Opera and gourmet pasta? Luxury care homes break the mould says the FT

Opera and gourmet pasta? Luxury care homes break the mould says the FT

March 17, 2017

Tucked between glitzy shops on London’s upmarket King’s Road is one of Britain’s most expensive nursing homes.  Opened last year by hotelier Laurence Geller, Chelsea Court is more like a private club than a care home. It contains just 15 luxurious suites costing from £2,000 to £3,000 per week for residents with dementia. Although other private nursing homes offer high-end hotel-style facilities including en suite bedrooms and lounges, even the best can feel clinical and few provide services that are personalised to such a degree. Facilities at Chelsea Court include individually tailored memory improvement training, physiotherapy programmes and escorted trips that cater to each resident’s interests, such as opera or art galleries. A spacious dining room and bar dishes up plates of pumpkin and amaretto tortellini to residents, their families and friends. Its opening in November last year was a bet by Mr Geller that niche, boutique-style residences for the elderly will become more appealing as people grow frustrated by the quality of care in most nursing homes and as wealthy baby boomers enter retirement.

“There is a huge demand for new homes that is not being met,” says Tom Morgan, senior director in healthcare at CBRE, the real estate adviser. “Historically care homes were seen as a place of last resort but now they are as much about a lifestyle choice. People choose them for the mental stimulation and sociable environment.”

Nick Hood, an adviser at business risk consultancy Opus, says it is hard to tell whether luxury care homes are profitable because many operators have “complex corporate structures which disappear into offshore jurisdictions”. He says many of these operators are using private equity structures, which impose debt and interest burdens that significantly increase their financial risk.
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