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17 Jun 2024
Trends in holiday homes have changed considerably in recent years. As the division between work and leisure becomes ever more blurred, the nature, shape and location of holiday homes have had to adapt.

Zahra Taleifeh, Head of Partners

There’s been something of a merger going on between primary residences and holiday homes. No longer are holiday homes regarded as separate entities; today, they are extensions of the main home. Now that people live more nomadic working lives from locations around the world, holiday homes can be occupied for up to months at a time, as opposed to a few weeks in the summer and winter. The accessibility of local amenities such as high-quality dining, cultural activities, and healthcare continues to play a significant role in the decision-making process, say our contacts who buy and sell high-end properties in key second-home locations both in the UK and Europe.

As a result, connectivity is a leading concern. High-speed internet access and designated home offices (in some cases, more than one) are a must. Among some, this has also led to a pivot in locations: being remote and isolated isn’t always ideal, and many prefer the comfort of being close to an urban centre for ease of travel. “While remote and rural waterfront locations were once known for spotty internet, significant improvements have been made, and alternatives such as Starlink [a satellite internet constellation] give people more options,” explains Hamish Humfrey, Head of the South West team at Knight Frank.

Alongside a good working environment comes the desire to maintain fitness levels, so that increasingly means that holiday homes come with some kind of wellness centre attached. Whether that’s in the shape of a home gym, a yoga pavilion, a padel court in the garden (alongside the pool) or even an at-home outdoor sauna and ice bath.

When it comes to design, there is a growing preference for clean and uncluttered spaces—modern minimalism, as it were. Also popular are architectural designs that are informed by the local environment.

The use of eco-friendly materials is growing alongside an awareness of the benefits of being surrounded by sustainable materials over man-made alternatives. This is often articulated through the use of lots of natural features made from wood or linen, as well as the use of plastic-free, breathable paint. “Our buyers are increasingly interested in properties that incorporate green tech, such as solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems,” adds Hamish.”

The holiday home is now typically decorated and designed with the same level of attention as the primary residence—another departure from how things used to be. From high-quality bedding to luxurious kitchens and bathrooms, there is no stepping down or putting up with second-rate fittings. Head of Savills Private Office in Monaco, Irene Luke, notes that there’s a level of perfectionism now that didn’t exist when she first moved to the Principality thirty years ago. “Down to the last champagne glass. Everything in the holiday home has to be just as gorgeous as it is in the main home,” she says. Some of our super-prime clients want consistency in the design of their homes, providing uniformity across a portfolio.

Finally, flexible layouts are another attraction. That means the ability to move easily between the inside and the outside, to have the space that can accommodate a party of family and friends but also just gather together as a couple or in a smaller group. “We see lots of examples of multi-generational houses where the holiday home is used as a place for the entire extended family to come together,” adds Irene. That’s certainly true of homes in the UK: we’ve noticed elements such as the rise in popularity of dorm rooms (which are often decorated with attractive cabin beds) capable of accommodating lots of children in houses, whether they be on the Cornish and Devon coast or in the Cotswolds.

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