Ultra-big houses for ultra-big egos


The uber-rich like to collect trophies as proof of their unsurpassed uberness.

These are not like the tacky brass trophy you won in a bowling tournament. No, no — global ultrabillionaires compete ferociously with each other in X-treme Wealth Games to have the most dazzlingly-gorgeous trophy wife, the most humongous and elaborate trophy yacht on the seven seas, etc. And now comes the most ostentatious game of one-upsmanship yet: The trophy mansion.

Forget those $10 million show houses perched pretentiously atop a peak in Aspen for all to see — we’re talking $100 million, $200… $500 million, mine-is-bigger-than-yours monuments to mammon. For example, a gold rush of developers are constructing monstrous trophy mansions in Los Angeles. How big? My entire house is 1,500 square feet, but these things have 8,000-square-foot master bedrooms, closets so vast they include catwalks, full-size IMAX movie theaters, and even “Champagne rooms.”

One of these bungalows in the luxe zip code of Bel Air is listed for sale at half-a-billion dollars. It encompasses 110,000 square feet of indoor space (the size of a shopping mall), plus a bowling alley, a nightclub, a casino, and — get this — four swimming pools! “Who in their right mind needs four swimming pools?” asks a neighbor who paid a mere 10 million bucks or so for his luxurious Bel Air home. Well, sniffed the developer, one can work up quite a sweat going around this maxi-mansion, so: “Why would you not need four swimming pools?” Adding to the narcissistic self-indulgence of these trophy hunters, note that this $500-million Taj Mahal is not even meant to be the owner’s main home, but a place for occasional getaways — “nobody buys a 100,000-square foot home to use every day,” explains the developer.

Such excess in not just an embarrassment of riches, it’s obscene.

This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.