Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Jackie Siegel and her version of the Versailles Palace. David Manning / Reuters
Jackie Siegel and her version of the Versailles Palace. David Manning / Reuters

Even billionaires' dreams can turn sour

The Life: The dream of former timeshare billionaire David Siegel and his wife, Jackie, to build the world's biggest family home came true with Versailles, the 8,360 square metre mansion, in Florida. But then the property bubble burst.

The former timeshare billionaire David Siegel and his engineer turned beauty queen wife, Jackie, had a dream and that was to build the world's biggest family home.

They chose as their site a 4-hectare peninsula on the picturesque shore of Lake Butler in Orlando, Florida, and designed a 8,360 square metre mansion modelled on the 17th-century Palace of Versailles on the outskirts of Paris. Accordingly, they named their house-to-be Versailles.

Mr Siegel was the founder and managing director of Westgate Resorts, the largest privately owned timeshare company.

Sadly for the couple, the property bubble burst along with their dream.

The Siegels were stuck with a house they could no longer afford and were forced to put the shell of the property on the market for an initial price of US$75 million (Dh275.4m).

To get a completed home, they were asking buyers for $100m. The asking price has since been cut by $10m to encourage a quicker sale.

The three-storey house has 13 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, a 20-car garage and three pools. There is a main chef's kitchen with 10 "satellite kitchens" scattered throughout. Additional features that don't appear in too many other homes include: a grand ballroom, not one but two sweeping staircases, a two-storey wine cellar that can hold 20,000 bottles, a dining room that seats 50, a two-lane bowling alley and an indoor roller rink. The grounds have tennis courts and a baseball field.

As you would expect, craftsmen have paid particular attention to detail: a 9 x 2.4 metre stained-glass dome took three years to make. The Brazilian mahogany French doors alone cost $4m.

The white Italian marble intended to cover the house's concrete shell lies stacked in the garage.

A documentary about the Siegels' efforts to build their dream home was the toast of the Sundance Film Festival in Utah this year. But Mr Siegel was not happy with the outcome and is suing the filmmakers and the festival organisers.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 A Brabus Mercedes 6x6 Sports Utility Vehicle is readied for display during Auto China 2014 in Beijing, on April 20. Adrian Bradshaw / EPA

In pictures: Auto China 2014 exhibition

Leading automakers have gathered in Beijing for the kickoff of China’s biggest car show, but lacklustre growth and environmental restrictions in the world’s largest car market have thrown uncertainty into the mix. More than 1,100 vehicles are being showcased.

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National