Opulence is not equivalent to wealth, because there are billionaires like Warren Buffett who are sitting on a fortune worth $46 billion, but continue living in the same modest house purchased half a century ago. However, Buffett is an example of a down-to-earth tycoon, Mukesh Ambani, on the other hand is not. The Indian billionaire, whose wealth according to Forbes is a little bit over $21 billion, has chosen to live a lavish life.
Nevertheless, Mukesh Ambani is not the only billionaire who has chosen to express his/her good fortune by constructing or purchasing houses worth billions of dollars. There are at least seven magnificent, yet painfully expensive houses that are eminent not just for their worth, but also their grandeur.
Antilia Mumbai, India
The most expensive property in the world belongs to Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, whose net worth is approximately $21 billion according to Forbes. The chairman of Reliance Industries has chosen to literally reject the idea of being down-to-Earth. His twenty-seven storey building is worth $1 billion and needs to be maintained by an army of 600 people.
The building’s name originates from the massive mythical island Antillia , in the Atlantic Ocean. Ambani’s Antilia may not be the size of an island, but it does have six underground levels of parking which come as an addition to the 27 floors, three helicopter pads and a “health” level. This custom home is the sole residence of the Ambanis’ and it also features a spa, terraced gardens and a temple where the family prays regularly. Mukesh Ambani’s wife, Nita Ambani stated in an interview with Vanity Fair that even though they have employed 600 people to maintain the house, the Ambani children are still expected to clean their own rooms.
Villa Leopolda, Villefranchie-Sur-Mer, France
Lily Safra is the wife of late Edmond Safra, a banker and a friend of Prince Charles. She is also the owner of a $1.2 billion fortune, according to Forbes and a proprietor of a $500 million house on the French Riviera.
Villa Leopolda is a 20-acre estate valued at half a million Euros. The value of the property was estimated when a Russian billionaire wished to purchase it, but the transaction did not finalize.
Regardless of the cost, Villa Leopolda is a memory of the Bellé Epoque and it is even registered as a French historical monument. Currently this dream house still belongs to philanthropist Lily Safra.
Fair Field, Sagaponack, New York
Ira Rennert is a self-made American investor and businessman with a fortune worth $5.5 billion, as estimated by Forbes in September 2013. This former credit analyst began building his empire in the 1980s by investing in junk bonds and ended up with a property worth approximately $248 million, according to tax assessments carried out last year.
As Mental Floss reports, Fair Field is so big that it has its own power supply; 29 bedrooms, 39 bathrooms, and three swimming pools that have transformed the industrial billionaire’s mansion into one of the largest single-family homes in the U.S. The house also shelters a 2-lane bowling alley, a basketball court, a gym and a 164-seat screening theater, according to Forbes.
No.6 Palace Green, Kensington Palace Gardens, London
Lakshmi Mittal, the chairman and CEO of steel manufacturing company ArcelorMittal has a net worth of $16 billion, according to Forbes. The Telegraph reports that since Mittal’s financial problems have surfaced, he is ready to let go of No. 6 Kensington Palace Garden, which had been purchased for £117 million in 2008.
The neo-classical house is located on a street nicknamed by the locals as Billionaire’s Row and measures 13,000 square feet.
The Penthouse, One Hyde Park, London
Who says that billionaires only live in mansions? One Hyde Park Penthouse cost Rinat Akhmetov $221 million in 2011. Forbes reports that Ukraine’s richest man’s fortune is estimated at $15.4 billion. The former Member of the Ukrainian Parliament is also the proud owner of the most expensive apartment in the world, located in the upper class Knightsbridge.
The 25,000-square feet, 24-hour hotel caretaker service and the bulletproof glass transform this apartment into a dream home. Floor-to-ceiling windows, access to spas and squash courts and its own car park are the additional benefits.
Ellison Estate, Woodside, California
Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle is known for his passion for property. According to Forbes, the billionaire who is worth $41 billion owns houses on Malibu’s Carbon Beach and can take pride in possessing 98% of Hawaii’s Lanai island.
However, his estate in Woodside, California is probably the most impressive, since Ellison spent approximately $200 million to construct it, Forbes reports. The Japanese-style home is 23-acres and contains 10 buildings, a teahouse, a man-made lake, a koi pond and a bathhouse.
Further Labe De Menil, East Hampton, New York
Ron Baron is a self-made billionaire; he worked as a lifeguard, drove an ice cream truck and taught waterskiing before becoming a securities analyst and running his own company, Baron Capital. According to Forbes, Baron’s fortune is estimated at $1.7 billion and he owns one of the biggest Hampton properties.
Lane de Menil was purchased in 2007 for $103 million and it contains 52 oceanfront acres, on which the billionaire is planning to construct a home.
Silicon Valley mansion, Los Altos Hills, California
Yuri Milner is a Russian entrepreneur, founder of Digital Sky Technologies and an investor in Facebook, Twitter, Groupon amongst other companies. His fortune is estimated at $1.1 billion.
In 2011, he purchased the Silicon Valley Mansion for $100 million- a transaction that was criticized by Forbes because he overpaid for a house which was not even meant to be Milner’s primary home. The mansion is 25,500 square feet and it was inspired by the 18th century French chateaux, Luxist.com states. Five bedrooms, nine bathrooms, an entry court, home theater, ballroom, wine cellar, gym/spa, car wash, tennis court, swimming pool and formal gardens are the benefits of owning a $100 million house. Not to mention, that the San Francisco Bay view makes it worth the investment.
Excerpted from an article originally published in issue 3 of Property Inc. magazine.