If your garage has a hydraulic car elevator, you might be part of the group of high earners who make more than 99 percent of Americans: the One Percent. There is a good chance you might also be a One Percenter if a waterslide connects your master bedroom to your swimming pool.
You get the picture. For the One Percent, amenities like a home theater or a wine cellar hardly make your house stand out. The exceptional features that follow won't be seen in just any mansion. These special features can only be afforded by famous athletes, hip hop artists and other mega wealthy owners.
The cheapest of the following ten mansions goes for $7 million, and the prices go up—way up—from there. Many contain a few unusual amenities, while others are loaded with them. We'll start off with a unique relic from a century-old estate, hidden from the naked eye under a lake.
By Colleen Kane
Posted 16 October 2012
Location: Surrey, England
Price: approx. $284,657,826
Square footage: N/A
At the turn of the 20th century, James Whitaker Wright, a corporate swindler whose misdeeds caused a panic in London, committed suicide immediately after being convicted of fraud. In better days, he built himself a country estate on about 1,400 acres now known as Witley Park.
Wright spent nearly $285 million in today's dollars on the land and the mansion. That's without taking into account the landscaping, which reportedly cost the staggering equivalent of $84,862,552 in present-day terms. He leveled hills that blocked his views, built a wall around the estate, and created three artificial lakes. Under one of those lakes: this glass-domed billiards room, accessed by tunnel. The mansion is long gone, but the fantastical submerged room remains, abandoned and locked up today.
Location: Bridgehampton, New York
Square footage: 31,000
Many mansions have bowling alleys. It might even be true that more luxury mansions have bowling alleys than there are luxury mansion-dwellers who bowl. Still, other estates don't have bowling alleys as modern and beautiful as this one.
This mega-mansion, built by Hamptons developer Joe Farrell on 11.5 acres, has a lot going on: a heated granite pool with an underwater stereo, and a master suite with 2,800 square feet. The lowest level of the three-level home is the Air Lounge, with a two-lane bowling alley, full bar and disco, rock climbing wall, and a full spa facility. The "recreation pavilion" also features a skateboarder's halfpipe.
With all that, some of the home's best known occupants are perfectly able to entertain themselves: Beyonce and Jay-Z are said to have paid $400,000 to rent the place last August.
Location: Newport Beach, Calif.
Price: $75 million in 2009
Square footage: 22,000
Portabello, a sprawling Orange County mansion, spans three oceanfront lots and has its own indoor mall. Its reproduction "Main Street" consists of a movie theater, bowling alley, a café and a "Kay's Jewelers" that doubles as a jewelry display room and the entrance to the home's vault. The house also has two saltwater swimming pools with waterslide tunnel, a garage for 12 cars, and many more amenities. There is no record of the Portabello's sale, but the official website is still active.
Location: Los Angeles
Square footage: 10,000
Home theaters with comfy seating and a movie screen or an oversize flat-screen TV are old hat. This estate in a gated community overlooking a country club features a full-on theater with a stage big enough for a grand piano. With Hollywood nearby, you never know when an entertainer might drop in.
Whoever does come by can enjoy a full bar and lounge area for pre-concert gatherings, and separate guest quarters if the show runs late.
Location: Highland Park, Ill.
Price: $29 million
Bathrooms: 15 full, 4 partial
Square footage: N/A
This contemporary mansion just north of Chicago has a professional-grade indoor basketball court. There's a good reason for that, indicated by the number emblazoned on the mansion's front gates. It is the home of legendary Chicago Bulls ballplayer, Number 23 himself, Michael Jordan.
Location: Fairfield, Conn.
Price: $19.998 million
Bathrooms: 8 full, 3 partial
Square footage: 22,882
The owner of this mansion not only collects cars, he has a collection of car-collector garages. Of the three auto barns (plus a maintenance bay), one barn is reminiscent of Elvis' classic auto museum at Graceland. It comes complete with an antique Mobil gas station with vintage pumps, Main Street-style "storefronts," and a functioning diner. There is also a vineyard on the grounds and a caretaker's house that dates back to 1896.
Location: Farmington, Conn.
Square footage: 50,000
This enormous gated Connecticut estate is rapper Fifty Cent's house, and it has room for an extensive entourage. For privacy there are three separate living quarters, each with its own kitchen, bedroom, living room and dining room. When it's time to get together, the owner and guests can hang out in a nightclub with a lighted dance floor or swim in a cave-like grotto.
Location: Las Vegas
Price: $16.5 million
Square footage: 21,000
Where can you do "over-the-top" better than in Vegas? This 1991 equestrian compound has a casino with a bar plus an entirely different type of "game room" — a trophy room with light-activated animal sounds. Also on the premises are an indoor-outdoor dog villa, beauty parlor, shooting range, 20-car showroom with deionized-water carwash, and gas station.
Location: Washington, Utah
Price: $6.995 million
Square footage: 24,500
This is another mansion that is as much an entertainment complex as it is a home. Among the amenities: a video arcade; two home theaters (one for the kids, the other for the grownups); a black-lit, "Rock 'N Bowl"-style bowling alley; a sports pub; a playroom with a spiral slide between floors; and a live performance theater with a stage. In case all those activities keep residents from ever glimpsing the sun again, a tanning bed has been provided.
Location: Greenwich, Conn.
Price: $17.5 million
Bathrooms: 7 full, 2 partial
Square footage: N/A
This gracious homestead on more than 11 acres is over a century old. It's been renovated, so the Dutch barns have a dance floor and another feature that likely wasn't included in the 1900 original estate: an Old West saloon. It's also got few upscale perks appropriate to the frontier era: a five-stall horse stable.