Jacuzzis, private sundecks and temperature-controlled bathroom tiles — it may sound like a five-star hotel in Switzerland, but these are amenities now also being offered with 2- to 4-bedroom flats in urban development hubs such as Mumbai and Gurugram.“In a market as competitive as real estate, value-adds like these can be a key differentiator,” says Nandan A Piramal, director of sales and marketing at Peninsula Land. “People will make flat-buying decisions based on location of the project, developers’ past projects, the area etc. But all other things being equal, these additions set a project apart.”Salsette 27, a project by Peninsula Land in Byculla, is offering home automation systems that include key-less entry to homes linked to the owners’ smartphones.“If a child is alone at home, the parent can remote-monitor who is ringing the doorbell,” Piramal says.Two projects by Ruparel builders, Palacio in Kandivli and Sea Palace in Nerul, offer private sundecks and encoded elevators that open directly into the lobby of each home.The elevator at Ruparel Palacio opens into each apartment’s private lobby.“While these amenities have existed for a few years, they are now being offered in newer areas,” says Amit Ruparel, managing director of Ruparel Realty.Primanti, a project by Tata Housing in Gurugram, has a jacuzzi in each master bedroom. These are essentially luxury housing facilities at a lower-than-luxury price tag.“Today, due to rising income levels and upgraded lifestyles, we are seeing greater demand from the upper-middle-class consumer for luxury facilities,” says Rajeeb Dash, head of corporate marketing at Tata Housing. UPS AND DOWNSThere are clear pros and cons to such facilities. Most such houses have to have a larger floor area to accommodate these facilities, so automatically their prices are comparatively higher for the same number of rooms, says Ankur Dhawan, chief investment officer for online real estate advisory, PropTiger.com.“There’s the added comfort and social standing, but also much higher maintenance costs,” adds Anuj Puri, chairman of property consultancy Anarock. “One must consider that higher technological complexity will also lead to more complexities in maintenance.” Primanti by Tata Housing in Gurugram has a home spa setup in each master bedroom. Buyers who plan to use such flats as their primary homes seem willing, for now, to pay the extra cost for the value-adds. “The difference is worth the privacy and exclusivity I get,” says a 37-year-old financial officer who spoke on condition of anonymity and is set to move into Sea Palace with his wife and child.“A jacuzzi is a perfect place to relax, not only mentally but also physically. We have been using it since we shifted here,” adds a 45-year-old businessman who has been living at Primanti for three months with his wife and two children. “Having it is a great investment for us.”The bigger question is what the amenities race will mean for the next generation of development projects. “Today, the inclusion of this technology seems like a big deal, but over the next few years, it will become a common feature,” says Piramal.