Will My Robot Butler Have A British Accent?

Suzanne Dranow real estateWhat does one call something that goes over the top of something that is already over the top? Perhaps “Ridiculous?” I’m not trying to be judgmental; I’m simply trying to describe the addition of a gilded lily to a sundae that already has three cherries on top.

I’ve been watching Crescent’s 10000 Santa Monica since they tore down the sad 1960s era office building that used to occupy the lot, and I’ve enjoyed seeing large panels and glass structures have been moved into place via huge cranes. You’d think the spectacle of watching such a building “come to life” would be enough to make even Ayn Rand (or, at minimum, Howard Roark) give a tip of the hat.
The amenities and services that will be offered (maid service, a lifestyle concierge and personal drivers to pilot you in a building-owned Rolls) are what has become expected of these “hotel-like” apartment experiences. My friends and clients who rent similar pieds-à-terre in New York or in Rick Caruso’s 8500 Burton Way don’t use most of the amenities, but they like knowing they are there (I would personally take comfort in knowing I could be driven in a Rolls if I were approaching the mileage cap on my leased McClaren).
As more and more of these ultra-luxury rentals are coming on line, I find that they are playing games of “one-upsmanship” in order to stake claim to some differentiation — and I believe this has finally reached a new pinnacle of the absurd: Robot Butlers. 
Yes, 10000 Santa Monica has announced that their differentiating amenity will be a robot butler to bring you drinks, hors d’oeuvres and perhaps even carry a measuring cup to your neighbor when you need to borrow a cup of sugar.
I’m sure a robot butler will be a convenience that I’ll one day come to appreciate and wonder how I ever lived without (much like Siri and my Amazon Alexa), but what worries me is the fear that one day I’m going to get jaded: “Sure, the robot butler can mix and bring me a passable spicy açai martini, but why can’t the stupid thing drive me around in the Rolls?” And then what? Will I one day take for granted my self-cleaning floors, the automated kitchen, or the closet that not only cleans and pressed my clothes, but can also change a hem based on current styles?
The real question is do the luxury residents of these luxury buildings even care? I doubt anyone will choose one building over another because of its fleet of self-driving cars, though it does give the building something to put in a marketing brochure so people can read about it and say, “Huh.” Certainly not because of a robot butler, but if a building has a fleet of jetpacks… Let’s just say… we’ll talk.

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