A roof over your head with a cosy bed to sleep in just won’t do for some people. Just ask the owners of the 10 most expensive homes in the world – which range from castles, to ski lodges, to billion dollar skyscrapers.
10. Maison de l’Amitie – Price tag: US$125 million
Donald Trump’s impressive beachside property has skyrocketed in value over the years. He purchased the estate in 2004 from a bankruptcy court for US$41.25 million, and he reportedly put the home up for sale in 2007 for US$125 million.
The 80,000-square-feet of Maison de l’Amitie include a ballroom and a conservatory, 15 full bathrooms and eight half-baths. Including the main house, guest cottage and tennis house, this beachside gem has 15 bedrooms. And if the ocean isn’t enough for you to cool off in on a warm summer’s day, you can always take a dip in the 100-foot long swimming pool.
9. The Manor – Price tag: US$130 million
Legendary TV producer Aaron Spelling’s 56,000-square-foot mansion outside Los Angeles, called “The Manor,” was sold in 2006 for US$130 million. The home was built for Spelling in 1991, with his and his family’s every desire. The 123-room home, which covers 56,500 square feet of living space, spans 6 acres of prime Los Angeles real estate .
In addition to its 123 rooms, the house boasts an indoor skating rink, swimming pools, tennis court and bowling alley on the grounds. It also has some more unusual features, like a doll museum, a room used exclusively for wrapping presents, and an entire floor dedicated to closet space. The grounds even include a private orchard, ensuring the home’s three kitchens are always fully stocked.
8. Hala Ranch – Price tag: US$135 million
Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, a former Saudi ambassador to the U.S., owns the 95-acre Hala Ranch (Hala means “welcome” in Arabic), located in Aspen, Colorado.
The estate seems fit for Abdulaziz, who has been dubbed an “Arab Gatsby” .
The property is located in the Starwood Ranch community and boasts 15 bedrooms and 27 bathrooms over 56,000 square feet of living space – larger than that of the White House.
The ranch features heated stables, an indoor pool, a tennis court, private ski trails, a gas station, car wash and sewage treatment plant. The master bedroom even has its own salon.
In 2006, the prince put the property on the market with an asking price of US$135 million. In December 2007, he sold just the 14,395-square-foot guesthouse of his estate for US$36.5 million, the highest price ever paid in for a single-family home in Aspen.
7. Bran (Dracula)’s Castle – Price tag: US$140 million
Thanks to visits paid by the infamous Vlad Tepes (better known as Vlad the Impaler, or Count Dracula), Bran Castle, built on 20 acres on a mountaintop in Brasov, Romania, became a museum in the 1980s.
The castle was built in the late 14th century as a fortress to ward off invading Turks. It boasts 57 rooms, 17 of which are bedrooms, decorated with handcrafted Old World antiques and furniture.
The property does have its drawbacks, however. There are the 450,000 tourists that visit the castle each year to consider: One may assume it could take a little while before word got out that it was no longer open for visitors. Plus, the castle has no central heating and gets quite cold. But you’d get to live in the same place where Dracula stayed, which would be pretty cool!
6. The Pinnacle - Price tag: US$155 million
Timber and real estate mogul Tim Blixseth’s The Pinnacle is a US$155 million ski lodge in the billionaires-only Yellowstone Club he developed.
To protect against chilly feet, the home’s flagstone floors will be heated, and its bathrooms will include fireplaces beside the tubs . While it has only 10 bedrooms, the 53,000-square-foot home includes an extensive wine cellar and a heated driveway to guard against the Montana winters. The home’s indoor/outdoor pool is conveniently located near the gym and massage room.
5. Elena Franchuk’s Victorian Villa – Price tag: L80 million
Elena Franchuk, a businesswoman and HIV/AIDS philanthropist from Ukraine, is reported to be the undisclosed buyer who purchased a newly upgraded home in southwest London for L80 million (approximately US$161 million).
The imposing home is a freestanding, five-storey, 10-bedroom Victorian villa, and has recently undergone L10 million (approximately US$20 million) of upgrades, including the additions of an underground indoor swimming pool, movie theatre, panic room, sauna and gym.
