Thomson Grand (Review)

By The Folks @PropTalk - October 5, 2011 1 Comment
Condo Name:   Thomson Grand
Developer:   Luxury Green Development Pte Ltd (Cheung Kong Group)
Address:   Sin Ming Walk
Site Area:   224,314sqft
Land Tenure:   99-year from 8 Feb 2010
Condo Description:   Development comprising 9 Blocks of 20-storey & 22 Strata Houses 
Total No. of units:  339 Condo Units + 22 Strata Houses = 361 units
Expected TOP:   End 2015

Unit Mix:
2 bedroom Apartment (108 units):   904 - 1044sqft
3 bedroom Apartment (170 units):   1346 - 1421sqft
4 bedroom (34 units):   1658 - 1733sqft
3 bedroom Garden Residence (10 units):   1507 - 1765sqft
4 bedroom Garden Residence (2 units):   2067 - 2099sqft
3 bedroom Penthouse (10 units):  1572 - 1647sqft
4 bedroom Penthouse (5 units):   1787 - 2314sqft
4 bedroom Strata House (22 units):   5102 - 6566sqft

Thomson Grand – nestled right among the oldest and most prestigious Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) in a popular destination for the well-heeled, well-educated and well-mannered. Here the crème de la crème of society congregate. It is a premier community with rich academic influence. It is where beautiful views, the reservoir and expansive greenery, qualities for a very desirable living environment, are in abundance.

That is what the brochure says anyway…

But to the rest of us, Thomson Grand is the latest offering by Hong Kong developer Cheung Kong Group, who is also responsible for projects such as Thomson 800, Costa de Sol, Cairnhill Crest and The Vision.

Thomson Grand is located along Upper Thomson Road - Cheung Kong clinched the 99-year leasehold site for $533psf ppr in late 2009 - If you are coming from Lornie/Thomson Road, the site is across the road and just before the junction at Ang Mo Kio Ave 1 . But the huge sales gallery and its equally huge signage are hard to miss.

The entrance to the sales gallery/showflat is via Jalan Tambur. However, the main entrance into Thomson Grand (once it is built) is actually at the end of Sin Ming Walk. So for those thinking about an “Thomson Road” address, be prepared to be disappointed as your unit in Thomson Grand will say "Block XX, Sin Ming Walk" – the current entry point at Jalan Tambur will remain but solely for vehicle exit purpose only.

As you enter the sales gallery, it feels as if you have stepped into an opera house of sorts. The sales gallery reportedly cost over $8 million to build and incorporates more than 100,000 Swarovski crystals, including the chandelier centrepiece. There is even a Baby Grand (piano) in the main hall. While some may marvel at the money that the developer has splashed on the sales gallery, the wife and I find it somewhat gaudy and ostentatious.

The 361-unit Thomson Grand offers a mix of 2- to 4-bedroom apartments (no 1-bedder or shoebox here) and penthouses, as well as 22 strata terrace houses. The penthouse comes with 4.5m ceiling height (about 2.9m for typical apartments) while the terrace houses are 3-storey high and boosts a dedicated basement car park, garden and private Jacuzzi. There are also 12 Garden Residences each with a garden of up to 550sqft. But for those of you interested in the terrace houses, another disappointment awaits as all 22 units have been fully sold.

Facility-wise, the main talking point must be the Faberge Clubhouse – this resembles a sparkling jewelled egg that rises above the infinite-edged pool. The clubhouse is adorned with decorations from Versace/Armani, furnishings from Fendi complemented by the dazzle of Swarovski crystals. And in the clubhouse, you find a Spa and Jacuzzi, a gym, kids play area and a “Diamond Banquet Room” (we ordinary folks probably refer to this as the function room). There is even a driving range simulator where you can play a round of (simulated) golf with your friends.

Parking lots are all located within the basement – we forgot to ask how many lots exactly but we reckon there will be sufficient lots for at least 1 car per apartment (which is typical of new projects these days). The folks that own the terrace houses will each get a dedicated lot.

There are 3 showflats on display at the sales gallery, which showcase the 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom apartment units. One unique feature of the units at Thomson Grand is that there is only one standard layout for each apartment type – the difference in sizes is just a matter of how big/small the balcony areas are. The other unique feature is that each apartment is served by not one but TWO private lifts – so you probably have a shorter wait to get up/down your apartment but will have double the worry when it comes to lift maintenance/replacement cost.

The wife and I will take a slightly different track for this review – instead of going through the features of a particular showflat type, we will just tell you what we like and dislike about the showflats in terms of layout, furnishing etc and then our overall thoughts about the project. Please tell us if you prefer this review format or our typical (old) format.

Pricing wise, be prepared to pay anywhere between $1,120 - $1,250psf for the 3-bedder apartments (mid-floors). The 4-beddroom apartments will cost in excess of $1,300psf.

The developer is currently running a Fabulous ‘8’ promotion for potential buyers. During the promotion, reserved units with the number “8” will be made available in limited supply. New buyers will get to enjoy a travel package to Russia valued at $8,800 and those with “8” in their identity card numbers will receive additional discounts. So assuming you have two “8” in your I/C, you be entitled to a discount of up to 3% off the price. But we forgot to ask if passport number will work too (for foreign buyers).

What we like:
• The living, dining and kitchen area, as well as the bedrooms are all regular shaped (i.e. no odd-shaped corners or ugly columns). The apartments also do not come with bay windows, which mean more spacious bedrooms.

• Cheung Kong is definitely not stingy on quality with Thomson Grand. All the unit types come with good quality furnishing - 90cm x 90cm large marble-slab floors in the living/dining area, De Dietrich kitchen appliances (hob/hood/microwave/oven), Smeg fridge and the beautiful dry kitchen with a large marble-slab work top. All kitchen cabinets are also installed with Blum mechanism. And we simply loved the sophisticated looking shower-set in the master bathroom as well as the mosaic-laid standing shower stalls!

