How would you like to spend the latter years of your life? That’s the £18 billion question, which equates to the value of the care home industry in the UK, according to Savills. The industry now has more than 360,000 residents, Office for National Statistics research has revealed. While there are many options to choose from when looking for a care home or retirement community, there are a few places that go above and beyond to ensure not only comfort, but the most luxurious quality of life for their residents.
Leading the charge in this space is the hospitality expert turned advocate in the fight against dementia, Laurence Geller. Care isn’t a word Geller takes lightly. When he greets me in the conference room of Loveday & Co, the dementia-focused care home he built in Kensington, London, and has expanded, with properties in Notting Hill, Chelsea and now St John’s Wood, he wears a suit, neatly pressed, with a small “L” pinned to his lapel. No detail is out of place in Geller’s appearance, likewise in his care facilities.
Geller started Loveday in 2016, after a decades-long career in the hospitality industry where he began as a kitchen porter, eventually taking on corporate leadership positions at Hyatt and Holiday Inn. Today he is the chancellor of the University of West London, which is home to the London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism, as well as the Geller Institute of Ageing and Memory. Geller also happens to serve as chairman of the International Churchill Society, and Geller Capital Partners, a private property investment group in Chicago, where he lived for more than 40 years. Geller wanted to use his experience to bring a better quality of life to care home residents and to honour his parents, both of whom died from dementia.
A bedroom at Loveday Kensington
Maintaining his residents’ sense of individuality is a big part of the ethos of Loveday, and it explains why it’s a place residents seem so happy to live. “Divining the needs of the recipient while not assuming all human beings are the same”, Geller tells me, has been the key to Loveday’s success. At the home, everything has been considered. All edges are rounded and the walls are painted in soothing shades of green, purple and pink. Mirrors are intentionally hidden away in bathrooms to be accessed only when needed as they can be unsettling for dementia sufferers, and there are medication safes in every room to avoid any confusion. Rooms can be decorated to personal preference (except for anything that might be flammable) but those who choose to stick with Loveday’s standard offering will find their space kitted out with The White Company everything. All the locations have gardens designed with eye-level planters and edible and sweet-smelling plants. The words that guide Geller’s approach are “humanity, common sense and hospitality”. Thanks to this framework, Loveday has received an “outstanding” rating from the Care Quality Commission on its first inspection, which is awarded to less than 1 per cent of care providers.
Loveday is committed to making sure that its members don’t have to lose touch with any aspects of their life which are integral to their sense of self. For example, Geller shared the story of a member who loved to swim, but due to her dementia was unable to continue to do so. The staff worked to find a dementia-friendly pool nearby so she was able to keep pursuing her passion despite her diagnosis. They were able to do something similar for a member who loved bridge but couldn’t find anyone to play with. The Loveday team brought in instructors from Andrew Robson Bridge Club to teach other members of the home the card game so that they could play together. Geller and the team at Loveday have also partnered with the research team at the Geller Institute of Ageing and Memory to help support their “Extraordinary Days” programme, which provides fun and evidence-based activities for members and aims to be as inclusive as possible. The activities range from art and music to language and storytelling.
Members are offered meals from an award-winning culinary team, who have devised menus with dementia research in mind. Food can be eaten on a schedule that best suits the member. There’s a nail and hair salon, library, gym and physio studio. The building is even fitted with circadian lighting, to help optimise members’ physical and mental health.
Loveday has 40 rooms, with about ten day club members who can visit the space at their leisure, which keeps the communal areas feeling lively. Residents and day visitors alike are called “members” to stoke this community feeling. Couples can stay together or cordon off multiple rooms at the end of a hallway to create a suite. Loveday is also able to tailor its offerings based on the group. For example, if a residence has a high population of a certain religion, it can offer bespoke experiences for that group or connect them with community members at other Loveday locations to celebrate holidays. There is close to a 1:1 ratio of staff to members and during their training staff must go through a VR experience, which mirrors the experience of dementia so that they are better equipped to help members in need.
The café at Loveday Kensington
Loveday’s medical services are second to none. Bespoke care protocols are created for each member, in addition to the 24-hour nursing care available. The professionals at the care home have specialist experience in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ventilator care and a variety of other medical needs. They also offer live-in, palliative and post-surgery care. You can even book in holiday stays for those in need of care during their visit to the UK.
Geller is a leading light among a growing community in the UK rethinking the traditional care home structure. A new approach to ageing is taking hold; one centred on welcoming and thoughtfully devised environments.
Here are other great options for retirement and care living in London:
A bedroom at Auriens
Auriens offers some of Chelsea’s coolest living for those over 65. Residents, many of whom were previously in the creative industries, are able to rent or buy their apartments and can design their homes as they wish. One and two-bedroom apartments with full kitchens are available, ranging from 900-2,100 sq ft. Life at Auriens comes with access to a stable of amenities, including a speakeasy, cinema and hair salon, and many of the staff have backgrounds in luxury hospitality, including former chefs at The Connaught and managers from Annabel’s and resident liaisons from the St Regis. The head concierge at Auriens, Dan McCaskie, is a member of the Society of the Golden Keys, an organisation for the world’s top concierges. The community has 56 apartments built with a high-tech ventilation system, which filters air pollution at rates twice as high as recommended by the government. The building was designed with the help of healthcare professionals and the Helen Hamlyn Centre of Design. The CEO, David Meagher, founded Auriens to create the feeling of a “Swiss clinic and top London hotel combined”.
