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Home : Articles : WHERE WE WANT TO LIVE IN 2006

Home Improvement
January 1, 2006


By Sara Clemence

There are people in the world who, given the opportunity to live anywhere, would feel perfectly comfortable in small, modestly adorned and possibly even unattractive dwellings.

We are not those people.

With the start of a new year comes the opportunity to set new goals--or at the very least, conjure up new real estate fantasies. Often, we dream of living in mansions we've glimpsed through hedge gaps or in gorgeous settings we've visited for a long weekend. This year, Forbes.com has decided to take a slightly different approach and select ten places we'd like to occupy in 2006, but couldn't have lived in before. They simply didn't exist.

Long for a sleek and luxurious new apartment overlooking New York City's Gramercy Park? Ian Schrager's project should be finished in April, and a few $10 million spreads still await owners. Like to live year-round at a health and wellness spa in the Sonoran Desert? Miraval's resort residences, backed by former Time Warner (nyse: TWX - news - people ) Chairman Steve Case, will begin to be available this year. And those with the biggest bucks will be glad to know that Donald Trump's new mega-project, a $125 million estate in Palm Beach, has only a few months of work left on it.

From environmentally friendly condos to a family-friendly community surrounded by nature, we selected properties to suit a range of tastes and desires. What they have in common is luxurious amenities that go above and beyond your everyday high-end home--which in modern America is saying quite a lot.

"Even in an average home, design is moving up," says Gopal Ahluwalia, staff vice president for research at the National Association of Home Builders, a trade organization based in Washington, D.C. "Today the consumer wants everything to be comfortable and convenient--and to look good. Everybody wants a whirlpool tub, though hardly anybody uses it. Whether you have one or two or three cars, everybody wants a three-car garage."

All of which means that the luxury bar is being lifted even higher. Super-luxury residences are getting bigger and fancier and are being clad in rarer materials. But most of all, they come with more and better extras designed to lure wealthy and discerning buyers.

"I feel that this is going to be the dominant way of living going forward, not only in the super-luxury end but in the luxury end as well," says Schrager, whose Gramercy Park residences will offer fresh flower, housekeeping, repair and personal shopping services, among other goodies. "Especially in cities, with everybody being preoccupied with work, and things being so complex and intense, having a home that's a refuge makes living easier."

Several properties on our list have some sort of spa services attached, from Miraval to the new Canyon Ranch condo project [see below] being built in Miami Beach. That's not so surprising--according to the Coldwell Banker Luxury Index, a survey conducted for the Cendant (nyse: CD - news - people )-owned real estate firm, 60% of luxury-home owners said they had been to a high-end spa or resort in the preceding six months. Why wouldn’t they want such experiences to be closer to home?

Milton Pedrazza, chief executive of the Luxury Institute, a research firm based in New York, sees the trend being driven by baby boomers who have become increasingly wealthy and are not opposed to indulging themselves. What's more, they expect to live a long time, he says, and realize they will require more maintenance to stay healthy.

"Whether it's the gourmet special diets, the massages or the personal trainer, they're gearing up for the long haul," he says. "If you're going to live longer, do you want to do all those little chores?"

As with all things, such pampering comes at a price. The homes on our list aren't exactly cheap. Though some ring in at under $1 million, they range all the way up to Trump's $125 million attempt to set a sales record. Fortunately, dreaming is free.

To Be Beautiful

Canyon Ranch Living--Miami Beach Location: Miami, Fla. Price: $1 million to $7 million
An extension of the renowned resort (and the only location that's on water), Canyon Ranch Living--Miami Beach is coming online late in 2006. The hotel-condominium is being built on the site of the old Carillon Hotel. It will include two-bedroom, three-bedroom and penthouse residences (each with whirlpool tubs and private balconies), 150 hotel suites and a 70,000-square-foot Canyon Ranch Spa. There will be three swimming pools and a fitness facility, and each month owners receive a credit towards the spa. The project has proven so popular that an extra tower had to be planned. For more information, contact Randy Haddadin a Miami Beach Realtor at Keller Williams Miami Beach Realty or the Canyon Ranch Living--Miami Beach sales center.



To Get Fit—Mind And Body

Miraval, Life In Balance 
Location: Tucson, Ariz. Price: $800,000 to around $1.5 million
At this luxury health resort set in the dramatic Sonoran desert, you can do everything from yoga and meditation to rock climbing and tennis. Beginning this year, you can also live there. By the end of 2006, some of the new two-bedroom villas, which range up to around $1.5 million, should be available for occupation. They are designed in what Harley Mayersohn, vice president of branding and marketing, describes as "relaxed Spanish contemporary" style. Ownership comes with a resort membership and with access to all of Miraval's programs and facilities, including equine programs, the spa, the golf program and the Center for Life in Balance, directed by Dr. Andrew Weil and planned for 2007.

To Be On The Beach

Temenos Anguilla, A St. Regis Resort 
Location: Anguilla, British West Indies. Price: $1.4 million to $14 million
This year, a small and exclusive set of villas on secluded Anguilla is being expanded into a luxury development and resort. Situated on the Caribbean Sea's white sand beaches, Temenos ("sanctuary" in Greek) will feature grand estate homes on the water starting at $7 million, and smaller villas and more affordable apartments starting at $1.4 million. Some of the Greek Mediterranean-style homes will be complete this year, as will the island's first golf course, an 18-holer designed by Greg Norman. A St. Regis luxury resort is planned for 2008.

