Areas and Places

Astronomical demand for penthouse purchases

The view from one of the penthouses at the Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence Cape Town.

True penthouse living is gaining traction in South Africa, following the release of limited edition, ultra-luxurious living spaces atop five star hotels.

Such lavish penthouses offer extraordinary views from their gorgeous eyries, and owners enjoy premium on-site 5- star services as part of the package. These range from personal shopping and state of the art 24-hour international hotel standard security to valet parking, conference facilities and on-site child care.

Upscale penthouses are a new niche trend and penthouse living is the fastest growing sector in luxury apartment living says Signatura founder, John Rabie, who together with property owner Stonehill Property Fund have launched Cape Town’s tallest residential penthouses on the 22nd floor of former Safmarine House in central Cape Town.

These luxury elevated homes with breathtaking unobstructed mountain and sea views form an exclusive niche of the R1 billion residential and hotel development known as Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence Cape Town. Swedish group Carlson Rezidor is constructing a flagship five star Radisson Blu Hotel on the bottom eleven floors and Signatura is also developing 166 premium apartments.

Penthouses are increasingly purchased by wealthy professionals who believe that an ever-larger house or corporate rental no longer equals the optimal choice, both in lifestyle and investment terms. They are seen to offer great value long-term, because of their prime locations, unbounded views, superior on-site services and the extraordinarily high quality of their fixtures and fittings.

Part of the appeal for high-flying executives is that they no longer want to maintain a large house and garden, with its attendant staff and security responsibilities. For example, a couple that travels frequently for business and leisure has peace of mind knowing that their teenage children have the back-up of on-site security and concierge services.

Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence Cape Town penthouses range in size from just under 100m² to a super-spacious 215m² and cost from R7,25 million. Five of the penthouses offer three bedrooms and three bathrooms (two en-suite bathrooms and another acting as a third bathroom and guest WC). There is also one two-bedroom penthouse with both bedrooms en-suite​.

Architect Juan Bernicchi and interior designer Francois du Plessis are collaborating to maximise the space, flow and fittings of these penthouses. Features include Floritelli Italian kitchens with top of the range Smeg appliances, energy-efficient LED lighting and air-conditioning and Oggie engineered timber hardwood flooring.

Other amenities and features available to residents include hotel concierge services, meeting, conference and event facilities, gym, swimming pool and terrace access and use of the hotel shuttle services. The building will also have high-speed fibre optic internet connectivity and a back-up generator to power the entire building in the event of power failures or load-shedding.

New York and London penthouses can command around R350-million, while in Australia a Chinese businessman paid R250-million for the 800m² penthouse of Melbourne’s Australia 108 Tower, according to

The market has become so competitive down under that Melbourne-based LK Property Group chose South African-born Hollywood star Charlize Theron as the face of its Capitol Grand South Yarra development campaign.

“Many people who purchase a penthouse want others to know they have bought it,” comments Rabie. “It is a statement about exclusivity, owners want their contemporaries and business partners to know they live on top of the world, as these apartments will demonstrate.”