Thursday, February 24, 2011

Col. Gaddafi's Second Son Lets London Pad

OWNER: Saif al-Islam Gaddafi
LOCATION: London, U.K.
PRICE: £9,750/week
SIZE: 7,757 square feet, 7-8 bedrooms, 8 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Anyone who's even remotely conscious ought to know by now that things are really gettin' down and goin' plum nutty in northern Africa and the Middle East. An angry but peaceful grass roots revolution have already sent Egypt's long-time president Hosni Mubarak packing and in Yemen anti-government protests going on right this very second have the government shaking in their beaded slippers. Even though he's publicly declared he'll die a martyr before leaving, Libya's despotic dictator Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi may not have a choice. A brave and roiling revolt that rages in Libya wants him gone and an obviously rattled Gaddafi has already lost control of much of the eastern part of the country he's ruled since taking over in a 1969 coup. If things continue the way they're already going Mister al-Gaddafi may soon be on the lam.

Many recent reports suggest that Misters Mubarak and al-Gaddafi siphoned and squirreled away vast sums of ill-gotten gains. Well, duh! Some reports suggest Mister Mubarak's riches may add up to between forty and seventy billion bucks and additional news stories suggest that Mister al-Gaddafi may have amassed a slightly smaller but still obscenely monumental fortune of around $60,000,000,000. So, you know, children, neither Evita Perón nor Argentina itself will cry for these two tyrants or their families as they sadly whittle away the rest of their lives in lavishly-appointed exile in whatever country (or countries) will harbor them.

Quirky and unpredictable Mister al-Gaddafi has a long-standing and complicated but quite cozy relationship with, among others, the government of the United Kingdom. Over the years Mister al-Gaddafi invested large sums of money into British concerns and real estate. These lucrative investments include a substantial stake in Pearson Group, the company that owns the venerable and influential U.K.-based newspaper the Financial Times. On a smaller scale, a business entity registered in the British Virgin Islands reportedly paid £10,000,000 for a mansion in the upscale Hampstead Garden Suburb in North London in December of 2009. The company and the house are believed and reported to be owned by The Colonel's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

Despite having a despot for a father, young Saif managed to live an open and glamorous life in London and other chic and sophisticated cities around the world. He's legend among the global glitterati for hosting parties in glitzy locales like St. Tropez and Monaco. In 2009 he celebrated his 37th birthday in Montenegro at a party reportedly attended by international movers and shakers such as Albert II–that would be the Prince of Monaco, natch–London-based steel tycoon Laskmi Mittal, Canadian gold-mining magnate Peter Munk, Austrian billionaire businessman Martin Schlaff and Russian uber-billionaire Oleg Derispaska.

Like the rich and famous who live in relative peace and freedom in democratic countries, the children of north African autocrats also have a propensity to catching a case of The Real Estate Fickle. Apparently and despite a very recent gut-renovation of the four-floor house, Mister al-Gaddafi the Younger has decided he no longer wants to live there and–we learned from the always informative London property blog The Rat and Mouse–has put it up for lease at a pricey £9,750 per week. A quick consult with our trusty currency conversion contraption shows that works out to a very high-fallutin' $15,792 per week for all us Americanos.

Listing information for the Hampstead Garden Suburb house generously provided to us by a fine informant we'll call LaToya Lettin'yaknow shows the house spans 7,757 square feet and includes 7 or 8 bedrooms and 8 full and 2 half bathrooms.

The stately and traditional brick-built exterior belies the minimalist modern architecture and day-core on the inside. The glam grips you right inside the front door that opens into a triple-height sky-lit reception hall where a glass-railed stair wraps dramatically around the room. To one side a small sitting room and straight ahead a giant drawing room with white stone floors (that may or may not be marble), contempo fireplace and a semi-circular bay window lined floor to ceiling with glass. Frosted glass panels fold back and join the drawing room to an L-shaped dining room/family room/kitchen combo. French doors in the dining area open out to a terrace that overlooks the substantial landscaped rear garden.

Upstairs, three bedrooms, each with en suite facilities, surround a master suite complete with dressing area, built in entertainment systems and private bath that includes two sinks, a terlit and a bidet, a soaking tub for two and, somewhat oddly, two glass enclosed shower stalls. The top floor contains two more bathrooms and a jumble of flexi-use rooms that could easily accommodate two to four more bedrooms.

In addition to a staff room with attached bath, storage space and utility room, the lower ground floor–which marketing materials calls the "leisure level" and Americans call a finished basement–includes a chocolate-colored suede-lined cinema room and a mirrored exercise/yoga/massage/relax room flanked by a bathroom, steam room and sauna. Floor to ceiling glass panels separate the room from the blue Bizazza-tiled indoor swimming pool and spa.

Naturally, young and flashy Mister al-Gaddafi's sybaritic residence comes fully equipped with a state-of-the-art home automation system that control the fireplaces and curtains as well as the the lighting, heating and cooling, audio-visual and hardcore security apparatus that includes cameras that record on to a hard drive.

As luxe and impressive as a house like this may be to whomever can afford the fifteen grand a week rent, what sort of person would feel comfortable with the all-but-unhinged and kinda freaky Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi for a landlord? Especially right now when he's probably in a very sour and bombastic mood.

Anyone? Hello? Is anyone there?

listing photos and floor plan: Glentree International

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