Derived from the French word apentis, or “appendage”, which means an attached building, the modern concept of a penthouse originated in New York City in the 1920s. In fact, the first officially recognised penthouse property is at the Plaza Hotel overlooking Central Park in 1923.
Over the years, penthouses have become sought-after both for the space it affords – a luxury in increasingly cramped urban cities – and for its status symbol of success. After all, nothing shouts “I have arrived” like overlooking the city from the top.
Nevertheless, in the last decade or so, what constitutes a penthouse has certainly evolved. Business Insider indicates that today’s penthouses may no longer sit on the top residential floor, though characteristics such as ample space and great views are still key.
Instead, it has come to be broadly defined by the “best unit in the building”. There are also the likes of super penthouses, triplex penthouses, and even ground floor penthouses that have emerged. The appetite for these exclusive properties have not waned. Property Guru highlighted that people living in the center of urban areas and cities remain enamoured with penthouses, especially when the location is primely in the heart of the city, and when there are VIP services such as concierge or butler on-call.
Even the pandemic has not dampened appetites for some of these coveted ultra luxury real estate, as we discover from this list of 7 incredible penthouses sold around the world.
8 Conlay’s Kempinski Hotel will have a mix of hotel rooms and private residences.
1. Kuala Lumpur
In June this year, KSK Land’s 8 Conlay development saw the sale of its sole penthouse at a price of RM30 million. Perched on the 65th floor of what will be Malaysia’s first Kempinski hotel tower, the 8,742 sq feet property with an impressive 6.5 metre floor-to-floor height has likely set a new record for the most expensive price per-square-foot (PSF) residential property in Malaysia at RM3,431 psf. It was said that the buyer was particularly excited by stellar 360-degree views of the city, along with Kempinski Hotel’s services and its strategic location right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
The penthouse’s sale broke the previous record set by Dyson founder James Dyson’s SG$73.8mil purchase of Wallich Residence in 2019. (Photo: Shun Tak)
Last October, a new record was set when the larger of 2 Les Maisons Nassim penthouses by Shun Tak Holdings was sold for SG$75mil, beating the SG$73.8mil Wallich Residence one that the founder of Dyson – British inventor James Dyson – bought in 2019. At about 12,077sq ft., the psf is about SG$6,210 for the unit, which only launched last year and will have only 14 residences in total.
The Jala Penthouse sits in a historic building designed by legendary architects Warren and Wetmore in 1921. (Photo: Aman New York)
3. New York
This palatial penthouse, which occupies the iconic Crown Building, broke the record for this year’s most expensive property sold in the Big Apple. At US$74.3mil, the Jala Penthouse in Aman New York adds to the reputation of the Billionaires’ Row in which it resides. Taking up the entire 20th floor, the 6,071sq ft. apartment overlooking the stunning Manhattan skyline is accessed via a private elevator and has its own lobby.
The ultra-exclusive Arte Surfside designed by Italian architect Antonio Citterio sits on the beachfront and houses only 16 residences. (Photo: Arte Surfside)
On May 27th 2021, Miami Beach real estate scene saw two new records set when an “uber-exclusive” boutique condo, Arte Surfside by Antonio Citterio, sold for US$22.5mil. At US$4,440.5 psf, it set the first record for highest psf for the 5,067sq ft. four-bedroom penthouse on the 9th floor. But what made headlines was the fact that the anonymous deal was closed in cryptocurrency – the most expensive known US residential crypto real estate transaction to date, according to Forbes.
The huge One Palm penthouse will feature a private lap pool on the rooftop – a request from the buyer. (Photo: Omniyat)
With spectacular views overlooking Dubai’s city skyline, a 22,000sq ft. super penthouse on One Palm in Palm Jumeirah sold in last September for US$23.5mil (AED86mil). The massive five-bedroom duplex was described by a party assisting in the sale as “the best luxury property he’s seen in 14 years of experience”, with a private lift, floor-to-ceiling windows and a private rooftop terrace with swimming pool.
The launch of 21 Borrett Road was initially delayed due to the pandemic. (Photo: CK Asset)
6. Hong Kong
Early last year, a 3,378sq ft. penthouse in the affluent Mid-Levels area of Hong Kong set a record for the highest psf apartment ever sold in Asia. The five-bedroom property, which includes a pool, private rooftop and three parking lots, sold for US$17,542 psf, with a final price tag of US$59mil (HKD459mil). Named after its address 21 Borrett Road, the development is by CK Asset Holdings, which is run by tycoon Victor Li.
The terraced estate off Sunset Boulevard in L.A. offers sweeping views of the Hollywood Hills. (Photo: Pendry Residences)
7. Los Angeles
In a city known for sprawling mansions and landed property, a penthouse condo sold in L.A.’s West Hollywood made the headlines for its US$21.5mil price tag, topping the list of priciest condos sold in the Los Angeles County so far this year. Spanning 6,301sq ft. with an additional 2,782sq ft. wraparound terrace that overlooks the sunset strip, the property, which takes up the entire 10th floor of Pendry Residences West Hollywood, is part of a hotel-condo hybrid and includes a design-ready option, allowing the owner to customise its final layout and design.
8 Conlay in Kuala Lumpur is also selling its twin towers of branded residences, YOO8 serviced by Kempinski. To get in touch or visit our 8 Conlay Gallery, contact us here.