By Dilip Bobb
There are two properties that have attracted the rich and ultra rich in NCR—Magnolias and Aralias, both built by DLF, adjoining each other as well as bordering the DLF Golf course in Gurgaon. Five years ago, I had visited a friend who had moved into one of the luxury apartments in Aralias, where monthly rents range between Rs 2.5 lakh and 5 lakh, depending on the size and number of bedrooms. Magnolia, which came up later, fetches even higher rentals.
While giving me a tour of the property, spread over 12.6 acres, he pointed to a penthouse on his tower, which, he had discovered, was occupied by Robert Vadra. Whether Vadra owned it or rented it was not known but it had been unoccupied ever since my friend moved into the high-end gated complex. The tower, which overlooks the internationally recognized golf course, has four penthouses, one occupied by the chairman of DLF, Rajiv Singh, son of KP Singh, the man who built DLF into a real estate giant. Rajiv is now the face of the company. Another penthouse was occupied by K P Singh’s’ sister and the third is used by KP Singh to entertain or spend his golfing weekends. Robert Vadra and Rajiv are close friends, an association that has led to the raft of cases against the former for questionable land deals involving DLF as well.
Which is why I was surprised at the speculation about where they would move to after they were so rudely evicted from their Lodhi Road bungalow. Aralias offers them the ideal alternative since they will have a five-bedroom penthouse on the 18th floor overlooking the golf course and the surrounding green sprawl, in an exclusive, gated, well-guarded apartment complex with all the amenities any family could want.
The 11 towers in the complex are the ultimate in luxury and amenities, and the apartments come with high ceilings, central air conditioning, large balconies, reserved parking and staff quarters. Each apartment is custom tailored to owner’s specifications. The 254 apartments here range between 5,822 and 10,803 sq ft in area. The five-bedroom penthouses are just over 9,000 sq ft and come with five large balconies.
Down below, the DLF Aralias clubhouse has an Olympic size swimming pool, a plush restaurant, squash, badminton and tennis courts, skating rink, a gymnasium (Robert is a fitness fanatic), along with facilities for yoga. Residents also get preference for membership at the DLF Golf & Country Club, rated among the best in the country and host to PGA-sanctioned events like the Indian Open.
Robert Vadra also happens to be a keen golfer, along with Rajiv and KP Singh. In his autobiography, Against All Odds, KP Singh has written about the major role played by Priyanka Vadra’s late father, Rajiv Gandhi, in encouraging DLF’s ambitious plans which, he believed, was good for Haryana. The family connection started there, and continued with the other Rajiv, now DLF chairman.
The Aralias complex is literally a world apart. It has its own organic fruit, vegetable and grocery stores, concierge services, a pharmacy, an ATM kiosk, a laundry shop, 24×7 ambulance services and doctor-on-call. The evening I was there, my friend had invited the general manager of the property, a former GM with the Taj hotel group, who is on call to attend to any of its pampered resident’s demands or complaints. The Vadras moving in may add to their complaints since security and screening will be much stricter. The reality is that it is already pretty strict. The evening I went, my hosts had to inform the posse of guards at the single entry gate in advance that they were expecting visitors, along with names and number of guests. When your residents are the very rich, and now, the very famous, that is literally par for the course.
Lead picture: UNI