Have you ever wondered how expensive the most expensive home in the world really is and just who does it belong to? Read on and find out for yourself!
Mukesh Ambani might be a name that is not familiar to many outside of India, but that doesn’t stop him from being the country’s richest person, and the 36th richest in the world, with a current bank account balance of $21.9 billion. (It might seem little compared to Bill Gates’ own net worth, which is almost four times more than Amabani’s, but it’s a lot more than what many of us will make in a lifetime).
Ambani is the chairman, managing director, and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries, a Fortune Global 500 company (and India’s second most valuable company by market value) that deals in refining, petrochemicals, and in the oil and gas sectors. He’s also the chairman and managing director of Reliance Retail, the country’s largest retailer.
And this here is his home.
Now, if you think that that’s quite a vague statement to make and you’re wondering which floor his house is actually located on (is it the middle floor? Perhaps it’s the penthouse? Maybe it’s on the backside of the building and not even visible here?), you’re looking at it. That’s right: the entire 27-story building you’re currently looking at is one (huge) house.
It’s called Antilia, named after a mythical rectangular island of the same name that was, very wrongly, reputed in the 15th century to lie in the Atlantic Ocean, and – perhaps unsurprisingly – it’s the most expensive home in the world. How expensive, you ask?
Again: yes, seriously.
One billion dollars, as in: one followed by nine zeros. To put that into perspective, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which at 2,722 feet is currently the tallest building in the world, cost $1.5 billion to build. It’s almost five times taller, it has 154 usable floors (compared to Antilia’s 27), it has 900 apartments (not just one ridiculously extravagant house), and it “only” cost $500 million more.
Ambani bought the land on which Antilia is built back in 2005, and construction began in 2008. Of course, there were a few setbacks along the way like when, in 2007, the Allahabad government claimed the previous landowners, an orphanage called the Currimbhoy Ebrahim Khoja Yateenkhana, had no right under Wakf law to sell the land. Ambani, however, obtained a No Objection Certificate after paying an estimated $24,000, and construction resumed soon afterwards.
Antilia was completed in 2010 but it was still empty a year later, leading to much speculation as to why the Indian billionaire business magnate, his wife Nita, and their three children (twins Akash and Isha, and their younger brother Anant) hadn’t moved in yet – the Daily Mail reported it was because of the “lack of windows facing east” and that the building didn’t conform to the architectural principles of vastu shastra, the Hindu equivalent of feng shui. They even noted that the owners “believe[d] it would be bad luck to move in.” However, in an interview with Vanity Fair’s James Reginato, Nita Ambani, who has been called “corporate India’s first lady,” confirmed that they had moved into what is, quite possibly, the very essence of luxury living in September 2011.
Located on Altamount Road, one of the most expensive addresses in the world, Antilia is hard to miss. At 570 feet tall, it towers over the Mumbai skyline and makes its neighboring buildings look like miniature plastic models, the kind you expect to find in LEGO city displays. And although it’s not as outrageous as the fictional Xanadu (Charles Foster Kane’s estate in the 1941 mystery film Citizen Kane which, among other things, boasted a championship golf course, a Venetian-style canal complete with gondolas, a zoo, and a collection of artifacts “enough for 10 museums”), Ambani’s 27-story residence certainly has a lot to be boastful of, too.
Like the fact it has a multistory car park, for example. If that doesn’t sound impressive enough, perhaps this will: the six stories of dedicated car park accommodate 168 cars – each and every one of which belongs to Ambani himself, a renowned car enthusiast. His collection of cars includes an Aston Martin Rapide (which was involved in a mysterious hit-and-run incident in 2014), a Maybach 62, a Rolls Royce Phantom, a black Mercedes SL500, a Bentley Flying Spur, and a BMW 760i (his most expensive car to date). Although its base cost typically starts at $300,000, Ambani’s own BMW 760i cost no less than $1.4 million having undergone a complete makeover with bulletproof chassis and windows, as per the billionaire’s Z-category security requirement. Meanwhile, the entire seventh floor is dedicated to on-the-spot repairs and maintenance of all his cars.
Next up is the eighth floor, and this is where things start to get really exciting. Going to the cinema to watch the latest X-Men installment can be really stressful, especially when it’s packed with loud, annoying, Facebook-updating teenagers (and sometimes adults, too). It can really ruin everything for you. Not for Ambani, though: he has his own private home theater, and it’s really not just a big projection screen with a few nice seats. It’s a full-fledged theater with seating for up to 50 people.
The next section of the most expensive home in town (and the world) is devoted to four floors of hanging gardens. Yes, it might be a skyscraper, but it still has a garden. Located in the space that holds the W-shaped beams that support the upper floors, Antilia’s garden features a plethora of plants and small trees that double as energy-saving devices that absorb sunlight and keep the interior of the house cool. Grass, meanwhile, grows on the side of the building itself.
Like any self-respecting billionaire, Ambani has his own health center, complete with a gym, dance and yoga studios, a relaxing area with a juice bar, as well as a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi. Guests, meanwhile, stay in their own dedicated wing, in glass-fronted apartments offering spectacular views of Mumbai underneath.
The family’s living quarters are located on the top floors, and although their father is one of the richest men in the world and they reportedly have a staff of 600 (that’s not a typo. It takes a staff of six hundred to maintain the 27-story residence), Ambani’s children – two of which are currently attending college in the US – clean their rooms themselves when they’re home.
Antilia also features a rather lavish lobby with nine elevators, a ballroom (in which Ambani threw a housewarming party for 200 guests in November 2011) with 80% of its ceiling covered in crystal chandeliers, two maintenance floors, and even an ice room infused with artificial snow flurries.
Meanwhile, plans for three helipads and an air traffic control facility for those who prefer to arrive by air where scrapped when the Indian Navy refused to allow the construction of helipads on Mumbai buildings. The Ministry of Environment also stated that the helipads would violate local noise laws.
It was built to survive an 8-richter scale earthquake (strong earthquakes are very common in India, due to the fact the Indian tectonic plate is driving into Asia at a rate of approximately 49mm per year), houses the world’s largest collection of antique sewing machines, and it even has its own temple where the family regularly prays.
“It’s a modern home but with an Indian heart,” Nita Ambani told Vanity Fair. “Getting my temple right was so important.” The property also features a large outdoor sculpture and statues of the Hindu gods Ganesh and Shiva who are revered as the remover of obstacles and the one who destroys to make way for new creation, respectively.
Although Antilia offers a whopping 400,000 square feet of living space, no two rooms are the same. In fact, no two floors are the same. Unlike hotels which tend to have a common layout replicated on every floor, this particular skyscraper does not. Ambani’s wife was closely involved in the family home’s design and requested that if metal, wood, or crystal is used on one floor, it should not be used on the next. However, sun and lotus motifs are repeated throughout the house in crystal, marble, and mother-of-pearl.
What’s your take on Mukesh Ambani’s home? Is it your kind of luxury living? Tell us in the comments section below, and don’t forget to share this article with family and friends!