How Virtual Reality Impacts Luxury Real Estate

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 10.34.29 AMAt The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta, we recognize the importance of being on top of the latest tech trends that will transform the real estate industry. In order to showcase our gorgeous homes to buyers around the world, we rely on virtual reality tools to create the experience of being in the home.

We use Matterport technology to create 3-D virtual tours, which allow a truly immersive walkthrough of a finished or soon to be completed home on a computer, tablet or smartphone. The viewer can move throughout the home as if they were walking, and can even open and walk into closets, view the home at different times of day, or zoom out for a dollhouse view of the home.

Virtual technology like Matterport, Oculus Rift and even Google Cardboard are truly the future of real estate, especially in the luxury sector where buyers are looking for a “wow” factor and innovative sales techniques. Virtual technology will, of course, impact all industries but it truly is the perfect fit for real estate sales and marketing as we target buyers around the world.

Bringing Coastally-Inspired Design to High-Rise Living


Luxury high-rise condo design is known for being sleek, modern and monochrome, even throughout warm summer months. On the other hand, modern southern interior design is often inspired by the long coastlines of the Gulf and Atlantic, bringing beachy elements into homes to add seasonal flair and evoke feelings of relaxation.

At The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta, our homes are designed so that owners can create a space that fulfills their own design desires, from art to furniture to patio pieces. Here are our favorite beach-inspired design trends that fit right in to sky-high condo lifestyle in a region known for flocking to the coast.


Evoking classic nautical themes and bringing an organic element into the home, rope is a versatile material that can add eye-catching detail to a room or be part of a centerpiece. We especially love rope used in lighting fixtures or functionally to tie back curtains. Rope sculptures and beds suspended by rope are a bold but fun choice for the home.


Navy Blues

Navy is a classic color that fits well with many design schemes and is easily associated with the coast or The Hamptons. Go big with a navy-painted statement wall or incorporate a luxe navy couch to relax a room, and add nautical details with navy throw pillows or place settings.



Often found along the Georgia coast, driftwood resembles carefully sculpted artwork with its smooth texture and unique shapes. A particularly well-shaped piece can fit well on a coffee table or against a wall, or the wood can be fashioned into many décor pieces like coat racks, shelves and coasters.

Where to Experience Art in Atlanta Right Now


Living at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta is always an artful experience, from the contemporary paintings that adorn the lobby space to the residences designed by local visionaries like Barbara Westbrook and Michael Habachy. The art inside the hotel and residences mirrors the culture of a city consumed by art, from the streets to the halls of museums. Here are the best art experiences in Atlanta right now.


Chihuly in the Garden

For the first time since 2004, the work of renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly returns to the Atlanta Botanical Garden for a spectacular exhibition. Chihuly in the Garden includes 19 installation sites sets amongst the natural beauty of the garden, providing a kaleidoscope of colors and textures suitable for day or nighttime viewing. This is the biggest outdoor show Chihuly has ever created, and it will leave the garden in October.


Basquiat Bash 

Since early 2015, rare notebooks created by Jean-Michel Basquiat have been on display at the High Museum of Art. However, this is the last week to view the “unknown” notebooks, which offer a peek into the life of the influential contemporary artist. While you’re visiting the premier art museum, check out the playful Vik Muniz exhibition.



Atlanta’s first museum of fashion has previously featured gorgeous clothing from legendary designers like Oscar de la Renta and Daniel Lismore. Last week, SCAD FASH debuted a Carolina Herrera exhibition titled Refined Irreverence, featuring over 75 new and vintage pieces worn by the likes of Michelle Obama, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. The collection will be on display through September.

What’s New in Buckhead

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Shrimp and grits at South City Kitchen.

One of Atlanta’s most vibrant neighborhoods, Buckhead is known for its posh culture scene, including dining, nightlife and wellness. It’s no surprise that luxury condos in Buckhead are in high demand, given that most have easy access to unique experiences, chef-driven restaurants and world-class shopping. Here’s what’s new in Buckhead this month.


Ride Like the Wind 

Boutique fitness phenomenon Flywheel has opened a new high-tech studio in Buckhead, featuring more than 60 fully loaded bikes and 20 mats for Flybarre classes. When riders enter the classroom – called a stadium – the bikes will great them by their name and track their progress throughout the class.


Farmers Market Season Has Arrived

Spring in Atlanta means that farmers market season is officially upon us. Buckhead is home to the city’s most popular market, the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, every Wednesday and Saturday. The Shops Buckhead Atlanta has also debuted a local market, with vendors like Bamboo Juices and Farm Phresh hitting the streets of the mixed-use center every Sunday.


