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What billionaires want in their luxury Dubai homes

Never mind saunas and double garages, the new must-haves are underwater sound systems and cryogenic rooms

Indoors, Interior Design, Architecture Now showing: the ultra-luxury home is 'about crafting an experience that's unmatched and unforgettable,' says Michael Trigg of Sankari Properties Sankari Real Estate
Now showing: the ultra-luxury home is 'about crafting an experience that's unmatched and unforgettable,' says Michael Trigg of Sankari Properties

Swimming pools, home cinemas and gymnasiums have long been staples in the high-end residences of Dubai, but the city’s ultra-wealthy are increasingly turning to even more outlandish creature comforts for their luxury mansions.

This month Alpago Properties, which is based in the emirate, launched Kural Vista, a five-bedroom luxury villa on the Palm Jumeirah, which comes complete with a virtual reality gaming area, DJ booth with a karaoke stage, car simulator, a 900-year-old bonsai tree and a 1,300-year-old Chorisia – or silk floss – tree.

“Kural Vista is not just a home – it’s a statement of elite living, offering a lifestyle that is unparalleled in Dubai,” Murat Ayyildiz, Alpago Group founder and chairman, said in a press release.

Floor, Plant, FlooringSankari Real Estate
Amenities such as this 25-metre lap pool can add up to 45 percent in value

A Bulgari-branded mansion in Jumeirah Bay is on sale with a price tag of AED495 million ($135 million). The property includes a 43-metre pool with an underwater sound system and a barber shop.

Brett Loehmann, principal of US-based architects McClean Design, revealed the company had previously included a nail salon in a multi-million dollar California property for a Middle Eastern client.

McClean Design was founded by Paul McLean, the go-to architect for celebrity clients such as Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Calvin Klein.

$1.73 billion

Value of luxury homes sold in Dubai during first quarter of 2024

“The first project we did in Dubai which really got us out there and got us thinking about the emirate, was a big residence, and the owner told us basically, ‘whatever you can put in it, put in it, really get your creative juices flowing’,” Loehmann said.

“We proposed a boxing ring and a gym and a climbing wall.”

Emerald Palace Group has previously listed a AED600 million penthouse at its Raffles the Palm Dubai Residences on Palm Jumeirah.

In keeping with the current focus on health and wellness, Super Penthouse R includes its own cryogenic room for cold therapy and a hay relaxation room – which uses the freshly-cut natural material to promote relaxation.

Outside, the proud owner can enjoy a game of mini-golf or shoot some hoops in the property’s own basketball court.

In June last year a house in the high end Emirates Hills area of Dubai was listed for AED750 million and came equipped with a coral reef aquarium.

Chris Boswell, a luxury real estate agent in Dubai, said the amenities could add up to 45 percent on a buyer’s original investment. 

“I’ve seen some crazy things in my time here, really unique amenities,” he said.

“I’ve seen secret doors disguised as bookcases reminiscent of the stately homes in the UK that open tunnels into other rooms.

“I’ve seen a full UFC [Ultimate Fighting Champion] octagon ring and cigar rooms and even a giant candy wall next to the cinema room.”

Food, Sweets, Candy Pick and mix: in the homes of the super-wealthy, anything goes, from boxing rings to 'candy walls'Luxhabitat Sotheby’s International Realty
Pick and mix: in the homes of the super wealthy anything goes, from boxing rings to ‘candy walls’

The total value of luxury homes sold in Dubai during the first quarter of the year was $1.73 billion, which is up 6 percent on Q1 2023, according to Knight Frank Middle East.

Dubai recorded 431 home sales above $10 million in 2023, nearly 80 percent higher than the nearest contender, London, which recorded 240.

New York (211) rounded off the top three most active luxury homes markets in the world.

“In today’s world of luxury villas and mansions, it’s not just about owning a home, it’s about crafting an experience that’s unmatched and unforgettable,” said Michael Trigg, development director at Dubai luxury real estate developer Sankari Properties.

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