In the feudal age, those possessing acres and acres of land – cultivable or otherwise – were known to be the wealthiest. Kings, ministers, zamindars and rich farmers were the masters of landed property, and amassed great riches in the form of rent and revenue. Switch to 21st century and monarchy has been reduced to mere ceremonial power, the zamindari system has died out and land has been fragmented into smaller and smaller pieces. The power of land area has been transferred to the effective space within multi-storeyed real estate – residential and corporate. With the dramatic increase in the number of people demanding roofs under their heads, property prices have shot up to the skies, especially in commercially prosperous big cities and promising new townships. Earlier a large two-storeyed house could be bought with a lakh. Today, a comparatively small flat on the 22nd floor requires you to shell out a crore. Yet, there are prized bunch who will never settle for anything small, whether in size or price. If you’ve ever imagined what your dream house would look like, take a look at these to boost your ideas. Mind you they all come with a mighty fat bill. They are the most expensive houses in the world!
10) Hala Ranch-$135 million
A uniquely beautiful creation in Aspen, Colorado, the Hala Ranch, named by its original owner Prince Bandar bin Sultan stands alone, surrounded by rich green conifers on grassy hills. The 90-acre ranch on Rocky Mountain includes a fifteen bedroom house spanning 56,000 square feet, with sixteen bathrooms, a Bear Cabin (yes!), a barber room and an interior courtyard containing a reflecting pool into which drains a rippling waterfall. The Ranch also boasts of its very own water treatment plant, gas pumps and car wash! Planning to take a trip soon? Chances are you’ll only get to look at it from miles away. The entire property is protected by an extremely strong and sophisticated security system to ensure safety at all hours!
9) Updown Court – 138 million
Windlesham village in Surrey, England has it’s very own sightseeing spectacle in the form of Updown Court, a Queen Anne style luxury mansion originally owned by Major General Sir Philip Ward and his family, until the General’s death, after which the house was sold to Prince Sami Gayed of Egypt. During Sir Philip Ward’s lifetime, anyone was free to walk in and admire the exquisite woods and gardens of the upscale property, which is spread over 58 acres. The mansion itself housed one hundred and three rooms, an underground garage big enough to hold eight limousines, an indoor squash court, flanked by tennis courts, the heated marble driveway, a lake with a ten metre high fountain and five swimming pools! Luxury just got a new name!
8. The Manor — $150 Million
The Manor, situated in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California originally belonged to noted television producer Aaron Spelling. Designed as a French Chateu, The Manor includes 4.6 acres of land, on which stand one hundred and twenty three rooms, not to mention fifty six thousand square feet of space. This country retreat, which is the largest residential property in Los Angeles County is currently owned by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter Petra Ecclestone. The palatial property came in for considerable criticism at the time of it’s construction on account of it’s ostentatious architecture and humongous size, which made the other mansions in the neighbourhood look like poor cousins to the Manor. The facility has three rooms allotted just for wrapping presents! Now, how can you beat that?
7. The Pinnacle — $155 Million
Yellowstone Club owner Tim Blixseth’s fairytale mansion in Montana takes the sixth spot in our list. Nestled snugly among the snowy hillside, The Pinnacle, though not as huge as the other properties that make it to the top ten, is a winner on account of its wondrous location and top-notch amenities. If you gaze out from one of the windows of this beauteous mansion, a captivating view of Yellowstone Club, Pioneer Mountain and Cedar Mountain instantly greets your eyes. If you are in the mood for some action, why not swim a few laps in the indoor/outdoor pool, or…take the private chair lift from the house to the neighbouring ski resort! If it still seems too cold for you, don’t worry, the house has fully heated interiors, and even a heated driveway! Stuff only dreams are made of, eh?
6. Franchuk Villa — $161 Million
Franchuk Villa, located in Upper Phillimore Gardens, London, UK started off as a preperatory school for girls. But it seems that it was never meant to be a school. Today, Franchuk Villa is one of the most luxurious and strikingly beautiful Victorian mansions in London. The villa spanning 21,000 square feet is owned by Elena Pinchuk – daughter of former Ukranian President Leonid Danylovych Kuchma, former wife of businessman Igor Franchuk and currently married to industrialist Viktor Pinchuk. Featuring ten bedrooms with twenty feet high ceilings, a sauna, a home theatre and an underground swimming pool are just a few of the features of this dream address in the English capital. Amid the bustling London streets, this one stands out like an island of bliss.
