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Ever fancy owning your personal New York three-bedroom apartment? Your own luxury villa in St. Barth’s?

Now, via Solstice, the international private destination club with a collection of ultra-luxury, staffed vacation homes around the globe, the unimaginable becomes possible.

The Solstice Club model is a direct response to today’s economic environment. For less than a down payment on one comparable second home, Solstice members achieve greater variety (currently 14 homes and a private yacht), with zero hassles of maintenance, as the homes are staffed; and best of all, Solstice offers “participation” in the potential rising value of one’s refundable deposit.

The more financially-savvy way to own second homes, the equity-based Solstice has been lauded the “Private Club of the Year” for the third consecutive year by Business Britain. The entire home collection and Solstice I, the club’s private yacht, is available to view at www.solsticecollection.com.

Simon Turner

FYI: Luxury Homes; or Invest Overseas: or Simon Turner

More information: Please visit the Solstice website.

Hillary Clinton appears ready to accept President-Elect Barack Obama’s offer to be US Secretary of State in his Administration once he takes office on January 20th, 2009.

By giving up her New York Senate seat where she has carved out a respected position, she will become the face of US diplomacy overseas and the third female secretary of state, after Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice.

The prospect of Senator Clinton as secretary of state has been welcomed across the political spectrum, even if there remains some concern over the uniting of two bold and former rivals.

So, from a property perspective, the Clinton’s 6,478 sq ft property on Whitehaven Street in North-West Washington DC will become very useful (below).

The Clinton’s also live in a 5,232 sq ft residence, with five bedroom’s and 4 bathrooms in Chappaqua, New York.

(images from Microsoft Virtual Earth)

Simon Turner

FYI: See related articles on Homes of the Rich & Famous; Luxury Homes; and Barack Obama

When most houses in the UK are losing value one home is actually increasing at an enormous rate. This house is the former home, and indeed the birthplace of soccer mega-star David Beckham, the property which should have a price tag of about £250,000 based on the local Leytonstone, East London market.

The three bedroom house, however, has been listed for sale for a staggering £850,000 and an offer of one million pounds has allegedly already been offered by an Australian collector of Beckham memorabilia.

If every property that Beckham ever lives in should turn to gold, imagine the huge theoretical increase in value to David and Victoria Beckham’s current home on San Ysidro Drive in Beverly Hills California, which they purchased for $18.2 US in 2007. (image courtesy of Microsoft Virtual Earth)


Simon Turner

FYI: Related articles on Homes of the Rich & Famous; or Luxury Homes; or the Housing Markets

It seems that no matter who you are, the credit crunch is snapping at your heals. And, as we seem to be hearing more and more each day, people from all walks of life are losing the battle.

Michael Jackson, he of the world’s biggest selling album of all time, “Thriller” (and on its 25th anniversary of being released) and (once upon a time) the undisputed King of Pop, has been forced to sell his ownership of his Neverland ranch near Santa Barbara in California.

Earlier this week, Jackson, 50, filed legal papers making the Sycamore Valley Ranch Company the new owner. Jackson, whose huge catalogue of hit records includes Billie Jean, Thriller and Man in the Mirror, has not lived at Neverland since he was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005.

The property was bought in 1988 for $28 million and is situated on 2,900 acres, with a 14,000 sq. ft. main house

Jackson initially sought to turn into a fantasy land, and is ironically named after an island in the story Peter Pan, where children never grow up. He built a zoo and fairground on the 2,800 acre (1,100 hectare) property but it was closed in 2006 after Jackson failed to pay his staff or maintain proper insurance. It is not clear what will now happen to the property.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read similar articles on the Homes of the Rich and Famous; the Credit Crunch; and Luxury Homes

Madonna’s impending divorce from British Director, Guy Ritchie, is making many headlines not least for the amount property at stake.

You could say that Madonna is a real estate mogul with an amazing array of properties in London, New York and Beverley Hills. There is much speculation as to which properties from the portfolio will be sold directly on the market, and of course which of those she retains and what the settlement to Ritchie entails.

