The gold standard in high-rise living

by Steve Van Derodar

| Photo from Discovery Primea

The gold standard of something is defined simply as a great or excellent example or the best, most reliable, or most prestigious thing of its type. In real estate, several projects exude the qualities of gold standard as possessed in the type, proposition, and clientele it serves. A gold standard is undeniably the best of the best.

In Manila and even in provincial areas of the Philippines, several buildings have capitalized on the focal attraction of properties bringing in value of its own. The building speaks of modernism as one of its key elements while deploying innovative architectural design.

According to, “For a condo to be considered luxurious, it must fulfill certain criteria beyond a high price tag. Among these are a genuinely great location, unobstructed views, architectural uniqueness, limited units per floor, and abundant ceiling height and square footage. In addition, top-notch amenities, such as a heated indoor swimming pool, create a luxurious and exclusive feeling.”

In 2019 some of the country’s prestigious developers have disclosed market-rate pre-selling prices for its projects such as Federal Land’s Grand Hyatt North Tower in Bonifacio Global City, which was pre-selling its luxury condominiums for as much as P420,800 per square meter, the highest in Metro Manila’s pre-selling market then; Ayala Land’s P360,000-per-square-meter pre-selling rate for Park Central South Tower in Makati and Shang Properties currently has a unit in Makati that sells for P425,000 per square meter to name a few. reports that “Manila’s luxury market, albeit smaller in terms of market share, has been growing consistently over the past three years in terms of take-up and launches. The growing appetite is shown by the continued launches in Fort Bonifacio, the Bay Area and Makati CBD.” It added, “With the dearth of developable land, the most expensive pre-selling project along Ayala Avenue in Makati CBD is very attractive among investors; it being the last opportunity to own a pre-selling property in the Philippines’ primary business district.” Further it said, “Industry observers estimate that the most expensive luxury residential project in Metro Manila is currently at a pre-selling rate of about PHP550,000 (USD10,400) per sq metre.”

Currently, it pays to put attention to what are some of the most expensive and luxurious high-rise condominiums delivered, which was based on a Lamudi article in 2017 and to date, a handful few could be added in the next article:

Discovery Primea
Location: 6749 Ayala Avenue, Makati
Sitting on the former Gilarmi Apartments site along Ayala Avenue and Apartment Ridge, Discovery Primea is one of Metro Manila’s tallest skyscrapers and is one of the most exclusive properties in Makati. With only 86 residential units, ranging from 380 sqm to a whopping 680 sqm, each floor has a maximum of two units, with elevators opening directly into the residences’ foyer.

Raffles Residences
Location: Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati
The Raffles project houses three properties: the 280-room Fairmont Hotel Makati, the 32-room all-suite Raffles Hotel Makati, and the Raffles Residences, a 237-unit property occupying the top 20 floors of the tower. Property owners here are afforded access to all the hotels’ amenities (swimming pools, spa, etc.) and can make use of discounted rates at all their bars and restaurants.

Pacific Plaza Towers
Location: 4th Avenue, West Crescent Park, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
For a long time, the Pacific Plaza Towers have been Bonifacio Global City’s most recognizable skyscrapers. These blue glass-walled towers stand across the Manila Golf and Country Club, offering residents of west-facing units unobstructed views of the golf course, Forbes Park, and the Manila Bay sunset. Consisting of two towers (North and South), the condo’s resort-like amenities include a spa, meditation gardens, terraced waterfalls, a lagoon-inspired swimming pool, and helipads for each tower.

Edades Tower and Garden Villas
Location: Amorsolo Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati
Amid posh Rockwell Center in Makati City is Edades Tower and Garden Villas, a 50-story upscale community, and one of the four prominent residential towers within the development’s West Block. Turned over in 2014, the luxury condo features one-bedroom and two-bedroom flats, two-bedroom garden villas, three-bedroom garden Z-lofts, and three-bedroom lofts. Among the tower’s state-of-the-art amenities are a lap pool, function rooms, landscaped pocket gardens, game room, and a central piazza that houses high-end boutiques and top dining restaurants and cafés.

Amorsolo Square
Location: Amorsolo Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati
Twin residential towers, the 18-story Amorsolo Square features units with verdant views of the Rockwell Center’s parkland and the metropolis surrounding the development. The Amorsolo East and West towers are the embodiment of quality living, with both featuring topnotch services.
Both towers also house The Rockwell Club, which boasts swimming pools; tennis, basketball, badminton, and squash courts; a tropical landscaped garden; fully equipped gym; a dance studio; spa and sauna; function rooms; and a gift shop.