Local Favorites Move North 

Two Atlanta restaurant institutions – Ford Fry’s Superica and Fifth Group’s South City Kitchen – are opening outposts in Buckhead this summer. Superica, known for upscale Tex-Mex fare from enchiladas to puffy tacos, plans to open in late May or early June. South City Kitchen, which serves up elevated southern favorites, plans to open May 24.


Luxury Sales in Atlanta Rose 25 Percent Last Year Because of…Zombies?

AMC’s The Walking Dead was one of the first major productions to call Atlanta home.

2015 was a banner year for the Atlanta luxury real estate market, with a high volume of sales, particularly for properties priced at $2.5 million and above. This significant demand for high-end homes comes from a variety of sources and is, at its core, a reflection of a city with a booming economy. Major corporations like Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and State Farm recently relocated to the metro and the tech sector is on fire.

 However, the remarkable 25 percent increase in luxury sales last year can largely be attributed to zombies, James Bond and superheroes. Atlanta has been offering tax incentives to the film and TV industries since 2005, causing hit programs like The Walking Dead to make the city their home base. Now, Pinewood Studios – the home of the Marvel cinematic universe – is opening an enormous complex just outside of the city. Thus, many high-earning actors, producers and other figures in the entertainment industry are investing in luxury properties in the area thanks to their work.

To learn more about “Yallywood” and the luxury boom, read Atlanta Agent Magazine’s report on the trend.

No Shopping Carts Needed: Residents Enjoy Personal Grocery Services

In a society where healthy food, local ingredients and meal prepping are of the utmost importance, grocery shopping trips are a more daunting task than ever. Residents at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta need not worry about pushing a cart around a bustling market once or twice a week: a dedicated concierge staff will handle the task for them.

When the fridge begins to empty or when jet-setting residents return from a long trip, all they need to do is submit their grocery list to concierge, who will procure the goods from nearby Whole Foods. Residents will return home to a stocked, organized pantry full of nourishing, delicious food without experiencing any of the hassle. 

Grocery shopping is just one of many personalized services, from dinner reservations to private drivers, that residents at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta can expect to enjoy as part of their luxury home purchase.


Luxury Housing News


The Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta is at the forefront of trends and technology in luxury high-rise living. Below are links to three noteworthy real estate stories that caught our eye recently.


Buy a Condo, Get a Private Jet: Luxe Amenities Reach New Heights by Lisa Selin Davis of Bloomberg.


“New luxury condo developments are offering memberships in private jet charter programs to help lure in new customers. Is this the final fusillade in the battle of real estate amenities?”


Atlanta Among Top 10 Housing Markets For International Investors by Peter Ricci of Atlanta Agent Magazine.


“By that measurement, Atlanta was the 10th-most desired market, with 6 percent of investors saying it was their first choice to purchase real estate; an additional 13 percent indicated it was their second choice.”


A Condo Building in Miami is Touting Scent Design as the Next Big Thing in Luxury Amenities by Raisa Bruner of Business Insider.


“So will we be seeing custom scent design as a regular luxury amenity? Goldworm, for one, says the trend is on the up: she’s already working on other upscale residential projects in Miami.”

Q&A with Director of Residences Ben Kazemi

Ben 3 colorOne of the hallmarks of life at The Residences is access to an array of personalized services 24/7, including a concierge that will happily do your grocery shopping, care for your pets, book dinner reservations and travel plans, and even ensure your home is in tip-top shape when you’re away.

Ben Kazemi, who recently joined the Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta team as Director of Residences, is the seasoned hospitality professional in charge of fulfilling residents’ every want and need, no matter how small or grandiose. We asked Ben about his new position and his resident satisfaction goals.


What made you want to go into the hospitality industry?

Kazemi: Growing up in a Persian family with traditional Persian culture, hospitality has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Every time we would have guests over we’d make enough food to feed a hungry army for days. I was taught to believe a guest is to be treated with the utmost respect and with open arms; we always saved the best for our guests and prepared meticulously to make their stay memorable.

 Starting my career with The Ritz-Carlton allowed me to discover the natural passion I’ve had for hospitality all my life, which let me to my current role at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta. At the end of each day, remembering the smile I was able to put on another person’s face is what gives me true satisfaction, and connects me to the values that go beyond the physical life.


What are the most common wishes expressed by luxury residents?