The couple reportedly owns five buildings in London, plus Ashcombe House, a Georgian mansion on 1,200 acres in Wiltshire (images below)

In 2002 the couple erected 12 foot high security gates without first obtaining the necessary Listed Building Consent, but were granted retrospective permission. Recent building work at the house includes a large extension, roof alterations and conversion; and a March 2008 planning application for a swimming pool at the house has been approved.


In May 2008 it was reported that the couple were considering selling the house; and recent news has suggested that Ritchie will receive the estate as part of the divorce settlement. If it went on the market, the Ashcombe Estate could attract more than £15 million, property agents say.

In total, the properties at stake include:

1. A £7 million Georgian 10-bedroom townhouse in Marylebone, which was the family’s main London residence. The house has six floors and includes a vaulted artist’s studio which adjoins the garden wall of the family’s main home.

2. A Kabbalah Centre in London’s West End valued at £3.6 million

3. Ashcombe House, a £12 million five-story country mansion in Wiltshire set in 1,200 acre estate which was formerly owned by Sir Cecil Beaton.

4. A five-storey Georgian townhouse in Conway Street, Regent’s Park, west London, valued at £1.6 million which is currently used as a Kabbalah Hotel.

5. A £6 million Mews property next to their Marylebone home used by staff

6. A ten bedroom mansion in Beverly Hills bought for £8 million

7. The Punchbowl pub in Mayfair which the couple bought for £2.5 million

8. A penthouse apartment in New York, bought by Madonna 20 years ago and now valued at £2million.

Simon Turner

More information: Foreign Currency Exchange at xe.com

FYI: Read more articles of Homes of the Rich & Famous; and Luxury Homes

It may not be too long until Barack Obama and his family call the White House in Washington their home. Until then, however, they’ll be making do with their property in Greenwood Avenue, Chicago, Illinois which was purchased in 2005 for $US1.65 million.

Simon Turner

FYI: More articles on Barrack Obama, the US Presidential Race, and Homes of the Rich & Famous

Every now and then, Marquette Turner Luxury Homes likes to showcase luxurious properties of the rich and famous both in Australia and overseas, listed by our fellow luxury agents.

Comedian and actor Kelsey Grammer has listed an English Country-style estate in Malibu’s Serra Retreat for $US19.9 million, having bought the property with his wife Camille last year for $US13.7 million.

The “Cheers” and “Frasier” star, five time winner of an Emmy Award, is hoping to defy the current lackluster real estate market. Whilst he plans to keep his home in Hawaii, his Malibu mansion that has just been listed is 10,567 square feet and features features seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms and seven fireplaces.






There are beamed ceilings, Palladian-style French doors, his-and-her bathrooms in the master-suite and a media room with integrated bookshelves and bar. The home is nestled behind high hedges, and there is a large motor court with covered parking for four cars. A vine-wrapped covered terrace overlooks the swimming pool.

Simon Turner

It’s been more than two decades since Elle Macpherson called Australia home, but The Body is reportedly bound for the beach after putting her plush London property in Notting Hill on the market last week.

British newspaper The Mail on Sunday has claimed the model businesswoman will this year trade the hectic London pace for the quieter hum of Sydney’s stunning Harbour and beaches.

While she has resided in London for 10 years, Macpherson bought her current house – a luxury seven-storey estate estimated at $16 million – in 2006, following her split with partner Arpad “Arki” Busson.

Macpherson converted part of the house into an office space, from where she runs her successful lingerie business – Intimates.

But, despite its custom-made creature comforts – Macpherson was also said to have added a swimming pool, a gym and a ballroom to the property after she purchased it – The Body is on the move.

With her sons, Macpherson revelled in the laid-back surrounds of the Northern Beaches over Christmas – spending her days taking surfing lessons, eating at cafes and rubbing bronzed shoulders with locals on the sand.