To Have It All, California-Style

Villa del Lago 
Location: Newport Coast, Calif. Price: $57 million
villa del lago Your own orchard, you own stables, your own vineyard, your own mansion, your own lake--all in one place. Villa del Lago is an uber-luxury estate being created in Newport Coast. Centered around a wedge-shaped lake, the compound includes a 12,000-square-foot Tuscan-style main home with two wings, one for the family and one for the library/conservatory. There is also a 3,000-square-foot garage, swimming pool with cabana, tennis court, two-hole golf course, $1 million worth of Clive Christian cabinetry, and plenty of other opulent extras. Really, who could ask for anything more? For more information, contact John McMonigle at Monarch Estates.

To Hit The Slopes

Belvedere Park 
Location: Telluride, Colo. Price: $550,000 to $5 million
Telluride is less crowded and less expensive (and to some, less annoying) than Aspen or Vail. But it doesn't lack for luxury accommodations or desirable second homes. These ski-in, ski-out townhouses are located in Telluride Mountain Village and have views of the Snuffles mountain range. They were designed to preserve park-like surroundings; garages were placed underground so the place isn't cluttered with driveways, and each residence has its own private elevator from the parking area. The homes feature Brazilian walnut floors, sandstone countertops and Sub-Zero appliances, and each has a private deck that can accommodate a hot tub. A handful of units will be completed in July, and another phase will break ground this summer. For more information, contact listing broker Ernie Graham at Telluride 360 Real Estate.

To Trump Everyone

Location: Palm Beach, Fla. Price: $125 million
Just because you ask for it doesn't mean you'll get it, but we're curious to see what happens with Donald Trump's splashy new enterprise. Last year, Trump bought bankrupt health care mogul Abe Gosman's estate at auction for about $41 million. The estate has been gutted and renovated, and still has a few months of work left. But Trump has already stuck a price tag of $125 million on it--the highest in the country for an existing home. What do you get for such riches? About 68,000 square feet of space, a ballroom, bulletproof windows, underground garage space for 80 cars and two guest houses. Plus a tremendous Italian fountain that dominates the front of the property. Not to mention, bragging rights.

To Raise A Family

The Sanctuary 
Location: Charlotte, N.C. Price: $200,000 to $2 million
Sanctuary The Sanctuary allows for a family home in the midst of nature, yet a short commute from work and schools. Set in peaceful woods on the shores of Lake Wylie, just 20 minutes from uptown Charlotte, the residential development is the first to receive a Three Diamond designation from the Audubon Society. Designed to preserve swaths of open space and protect local wildlife, the Sanctuary uses green building techniques, and the large home sites will remain mostly natural. Amenities include a 17-acre waterfront activity center with kids' room, fitness room, swimming pools, tennis courts, playground, boating center and amphitheater. The sales center is shown above.

To "Park"

50 Gramercy Park North 
Location: New York, N.Y. Price: $10 million
"These are not your everyday commodity luxury apartments, even if they're large and expensive," says impresario and hotelier Ian Schrager, the developer of 50 Gramercy Park North. "They're one-of-a-kind, unique places that stand out." The location, on New York's only private park, is certainly unusual, and one reason why only a few large "family" apartments, priced at around $10 million, remain. (Completion is scheduled for the spring.) The residences were designed in a lean, elegant style by noted British architect John Pawson and feature "incredibly sophisticated finishes," Schrager notes, such as wide blonde oak floors and travertine bathrooms. Residents will have access to a range of five-star amenities, including fresh flower service, linen service and facilities at the redone Gramercy Park Hotel. And of course, there's that coveted key to the park. For more information, contact The Sunshine Group.

To Go Green

Millennium Tower Residences 
Location: New York, N.Y. Price: $700,000 and up
Millenium Tower Another New York City project that proves you can be environmentally sensitive and still live in style. The 35-story Millennium Tower Residences offers one-bedroom to four-bedroom apartments with high ceilings and oversized windows. Each spread features marble baths, Brazilian cherry wood floors and high-end appliances. But the place is also being built with recycled materials and will have a roof garden for recycling rainwater, solar panels for generating electricity and materials that emit less volatile organic compounds than traditional paints and carpeting. The first move-ins are expected in November.

To Be A Sport

Greenbrier Summit Village 
Location: White Sulfur Springs, W.V. Price: starting at $600,000
The Greenbrier The newest community at Greenbrier Sporting Club sits at the top of 3,300-foot Greenbrier Mountain, with expansive views of the surrounding area (shown above), as well as the illustrious Greenbrier Resort. Owners at Summit Village will have their own members' lodge, including a 5,000-square-foot restaurant and bar. Plus, they will be part of the member-owned sporting club that provides 2,000 acres of land and plenty of activities on it. Ski, hike, bike, ride horses, shoot, play golf, tennis or squash--the club has instructors to show you the ropes or improve your game. And there's a spa for after-sport pampering.



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