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‘We bought a garden sauna’: How to get the best and what they cost

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The Scandi influence doesn’t stop at pared down neutral colours and an aversion to clutter. All of a sudden, we’ve gone wild for saunas.

Indeed, major brands beloved of celebrities have been unable to keep up with demand — Iglucraft, which sold David Beckham his sauna, doubled its sales in 2020 compared with the year before; while Lady Gaga‘s favourite, Sunlighten, reported inquires surging by 50 per cent as soon as lockdown was announced.

Sweating away in a sauna is a great way to relax. Some people swear they can feel toxins pouring out their pores, while many athletes say they are highly effective in healing overworked muscles and tension in the joints. It’s also good for encouraging bloodflow.

Hot house: A typical barrel sauna suits gardens of all sizes. Sweating away in a sauna is a great way to relax. Some people swear they can feel toxins pouring out their pores

Hot house: A typical barrel sauna suits gardens of all sizes. Sweating away in a sauna is a great way to relax. Some people swear they can feel toxins pouring out their pores

There are two main types: traditional saunas and the steam room. 

Saunas of the Scandinavian design are usually made of pine, hemlock or cedar; and heated by an electric or wood-burning stove containing about 20 kg of volcanic peridotite rocks, which then produce an intense dry heat.

To increase humidity a little and bring out the sweat, cold water is poured on the rocks. Stoves usually take half an hour or more to heat up the room.

A medium-sized Finnish sauna would cost about £15,000.

Some like it hot: David and Victoria Beckham

Some like it hot: David and Victoria Beckham

A modern version is the infrared Finnish sauna, where panels placed around the sauna shine on you to raise your body temperature. 

They don’t have the option of sprinkling water to boost humidity, but they heat up much faster, so some people find them more convenient. The heating elements are made of carbon or ceramic, with ceramic generally considered better.

They are usually more energy-efficient than stoves because they heat the body directly, instead of raising the room’s ambient temperature. 

There is little difference in cost between infrared and stove-heated designs.

Steam rooms, meanwhile, tend to be more visually interesting — people often go for stylish colour designs, mosaics and expressive lighting designs. You can have aromatherapy, too — nice smells to mix with the steam. 

Overall, steam rooms tend to be larger and more expensive, so you’re talking £20,000 upwards for a medium-sized design.

You don’t need much space for a sauna or steam room — you could squeeze it all into a large cupboard if you really want.

For something fun, a barrel sauna, a traditional round hut design, can be built in a reasonably sized garden. They are often cheaper than having one constructed inside the house itself.

‘It gives us time to slow down and de-stress’

Neil Hassall, who owns a waste disposal company, had a sauna and steam room installed by Anapos in December in an outbuilding of his Georgian house in Chester, where he lives with his wife and son.

They took six weeks to install. ‘It was for health reasons — especially during Covid,’ says Neil. ‘My wife, Zoe, wasn’t comfortable going to a gym, for example.

‘It gives you time out to slow down and de-stress. You definitely feel revitalised and energised after you’ve come out and had a shower.’

Neil’s sauna fits about six people and the electric stove is partly powered by solar panels on the roof.

‘We’ve only had it a week and a half, so we’ve been using it every other day, but I expect that will wane when the novelty wears off. 

‘My son plays semi-professional football and he swears by it for recovery after matches.

‘After using it we have to walk from the barn back to the house, which isn’t far but you certainly feel a chill. Let’s say it livens you up.’

Feel the heat: An outdoor sauna in the garden can be cheaper to install than one inside the home - although you may face a bracing walk back inside

Feel the heat: An outdoor sauna in the garden can be cheaper to install than one inside the home – although you may face a bracing walk back inside 

‘We put a barrel sauna in our London back garden’

Harpist Valeria Kurbatova and her husband, Toby Clarke, bought a cedarwood barrel sauna for their back garden in North-West London in September 2020 from the Cedar Sauna Company.

Imported from Russia, it is 2.6 m long, 2 m in diameter and made from Siberian cedar. Prices for the model, the smallest in the range, start at £8,224.

‘I grew up in Russia with saunas — banya, we call them — and this brings the memories back,’ says Valeria. 

‘Ours is like a little burrow. It’s extremely cute and we went for a wood-burning stove because you get the smell and steam and you can get it really hot.

‘It fits four people comfortably, but you can get six in.

