May 23, 2009
home & garden
Party pad with a pool
$15m penthouse turns into a hot club or a movie theatre at the push of a button
By deepika shetty
Talk about putting new meaning into the words 'pool party'.
A $15.46-million penthouse at one of the new condominiums at Marina Bay has a lap pool which can be transformed into a dance floor or a platform for musicians.
The party vibe of the penthouse at the upmarket The Sail@Marina Bay does not stop there.
Entering the 63rd-floor apartment, your jaw drops at all the glitter, from shiny silk wallpaper to velvet furnishings to a lavish mirror studded with Swarovski crystals.
Mirrors and chandeliers gleam, commanding your attention. Before you can take it all in, the living space is transformed into a luxe cinema, all at the push of, you guessed it, a button in this high-tech hang-out.
A movie projector is lowered from the ceiling, the lights are dimmed, the drapes are drawn. You sink into a very comfortable sofa and a movie begins.
Turning up the heat even more, in terms of the wow factor, are two 'fireplaces' that create fire without any smoke, again at the push of a button.
Fireplaces in tropical Singapore? Relax, they are for effect only.
Welcome to the bling-bling world of a billionaire, where no effort to go for glitz has been spared.
This is the luxury pad of Indian billionaire Bhupendra Kumar Modi, who opened his doors to Life! so that readers can share in his almost boyish enthusiasm for the gadget-driven palace he has created.
The 60-year-old founder and chairman of Indian conglomerate Spice Corp, a telco and media company, moved his base from Beverly Hills in the United States to Singapore last year.
His US$1.5 billion (S$2.2 billion) Spice group makes mobile phones and operates a chain of cellphone retail outlets and entertainment complexes in India.
Life! visited him last week for a peek into his high life.
Dr Modi, who owns properties here and overseas, calls this apartment his 'official bachelor pad, not a family home'.
When asked about his fireplace in sunny Singapore, the flamboyant businessman explains: 'I love the fireplace in my Beverly Hills home and wanted to recreate that effect here.'
Other things he loves in his American home have also been replicated here by American designer Jill Johnson of Waterleaf Interiors. Working closely with Singapore designer Peter Tay, she has redesigned everything to suit Dr Modi's requirements.
Says Mrs Johnson: 'Dr Modi's brief for the apartment was that it will be used for entertaining and it needed to be completely unique from any other apartment in Singapore.'
So everything, right from the wallpaper to the mirrors to the furniture, was shipped from Los Angeles to transport a bit of America to Singapore.
After completing a meeting with company officials in his swanky new home, a relaxed Dr Modi tells Life! how he came to purchase this 'pad'.
It took him less than five minutes to buy the penthouse, he says, explaining: 'I was on my way to the airport when we got a call about this place. It was love at first sight. I loved its splendid view, superb location and spaciousness.'
Entertainment as a lifestyle
The 5,834 sq ft penthouse comes with a lap pool, a private terrace, three bedrooms and sweeping views of the Marina Bay area.
Dr Modi, who sold a telecommunications unit for about US$670 million last year, says he paid cash for the apartment.
'I don't believe in mortgages or in paying interest,' he says.
What about the price he paid?
'I sell my companies, not my homes. I am not worried about the price I paid. I am here to stay.'
Last year, he moved to Singapore and set up the regional office of Spice here.
He announced an investment war chest of US$200 million, with plans for an as-yet-unbuilt 24-hour entertainment and shopping complex here and a cellphone software development centre.
The enthusiasm for round-the-clock entertainment can certainly be seen in his apartment, with its home theatre system, jacuzzi, massage table and lap pool.
Indeed, he says proudly: 'I have transformed it into a 24/7 entertainment place. It is about creating a lifestyle centred on a home.'
So at night, you could expect to be invited for a pool party and during the day, you may be asked to enjoy indoor entertainment such as a film screening.
No doubt his entertainment pad will come in handy, not only for impressing business associates but also for entertaining his huge extended family.
Dr Modi, who has three children aged 26 to 35, is the ninth of 11 children of Mr Gujar Mal Modi, who founded one of India's largest industrial conglomerates, the Modi Group.
He maintains close ties with his siblings. 'We have 300 members in our immediate family,' he says with a laugh.
And his next plan is centred on creating a perfect holiday home for them.
He has bought a 5,000 sq ft penthouse at Sentosa Cove for $10.5 million and is already working on plans to do it up.
But hold the gold.
He says of this one: 'It will be done up very differently from this place and will be a place where we will all get together as a family.'