Must-Have Features for a Chicago Luxury Penthouse

The word penthouse alone has a definite luxury vibe to it. In a high-rise building especially, the top-floor unit has privacy, exclusivity and a certain opulence, and many of these units are one-of-a-kind Chicago condos.

But one luxury penthouse isn’t the same as the next. In fact, the Wall Street Journal recently covered the scores of luxury properties that are popping up all over the country, noting that for-sale properties are going to great lengths to differentiate themselves from one luxury property to the next in order to draw in the right buyers. And it’s no different in Chicago, where there are luxury properties, and then there are ultra-luxury properties. These are ones with features you simply cannot find anywhere else, which makes them extremely valuable in Chicago real estate and for luxury buyers who are truly searching for the crème de la crème.

Must-Haves for Luxury Penthouse Living in Chicago

So what does it take for a penthouse to be defined as luxury? At a minimum, features for a Chicago luxury penthouse should have the following:

A premier location:

A great location isn’t just to have everything you need within close distance. For penthouse living, location plays a major role in having an outstanding view, and luxury clients prefer a panorama that includes both the city skyline and Lake Michigan. Some of the luxury buildings in Lakeshore East also offer beautiful vistas of Grant and Millennium Parks.

Concierge services:

Having a concierge service on hand is like putting the perks of an upscale vacation into your everyday life. High-end buildings will offer residents a concierge who can assist with everything from dinner reservations to arranging accommodations for the in-laws to even party planning.

Gym and spa facilities:

A Chicago luxury penthouse should offer spa and exercise facilities that trump the regular ‘ol gym. Maybe it’s an incredible view from the treadmill, or access to award-winning facials, but this is an amenity that must accommodate the high-end lifestyle both in convenience and features.

Square footage:

For luxury buyers looking to purchase a Chicago luxury condo, I’ve found the magic number is 3,500 square feet. This is the minimum amount of space for a Chicago penthouse to fee like true luxury, and not like a “downsize” from a McMansion in the ‘burbs. The ample space should also translate to large rooms, from the living spaces, to the bedrooms and even the closets.

Search Chicago condos with large square footage
High ceilings:

The minimum here is 9 ½ feet—but 10 to 14 feet is really what’s preferred, particularly because in a penthouse, this often means spectacular panoramic views. Sky-high ceilings with sky-high windows make the most of this coveted feature.

High-end details:

Getting the interior details right in real estate can be tricky, as trends and what’s “most wanted” can change quickly. It’s important for a luxury penthouse to have high-end, classic finishes throughout, along with top-of-the-line appliances and smart technology that takes luxury living to the next level.

Private elevator:

Living in a penthouse means a lot of ups and downs—literally. What takes a luxury penthouse to the next level is a private elevator, so residents never have to worry about waiting or stopping when they are coming and going from their home. This is a rarer find, but definitely one of those “wow” features that makes a property stand out from the rest.

Whole-floor floor plan:

The ultimate Chicago penthouses occupy the the entire top floor of a building, giving the owner the utmost privacy and space. If the top floor is shared, it shouldn’t be more than two or three units.

As upscale as these features might seem, these are a baseline for what makes a Chicago penthouse truly luxurious. There is a fair share of other rare and unique inclusions that vary from building to building, property to property. And when those listings come onto the market, they’re sure to cause a stir among buyers looking for that perfect luxury home.

For more information on Chicago luxury penthouses or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at