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