Highly finished, exquisitely decorated, superb view, all amenities and many more embellishing adjectives gather around to bring you what you might visualise as being the idyllic luxury property of your dreams. Estate agents tout what they believe to be the most highly sought aspects of any one property and chances are they will accompany their coloured jargon with just as many coloured pictures to prove their point. But what does make a luxury Maltese property after all?

Is it stables at the rear that are required or would marble floors be enough to elevate it into the luxury notch? As in all other matters, the issue of luxury property in Malta is all very subjective, but only to a certain extent. A three bedroom apartment on one side of the harbour may fetch only a fraction of what another three bedroom apartment on the opposing side might fetch. So it all depends on the perception people have of any location, its surroundings, the people who inhabit them and so on and so forth. Some of the more sought-after areas can be as central as Attard or as sea-facing as Sliema, the nearby St Julians or out in full countryside as in Wardija or Bidnija. Gozo is another level altogether and much like many areas around Malta, the most surprising properties might be located sitting snugly in the heart of some of the quietest villages, inconspicuous and unobtrusive to any visitor passing through. Nowadays Maltese luxury properties come packaged with a few staples that may or may not include certain common criteria, depending on the type of building involved. Take seafront apartments – a definite must is air-conditioning, possibly also energy-saving solar panels which would also serve the purpose of keeping under-floor heating going. Seafront apartments must come with a view and the more visible it is from all windows and/or balconies, the better. Outdoor space is a definite must and the larger the terrace, the more opportunities for socialising and inviting friends over to enjoy the vista. The higher up the apartment, the more added value it has, and this must necessitate an escalator. Indoors, fire-places tend to add value, as do double glazing and wood parquet floors. Diametrically opposed on the scale of luxuriousness, we find houses of character and/or antique palazzos.

This category of properties is all about character, character and yet more character. The owner must feel as if he has stepped back in time without renouncing on any of today’s luxuries. Therefore location does tend to be important, but then again a would-be owner might be willing to forsake that if the property offers special features such as a large mature garden or an orchard, a large well, high-ceilings and wooden beams, traditional handmade tile floors, regal staircases, wooden balconies, space for a pool and the possibility of landscaped outdoor space whether on the front or back of the building. Somewhere in between we come to the farmhouses which may come as run-down as possible but which could become or perhaps are already well-converted. Again, the level of character comes in play and whilst surrounding greenery would be desired, such things as an ancient birthing chamber, original flagstone floors, stone-hewn circular stairways, a cellar, a well, a mill-room and perhaps even a hacienda-styled inner courtyard would notch up the price bracket by another zero.

In all cases, the possibility of having an own garage is another highly desirable thing, especially since parking spaces are becoming harder to locate around the Islands. A larger garage or basement area which could house more cars and possibly also a boat or two, is an added bonus. It may all seem too much to ask for on such tiny islands as Malta and Gozo, but visitors are surprised, time and again, on what levels of luxuriousness some homes on these islands can boast of.

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