Botanique @Bartley (Review)

By The Folks @PropTalk - July 27, 2015 No Comments

The wife and I were traveling along Macpherson Road yesterday and lo and behold, the sales gallery of Botanique @Bartley was staring at our faces as we drove towards Paya Lebar Road. Imagine our surprise as we have always assumed that the gallery would be located nearer to the actual site of the project.  

For the uninitiated, the actual site of Botanique @Bartley is located on a corner plot where Bartley Road meets Upper Paya Lebar Road and next-door to the soon-to-TOP Bartley Residences.

The sales  gallery/showflat, however, is located on an empty plot just before the intersection of Macpherson Road and Paya Lebar Road. 

And since we are already here, the wife and I decided that we might as well go in and have a look!

Botanique @Bartley is a project by UOL Limited which consists of 797 units spread over nine 17-storey towers. It sits on a triangular-shaped plot of about 221,000sqft that slopes gradually down towards the Bartley Road/Upper Paya Lebar Road crossover. The currently expected TOP of the project is in 2019.

The 99-year leasehold development has apartment types ranging from 1-bedder to 3-bedroom Premium (or what's commonly known as "3+1"). For those who need 4 or more bedrooms or are looking to buy penthouses, you may wanna give this one a miss.

Entry into the development would be from a slip road along Upper Paya Lebar Road. And as one would expect, Botanique @Bartley is your typical "full facility" project so you get the usual bells and whistles plus a few additional surprises such as a tennis court, which is absent from many new launches these days (as it occupies a fair bit of real estate) and the hilltop clubhouse with its private dining room - something that would be rather useful as you would soon realize why.

Parking wise, there would be a total of 803 lots (inclusive of 6 handicapped-lots) so it's basically the "one lot per apartment" gig that you get with new projects these days. And since there is no provision for visitor's lot, your friends whose coming to visit would be best advised to take public transport else they might have to try their luck with street parking outside the development.

The wife and I also noticed that Botanique @Bartley had supposedly garnered quite a few Asia Pacific property awards, which the developer have proudly displayed in the sales gallery.

We were also told by the marketing agent that the project has already sold about 460 units (i.e. more than 50%) to date, despite some stacks not released for sale yet. However, those sold are mainly the smaller 1- and 2-bedders.

For the purpose of this review, we would focus on one of the larger apartment type - the 3-Bedroom Premium (Type D1) unit, which is more commonly known as the "3+1" unit type. 

At 1,033sqft, the first word that came to our minds is SMALL - which (sadly) would be a recurring theme in this review. 

The first area that greeted us is the living/dining area, which despite being rectangular in shape (which is good), is probably just half the size of the living room of our current apartment (which is bad). So everything inside has to be small - from the sofa to the dining table, and you would probably not be doing a whole lot of big entertaining in your own home as hosting more than 6 people would make things a tad claustrophobic and as such, this is when the private dining room in the hilltop clubhouse would come in handy. The ceiling height at 2.85m is also nothing much to be excited about.

However, one consolation is the good-quality marble floor that that comes with the unit, which is a pleasant surprise especially when even the higher-end projects (e.g. d'Leedon and Sky Habitat) these days have homogeneous-tile flooring.

The kitchen is again a narrow strip of area but the biggest problem we have is not with its size rather the lack of window for ventilation, which means the smoke/smell of your cooking has no escape other than into the living room and laundry area  However, the poor kitchen design (* Please refer to our blog post dated 28/7/2015 *) but this is compensated somewhat by the high-end kitchen appliances (from Smeg) and the extra frills (e.g. Smeg coffee maker and Vintec wine fridge) that are provided. 

There is no yard to speak of but you do get a laundry area located at the end of the kitchen where you could house the wash machine and build some storage cupboards (the ones you see in the photo are not included).

