santos. The timepiece features a steel case, a graduated blue dial with steel sword-shaped hands, and a seven-sided crown with synthetic faceted blue spinel.

Noah Kahan: Panerai Luminor Quaranta BiTempo

Best New Artist nominee Noah Kahan wore one of Panerai’s best new watches to Sunday’s festivities. The Luminor Quaranta BiTempo features a 40 mm polished steel case and a black dial with luminous numerals and hour markers, a date display at 3 o’clock, and a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. The timepiece can be yours for $14,000.

Busta Rhymes: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore

Legendary rapper Busta Rhymes busted out a chic Audemars Piguet for this year’s Grammys. The Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph in question is distinguished by a 42 mm rose-gold case and a matching pink méga tapisserie dial with an outer flange for the tachymeter scale. The face is fitted with three black subdials, large black numerals, and a black date display at 3 o’clock. You can expect to pay around $61,200 for the chronograph on the secondary market.

Jack Antonoff: Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

Producer of the year Jack Antonoff took to the red carpet with a stylish Cartier on his wrist. The Tank Louis Cartier in question appears to be a large 33.7 mm example that features an 18-carat rose-gold case, a silvered dial with black Roman numerals and blued steel hands, a beaded crown set with a sapphire cabochon, and a brown alligator strap. It’ll set you back $19,900.

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This 44-Foot Carbon-Fiber Speedboat Can Rocket to 177 KMPH

The new Mayla GT is available with a range of different powertrains, too.

By Rachel Cormack 03/02/2024

We knew the Mayla GT would be one of the most exciting boats at Boot Düsseldorf, but a deep dive into the specs shows it could be downright revolutionary.

The brainchild of German start-up Mayla, the 44-footer brings you the blistering performance of a speedboat and the luxe amenities of a motor yacht in one neat carbon-fiber package.

Inspired by the go-fast boats of the 1970s and ‘80s, the GT sports an angular, retro-futuristic body and the sleek lines of a rocket ship. Tipping the scales at just 4500 kilograms, the lightweight design features a deep-V hull with twin transversal steps and patented Petestep deflectors that help it slice through the waves with ease. In fact, Mayla says the deflectors decrease energy usage by up to 35 percent while ensuring a more efficient planing.

The range-topping GT can reach 185 kph. MAYLA

The GT is also capable of soaring at breakneck speeds, with the option of a gas, diesel, electric, or hybrid powertrain. The range-topping GTR-R model packs dual gas-powered engines that can churn out 3,100 hp for a top speed of more than 100 knots (185 kph). At the other, more sustainable end of the spectrum, the E-GT is fitted with an electric powertrain that can produce 2,200 horses for a max speed of 50 knots. The hybrid E-GTR pairs that same electric powertrain with a 294 kilowatt diesel engine for a top speed of 60 knots (111 km/h/69 mph). (The GT in the water at Boot sported two entry-level V8s good for 650 hp and a top speed of over 70 knots.)

The GT is suitable for more than just high-speed jaunts, of course. The multipurpose cockpit, which can accommodate up to eight passengers, features a sundeck with sliding loungers, a wet bar and BBQ, and a foldaway dining table for alfresco entertaining. Further toward the stern, a beach club sits atop a garage with an electric transom door.

The garage has an electric transom door. MAYLA

The GT is even fit for overnight stays. Below deck lies a cabin with a double bed, sofa, wardrobe, vanity, and en suite. You can also expect a high-tech entertainment system with TVs and premium audio.

As for price, the GT with the entry-level powertrain will cost between $2.7 million and $2.9, depending on the final configuration. (You can fine-tune the layout, hull color, and interiors, naturally.) Interested buyers can set up a sea trial with Mayla, with test-drives set to begin this spring in Europe.

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Red Centre

First Nations artist Shaun Daniel Allen joins forces with Chopard to create a timepiece inspired by the Australian landscape.

By Horacio Silva 29/01/2024

Shaun Daniel Allen does not look like your typical collaborator on a prestige watch. For one, Shal, as he prefers to be known (“There are many Shauns but only one Shal,” he explains), is more heavily tattooed than your average roadie. His youthful appearance, bad-boy ink and all, belies his 38 years and leads to a disconnect. 

He recounts being recognised on the street recently by a journalist, who, unable to remember his name, shouted out, “Chopard!” “I was with a friend,” Shal says, holding court in his apartment in Sydney’s inner city, “and he’s, like, ‘What the hell? Does that happen to you often?’”

Perhaps because of his body art, he reasons, “People don’t put me and Chopard together.” It’s not hard to understand the confusion, Shal adds; even he was taken aback when Chopard reached out to him about a potential collaboration a little more than a year ago. “When I first went in to see them, I was, like, I don’t know if I’m your guy. I’m not used to being in those rooms and having those conversations.”

He’ll have to adapt quickly to his new reality. Last month Chopard released Shal’s interpretation of the Swiss brand’s storied Alpine Eagle model, which in itself was a redo of the St. Moritz, the first watch creation by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele (now Co-President of Chopard) in the late 1970s. 

Previewed at Sydney’s About Time watch fair in September, to not insignificant interest, and officially known as the Alpine Eagle Sunburnt, the exclusive timepiece—issued in a limited edition of 20—arrives as a stainless steel 41 mm with a 60-hour power reserve and a burnt red dial that brings to mind the searing Outback sun. Its see-through caseback features one of Shal’s artworks painted on sapphire glass.

When the reputable Swiss luxury brand approached Shal, they already had the red dial—a nod to the rich ochre hues of the Australian soil at different times of the day and gradated so that the shades become darker around the edges—locked in as a lure for Australian customers.

Shal was charged with designing an artful caseback and collectible hand-painted sustainable wooden case. After presenting a handful of paintings, each with his signature abstract motifs that pertain to indigenous emblems, tattoos and music, both parties landed on a serpentine image that evoked the coursing of rivers. “I have been painting a lot of water in this last body of work and the image we chose refers to the rivers at home,” he says, alluding to formative years spent at his grandfather’s, just outside of Casino.

It says a lot about Chopard, Shal points out, that they wanted to donate to a charity of his choosing. “Like everything else on this project,” he explains, “they were open to listening and taking new ideas on board and it actually felt like a collaboration, like they weren’t steering me into any corner.”

In another nice touch, a portion of the proceeds from sales of the watch will go to funding programs of the Ngunya Jarjum Aboriginal Corporation—an organisation, established in 1995 by Bundjalung elders, whose work Shal saw firsthand after the 2022 eastern Australia flood disasters ravaged their area. “Seeing Ngunya Jarjum suffer from the floods,” he says, “and knowing how much they do for the community on Bundjalung Country was heartbreaking. I want to see Bundjalung families thriving and supported.”

So what’s it been like for this booster of Australian waterways to be swimming in the luxury end of the pool? “I’ve done a few things with brands,” he offers, referring to the Louis Vuitton project earlier this year at an art gallery in Brisbane, “but nothing on this scale. It’s definitely fancier than I’m used to but I’m not complaining.” Neither are watch aficionados.

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