according to the Financial Times, to "a select list of wealthy international buyers" with a whispered and rumored, sky-high asking price of £300,000,000.
No, chicken livers, Your Mama did not mistakenly or drunkenly add an extra zero. The palatial, palace-sized residence, situated directly across the road from Hyde Park in the high-nosed South Kensington 'hood, actually has a price tag of three hundred million pounds. A quick consultation with our currency conversion contraption shows that amounts to n pocketbook pillaging $482,670,000 (U.S.).
Half a billion dollars for a 60,000 square foot single family residence with 45 bedrooms? That's not a house, children, it's a gawdamn boo-teek hotel.
The seven-story house, originally built as four separate townhouse-style residences, was previously owned by Rafiq Hariri, a Lebanese multi-billionaire and former Prime Minister of Lebanon, who was assassinated in Beirut in 2005. At some point after Mister Hariri's murder, the house was given—that's given to and not purchased by—the late Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who went to meet the great oil man in the sky last October and with whom Mister Hariri had close (and lucrative) business connections.
Besides the 45 bedrooms—just enough for Prince Sultan, his 12 wives and their 32 children to each have their own private sleeping chamber—the civic center-sized mega-mansion is reported to include millions of dollars worth of gold leafing, a large indoor swimming pool, an industrial-sized catering kitchen, underground parking facilities, several elevators and more than 120 (allegedly) bullet-proof windows, 68 of which face Hyde Park.
Other than the gated motor court in front, there does not seem to be much—if any—other outdoor space and we can't speak for the children but for almost half a billion dollars we would really require at least a wee terrace and patch of grass on which our long-bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, can sun and relieve themselves in the privacy of their own property. Half a billion bucks and you gotta have a full-time handler to exercise and toilet the dogs 4-6 times a day? Pleeze.
Even with the still snappin' and cracklin' ultra high-end global real estate market in London (and elsewhere) it's difficult for Your Mama to imagine anyone would actually pay half a billion dollars for a private home even if it does, as Your Mama's elementary school mathematics reveal, encompass a gut-twisting 1.38 acres of interior space.
It boggles and betwixts Your Mama's booze-addled brain just to consider the Herculean effort and monumental amount of money required to staff and maintain this house in the manner befitting a bajillionaire Saudi Arabian royal. Just imagine the monthly heating electric bills for this 60,000 square foot house in damp and often chilly London. They easily and alone probably run many times more than a full-time minimum wage domestic worker in U.K. (and/or America) earns in an entire month. Maybe you do or do not want to think about that next time you pay $4.59 for a gallon of gas in Los Angeles or $8.50 for 3.8(ish) liters of petrol in London, an amount about equal to a gallon of gas.
exterior photo: Google