One Serendra
Location: 32nd St. corner 11th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
One Serendra offers residents an enviable suburban atmosphere in the middle of a busy business district. The condominium complex is comprised of seven towers: East Tower (41 floors), West Tower (50 floors), Jasmine (18 floors), Mahogany (nine floors), Bamboo (nine floors), Narra (nine floors), and Palm (nine floors). Among the development’s country club–like amenities are 24-hour security, and the exclusive use of a gym, swimming and kiddie pools, game and function rooms, a day care center, fitness and spa and wellness centers, playground, semi-enclosed badminton court, and underground volleyball and basketball courts. Pets are also allowed in the complex.

The Residences at Greenbelt
Location: Esperanza St., Ayala Center, Makati
This three-tower condo project (Laguna, Manila, and San Lorenzo), built next to the upscale Greenbelt Mall and the Renaissance Makati Hotel, is one of Ayala Land’s flagship Makati projects. Its tallest tower, San Lorenzo, is also Metro Manila’s 15th tallest residential condo. Part of Ayala Center, it is strategically located near shopping malls, offices, schools, and entertainment areas. The towers also face San Lorenzo Village to the west and southwest, affording its residents unobstructed views of Laguna de Bay and the famed Manila Bay sunset.

Arya Residences
Location: McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Arya Residences is a two-tower condominium complex that offers two-bedroom grand, two-bedroom premier, three-bedroom grand, penthouse villa, and penthouse mansion units ranging from 124 to 591 sqm in size. It is the first high-rise residential building in the country recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED). Arya Residences also offers amenities such as The Terrace, which consists of function rooms that are convertible to a grand banquet hall, gym, indoor play room, and media room; and The Plaza, an elevated floor of luxurious space, which stretches along the McKinley Parkway and features 25-meter lap pool, leisure pool, children’s pool, kid’s play area, feature pavilion, lounge, pocket garden and lawn, and landscape walking trail.

One Roxas Triangle
Location: Paseo de Roxas corner Cruzada St., Makati
One Roxas Triangle towers over the green space of Ayala Triangle Gardens and Urdaneta Village, providing its residents with unobstructed views on all sides. It houses some of Makati’s largest condo units, and its lagoon-shaped swimming pool is so large and luxurious, that it is better than those of some upscale Makati hotels.
The tower was designed by American architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (the same firm behind the Willis’ Tower and Burj Khalifa). The condo’s high-end amenities include private lobby lifts for residents (which open directly to residents’ homes), a tennis court, 24-hour concierge service, and even a helipad.

Essensa Private Residences
Location: 21st Drive corner 5th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Located at the quieter side of Bonifacio Global City, the two-tower, butterfly-shaped Essensa Private Residences is one of the township’s first condo projects. It offers high ceilings (10.5 feet) in its residential suites and residents are afforded an unobstructed view of both the Manila Golf and Country Club and the Manila Polo Club. Its amenities include a well-equipped fitness center, private dining facilities, an outdoor swimming pool, helipads for each tower, and even an indoor heated lap pool.

Hidalgo Place
Location: Hidalgo Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati
Completed in 1999, the 24-story Hidalgo Place is one of the first towers completed in Rockwell Center. Strategically surrounded by lush greens, it is easy to forget that it is but a few blocks away from the Makati central business district when living in the area.
Like with the rest of the residential towers in Rockwell Center, almost everything is also within walking distance of Hidalgo, including shops, cafés, Power Plant Mall, and The Rockwell Club. Along with an exclusive location, Hidalgo owners and tenants get to enjoy amenities such as swimming pools, function rooms, a gym, and a library.

A gold standard is synonymous to what is most expensive and most luxurious real estate properties as exemplified by the best team executing a project and the finishes and delivery that are second to none. Expect for high-speed elevators, massive lobby with porte cochere, skyline crown jewel, automated entry systems and several others are few examples of its kind. To add, some of them do have a sky atrium, medical clinic, and its own helipad.

“A gold standard is synonymous to what is most expensive and most luxurious real estate properties as exemplified by the best team executing a project and the finishes and delivery that are second to none.”

International buyers including investors are attracted to first-rate buildings that are widely accepted global standards in that high security, low traffic and exclusivity are paramount. These properties bring international and local excitement which become the addresses of prominent businessmen, diplomats, and personalities. For investors, they add to their portfolios for rental profitability.

It’s an awesome development that the Philippines has become a true haven for luxurious residential investments. In a few years, it will surely continue to surprise us how the gold standard is becoming a lifestyle for those who live by it. It’s your time to experience the gold standard in high rise living.

(Stevenson’s experience in Philippine Real Estate spans more than 15 years. He has been involved in horizontal, vertical, vacation and commercial properties. He has worked as an International Property Specialist to markets in Asia, Europe and North America with Ayala Land, Federal Land and Century Properties. Through PhilHouseHunters, he offers real estate investment opportunities, marketing, and consultancy with a key focus to Metro Manila and Mega Cebu areas. Visit Email at

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