Bowling alleys, heated driveways, helipads, home theaters, and roller rinks — that’s just what some of the world’s most impressive mansions have to offer. Keep reading to find out what else these extravagant structures contain.
10. Dar al-Hajar
Located in Yemen, this five-story palace was built atop a natural rock spire in the 1930s by Islamic spiritual leader Yahya Muhammad Hamiddin. Dar al-Hajar was intended to be his summer home and is comprised of kitchens, appointment rooms and storage rooms, all connected by a maze of stairways.
The palace, which is no longer used as a residence, is now a museum in which visitors can tour for free.
FUN FACT: According to Atlas Obscura, what really makes this palace impressive is the view from the outside. It “looks like it was carved right out of the tall stone column on which it is built,” Atlas Obscura wrote on its website.
9. Updown Court
According to an article published by Forbes, Updown Court has been dubbed “the most important private residence to be built in England since the 19th century.” We’re not certain if that’s the case, be we are certain that it’s the most expensive private residence ever built — at least in England anyway. Updown Court is situated on 58 acres, has 103 rooms, and has a garage big enough to hold eight limos! Plus, the home has a full gym with his and hers changing rooms, a 16-seat home movie theater, a fully-automated two-lane bowling alley, a soccer field, a squash court that allows viewers to watch matches from two levels, an equestrian yard, and two Olympic-sized swimming pools.
8. Biltmore Estate
Built by George Vanderbilt (along with architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted) in 1895, Biltmore is the largest home in America. It’s situated on 8,000 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, NC, and has 35 bedrooms, 45 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, original artwork original by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and John Singer Sargent, 16th century tapestries, a banquet hall with a 70-foot ceiling, a library with 10,000 volumes, a bowling alley, and an indoor pool.
FUN FACT: This home contains over four acres of floor space!
7. Fair Field
This Italian renaissance home is one of the largest homes in the United States. Built in the 1990s, Fair Field spans 62,000 square feet and covers 63 acres of prime Hamptons beachfront. It has 21 bedrooms, 18 bathrooms, 12 chimneys, a 91-foot-long dining room, a 164-seat theater, a hot tub, three swimming pools, and a garage that can hold 100 cars!
But, that’s not all. In addition to the main house, there are also two pool houses and a 10,000-square-foot playhouse (with a basketball court and a two-lane bowling alley) on the property.
6. Xanadu 2.0
Xanadu 2.0 is the home of Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates. It took seven years and $63 million to build this 66,000-square-foot, 7-bedroom, 18.75-bathroom home, which, by the way, consists of half a million board-feet of lumber from 500-year-old Douglas fir trees. It took 300 construction workers, 100 of whom were electricians, to construct this high-tech masterpiece.
-Gates named his mansion after the fictional home of Charles Foster Kane, the title character of “Citizen Kane.”
-As of 2018, the home was valued at $127.48 million. Gates purchased the lot for $2 million back in 1988.
No, not the Palace of Versailles. What we’re talking about here is the Florida mega-mansion featured in the documentary “Queen of Versailles.” According to the Daily Mail, this home has 14 bedrooms, 30 bathrooms, a full-size roller rink, a bowling alley, and a 30-car garage! There are also six pools on the property. “The grand pool has a waterfall that then goes into a lap pool,” homeowner Jackie Siegel told the Daily Mail. There is also a health spa, a wine cellar, the servant’s quarter, and some guest suites overlooking the lake.
The home isn’t complete just yet (it’s scheduled to be finished in 2020 after 16 years of construction), but it’s on par to become the largest home in America. So, why has it taken so long to complete this home? Well, thanks to the 2008 economic crash, plus the death of the couple’s teenage daughter, construction of the $100 million mansion came to a halt — just briefly anyway. With that said, the grand opening is expected to be held in Spring 2020.
4. Hearst Castle
Serving as the private residence of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, Hearst Castle consists of 165 rooms on 127 acres of terraced gardens, fountains, and lavish indoor and outdoor pools. There’s also the Hearst Ranch Winery tasting room, where visitors can choose from over a dozen wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, late-harvest Zinfandel, Spanish Tempranillo, and Chardonnay. And, then there are the cottages which once served as guest quarters for some well-known movie stars, including Clark Gable, Winston Churchill, and George Bernard Shaw.
FUN FACT: Completed in 1947, Hearst Castle was designed by Julia Morgan, California’s first female architect.
3. Seaview Terrace
Originally built in DuPont Circle in Washington, DC, in 1907, Seaview Terrace, also known as the Carey Mansion, is approximately 40,000 square feet and is the fifth largest mansion in Newport, RI. Prior to being called by either of these names, the house was known as Aladdin’s Palace. It occupied a whole city block and took four years to complete.
Seaview Terrace was eventually moved to Newport, RI, in February 1923, and is said to be one of the largest homes relocated by road and rail.
FUN FACT: Seaview Terrace has been featured on “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.”
2. Spelling Manor
Built in 1988 by late TV show producer Aaron Spelling, Spelling Manor (a.k.a. The Manor) is a 56,500-square-foot, 14-bedroom, 27-bath home in Los Angeles and is the largest privately owned home in California. Spelling Manor has 123 rooms in total, including a barbershop, a flower-cutting room, a room exclusively for Mrs. Spelling’s doll collection, several gift-wrapping rooms, a humidity-controlled silver storage room, and a bowling alley in the basement. And, get this: One floor of the home was devoted entirely to a pair of palatial walk-in closets — one measuring 28 feet long and the other measuring 42 feet in length.
1. Chateau Bray
Located in Texas, Chateau Bray is a 67,478-square foot house that has space for up to 55 bedrooms and 30 bathrooms. The reason why we say it “has space for” is because this mansion is empty inside.
According to the Houston Chronicle, real estate investor Jim Youngblood now owns the property. He partnered with a Navy veteran who wanted to turn the mansion into a residential facility for at-risk military veterans. Unfortunately, the property wasn’t zoned for that kind of use and the city denied a zoning permit.
FUN FACT: This house was originally built by Houston-based physician Dr. Ulysses W. Watkins. It was designed by the Fonseca Design Group and is the largest home in the company’s portfolio.
Now that you’ve seen some of the world’s most impressive mansions, check out some of the unique buildings in the world.