The trophy mansion is the most ostentatious game of billionaire one-upmanship yet.
The uber-rich like to collect trophies as proof of their unsurpassed uberness.
These aren’t like the tacky brass trophy you won in a bowling tournament. No, no — global ultra-billionaires compete ferociously with each other in their extreme wealth games to have the most dazzlingly gorgeous trophy spouse, the most humongous and elaborate trophy yacht on the seven seas, and so forth.
And now comes the most ostentatious game of one-upmanship 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-million, and even $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? These things have 8,000-square-foot master bedrooms alone, along with closets so vast they include catwalks, full-size IMAX movie theaters, and even “champagne rooms.” At 1,500 square feet, my entire house would fit in those mega-master bedrooms five times over.
One of these bungalows in the luxe ZIP code of Bel Air is listed for sale at half a billion dollars. The size of a shopping mall, it covers 110,000 square feet of indoor space, plus a bowling alley, a night club, 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. “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 isn’t 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 isn’t just an embarrassment of riches. It’s obscene.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, and a member of the Public Citizen board. OtherWords.org.