• Given the orientation and staggered nature of the 9 tower blocks, we expect the view from units on the 6th floor onwards to be rather spectacular. This is especially so for higher-floor units in Block 27, which enjoy 270 degrees of unblocked view.

• The Faberge clubhouse looks rather interesting and should be a great conversation piece amongst your guests when you finally get to host that dinner party at the clubhouse.

Thomson Grand is within 1-km of one of the most sought after primary school in Singapore - Ai Tong Primary. But we understand that balloting is still the order of the day for kids living within 1-km of the recent years anyway.

What we dislike:
• The balcony area for each apartment type takes up at least 100sqft of space, which means the typical 3-bedder has less than 1,300sqft of interior space while it is only about 1,500sqft with the 4-bedder – too small for our comfort.

• And speaking of small, the wet kitchen is just a rectangular strip of an area and it may be a challenge for two people to work comfortably inside.

• Certain aspects of the apartment layout are somewhat flawed:
      There is no yard to speak of in any of the apartment type, so you probably need to make use of those   ample balcony spaces to dry your clothes (since we know full well that your mechanical dryer cannot do a good job!)
      The home shelter (which most households typically use as a maid’s room) is located in the bedroom area across from the common bathroom. Even if you can fit a proper bed into the narrow strip of an area, it will be rather inconvenient for you (and your domestic helper) due to the lack of privacy and personal space that normally comes with a "typical" apartment layout whereby the home shelter is located in the yard area behind the kitchen.
      The rubbish chute is located inside the wet kitchen (good, as you don’t have to bring your rubbish out to throw) but it is situated way too close to the cooking area (not so good, as it seems rather unhygienic). But with a kitchen that small, something has to give…
      The “back door” exit to the “cargo/common” lifts is located inside one of the common bedroom – there is a door in the balcony of the bedroom that leads out to the external lifts. This seems a bit strange to us, but the marketing agent was quick in pointing out that such layout will allow you to (technically) rent out the bedroom without sacrificing privacy, since it has its own separate entrance/exit. Right… and the tenant can possibly use the washing/toilet facilities by the pool area too!

• The developer has included chandelier-like lightings fitted with Swarovski crystals in all the bathrooms, which supposedly add a touch of class to where you shower/take a dump. However, it came across as somewhat “over the top” to the wife and I. And cleaning those darn crystals will take some work too!

• What you see at the showflat may not necessarily be what you get – those glorious looking marbled walls in the living/dining/dry kitchen area and the marble floors in the master/junior master bedrooms of the 4-bedder showflat are “for design purpose” only. Your actual unit will only come with painted cement-walls and timber flooring for all bedrooms. So if you are buying based on what you see in the showflat, you will most definitely be disappointed.

• All the blocks housing the 3- and 4-bedders are direct West-facing. So there is really no need to install a sauna within your unit, as it will probably feel that way on a typical hot and sunny afternoon. Then again, there are always the air-conditioning and “Sun X” window films!

• Since sound travel upwards, the wife and I reckon that the higher-floor units in the outer most block (No. 27, which supposedly has the best panoramic view) will be a tad noisy given that the stretch of Upper Thomson Road is quite heavily utilized during most times of the day. We have been inside an apartment on the 20+ floor of The Flame Tree condo just down the road from Thomson Grand and the traffic noise was rather deafening.

• The wife and I are rather disappointed with the facility offering at Thomson Grand. Sure you get a fabulous looking egg-shaped of a clubhouse, but the other facilities are almost run of the mill. And for a supposed luxurious development, you cannot even play tennis within the condo!

Our final thoughts:
Do we like the quality of furnishing and interior layout in the showflats of Thomson Grand? Hell yeah! But do we like it enough to pay almost $1.6 million for a 1,356sqft 3-bedder on the 6th floor at Thomson Grand?? Probably not.


1 comment to ''Thomson Grand (Review)"

  1. We got the keys to our unit in Nov15. – 10 months later, we are still facing many problems. Reputable Developer and Architect means nothing.
    Many defects re-occur despite several rectifications attempts. The Project Team relied on photos taken by the Customer Officers during inspections. They have no permanent solution
    1. The rear door – had rust stains, even after a new door was replaced.
    2. All balconies is not water and weather proof.
    3. Balconies has efflorescence, the sliding door alignment needs to be adjusted repeatedly so that the locking mechanism works properly.

    Bad design and poor space planning.
    • Toilet space too small such that one has problem putting toilet roll into the initial toilet holder
    • Glass doors to shower in both the Master and common room has a maximum opening of 56cm.
    • Standing area for the Master shower is only 71cm.
    • Private Lobby – with a 4.5m ceiling but the sensor has a max range of 2.5m.
    • Kitchen Steel Basin - shows rust stains, and the tap is too close to the edge as such water splash easily.
    • Bomb Shelter – rusty again
    • Toilet seat - held by two rubber plugs. Each time we have to readjust the alignment. (Inferior quality)

    Strange “Cover Up
    Rear Stair Case - Initially, when it was realised that the switch for the rear stair case was wrongly placed, instead of relocation the switch or an alternative solution, they placed two large places over the metal door.
    The Facade of the circular staircase that was prominently featured in your brochures is totally destroy the good facade and “Feng Tsui” amended (Image1)
    From this, we can deduce that, this Development team is very weak.

    Public Toilet at Faberge Club House - the original handle was a straight steel tube which is slippery and not practical.
    To rectify - the team added an extra piece of metal plate. Now it functional but is very ugly. Why not just change to a different handle.