Some top-end retirement communities boast mini spas and chauffeur driven car at the residents’ disposal
Margaret Thatcher famously moved into The Ritz when the stairs in her Belgravia home became too much for her. Of course, that isn’t an option for most retirees, but there is a new style of retirement home that provide an impressively swish standard of living
Luxury retirement villages are opening up throughout the country, often in historic towns and villages, but within easy reach of major road and rail networks.
Next year, Battersea Place will open near Albert Bridge, billing itself as the capital’s first luxury retirement village. It will have 109 apartments ranging from one- or two-bedroomed, to £2.6m penthouses overlooking Battersea Park. Residents will enjoy a concierge service, billiard room and beauty suite; it will also have a 30-bedroom nursing home.
Other top-end retirement communities boast mini spas, chauffeur driven car at the residents’ disposal and evenings filled with wine tastings and music, all rather more refined than traditional bingo for entertainment.
Getting value for money
Then there is buying off-plan, where you purchase before construction takes place, which often means that you can have much more say in the fixtures and fittings in your new home. So, the little details such as light switches and door handles, and the kitchen layout can be negotiated according to your own tastes as part of the deal.
If you’re not too shy to drive a hard bargain, you can sometimes secure a healthy discount on this kind of development, leaving more money in the kitty to spend on decorating and soft furnishings.
Bespoke to your style
Not sure what your own style is? Probably the best place to start is to look at the property you’re leaving to set up your new retirement home.
The dominant colours there, as long as you still find them appealing, may well work as the palette for your new decor. Using a mix of three colours or shades, one for walls, another for larger accents such as couches and chairs, and then a third colour for soft furnishings and accessories, making for a tastefully co-ordinated look.
Textures are another important consideration that will add warmth and interest to your new home. You might consider heavy linen for your curtains with plush and contrasting velvet on a chair where you can sit in the window and enjoy the natural light.
If you have a loyal dog sharing your retirement with you then a soft cotton sofa will be impractical. But one made from dark leather can be just as stylish, and you can always accessorise with luxurious silk cushions and cashmere throws in lighter hues.
Most people downsize when they retire, which often means getting rid of old furniture and de-cluttering, which can be liberating and foster a sense of new beginnings.
This doesn’t mean you can’t keep some statement pieces, such as a beautifully crafted cabinet for your new sitting room or a charming dressing table for your bedroom. After all, your new place should still feel like home.