“At this price, we are beyond luxury and even reality.” That was the view in a local newspaper about the sale of the spectacular Villa Leopolda on the French Riviera.
The price tag is in the region of a cool £390 million ($720 million), making it probably the most expensive home on the planet.
Villa Leopolda is situated in the town of Villefranche-sur-Mer on the fashionable Cote d’Azur and was built in 1902 for King Leopold of the Belgians, who died before it was completed.
The present owner is Lily Safra, the widow of a Lebanese banker, and it was widely reported recently that she’d sold it to a Russian billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov. His company have denied the story, but it seems certain to have been sold to one Russian oil oligarch or another. They’re all apparently clamouring for an exclusive home, preferably in the South of France or London.
Whoever eventually buys this piece of real estate will get a sprawling cream-coloured villa set in 20 acres of lush grounds, looked after by 50 full-time gardeners. It’s a place that’s hosted the rich and famous over the years, including Ronald Reagan and Frank Sinatra.
But even this spectacular building could pale into insignificance next year when the world’s fifth richest man, the Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani, moves into the 27-storey property he has built to house his family and offices in Mumbai.
With a value reported to be up to £1 billion ($2 billion), the design is said to have been inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
by Andy Moreton
Luxique can offer a range of more than 30 luxury Cote d’Azur hotels.