Kazemi: At the Mandarin Oriental Residences, Atlanta, we strive to not only meet expressed wishes, but also anticipate the unexpressed desires of our residents. We always look for ways to impress them, and will always do our best to leave them delighted. We offer to handle all reservation needs from restaurant, travel, and spa bookings to planning short and long term getaways, and assisting with each resident’s unique daily routine.


What unique amenities and services can residents at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta expect?

Kazemi: Our Residents enjoy access to a dedicated concierge, dining and in-room service, unique Spa experiences, 24-hour security and emergency maintenance, and enrollment in the Residences Elite program, which provides exceptional amenities and discounts for stays at other Mandarin Oriental properties. We deliver each of these services with the highest authenticity and care.


What is your main goal as Director of Residences?

Kazemi: My goal as the new Director of Residences is to make 3376 Peachtree the best luxury address in Atlanta, while fully delighting and satisfying our residents and making sure all their expressed and unexpressed wishes are met. My colleagues and I will strive to raise the bar each day and always look for opportunities to deliver memorable and personal experiences.

The Hottest Luxury Décor Trends for Summer

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Summer is fast approaching and temperatures are rising in Atlanta, leading designers to be inspired by bold pieces, beachy vibes and lovely summer whites this season. At The Residences, our palettes and finishes are carefully designed to compliment a variety of design tastes, from classic to eclectic to boho. These seasonal design trends are sure to compliment our sleek interiors and sweeping views while evoking the relaxing feelings of summer.


Bright White

Monochrome palettes have been hot for a while, but going for an all-white palette is a great opportunity to show off great views and modern art collections. Kitchens and bathrooms do particularly well in all-white, especially with mixed tile, stone and cabinetry materials paired with crisp linens.


Buffalo Check Patterns 

Vogue recently declared that buffalo plaid is back, and the pattern that evokes images of summer in The Hamptons is appearing more and more in homes. Start with pillows and throws, or commit to a larger piece like a chair, bench or patio furnishing. 


Brass is Back

Brass is making a move to replace copper as the metallic darling, both in accent pieces like knobs and drinkware and in bigger elements like statement sculptures. We especially love brass lighting fixtures in artsy or futuristic shapes.


Hanging Chairs

Perfect as a centerpiece for a room or an outdoor relaxation station, hanging chairs are a big trend this summer due to their eye-catching look and comfy feel. Their hammock-like patterns and natural materials are beachy, but the shape and suspended quality is modern enough for high-rise décor.

Treat Your Mom to Mother’s Day Brunch in Buckhead


Mother’s Day is a special time to spend with family, and there’s no better way to show mom how much you care than a delicious meal shared together. Treat your mom to mimosas and brunch fare this Mother’s Day from these delicious Buckhead restaurants.

The Café & Bar

Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta’s own in-house luxury restaurant will be offering a lavish Mother’s Day brunch, so residents can enjoy delicious food and family time without leaving home. Diners will enjoy a buffet of hors d’oeuvres and desserts while selecting an a la carte entrée. A pop-up flower shop in the garden will creative spring bouquets for mom. For reservations, call 404-995-7545.


Bistro Niko

Buckhead’s favorite French brasserie is opening early on Mother’s Day for a special brunch, including Parisians classics like omelets, croque madames and nicoise salad. Bistro Niko’s new cocktail menu featuring seasonal citrus and bright herbs will also be available. We recommend the La Fleur, with vodka, St. Germain, basil and orange.


Seven Lamps

Chef Drew Van Leuvan’s Seven Lamps – just across the street from The Residences – hosts an annual Mother’s Day brunch beginning at 10 a.m. The menu includes brunch staples like baked berry french toast, eggs benedict and sticky buns. Seven Lamps’ famous cocktail menu will accompany the meal.


Swan Coach House

The restaurant in the legendary Swan House’s coach house is known for chic southern cuisine, and Mother’s Day is no different. Treat your mom to their famous chicken salad, spinach quiche and key lime pie, then wash it down with a mint julep or sweet tea cocktail.


Gypsy Kitchen and The Southern Gentlemen

Buckhead’s favorite rooftop restaurants are teaming up for a fabulous Mother’s Day brunch featuring a $55 prix fixe menu including dishes from both eateries, combining southern and Spanish cuisine for an unforgettable meal with views of Buckhead.

Celebrate Buckhead Restaurant Week with Delicious Dishes


Buckhead Restaurant Week is in full swing, and this annual event is a great way to sample inspired cuisine from some of Atlanta’s most renowned chefs. Here are our picks for the best brunch, lunch and dinner prix fixe selections this week.



Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta’s own steakhouse Del Frisco’s Grille is offering three different menus for Buckhead Restaurant Week, but brunch on the porch overlooking bustling Peachtree Street can’t be beat. The prix fixe brunch includes an alcoholic beverage of choice (a Bloody Mary, Sangria or a Mimosa) and a delicious entrée like a red velvet Belgian waffle or shredded pork burrito.

Portofino’s brunch menu incorporates Italian mainstays for a meal reminiscent of a morning in Tuscany. Choose from starters like polenta or fresh mozzarella, and then dig into a housemade sausage frittata or duck benedict.



On your next lunch break, take a culinary journey through Basil’s tapas choices, from calamari to flatbread to Greek-inspired mesa. Entrée options include pan-seared trout, a lamb burger and a prosciutto sandwich. The meal finishes with tiramisu or chocolate mousse cake.

Chef Zeb Stevenson is known for using the freshest ingredients to craft unforgettable southern-inspired meals. For lunch this week, Watershed’s prix fixe menu offers celery soup, “brown bag” brisket, a fricasse of spring vegetables and their famous hot milk cake among other in-season delights.



10 Degrees South’s South African inspired menu is full of dishes not found anywhere else in Atlanta like bobotie, boerewors and kingklip. This three-course dinner introduces unfamiliar items paired with favorites like peri-peri chicken and curry.

 It’s no secret that Kevin Rathbun makes the best steak in Atlanta, and his swanky Buckhead outpost KR Steakbar is offering an expansive menu for Buckhead Restaurant Week. First course choices range from salad to carpaccio, and the second course offers proteis like short ribs, shrimp and classic steak. Try the chocolate budino or mixed berry crostata with basil gelato to finish off the experience.

Q&A with Interior Designer Michael Habachy of Habachy Designs, Inc.

Bio Pic Showhouse 2014

The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta have attracted some of the city’s top designers to work their magic on the luxury homes. Michael Habachy, a 20-year design veteran, has created a home at The Residences that draws on the building Asian influences and modern aesthetic.

Michael and his team are the top luxury interior designers in Atlanta, having won multiple awards from HGTV, Houzz and Pantone. We asked Michael about his globally inspired work at The Residences, and what luxury design trends he thinks will be hot in 2016.


How did you know you wanted to be an interior designer? Have you always had an eye for design?

Habachy: I’ve had a passion for all things creative ever since I was a kid, from drawing and painting to sculpture and even fashion. I had a hard time narrowing things down when I went to college (I attended a private arts school, American InterContinental University, as well as Georgia State), so I had to basically spin the wheel of arts and design majors. At age 17, I chose to focus on interior design and never looked back.


What makes the home at The Residences you designed one of your best projects yet? 

Habachy: My wife and I have traveled all over Asia to some exotic destinations including India, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam. I have gained a tremendous passion for Eastern philosophy and culture, and take great inspiration from Asian art, architecture and design. So I was very excited to incorporate some of these Eastern influences from my travels into a modern, sophisticated space. The black and white interior is timeless, and accents from ancient tribes and cultures throughout the home give it a very collected and global vibe.


What’s your favorite piece in the home?

Habachy: That’s a tough one, because there are so many great pieces in there. One of my favorites is a custom carved, pyramid front cabinet with inlaid seeded bronze glass inserts. I incorporated pieces from several new furniture and lighting collections by Aerin Lauder and Kelly Wearstler, but also designed much of the furniture myself and had it custom-built. Using custom pieces ensures that they flow harmoniously with the overall interior, creating a very tailor-made and luxurious feel.


What elements of the unique lifestyle at The Residences have you incorporated into your design?

Habachy: We kept a very clean black and bone neutral palette throughout the interior and made the walls crisp and white, so that the space feels sophisticated, bright and airy. Having an all-white space also accentuates the stunning views, allowing the homeowner to take them in like a great work of art on a gallery wall.


What design trends do you think will be big in 2016?   

Habachy: I think that globally inspired design is a huge trend now. More and more people are traveling the world, discovering exotic resorts and hotels that blend ancient traditions, art and design with modern comforts. Many of my clients want to incorporate the experiences and memories from their travels into their own homes. Also, I think that fine, handmade, artisanal furnishings are becoming more in demand. I think that interesting textures such as inlaid materials like shagreen, bone, hammered metals, etc., can make a modern space feel much warmer. Many discerning clients want to invest in quality heirloom pieces to give their homes a unique and distinctive feel.