Last Updated Apr 26, 2011 4:59 PM EDT
For the mega-rich they are just a few of the new amenities they can choose to put in their next million dollar dream home purchase.
But yesterdays luxuries, such as bowling alleys, massage rooms, hair salons, wrapping rooms, and master-suite kitchenettes, are making way for a plethora of high-tech goodies and conveniences.
Let's face it: No one wants to remember they've left the oven on while private jetting half-way around the world. So, today's luxury spec homes are being built with technology that allows them to sync their home appliances, lighting, mechanical systems, garage doors, and even televisions with iPads and cellphones.
Of course, the uber-wealthy don't have the time or energy to furnish and design every aspect of their own homes. Instead, as the Wall Street Journal recently reported, many are choosing to buy developer-made million dollar spec homes for sale, mega-mansions that have all of the things millionaires and billionaires could dream of (and some that they probably thought were impossible).
Developing those homes is a huge risk for builders, who put millions upon millions of dollars into a project without having a signed contract in hand.
What do you do with a $60 million home that just isn't selling? Very little. Building multi-million dollar dream homes on spec is a risky business, but with the revival of the uber-wealthy class, the growing range of fantasy amenities that can be included in a luxury spec home these days, and the insane profits that accompany a closed sale, developers are starting to take big risks.
Here are some of the most luxurious "spec" houses on the market today:
1. Miami beach house. For $60 million this sprawling home can be yours. Complete with one of the first 3D home movie theaters, a hidden art vault, and a wine room that can only be accessed through a fingerprint scan, this is way more than your typical Miami bungalow. Architect Rene Gonzalez, who also designed the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, says the house is supposed to feel like a private resort.
2. Aspen ski lodge. The perfect place for a skiing family. With five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and even a dog grooming station for the family pet this $23.9 million behemoth can make even the most winter weary want to stay in Aspen. With a wine room and a view from Independence Pass to Mount Sopris, staying in isn't so bad either.
3. Beverly Hills mega-mansion. This house sits across the street from the Beverly Hills Hotel, so home buyers will have luxury right at their fingertips. The $60 million price tag includes three swimming pools, a ballroom, and a home spa complete with a Moroccan-style greeting room.
4. New Jersey luxury getaway. For all of those tired millionaires in New York there is Alpine, New Jersey, which sits just eight miles outside of Manhattan; Check out this $63 million Richard Kurtz-developed palace. Boasting a basement with everything you could need for a successful party-including a basketball court and locker room-a private wine cellar, and a meager 19 bathrooms, visitors to this mansion may never even make it into the city. Of course, if you're paying $63 million for a home, you expect every detail to be thought of, down to the fabulous foyer marble. Kurtz anticipated this level of scrutiny and reportedly had both French and Italian marble flown in to be used throughout the home.
5. Upper East Side penthouse. For rich New Yorkers who cannot bear to go all the way to New Jersey for their luxury homes, all they have to do is look up. This rehabbed $60 million penthouse sits in the heart of the Upper East Side at the intersection of 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue. With five bedrooms, rooftop access, and a wet bar, this is the perfect starter condo for any of New York's rising elite.
6. San Francisco giant. Sitting on the very private and exclusive Belvedere Island, this $45 million giant will have a spa with a steam room and sauna, a home theater, and, of course, an elevator to navigate through the monster.
7. Palm Beach resort. While the listing price of this mega-mansion has dropped from $100 million to $84 million, it certainly is not missing anything. The home is an hostess' dream - with room for 50 cars, a 60-foot swimming pool, and six juice bars, this palatial mansion could play host to one heck of a bachelor party.
8. Chicago's lakefront luxury. For frugal mega-millionaires, here is the deal of the century. The listing price of this 27,000-sf Chicago palace has dropped from $28 million to a more-reasonable $23 million. With a grotto, spa, loggia, and multiple grand rooms, this French Formal home gives homage to Chicago's rich architectural past while still being a great place to hole up for one of the city's infamous winters.
9. Easy-living in Beverly Hills. Going to Beverly Hills? The Hilton is so out for real luxury travelers. Instead, they are quickly filling up the Montage Residence - Beverly Hills and the adjoining Montage Beverly Hills hotel. While the hotel is nothing to scoff at, the residences the pinnacle of what the Golden Triangle has to offer: opulence for the sake of opulence. From "couture-quality wardrobe cataloging" to staff hired to help you find a staff to hire, the hotel is making sure residents get all the attention that they are paying for-all $10 million worth. With units ranging from two- to five-bedrooms (and $4.6 to $16.8 million), this palatial Mediterranean-inspired hotel won't stay empty for long.
If you had an unlimited budget, what amenities would you want in your dream home?
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Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and The Equifax Personal Finance Blog, and is Chief Content Strategist at RealtyJoin.com, a community for real estate investors.