If a lifestyle change is in your cards, there is nothing better to kick it off than by purchasing a new home. But just like everything else, it has to be done with style and inspiration. And nothing beats buying an opulent residence, capable of making your in laws green with envy and, above all, darn expensive.
There is 103 such a place, a 103-room mansion spreading out over 58 acres of gardens and woodlands called UPDOWN Court located in Windlesham, Surrey, England. Now, this is quite a home for the extrovert purchaser who is into sports and does not mind carrying a little extra mortgage. This particular property offers several ballrooms, an indoor squash court, a two-lane bowling alley and a poolroom just as well. If the wife likes gardening, she will find her pleasures in the 11-acre landscaped and manicured garden, and chatting with fine neighbors the likes of the Duchess of York, Elton John, and, at near Windsor Castle, the Queen of England has never been easier.
To impress your friends, the entrance hall features a sweeping dual staircase modeled after one in the late fashion designer Gianni Versace's Miami home. Behind the staircase, a great hall supported by marble columns looks onto an ornamental pond, which holds a fountain that, at the flick of a switch, sprays water 200 feet in the air.
Marble abounds. Five acres of more than 30 different types of imported stone line the floors, driveway, and expansive terraces. One indoor swimming pool is styled as a Roman bath, while another is set off by a two-story stone mosaic depicting a snow-capped Mount Fuji (that would be in Japan …).
This 50,000 square foot house may be just what you need to escape your daily routine, with its heated marble driveway, 24-carat gold leafing on the mosaic floor of the study, a helipad for your flying trips to the store, the 50-seat indoor movie theater and the underground garage that has sufficient room to harbor eight limousines. Guests can be lodged in anyone of the 23 bedrooms but really – and in my professional view this is despite the most important bonus – the cost of keeping is a modest USD 2 million per year.
Conveniently priced at USD 138 million (that's right, million with a "m" as in Mary), this is no doubt Luigi's hand-picked bargain of the year. And the added plus is that it can be paid for also in Sterlings – now, who could ask for anything more. Just the perfect place to drop your darn Yankee accent … yeah.
If, on the other hand, you do not wish to leave North America and like horses, may I suggest the Hala Ranch to your other awkward inquisition attention. The Hala Ranch – as one can intuitively deduct from the name – is the property of Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (but make an offer and you can call him Al). The Prince, who used to be the Saudi ambassador to the United States, is selling as he has taken up the position of National Security Counselor back in Saudi Arabia. This 56,000 square feet home is just what you need if you are looking for a little country décor, peace and tranquility. The estate has its own wastewater treatment plant that allowing you to save on sewer charges, and a mechanical shop with its own gasoline pumps and carwash. Cross-country ski trails are maintained throughout the property. The centerpiece lodge of the estate is larger than the White House, so if Hillary wins you are going to make her green with envy too. It is built in a rustic style, with massive timber beams and stone columns, and contains 15 bedrooms, all with patios, and 16 bathrooms, just in case one gets all clogged up.
Conservatively priced at USD 134 million, this is an opportunity one can hardly afford to pass. Trust me on this one, or my name is not Luigi …
Have you ever considered relocating to Turkey? I'm asking because, as you know, despite still in Asia (Asia Minor, to be exact) Turkey is poised to become Europe in the not too distant future. The perfect Europe, one might add – without the Europeans … But really, if you wish to cultivate your talent for archaeology and ancient history there is nothing better than this 30,000 square foot residence overlooking the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey, (Europe) . Sited on three-quarters of an acre, the Waterfront Estate offers opulent living with its 64 rooms, which feature large windows looking to the water. You can even fish from your bedroom. This mansion boasts not only gilded moldings and crystal chandeliers, but it even has a rare quay that is nearly 200-feet long (as I said, you can fish from the bedroom). If you need a boat, the Turks can rent you one for about 1 Euro an hour.
Presented for sale for USD 100 million, there is a little room for negotiations here. Sorry, only American Dollars accepted by way of cash, Visa or Mastercard or, of course, debit card.
How about a pied-a-terre in none other than New York City for your week-end leisurely trips? Or for your next New Years Eve in the Big Apple, close to Time Square? Think about it, you would not have to watch it on CNN anymore. If this is the case, may I recommend The Pierre Penthouse , a chateau in the sky that occupies the top three floors of one of the poshest hotels in New York City, right abutting Central Park. Guess the price, just guess it – USD 70 million! Now, this is what I call cheap, cheap, cheap! The original 3,500-square foot ballroom boasts a 23-foot high ceiling, and on each of the two west-facing corners, soaring French doors open up onto terraces offering breathtaking views of Central Park and beyond. The master bedroom suite has two additional corner terraces so that, all in all, the balconies and windows have 360 degree views of Manhattan, Central Park, the East River and the Hudson River. And, with an annual maintenance fee of USD 464,600 which includes the services of a uniformed housekeeper and houseman (yes, I know, I did not believe it myself), this is a true deal in the making. Hurry, it will not last.