Mukesh Ambani, head of India-based petrochemical giant Reliance Industries, and the fifth richest man in the world, is having a 27 floor skyscraper home built in Mumbai for approximately $2 billion.

Forbes estimated Ambani’s net worth at $43 billion in March. Reliance Industries was founded by Mukesh’s father, Dhirubhai Ambani, in 1966, and is India’s most valuable firm by market capitalization. Mr Ambani and his wife, who have three children, currently live in a 22-story Mumbai tower that the family has spent years remodeling to meet its needs.

Like many families with the means to do so, the Ambanis wanted to build a custom home. They consulted with architecture firms Perkins + Will and Hirsch Bedner Associates, the designers behind the Mandarin Oriental, based in Dallas and Los Angeles, respectively. Plans were then drawn up for what will be the world’s largest and most expensive home.

The architects and designers are creating as they go, altering floor plans, design elements and concepts as the building is constructed.

Lobby

Nine elevators dot the lobby floor: Two are designated for parking areas, three for guest quarters, two for the Ambani family residences and two for service. The lobby opens to numerous lounges, reception areas and powder rooms. Dual stairways lead from the lobby floor down to the ballroom, which is designed in an open layout with a two-story roof.

Ballroom

The most striking features of the Antilla ballroom are the crystal chandeliers that will take up approximately 80% of the ceiling. The silver stairways lead to a central landing, behind which two retractable doors can open to display works of art. There is also a stage for entertainment or speeches, with a projection screen behind it. A kitchen, about the same size as the ballroom itself, can service hundreds of guests.

Traditional Lounge

Ambani’s home features countless lounges, offering Reliance Industries guests a quiet escape. Chandeliers and mirrors are a common feature of these rooms, as are finely woven Indian area rugs.

Modern Lounge

Each space and floor uses materials not seen anywhere else. The idea is that spaces will blend into one another, giving the impression of consistency and flow, while at the same time displaying different influences and traditions. This furniture, floors, lines and dark woods of this lounge have a more minimalistic approach than the home’s other lounges.

Health Level

The indoor/outdoor health level features a lap pool and Jacuzzi that take in views of the city skyline, as well as lounge chairs shaded by trees. Yoga and dance studios, changing rooms for men and women, gyms and a solarium with a juice bar fill out the interior space. There are plans to include an ice room in the center space, where the Ambanis could sit on a hot Mumbai day to cool off in a man-made snow flurry.

Entertainment Level

It’s very common in large homes to have a theater or screening room, but usually they’re just large projection screens with a few nice seats. The Ambani’s theater is more like those seen in George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch or Frank Pritt’s Portabello Estate–a full-fledged theater, indistinguishable from a cinema. A wine room, snack bar and entertaining space, including couches and tables, fill out the room.

Bathroom

One of Antilla’s key design themes is the mix of lavish features seen in worldwide homes and elements that are distinctly Indian. The Gingko-leaf sink designs are a good example. Native to India, the leaves in the sinks are shaped in such a way that their stems guide water into the bowl created by the basket of the leaf.

Garage

The first six floors of the residence will be dedicated to parking for the Ambani family, guests and employees. Hanging vertical gardens dot the exterior. While they make for good decoration, their key function has to do with energy efficiency: The hydroponic plants, grown in liquid nutrient solutions instead of soil, lower the energy footprint of the home by absorbing heat and sunlight and providing shade that helps keep it cool.

Roof

The top floor features a covered, outdoor entertaining space with panoramic views of the Mumbai skyline as well as the Arabian Sea. On those days when it’s too hot, or cold, an interior space with floor-to-ceiling windows provides the same luxury.

East Hampton, New York
Net Worth:
$3 billion
Rank: 368

Called Quelle Farm, Steven Spielberg’s 12-acre summer retreat sits on Georgica Pond, the A-lister playground of such stars as Calvin Klein. The Hollywood kingpin and his wife play host to a retinue of top stars and their families each summer, the Clintons and Gwyneth Paltrow and her brood among them.

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