‘Mentally it’s been a saviour for us in lockdown. You sweat out all the negative emotions and relax. 

‘We always make an event of it. And we use whisks — large oak or birch twigs with leaves on that you use to massage each other.

‘It’s not painful — they’re quite soft. After that you feel ultimately relaxed. Everyone should try it.’

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Inside three new chalets for sale in Les Gets ski resort

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After France reopened its borders to British travellers, there was a huge sigh of relief among British skiers.

The French Alps are the number one skiing destination for Britons and many feel it’s high time to get back on the slopes and enjoy the mountains once again. 

One location that’s very popular with British holidaymakers and second home buyers is the smaller resort of Les Gets in the French Alps. It is is only an hour’s drive from Geneva Airport – making it the perfect destination for British skiers and snowboarders looking for easy access to the Alps. 

You can leave your desk at 5pm on a Friday evening and be in the resort that night. That kind of easy access will leave some dreaming of a property, so that they can make the most of their holidays and perhaps squeeze in a few more.   

British holidaymakers can once again travel to France after the country eased Covid restrictions

British holidaymakers can once again travel to France after the country eased Covid restrictions

We take a look at a development of three properties for sale in the French ski resort of Les Gets (pictured)

We take a look at a development of three properties for sale in the French ski resort of Les Gets (pictured)

new development of just three chalets being built in Les Gets features the kind of homes many skiers would love, but the price tags starting at more than £1.5million will be beyond the reach of many.

The prices reflect how Les Gets popularity, accessibility and limited supply of properties mean there is huge demand for holiday homes in the area.

You will need deep pockets if you want to own a home in Les Gets. But the builders of this development are keen to stress that the properties are ‘keenly priced’ for the local property market. 

The four-bedroom chalets spanning across three levels are available via skiingproperty.com from €1,848,000 euros, the equivalent of £1,536,762. It is rare to find a whole chalet in the area for less than €2million, the equivalent of £1,670,890.

However, it is possible to buy in Les Gets on smaller budgets, if you are happy to have an apartment instead of a chalet. As we highlight below, good quality apartments can be bought for around the £300,000 mark. 

The chalets can be found on the Route des Chavannes, a two-minute drive from the main Chavannes ski lifts, although skiers can take the Gentian piste down to the Gibannaz area and walk just 300 metres to the front door of the chalets.

The luxury chalets are each sold as freehold and if the new owners want to rent them out, they do so under their own arrangements once purchased.

The freehold chalets in Les Gets have yet to be completed (pictured: computer generated images of what the properties will look like once they are finished)

The freehold chalets in Les Gets have yet to be completed (pictured: computer generated images of what the properties will look like once they are finished)

Les Gets (pictured) is popular among British skiers and snowboarders in the winter, and keen mountain bike riders and hikers in the summer

Les Gets (pictured) is popular among British skiers and snowboarders in the winter, and keen mountain bike riders and hikers in the summer

Les Gets is a ski resort that is part of the huge Portes du Soleil ski network, one of the world’s largest that links 13 different villages including Morzine and Avoriaz

Les Gets is a ski resort that is part of the huge Portes du Soleil ski network, one of the world’s largest that links 13 different villages including Morzine and Avoriaz

Les Gets is popular among British skiers and snowboarders in the winter, as well as keen mountain bike riders and hikers in the summer.

The ski resort is part of the huge Portes du Soleil ski network, one of the world’s largest that links 13 different villages including Morzine, Avoriaz and Chalet on the French side and Champéry, Les Crosets and Morgins on the Swiss side.

During the summer, the bike park at Les Gets offers one of the largest network of mountain biking trails for all levels in the Alps.

There are also several famous mountain passes – known as ‘cols’ – that are often used during sections of the Tour de France cycling race.

Les Gets can be reached from Geneva Airport in around one hour by car and it is also one of the closest major ski resorts that can be reached by car from Britain.

Les Gets can be reached from Geneva Airport in around one hour by car and it is also one of the closest major ski resorts that can be reached by car from Britain

Les Gets can be reached from Geneva Airport in around one hour by car and it is also one of the closest major ski resorts that can be reached by car from Britain

An artists impression of what the interiors of the chalets could look like

An artists impression of what the interiors of the chalets could look like 

The new build chalets have four double bedrooms, three bathrooms and 314 square metres of living space.