Auriens has a spa and a gym, and thanks to a partnership with the Kyros Project, you have access to a wellness programme created by the personal trainer Gideon Remfry, the nutrition expert Aidan Goggins and Ben Williams, a physiologist who is the head of human performance for the British America’s Cup team. These experts can help each resident find the right programme to stay fit and healthy. Auriens has partnered with Draycott Nursing and Care so that residents have access to top GPs and nurses for in-home care.
Rentals from £13,750 a month for a one-bedroom apartment and from £16,500 a calendar month for a two-bedroom apartment. Prices for purchase from £2,750,000 for a one-bedroom apartment and from £3,995,000 for a two-bedroom apartment
The library at Audley Nightingale Place
The Audley Group is one of the biggest providers of luxury over-65 living in the UK. The group, which has locations across the country, opened its London location, Nightingale Place, overlooking Clapham Common, in 2020. At this Audley Village, there are 94 two to three-bedroom apartments, and a pool, cinema, gym and restaurant. The space also offers a salon and treatment rooms, with manicures, pedicures, massages, facials and haircuts available. The space is pet friendly and has guest suites available for hire. The restaurant at Nightingale Place, No 3, offers in-room dining options, as well as a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a tea service.
Residents can upgrade the level of care they need as time goes on, and buildings are equipped to transition their residents to more hands-on assistance. Decorated with chic, modern and brightly coloured touches, Audley Villages are available as day clubs as well as full-time residences.
Prices for purchase at Nightingale Place from £720,000 for a one-bedroom apartment
An apartment at Riverstone Fulham
Riverstone was built for its residents to “live independently but never on their own”. The community, which serves those over 65, has an emphasis on the concierge element. Staff are available 24/7 to help with anything from IT issues, dry cleaning and groceries, to booking tickets to a show. They can even help you to organise travel. There are locations in Kensington and Fulham in London, which offer modern, clean and well-designed apartments. The buildings also supply community spaces such as a fitness studio, screening room and espresso bar. The health and wellbeing offerings work to improve their residents’ lives, whether that’s improving their fitness and overall health, or encouraging them to experiment with new hobbies.
Riverstone also has a partnership with Doctorcall, a 24-hour GP service that comes straight to your door, and the Good Care Group, which can offer bespoke home care, including live-in care.
Price upon asking, £5,000 reservation fee
Battersea Place, London
Overlooking Battersea Park, this retirement community opened in 2015 and has a homely feel. Amenities, which are reserved for residents and their guests, include a 24-hour concierge, garden, pool, gym and billiards room. There’s also a chauffeur service for day-long trips or even a quick errand. There are guest apartments available for hire and an on-site podiatrist. The residence works hard to build community through its events but also allows residents a sense of independence — no forced fun here. For those who do want to participate, there are guest lecturers, vineyard tours, opera outings and more.
There is 24-hour care available as well as in-home care and emergency services, and attached to Battersea Place is the Albert Suites, the nursing home also managed by the group, which provides more hands-on care for those in need. At the Albert Suites residents are offered post-op care, rehabilitation and holiday stays, as well as long-term nursing and palliative care. The close connection between the two facilities means an easy transition between the two.
Prices for purchase from £850,000
Living space at Elysian Residences
Opening in the summer of 2024, Elysian Residences’ The Oren in Hampstead is another retirement community that promotes individuality. Residents are welcome to decorate their spaces as they wish and can bring their pets. Elysian offers a gym, spa, 24-hour concierge service, and group and individual activities such as guided walks and art classes. There are also events, including cocktail parties and supper clubs. The restaurants are manned by award-winning chefs, and residents are also welcome to order food directly to their rooms. Life can be adapted to suit changing health needs, and accommodate a more care-centric structure, with in-home doctor and nurse visits, as well as carers who can assist in everything from medication management to shopping and bathing and dressing. There are also guest suites for visitors.
Prices at The Oren from £1,700,000
COMPUTER GENERATED IMAGES, PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF BERKELEY
Started by Paul Coles, who is also behind Riverstone, Wallacea Living is a new luxury retirement venture. “We disagree with the prescription for old age being to slow down,” Coles says. Opening in autumn 2025, Wallacea will be a 104-apartment building located in Marylebone, London. The building will offer gardens, a swimming pool, a cinema and a round-the-clock concierge service. Alongside a thoughtfully designed space from the interior designers Jestico + Whiles and the creative director Sue Timney, the building will have views across north London. They will also offer an in-house care service, with as little outsourcing as possible to streamline their residents’ needs.
Prices announced in autumn 2023