Dream on: the most opulent homes in the world
If money were no object and you could snap up a dream pad what and where would you choose? Here are 10 luxury buys
Bin Ennakhil, Marrakech, Morocco €55m
This palace is the result of a dream by two builders enamoured with the Alhambra in Grenada. While browsing in a second-hand bookshop in London 20 years ago, the pair found plans for the Andalusian masterpiece and engaged 1,300 craftsmen over the space of three years to construct this marble replica.
Set in an 11-acre park of palm groves in Marrakech, the Andalusian inspiration continues outside with a bamboo forest, aromatic rose garden and orangery.
The 5,481sq m (59,000sq ft) palace has eight bedrooms, an indoor and outdoor pool and is a tribute to Moroccan skills and craftsmanship and features “museum-quality” gilding, carving and zellige tiling.
1 Hyde Park, Knightsbridge London £20.95m (€25.69m)
Having, according to some, the most exclusive address in the UK after Buckingham Palace, this 295sq m (3,178sq ft) three-bedroom apartment is on the fourth floor of the world’s most expensive residential development built in 2011 at a cost of £1.7 billion. The south-facing apartment has views over the London skyline and is just up the road from Harrods.
It has bullet-proof glazing and a private wine-tasting room, and new owners will have the benefit of 24-hour room service from the Mandarin Oriental hotel next door. Shared leisure facilities include a swimming pool, gym and spa.
New neighbours include oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, the richest man in the Ukraine, who paid £136 million for the three-storey penthouse in 2011.
A 91.7sq m (988sq ft), one-bedroom apartment was repossessed last October from Irish property developer Ray Grehan who paid £3.7 million (€4.5 million) off plan in 2007: it sold for £5.25 million (€6.43 million). A three-bedroom home in the same complex is available to rent for £58,499 (€71,728) a month.
Palace Eure-et-Loire, France POA (price on application)
This delightful chateau was home to King Henry IV of France and later to Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough, who was forced into a loveless marriage, by her dominant mother, to Charles Spencer- Churchill, a cousin of Winston Churchill.
After her second marriage to French aviator and industrialist Jacques Balsan, she welcomed Winston Churchill as a regular visitor to the palace who painted here under the pseudonym Charles Morin.
The 1,000sq m (10,760 sq ft) castle, surrounded by a moat has 12 bedrooms, an orangery, tennis and basketball courts, a caretaker’s cottage and 18 other buildings all set on 100 hectares (247 acres) 75km from Paris.
Elaine, Point Piper, Sydney (price on application)
This Sydney Harbour waterfront mansion in a smart suburb, owned by the Fairfax media dynasty for more than a century, is thought to be Australia’s most expensive residential property. Bought by Geoffrey Fairfax in 1911 for £2,100, the 1.7 acre estate includes a tennis court, ballroom, stables and 53m of beach frontage on the Seven Shillings Beach in Sydney Harbour.
The 1870s seven-bedroom house, which needs renovation, has been rented for the past few decades to high profile tenants including Cameron O’Reilly in 2000, son of Tony O’Reilly, who paid of A$6,300 (€4,288) a week.
Seller Ken Jacobs of Christie’s says it is impossible to give a price tag as there are no points of reference but, Sydney agents estimate it could achieve as much A $100 million (€68 million) based onrecent sales of prestige properties to Chinese buyers.
Balavil Estate, Scotland £5.25m (€6.45m)
Near Inverness-shire in Scotland, this estate will be familiar to fans of BBC One’s drama series Monarch of the Glen in which the highland estate was known as Glenbogle. It’s on the market for the first time in more than 200 years. The sporting estate, grouse shooting, deer stalking and salmon fishing, is traversed by the River Spey.
Designed in 1790 by neoclassical architect Robert Adam, an ancestor of the current residents, the house has 12 bedrooms and the estate includes five cottages, two gate lodges and a seven-bedroom farmhouse all sitting on 7,000 highland acres.
Chalet, Verbier, Switzerland £8-12m (€9.8-14.6m)
As one on the world’s premier ski resorts, Verbier is the winter playground for the rich and famous, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This 450sq m (4,843sq ft) five/six bedroom timber ceilinged chalet, set over four floors, is a short walk from the ski lifts. The chalet has an indoor pool, sauna and massage room shared with the property next door. The main bedroom is on the top floor, and designed as a penthouse suite, has a private terrace with views of Grand Combin mountain. Attached is a two-bedroom apartment for staff and garage for four cars. For sale at £8-12 million (€9.8-14.6 million) chalets of this size and standard fetch up to £47,000 (€57,630) in rent per week in high season.
Rai Ki Wai, Wakaya, Fiji US
This 1,858sq m (20,000sq ft) property is the highest of the eight homes on the private island of Wakaya. Rai Ki Wai, which translates as View over the sea, has been visited by Bill Gates, Tom Cruise and Crown Prince Felipe of Spain. The secluded island has a private landing strip.
The estate is divided into a main house, a main bedroom pavilion and a guest pavilion set in 47acres of tropical rainforest overlooking turquoise sea.
Outside is an infinity pool that feeds into a waterfall, a tennis court, volleyball court and a boules run. Separate housing for staff is beside the helipad. The sale also includes three Fijian bures (thatched wooden huts).
Ohana, Longboat Key, Manatee County, Florida
Facing out onto the Gulf of Mexico, this 929sq m (10,000sq ft) property on 2.5 acres was designed by local architect Guy Peterson and completed in 2013.
The property is only one of two on the coastline with a hardened shoreline and seawall, which allows privacy and protection from the sea.
The Balinese-style accommodation is set over three separate pavilions with open terraces and full-height glass doors and windows. The gardens, which house a tennis court and pool, were designed by award-winning, brilliantly named landscaper Raymond Jungles, who filled the gardens with over 60 species of exotic plants.
Casa Palapa, Punta Munitas 11, Dominican Republic
“I try to collaborate with nature to create vivacious designs,” says Marco Aldaco, who is on Architectural Digest’s AD 100 Club for lifetime achievement. Aldaco, who created Casa Palapa, has actually only completed 20 houses in his career, including a residence for Aristotle and Jackie Onassis in Acapulco and one for the Guinness family.
The estate, perched at the edge of a three acre (one hectare) peninsula overlooking the waters of the Caribbean in the Dominican Republic, fuses ethnic Mexican styles with indigenous materials.
The property has 1,200sq m (12,917sq ft) of living space, including a guest house with its own private beach. Palm vaulted walkways are scattered around the property leading to an ocean-side pool, tennis court, helipad, private orchard and boat dok. The property is in Casa Del Campo, a privately guarded, gated resort where new owners can dine at Le Cirque, a sister restaurant of the famous New York eatery and share a plethora of facilities including golf and spa with the Kardashian family and their television cameras.
Bergen Hjellestad, Norway
This waterside property is set in one of the most exclusive districts of one of the world’s most dramatic harbour cities – Bergen. Described, in 2004, by Time magazine as one of Europe’s secret capitals, Bergen has the Unesco world heritage site of Bryggen nearby, and the west-coast city, which sits on a peninsula, is a gateway to the majestic Norwegian Fjords.
This lovely English-style manor, described as the most attractive on the west coast of Norway, has 576sq m (6,200ft) of opulence at the water’s edge with a private pool and docking for a number of boats.
The interiors are lavish and set around a dramatic staircase. There are many outside terraces for summer sunbathing and in winter new residents can ski nearby and enjoy the magical vision of the Northern Lights reflecting on the fjord.