A lavish home is seen by many as the pinnacle of wealth and status. Nothing screams “I’ve got more money than you!” louder than servants quarters that put other people’s houses to shame. Some attribute our scrutiny of luxurious homes to the popular 90’S MTV show Cribs. In Cribs we were invited into the homes of America’s rich and famous, basketball heroes, rap idols, Hollywood icons- we marvelled as they showed us around their walk-in refrigerators, their entire floors dedicated to shoes, and their gaming rooms that would put London’s Trocadero to shame. A key highlight of the show was the gaudy horror that many, nay, most of the homes showcased. Rappers, actors and sports stars who fall into the bracket of ‘nu-money’ often displayed distinct lack of taste.
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In fact such was the popularity of Cribs that accusations began to surface- people claimed that some ‘stars’, the slightly lower ones that litter America, were actually hiring houses, hiring fleets of cars, hiring the use of an indoor swimming pool for a day, simply to look good on Cribs!
However as is always the case, no matter how big you are, there’s always going be someone bigger, and with that in mind let’s take a look at ten homes that would put any rapper’s crib to shame.
10- First on the list isn’t just any home, it’s a castle, and let me just add that it isn’t just any castle, it’s Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania... agh!
Found in Romania, Castle Dracula was built in the 14th century and was the home of Vlad the Impaler- the man who legend would turn into Dracula. Being a strong historical landmark the castle plays host to 450,000 tourists a year, making it a potentially annoying place to relax in on weekends. The castle has only been on sale for a year and will cost you $135million. Whilst it may lack the modern features some of the other homes on this list it does have 57 rooms, all packed with historical artefacts, antiques and ashen-coloured corpses that have long been drained of their precious blood. A prospective owner may be interested in this property simply for its history and name, as it probably wouldn’t make the best holiday home.
9- Next up we have the "the most important private residence to be built in England since the 19th century" Updown Court in Windlesham, Surrey. Boasting 40,000 sq/ft Updown Court is lauded by many as the world’s most luxurious mansion. It comes complete with 103 rooms, five swimming pools, a cinema, sports facilities, a bowling alley and more decadent features within. Costing $139million, you could at least say you live larger than the Queen, as Updown Court is bigger than Buckingham Palace.
8- In the depths of Los Angeles is a home known as The Manor, owned by the US television magnate Aaron Spelling. This place is your typical American super-home; it has an ice-rink, various sports areas, 123 rooms, swimming pools on top of swimming pools sandwiched between other swimming pools, a doll museum, a present wrapping-room and an entire floor dedicated only to garments. It was built especially for Spelling in 1991 and its 56,000 sq/ft will set you back $150million.
7- Swooping in at number seven is ‘The Pinnacle’ the cream of Montana’s luxury ski-home crop. Yellowstone Club is a private ski-lodge that has only one requirement for membership, you need to be a billionaire. This dream home is small compared to the other homes on this list with a meagre ten bedrooms. There are still many other luxuries though, including heated floors throughout the home, a pair of pools, a large wine cellar and a massage room & gym. Owning this house would also give you free reign of the Yellowstone Club itself, at a knock-down cost of $155million. That said the owner of the resort, Tim Blixseth, is currently in quite a financial pickle, facing all sorts of turmoil including fraud allegations, divorce and the big, bad ‘B’ word- bankruptcy. With that in mind you might be able to get some haggling going on.
6- Ever had that fantasy where you wake up in an all girl’s school? Well Elena Franchuck did, so she bought one. Franchuck Villa in Kensington was a fancy all girls preparatory school up until 1997, after which it was developed into a sumptuous home and subsequently purchased by Ms Franchuck. Its five stories hold a cinema, an indoor swimming pool, 10 bedrooms, saunas, a gym and a trendy panic room! Aptly for number six it cost $161million.
5- At the halfway point we have a legendry home, a home that was used in The Godfather, a home that was owned by the man who served as the inspiration for Citizen Kane, a home that is blessed with neighbours the likes of Tom Cruise and David Beckham and a home that was used as a honeymoon suite by the late president Kennedy. The previous owner in question was publishing heavyweight William Randolph Hearst. This house comes equipped with 29 bedrooms, a disco, a theatre and three swimming pools. The price for such Hollywood history? $165million.
4- The Hamptons are famous as the holiday getaway-du-jour for wealthy Americans. In The Hamptons you can find what is thought to be the largest residential property in all of America, owned by billionaire Ira Rennert. The home overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, has a 91 foot long dining room, 29 bedrooms, five sporting courts, a bowling alley and a hot tub that cost $150,000 alone.
3- As we approach the end of the list things are getting pricier and more extravagant. The Penthouse sits atop one of the most prestigious addresses in the world, Number One Hyde Park, London, and is the most expensive apartment in the world at $200million. For that kind of money you’d expect personal service from the SAS or something, and that’s exactly what you get! Only the height of security will do for the oligarchs and sheikhs that will take up residence in this development. Other hi-tech additions include retinal-scanners, bulletproof windows, and a tunnel that leads to the nearby Mandarin Hotel.
2- Also in Europe is the majestic Villa Leopolda, found along the French Riviera. This luxurious estate was built in 1902 by King Leopold II of Belgium, and is said to have been graced by the likes of Bill Gates and other esteemed rich-folk. The home itself is decorated throughout with antiques and has 19 bedrooms. With 80,000 sq ft to play with there is room for guest houses, sports courts, a number of swimming pools and an immense garden that requires the attention of 50 full-time gardeners. More than double the price of The Penthouse’s luxury flats, this sprawling and decadent villa would set you back $506million.
1- Topping the list is a 27-story behemoth of a home. Known simply as “Antilla” this Mumbai monstrosity is 570 feet high and as each of its floors are double the size of normal floors it’s essentially around 60 stories high. At the request of the owners, Mukesh and Nita Ambani, no floor is made of the same materials, and it is served by 600 servants.