The home served as a girl’s prep school until 1997. In 2006, it was purchased by developers for L20 million. The company put in the L10 million upgrades and reputedly sold it to Franchuk for L80 million pounds.
4. William Randolph Hearst’s Mansion - Price tag: US$165 million
This 29-bedroom mansion, formerly owned by publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst (the inspiration for the main character in Citizen Kane) and featuring in the epic film The Godfather, features 29 bedrooms, three swimming pools and comes complete with its own disco and theatre.
President John F. Kennedy stayed at the mansion during his honeymoon.
In 1947, Hearst bought the 1920s mansion and its six-acre estate for US$120,000 . In 2007, the estate’s current owner, who bought it in 1976, put the home on the market for US$165 million.
The home’s buyer will have some notable neighbours, including Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and David and Victoria Beckham.
3. Updown Court - Price tag: L85 million
Larger in area than both the royal residences of Hampton Court Palace and Buckingham Palace, Updown Court symbolises the grand and imposing presence of the Great Houses of England, yet employs state-of-the-art 21st Century technology to provide the ultimate living environment.
Totalling 40,000 square feet, this 103-room magnificent estate includes a bowling alley, squash court, 50-seat movie theatre and five swimming pools. It also features a 24-carat gold leaf mosaic floor among its 22 bedrooms and 27 baths.
A heated marble driveway winds up to the mansion, through part of the estate’s 60 acres. The staircase in the foyer is said to be modelled after the one found in Gianni Versace’s old mansion in Miami.
“If Elton John were a house, he’d be Updown Court,” said one of the property’s developers, citing that the flamboyant showman himself could probably not even afford the L85 million estate. At least he’s not far from it - both Elton John and the Queen of England have their own mansion just around the corner.
2. The Penthouses at One Hyde Park – Price tag: L100 million
Technically, the world’s second-most expensive home doesn’t exist yet. It’s being built and is planned to be completed and ready for sale by 2010.
But although not yet completed, Sheikh Hamad, the foreign minister of the Gulf State of Qatar, has already purchased his penthouse home - the world’s most expensive flat – in One Hyde Park – the world’s most exclusive block - at the staggering price tag of L100 million (more than US$200 million).
The penthouse sits atop the swanky flats of One Hyde Park, a skyscraper development in London’s richest quarter. This posh penthouse will be the upstairs neighbour to 82 other apartments in the building, half of which have been sold for an average of around L20 million (approximately US$40 million), or approximately L6,000 (approximately US$12,000) per square foot .
To protect against unwanted intruders, residents of the building will be protected by former British SAS security and security features such as bullet-proof windows and iris scanners. The building itself has emergency exits leading to an underground tunnel to the nearby Mandarin Oriental Hotel, but the penthouse’s residents can simply take refuge in their panic rooms. D
During less stressful times, One Hyde Park dwellers can bathe in communal spas, play on the squash courts, or drink wine in tasting rooms. Reports of the pending penthouse also include floor-to-ceiling refrigerators and 24-hour room service, for when residents simply don’t feel like cooking.
1. Antilla – Price tag: US$2 billion
The world’s largest and most expensive home, Antilla, is owned by India’s richest man and the seventh richest man in the world, Mukesh Ambani.
Ambani, whose net wealth was estimated by Forbes this year as being US$19.5 billion, lives in this decadent 27-storey skyscraper home with his wife and their three children.
Covering a whopping 40,000 square feet of interior space, Antilla boasts a six-floor carpark, a dedicated entertainment floor – comprising a mini-threatre with a seating capacity of 50 people, three floors of terrace gardens, three floors dedicated to health and wellbeing – comprising of of a healthclub, gym and swimming pool, two floors of glass-fronted apartments for guests, top floor entertaining space – where Ambani plans to host business guests (or just relax) while enjoying panoramic views of the Arabian Sea, and even a helipad at the very top.
At a cost of almost US$2 billion, Atilla, which stands at 550 feet, dwarfs the next most expensive home, both financially and in stature.View Comments