5. Hearst’s Castle – $165 million
William Randolph Hearst’s Castle, one of the most famous addresses in the United States, is undoubtedly one of the most expensive as well. Rising from the mist covered La Cuesta Encantada or “The Enchanted Hill”, Hearst Castle encompasses one hundred and sixty five rooms and one hundred and twenty seven acres of gardens, walkways, water bodies and terraces. Spellbinding sights of the Pacific Ocean complement the high rocky surroundings palatial property located close to the Central Californian coastline. Created by architect Julia Morgan to realize the vision of W. H. Hearst who wished to develop his 250,000 acres of inherited land into a haven of breathtaking beauty and art, the Castle today stands as a historic house museum as well as a State Park of California.
4. Fairfield Pond — $198 million
Named after the Atlantic water body facing it, Fairfield Pond, spread over 63 acres is a seaside mansion in Sagaponack, New York, owned by American businessman and investor Ira Leon Rennert. The 110,000 square feet property includes twenty nine bedrooms, thirty nine bathrooms (one of them is fitted with a hot tub worth $150,000!), a ninety one foot long dining room, five tennis courts, a bowling alley, squash courts, basketball courts, manicured gardens, and a fantastic sea view. It’s net value sums up to $248 million after tax assessments. There were reports in the newspapers during its construction that locals were angry with the newest ostentatious addition to their neighbourhood, but these were vehemently denied by Mr. Rennert. Well, if you had a house like that just a few blocks away, you can’t help but feel jealous, can you?
3. The Penthouse, One Hyde Park – $211 million
This one is probably the most unbelievably priced property on the list. Shelling out two hundred million for a mansion – astonishing. But would you think anyone would pay the same for a ‘flat’? Welcome to One, Hyde Park, where every two storeyed luxury penthouse is sold for over a hundred million, with one of them having been purchased for £136.4 million, which comes to 211 million US dollars! Named “the glitziest, priciest piece of real estate in the world” by The Guardian, the four residential towers of One, Hyde Park make up a $1.5 billion project. Developers Nick and Christian Candy went forward with the construction in the face of looming recession and negative criticism from many corners which had written off the project even before it began. Today, the towers are inhabited by a host of ultra-rich and famous names. Fitted with panic rooms (those are where you’re supposed to lock yourself in if you’re in danger!), a 21 metre swimming pool, a wine cellar and a golf simulator, this is a getaway home you can never get used to.
2. Villa Leopolda — $506 million
Located in the astonishingly beautiful town of Villefranche-sur-Mer in the French Riviera, Villa Leopolda, named after King Leopold II of Belgium is the second most expensive home in the world. Ogden Codman Jr., the American architect who designed it, purchased a number of existing properties like peasant cottages in the vicinity and combined them with his own aesthetic objectives to create a multi-million dollar masterpiece in private residence. The villa, which took two years to construct, was completed in 1931. The luxurious residence spread over ten acres of French country now belongs to Brazilian philanthropist Lily Safra. With eleven bedrooms, fourteen bathrooms and 29,000 square feet of interior space, poolside and spellbinding views of the rich green French hillside and the Riviera, Villa Leopolda is nothing short of wonderland. There had been rumours that Russian billionaire steel magnate Mikhail Prokhorov had bought the villa until news surfaced that he backed out of the deal. Such controversies regarding its ownership have only increased the villa’s net worth and desirability.
1. Antilia – $1 billion
And here comes the one that you have been waiting for – the most expensive home in the world, Antilia. This outrageously opulent palace of twenty seven storeys located in South Mumbai belongs to business tycoon Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries Limited, and was reportedly built by the billionaire for his wife, Nita. The 400,000 square feet mansion, designed by architects Perkins and Will of Chicago, is as tall as a regular sixty floor building, owing to its specially high ceilings. Named after a mythical island in the Atlantic, the earthquake proof building employs a staff of six hundred for it’s upkeep, contains parking space for one hundred and sixty eight cars and has three helipads on the roof. A lobby with nine elevators, a recreation centre, health centre, ballroom, theatre and a huge swimming pool are just a few of Antilia’s endless luxurious features. Very few pictures of it’s interiors are available, which adds to it’s enigma. It is said that every floor is built and furnished in consonance with vaastu shastra in order to maintain a field of positive energy in and around the property at all times! Every storey is unique in terms of architecture, design, furniture and styling with rare materials and exotic artifacts. There is even a temple where the family meets for daily prayers and offerings. The net worth of Antilia according to recent evaluations stands at 22.3 billion dollars. Unlike other billionaires, Antilia is Mukesh and Nita Ambani’s only home.