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Ambani's skyscraper, Mittal's Alps abode on Forbes' list

business Updated: Mar 16, 2009 03:45 IST

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India's richest resident Mukesh Ambani's upcoming skyscraper in Mumbai and wealthiest NRI Lakshmi Mittal's getaway in the Alps are among the world's top ten 'Billionaire Playgrounds' for this year, despite the fortunes of the two individuals coming down by more than half.

Others on the list include Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's 200-acre ranch on Wildcat Ridge in Colorado, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's 416-foot megayacht Octopus and Apussuit Adventure Camp, a remote skiing resort in West Greenland frequented by software czar Bill Gates.

The list of the top ten 'billionaire playgrounds', where the world's super-rich go for fun, has been compiled by Forbes Traveler, a luxury travel publication of American business magazine Forbes, known for its lists of richest persons in the world.

"Whether it's seeking out crystal-clear Caribbean waters, retreating to a mountain hideaway or sailing the seven seas in style, the world's billionaires are, in some ways, just like us. They want to relax in privacy and luxury.

"The only difference is, they don't get worried when the bill arrives," Forbes Traveler said in a report on its website.

About Lakshmi Mittal's St Moritz holiday gateaway in Switzerland, the report said, "After this industrialist billionaire built his fortune mostly with steel, he moved to London but retained his Indian passport...

"... In addition to his palatial residence on London's Kensington Palace Garden aka Billionaires Row Mittal keeps a home in St Moritz.

"At the season's start in January, it's not unusual to see nouveau rich Russians rubbing shoulders with Swiss blue bloods whose families have favored this Alpine getaway for decades. Sprinkle in assorted supermodels, starlets and, yes, industrialists, and you've got one of European wealth's favorite winter playgrounds."

Mukesh Ambani, who has dethroned Mittal as the richest Indian in the world in the latest Forbes ranking, is building his own playground in Mumbai itself.

"Why waste time (on) jets when you can build your playground closer home? Why not, in fact, make your home itself the playground? That's what Mukesh Ambani is doing. The Indian petrochem and telecom tycoon is constructing a 550-foot, 27-story skyscraper residence in Mumbai at an estimated cost of USD 1 billion," Forbes Traveler said.

The house would reportedly resemble a virtual glass palace with six floors of parking and a helipad and its top four floors would provide a view of the Arabian Sea and also the city's skyline.

"All of this, for Ambani, his wife Neeta, their three children and Ambani's mother plus a few hundred employees."

Bill Gates, who has wrested his position as the world's richest person from friend and legendary investor Warren Buffett despite a fall in his net worth to USD 40 billion, flies to his playground in West Greenland whenever he needs a break.

"Since officially retiring from Microsoft in July, 2008, 52-year-old Bill Gates has ramped up his philanthropic travel in support of the nonprofit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"When he needs a break from the African heat where much of the foundation's efforts are concentrated he's been known to hop a helicopter to Apussuit Adventure Camp, a remote skiing resort 15 miles outside Maniitsoq, West Greenland."

Mexican business tycoon Carlos Slim Helu likes to go to Cap Cana, the Dominican Republic's hottest resort destination, the report said.

"Where would the richest man in Mexico woo an Arabian queen, herself no stranger to vast wealth? If the rumors are true, the answer is Cap Cana, (the) Dominican Republic's hottest resort destination," it said, adding that a Mexican celebrity magazine reported in January this year that Slim was dating Queen Noor of Jordan.