They extend across three floors, with ensuite bathrooms for the two bedrooms on the top floor and a shared bathroom for the two bedrooms on the lower floor. The top floor bedrooms also have balconies with mountains views.

The main floor includes two separate living areas and an open plan kitchen. There is a large balcony, a private garden and a garage.

Les Gets is well-known for its family appeal, and this four-bedroom property is ideal for families looking for winter and summer holiday accommodation in the French Alps.

Because the property is being sold as a classic freehold, the owners can choose to live in the property or use it as a holiday home. They can also choose the rent the property out when they are not using it.

Prices for the four-bed chalets start at €1,848,000 euros, the equivalent of £1,536,762

Prices for the four-bed chalets start at €1,848,000 euros, the equivalent of £1,536,762

During winter, Mont Chery offers some hidden off-piste skiing mostly known only to locals

During winter, Mont Chery offers some hidden off-piste skiing mostly known only to locals

Les Gets flats for sale under £400k 

This one-bed flat is in La Turche neighbourhood

This one-bed is in the La Turche neighbourhood

Les Gets also offers properties for sale for those with a smaller budget.

Properties currently for sale include a one-bedroom apartment for sale via skiingproperty.com, which has a price tag of £391,011. 

It is part of a new-build block of 21 apartments, each with their own balcony.

The ski-in ski-out flat is in the La Turche neighbourhood, which is just five minutes away by car.

This two-bed apartment is just 200 metres from the ski lift in Les Perrieres

This two-bed apartment is just 200 metres from the ski lift in Les Perrieres

Also available is a two-bed apartment that is just 200 metres from the ski lift in Les Perrieres, at the entrance Les Gets ski resort.

The traditional style new build flat is on the market via skiingproperty.com for £310,936.

The pretty resort of Les Gets is a traditional Alpine village with classic chalet style accommodation.

During the summer, the network of hiking trails is vast. The cable car to Mont Chery offers incredible views of Western Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, and the easy trail from the cable car station to Mont Caly offers some of the best views in the Alps. 

Recommended lunch venues include Les Chevrelles, a pretty farmhouse restaurant at the end of the walk, it is then possible to take the ‘petit train’ back to the village centre.

During winter, Mont Chery offers some hidden off-piste skiing mostly known only to locals.

La Grande Ourse is a mountain restaurant on the slopes of Mont Chery where the British owners – and chef – organise weekly dinners where they will bring diners up in cat track vehicles. The fantastic food is known throughout the area and it’s popular with both British and French guests.

The three chalets for sale are unfurnished. As a new build property, the buyer will benefit from a lower notary fee of 2 per cent – resale properties have much higher fees of 7 to 8 per cent -, allowing for further savings.

In the future, if the owner decides to rent out their chalet when they are not using it, they can reclaim the 20 per cent VAT from the property purchase price, providing that certain conditions are met.

We are open and ready to welcome British skiers and snowboarders back to our slopes for the rest of the winter 

Julian Walker, of skiingproperty.com, said: ‘This is a rare opportunity to purchase a new chalet in a resort that normally sees prices for similar properties well in excess of €2million. Les Gets is a great summer and winter destination and just an hour’s drive from Geneva Airport, making it an attractive offering for families. The past two summers have seen record numbers of visitors in the resort as people flock to the mountain for the fresh air and space’. 

And Les Gets’ tourist office director Alexis Bongard, said: ‘We are delighted that the French Government has finally lifted these border restrictions that impacted Les Gets so badly, and of course created so much stress and worry for British people heading here. 

‘We are open and ready to welcome British skiers and snowboarders back to our slopes for the rest of the winter, it felt very strange without you here.’ 

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Varakar says law on right to seek remote working can ‘change the culture’

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that a proposed law giving people the right to request remote working arrangements will mean employers are more likely to grant them for fear of being brought to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

Mr Varadkar said he believes the legislation can “change the culture” and that employers will embrace it.

The general scheme of a Bill to provide for remote working will be brought to the Cabinet on Tuesday by Minister for Enterprise Mr Varadkar. It will set out a legal framework whereby an employer can either approve or reject a request to work remotely from an employee.

Under the plans – which Mr Varadkar hopes to have enacted in the next couple of months – there will be an independent appeals process through the WRC.

Speaking ahead of the publication of the outline of the legislation Mr Varadkar said it will require employers to take a request seriously, to respond within a defined timeframe and “to give a good reason that actually stacks up if they were challenged.”

