Short of bungee jumping into a croc infested river, buying a home is renowned as one of the life’s most stressful markers. Mortgages, home reports, dodgy surveys, local schools and fluctuations in property prices all ensure fretful nights for most homebuyers. Surely if we were newly minted into the echelons of the super-rich all our problems would disappear?
What would buying a home look like if a couple of noughts were added to the budget? Does shopping in the super prime residential property market mean an end to compromise? What does value for money look like when you have £10+ million in your pocket?
We look at five ultra luxe properties in the UK to see how much bang you get for your buck:
A Home in Town
Since its completion in 2011, the lore surrounding One Hyde Park, where apartments sell for up to £140million, has grown at a rate matched only by – we imagine – the bank balances of its owners. Owners, who according to Land Registry reports appear in over 80% of cases to be unheard of non-resident, overseas registered corporations with quirky names more commonly found on betting slips: Smooth E Co, anyone? Sounds innocent enough.
Suddenly, our £10m budget doesn’t seem so grand. Will it even buy us into the world’s most expensive building?
Thankfully it will. Latest reports had prices at £6.5m for a one-bedroom apartment. For that you’ll get oak floors, mirrored corridors of anodized aluminum and padded silk, ebony, marble and extravagant contemporary art. Plus, guards trained by British Special Forces, your mail x-rayed pre-delivery, 24 hour five star service courtesy of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and of course the obligatory spa.
One bedroom may seem like a compromise but fear not, if you’re expecting houseguests you can always throw down an inflatable in the advanced technology panic room.
Home with a View
Take a look at Eilean Aigas. What do you see? An immaculate historical property on a grand scale, the honeyed sandstone and skyscraping chimneys glistening amongst the trees, defiant and resilient in the face of the passing centuries.
Breathtaking isn’t it? Even more so when you learn that this home, which boasts 7 principal reception rooms and 9 bedroom suites, sits on a private island surrounded by crystal clear waters in which otters play and salmon leap. Fishing, hunting, hot and cold running luxury, and period features to boot. And you may just stop breathing altogether when you learn that the house was only recently built.
Between 2001-07, Canadian Telecoms Tycoon Brendan Coulston reputedly lavished £20m on the finest craftsmen, designers and builders to create his earthly paradise. He also re-built and renovated other substantial properties on the 550 acres estate.
At offer in excess of £10million it begins to look like a bit of a bargain.
It’s a new build and for some this is just a step too far towards vulgarity.
Home with a Past
Completed in 1817, Whittingehame House is an elegant neo-classical country house. The perfect country setting in which to entertain esteemed guests, and over the years Whittingehame has played host to many big names.
It was home to AJ Balfour, British Prime Minister (1902-05), whose guests included William Churchill, Arthur Conan Doyle and HG Wells. But perhaps the most notable inhabitants of Whittingehame were the “150 little hoodlums” – Archie’s description and he should know because he was one of them – who ran riot within the house and grounds through 60’s and 70’s. And no, it wasn’t a reform school, it was the prestigious Holt School for Boys, Head Teacher, Lawrence Reid; school motto, Et de Stercore Manducare Dulcia which translates roughly as muck about and eat sweets.
Archie recalls how it felt to belong to a tribe of boys from all over the globe, whose priorities in life were skidding through the woods on bikes, stomping 3 miles cross country to the local chippie and squandering their meager pocket money on sweets. As soon as the irrelevance of lessons and prep was finished, the whole school, Masters included, would spill out onto the front lawns to play an endless, season long game of footie.
On Saturday, after sport the boys were liberated to do they as pleased, which Archie and his chums seem to have interpreted rather literally. During one of their regular camping trips on the grounds of Nunraw Monastery, it must have seemed perfectly reasonable to nick some waste oil from the farm to start their fire. Who was to know it would end in a rampaging blaze across the fields that required 7 fire engines to bring under control?
Archie admits that academically the school was probably ‘rubbish’ but he remembers his four years as a boarder amongst his happiest and attributes his resilience and his social ease to the school. Once you’ve slept in a bed with rat poison beneath it and shared your study room with the son of Idi Amin’s top General then not much will phase you.
£1million for a 3-bed apartment in the glorious house doesn’t seem so bad, but you do have to live with the ghost of Archie past.
Home by the Sea
If you do like to be beside the seaside then The Tides may just rock your boat.
There is something very New England about the clapboard charms of The Tides, though the view from the terrace surrounding the heated swimming pool is unmistakably Poole Harbour.
It’s a tough call, whether sailing off from your own private jetty on the famed Sandbanks Peninsula is a more assured pleasure than sailing back to your £7.3m, 6 bed, 5 bath home with it’s vaulted ceilings. One can imagine a Gatsbyesque moment or two on the Jetty’s end.
Call the decorators; the home is drowning in the watery palate and endless soft furnishings.
Home with a Garden
An important lesson when considering the purchase of a grand country property is that the acquisition is just the start, and very often the lesser expense. Maintaining a substantial historic home, estate and gardens is a fathomless commitment and buying into a shared property alleviates the pain.
The West Wing at Tyninghame House occupies the double aspect south and west corner of Scotland’s most acclaimed Baronial House, dating from 1829. The drawing room is the property’s grandest boast, it is undoubtedly opulent, as you would expect when for £1.1million, but there is warmth and a feeling that life is lived within the walls of this beautiful 4bed home.
Outside the garden romps gloriously on for 38acres; a formal rose garden, long herbaceous borders, a walled garden and Lady Haddington’s Secret Garden filled with old roses and billowing romance. There are woods carpeted in bluebells, tennis courts and an avenue of beech trees stretching for an entire mile down to the seashore. And due to the shared costs it is all immaculately maintained and you need never pull a single weed.
Neighbours. No matter how splendid the surrounds residents will have to contend with the usual bureaucracy that attends collective living.
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