Note the absence of the word ‘official’ in the title? That’s our disclaimer, provided on the basis that we’re not entirely sure if our claim is factually accurate, so don’t wish to be called out on it. The bottom line is that ALL the buildings listed hereabouts cost an absolute fortune to construct, and if they were to be rebuilt today, they’d cost a similar amount (i.e, mega money). And then some probably. Which, essentially, is the premise of your typical buildings insurance policy. Habitually mistaken by some householders as the approximate cost your gaff would fetch if it was put on the property market, we’ve instead acknowledged that such policies are historically derived from the financial amount it would cost you to start over; should your des res be accidently burnt to the ground, blown over in a particularly strong wind or succumb to a plague of persistent (and robust) locusts, or any other act of God (carried out in biblical proportions).
On the very subject of higher deities, you’ll note that sitting pretty at the top of the pile is a place with (very) close associations with worship. A hugely expensive place of (nearby) worship which cost some £10.6 billion to build (by its owners, the Saudi government) as it happens. Accommodating the world’s largest (and tallest) clock, six residential towers, a dedicated prayer hall, a convention centre, a 5 storey shopping mall and not 1 but 2 heliports, the staggering immodest Abraj Al Bait luxury hotel is situated in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, and is located in close proximity to what’s recognised as both the largest and holiest mosque on the planet, namely the Masjid al-Haram. The hotel (which, ostensibly the humongous construction amounts to) takes up a total floor space said to cover an area of 1500,000 square meters and can house 100,000 people, most of whom are pilgrims. Taking 8 years to build, the Abraj Al Bait hotel eventually opened its doors to its first paying guests in 2012.
Second on the list (a list which is now in descending order, obviously) is the hugely imposing Marina Bay Sands resort which is situated in Singapore’s, Marina Bay. Costing nearly £4 billion to piece together, the foot print of this uber impressive hotel-cum-exhibition-centre(plural)-cum-cinema(plural)-cum-shopping-mall-cum-entertainment-hub is believed to stand at 15.5 hectares and welcomed its first visitors back in June 2010. Architecturally-comprising of three 55 storey buildings and topped off by the Sands Sky Park which affords those who scale its 200 metres above ground level heights stunning vistas of the Singaporean skyline, the Marina Bay Sands Resort boasts the world’s longest elevated swimming pool. And if you’re the sort of person who likes figures, then you’ll probably bask in the further knowledge that the leisure-primed complex is also home to 45,000 people at any one time, whilst the 15,000 square meter casino therein houses 1,500 slot machines35 private gaming rooms and 600 gaming tables.
Entering our rundown of what we guestimate to be the world’s most expensive buildings insurance policies, derived from a simple theory borrowed from more conventional (and it’s fair to say, comprehensively scaled down) home plans, at number 3 is another Singaporean construction, known as Resorts World Sentosa. This, the third most expensive casino ever built anywhere on the planet, benefits from an even greater claim to fame; that being the integrated resort possesses what’s described as the largest oceanarium found anywhere in the world. Occupying 8 hectares on its own, the marine life park’s oceanarium provides a quasi-natural environment for over 100,000 marine animals, whilst the hotels (x4), casino and marine park-crammed resort destination is also home to the Universal Studios theme park, and cost its owners a ball-park sum of £3.5 billion to create. Fourth on this buildings insurance spectacular is the £3 billion-costing, Abu Dhabi-located Emirates Palace, where a 7-star welcome greets those who pass through its marble and diamond-encrusted (we imagine) door. Identified as the official guest palace of the Abu Dhabi government, this sublime hotel was first opened in 2005 and provides exclusive board and lodgings (albeit on a princely level) for six rulers at once, on account of the self-same number of suites for guests of such royal presence spread across the top floor. Along with its 114 domes, swimming pools, luxury spas, tennis and cricket courts, the Emirates Palace also offers guests its own private beach facility which encompasses 1.3 kilometers.
Fifth on this what’s what, where’s where and how much’s how much of staggeringly expensive buildings to insure, and the focus of our attentions moves from the Middle East to America’s far-west, as a Las Vegas bolt hole to the wealthy gets a look in. The Cosmopolitan features two towers and embraces everything (and anything) the good-time girls and boys could ever wish for under the couple of roofs. So think along the familiar lines of a mega casino, shopping mall, convention centre, luxury spa, cinema, etc and you get the idea about this £2.5 billion-plus installation for entertainment. In sixth spot is another wondrously bold architectural vision born and raised in the US of A, namely New York’s One World Trade Center, which was put together at a cost of around £2.4 billion and ceremoniously stands on the exact spot where the iconic Twin Towers did, pre-September 11 2001’s unprecedented terrorist attack which brought the previous construct to its knees. the 104-storey new building is home to the 9/11 museum which displays artefacts, videos and stories of its predecessor, while it also connects to 11 New York City subways , a ferry terminal and to the WTC transportation hub.
To enjoy the delights of the entry found at number 7 in the countdown of the world most expensive (probably) buildings we have to return to Nevada’s state capital, where we discover Las Vegas’ £2 billion Wynn Resort, which is acknowledged as the world’s sixth largest hotel amongst other things. ‘Other things’ include its 60,000 square foot ‘beach’ club (quite a sizeable and ambitious undertaking given the hotel’s grid coordinates), selection of bespoke wedding chapels and the fact that the revered likes of Cartier, Brioni, Alexander McQueen, Dior and Chanel have all set up shops thereabouts. The eighth most (likely to be) expensive building on the planet when it comes to the topic of buildings insurance is the Venetian Macau in China, which cost the owners about £1.5 billion to construct in the lead up to its grand opening in 2007. Recognized as the largest hotel in Asia by floor area, the Venetian Macau has 800 gambling tables and 3400 slot machines, accompanied by 350 branded retail stores and 30 restaurants in total. Staying in Macau for the time being, and the aptly named City of Dreams hotel-casino was rumoured to have cost around £1.5 billion to build and is renowned for its dancing water theatre which is described as ‘a spectacular water show and artwork like no other in the world’ and boasts a pool within this theatre which can hold some 3.4 million gallons of water; together with the complimentary spread of hotel-ness, restaurants, bars, cinema, casino and shopping centers.
Tenth – and final – blockbusting building insurance policy contender is Dubai’s Princess Tower, which at 101-storeys in height is certainly no shrinking violet despite its seemingly lowly position on our (largely imagined) compendium. Indeed, according to (what else but) Google, the £1.4 billion-ish Princess Tower is not just noted as the second tallest building in Dubai (by all means an impressive feat/feet in its own right) but also observed to be the tallest residential building in the world at a height of 414 meters. The whole build from the ground up tool 6 years to complete, and is today home to 763 residential units, 8 retail units, 957 parking units and 13 elevators. Of course we might be overlooking some more obvious candidates when compiling this debatable list of the world’s most expensive (probably) building insurance policies, as glaring omissions include France’s historically relevant Palace of Versailles (which insurance experts predict would cost around £9.4 billion to cover), our very own national treasure, Buckingham Palace (£765 million) and Scotland’s Balmoral Castle (£208 million) for those asking…..