He added: “It can change the culture and move the dial so that employers will be more likely to say yes for fear of being taken to the WRC or to court if they say no.”

Embrace

Mr Varadkar predicted that “the vast majority of employers are going to embrace this.”

He added: “Everyone sees the benefits of home working/remote working – reduced traffic, reduced crowding in office spaces and also it’s very much an employees’ market at the moment.

“Employers are finding it really hard to hire staff and retain staff and it makes sense I think if you’re an employer or running a business to embrace new models of working because that’s how you’re going to get staff. It’s also how you’re going to keep staff.”

The Labour Party has argued that the Government’s plans will not go far enough with employment spokeswoman Senator Maire Sherlock saying the Government must guarantee the right to flexible work.

Mr Varadkar said the Bill won’t do this.

He said there was a lot of work done with the Attorney General and “Government can only interfere in contracts that employers and employees have signed to a certain extent.”

He also pointed out that remote working isn’t always going to be possible.

“It’s going to be very difficult to do in education, in healthcare, in manufacturing, hospitality for example.

“What we want to do is get to a position whereby remote working/home working becomes a choice and that employers facilitate that provided the business gets done and provided public services don’t suffer.”

Important day

Mr Varadkar said that Monday – the start of the phased return to workplaces – “is an important day as we learn to live with Covid, as we move from the emergency phase into a phase where we return to some semblance of normality.”

He said that the Government does not want things to go back to the old normal.

“We want to see more remote working, more home working, more hybrid working”.

Mr Varadkar said that there was a meeting of Government officials, unions and employer groups on Monday and it was agreed that there will be a new work safety protocol that will offer guidelines on the return to work over the coming weeks.

He said: “We’ll try to make permanent some of those things that were always a good idea in a work place such as good air quality to reduce the risk of the transmission of viruses, hygiene, avoiding overcrowding and that work is very much underway”.

He expects the updated protocol to be published by the end of the week.

Mr Varadkar was also asked about plans for an inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and he said the Government have to discuss what form it will take.

He said no decision has been made on the model of the inquiry but “ it is important that we have one that allows us to learn the lessons.

“Relative to other countries Ireland handled the pandemic well – I think everyone acknowledges that when you look at the numbers.

“But we didn’t get everything right either and I think it’s important that we have an inquiry that is not about blaming people or pointing the finger but is about working out what we did right, what we wrong and what we could do better so that we’re prepared if there is a resurgence in the virus or if there is a pandemic caused for a different reason.”

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Patrizia invests in logistics property near Milan (IT)

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Patrizia AG has acquired a newly built cold storage logistics asset near Milan, Italy, from Savills Investment Management. The 31,000m² cold storage asset was completed in Q2 2021 and is fully let to Kuhne & Nagel, a leading pan-European 3rd party logistics company, and Movi.Log Srl, a frozen food distributor, with a WALT of 7.5 years. The property has been built to a high specification with sprinklers, elevations and ample refrigeration space that has a temperature range between 4°C and -28 °C. Sustainability was a key consideration during its development. The asset includes two photovoltaic plants for a total power capacity of 2.5MW and is targeting a BREEAM rating.

 

The property is located in Casorate Primo, a municipality in Lombardy between the cities of Milan and Pavia, a prime industrial and logistics location in northern Italy. It benefits from excellent transport connectivity via the nearby A7 motorway which connects Milan with Genoa and enables access to France and Switzerland.

 

Pierluigi Scialanga, Head of Transactions at Patrizia Italy, commented: “The property is well located and has excellent sustainability credentials, while lettings to tenants with strong covenants will deliver long term reliable returns. Our Italian AUM has grown significantly in recent years to now over €1bn with plans to grow further. Logistics is a strategic sector for Patrizia Italy. We have so far invested €400m in logistics and have a pipeline of a further €160m of logistics transactions which we are completing.”

 

Rob Brook, Head of Alternative Investments and Head of Logistics at Patrizia, added: “Cold chain is an exciting area of logistics for Patrizia to be involved in. Demand is predicted to grow steadily in the next few years, especially due to a growing need for reliable supply chains for biopharmaceuticals, vaccines and clinical trials. High demand across Europe combined with low vacancy rates makes cold chain logistics an ideal growth area for the future.”

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