The laundry area opens on the right into a small toilet (which is similar to the ones you usually find in most yard areas) which in turn allows you access to the "plus 1", which is a small room that would probably be used to house the domestic helper or as a study. Although we had termed this room "small", it is actually very generous if used as helper's accommodation and best of all, it also comes with proper windows - which you usually don't find at other projects. The wife and I also liked this unique design as it provides you with an additional "pseudo en-suite" bedroom.

The two common bedrooms are (you guessed it) small - the photos actually paid them more compliments than they deserved in terms of size.

One of the bedroom is again "pseudo en-suite" as it is linked to the common bathroom -  a feature we liked - but you would have to always remember to lock the other access door from the walkway to prevent the wrong kinda exposure when you are using the toilet from within the bedroom. 

We also liked the good-quality flooring in the bedrooms, which we were told is made of American White Oak.

The common bathroom is of adequate size and comes with a large set of windows for ventilation but it is not handicapped friendly as you are unlikely to be able to maneuver a wheelchair inside.The wife and I liked the color combination of the floor and wall tiles while the bathroom fittings (from Keramag and Hansgrohe) are not too shabby either. Alas, a rain-shower system would have make things complete.

The master bedroom will only leave you with walking space after fitting-in a King bed but you do get a monster-sized (compared to most other new projects anyway) wardrobe that should reduce the need for couple to argue over "who should get what space". 

The master bathroom is almost an exact replica of the common bathroom in terms of look and feel but you do get the "rain shower" and a wall-mounted toilet with this one.

Pricing wise, there are only 4 stacks of 3-Bedroom Premium apartments in Botanique @Bartley and below are samples of prices for selected units in Stack #3, which is considered the best stack given its full pool-facing view: 
- Unit 16-03: $1.426 million or $1,380psf
- Unit 12-03: $1.407 million or $1,362psf
- Unit 03-03: $1.367 million or $1,323psf

What we like:

1. Despite its small size, the apartment's layout is fully optimized and very functional.

2. You get not just one but THREE en suite bedrooms (albeit the other two being "pseudo en-suite"), which is definitely a strong selling point.

3. The good quality furnishing and fittings, which are akin to what you would expect from high-end projects.

4. Proximity (about a 5-minute walk) to the Bartley MRT station via a side-gate along Bartley Road. 

5. The competitive pricing (both in terms of psf and quantum), which might account for the strong sales so far - the marketing person had kept harping on the fact that the fully-sold Bartley Residences that's next-door are currently reselling at around $1,500 - $1,800psf, which means you would already have made a paper-profit immediately upon purchase. 

What we do not quite like:

1. Everything just screamed of "small" when comes to the 3-bedroom premium unit at Bontanique @Bartley - Call us "spoiled" if you wanna but the wife and I just couldn't imagine our family of 4 calling an interior space of about 1,000sqft "home". I have told the wife in jest that she would either be left with just a husband OR son as only one of us would probably survive after strangling each other over excessive noise output! 

2. No window in the kitchen means the house would become a mini gas-chamber and smell like what you cook. And making Kung Pow Chicken would probably be a bad idea! (* Please refer to our blog post dated 28/7/2015 *)

3. The lack of a proper yard or laundry drying area would mean that you would have to invest in a washing machine cum drying or alternatively, hang your laundry out to dry at the balcony. However, the wife and I were told that the development would have a laundromat so that might be the solution to all your laundry woes. 

4. The lack of shelter from the development to Bartley MRT station would necessarily mean that it would either be a hot+sweaty or wet+bothered walk to the MRT.

5. The traffic along Bartley Road and Upper Paya Lebar Road are heavy especially during the morning and evening rush hours and as such, owners of units that face these busy stretch of roads would either have to be immune to traffic noises or keep their windows shut most of the time. 

6. The wife and I could only identify one school - Maris Stellar High (Primary) - that is within 1-km of Botanique @Bartley. This may be a consideration for some parents when comes to primary school registration.

Our parting shot

The wife and I felt that Botanique @Bartley is indeed a quality project priced at reasonably attractive psf and quantum. As such, it would definitely warrant a visit by prospective buyers... provided that they are comfortable with small living spaces.

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