Though worth a ‘humble’ $18 billion, Dubai’s royal family leads a life of such extravagance that even centibillionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos do not dream of – Their 531 ft long yacht has its own submarine, their palace is the size of an airport, & once on a family trip, they spent $2M on strawberries.

Via Instagram / @faz3

The House of Maktoum makes the rich seem poor, opulence seems ordinary, and millions of dollars seem minuscule. Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the current ruler of Dubai, and his family are the wealthiest in Dubai, with a net worth of $18 billion. The head of the family leads an extraordinary life with six spouses and 23 children. Nothing is ordinary about them, be it their home, hobbies, and events. It is a lesser-known fact that Sheikh Maktoum’s first wedding set a Guinness World Record for the ‘Most Expensive Wedding.’ The month-long extravaganza cost $100 million, with a specially created stadium for the nuptials. He has been the absolute ruler of the Emirate for the last 17 years, succeeded by heir apparent Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. Listed below are jaw-dropping details of Dubai’s illustrious House of Maktoum’s animal-loving, art-crazy, and luxury-laden life.

A young Sheikh Mohammed.

The persons behind the persona-
Contrary to popular belief that royals are born with diamond-studded spoons, Sheikh Mohammed, the third of four sons of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, was a prince but not princely. Way before the glitzy hotels, ginormous man-made islands and sky kissing skyscrapers, Dubai was but a humble and put it simply a sleepy fishing village.

Modern-day Dubai under the leadership of Sheikh Mohammed, has transformed into a sprawling urban metropolis.

Hard to believe, but the sheik grew up in a house without any electricity during his early years, and the large family sometimes had to sleep together in one room with a fan. Even then, over a hundred people lived in his house, including guards and helpers.

Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan with Cristiano Ronaldo

The same cannot be said for his sons Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan and his younger brother Mansoor bin Mohammed Almaktoum. By 1966, Dubai struck oil and development took place at breakneck speed. In the following years, Dubai transformed into a modern city and commercial hub. The princes were born into wealth and lived lavishly. They began their journey at Dubai’s prestigious Rashid School for Bo. They later moved to the UK to attend Sandhurst – a top training college for British military officers favored by Middle Eastern royals.

The iconic Burj Al Arab hotel.

The businesses that create the billions-
With great wealth comes great responsibility, and Sheikh Mohammed sure is both- responsible and ultra-wealthy. The 73-year-old Emirati politician is described as “one of the world’s most prominent real estate developers. The one-man army is the force behind the changing face of Abu Dhabi as a global city akin to Dubai. His government-owned enterprises include Emirates Airline, DP World, and the Jumeirah Group.

The towering Burj Khalifa.

Dubai Holding holds some of these. Sheikh Mohammed is also the visionary behind the Palm Islands, the iconic Burj Al Arab Hotel, and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

Sheikh Mohammed inspects redesigned lounge area of the Emirates A380.

The Emirates Group founded in 1985, comprises Dnata, and the largest airline in the Middle East, Emirates Airline, that flies to over 150 destinations. The award winning airline is often touted as the most luxurious in the world with its aircrafts offer private suites and onboard shower spas to its first class passengers.

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Private first class suite.

The immensely successful enterprise boasts a turnover of approximately $28.3 billion and employs over 105,000 employees across the world. Emirates declared to have closed the 2023 financial year with an exceptional level of cash assets of $ 10.2 billion, 79% higher compared to 31 March 2022.

Image – Youtube / Screengrab.

Where do the royals reside?
Dubai’s king, queens, princes, and princesses live in an enormous $2 billion palace that is 27 times bigger than the White House. Spread across 1.5 million square feet, the palace covers an area of approximately 44 hectares. Conjuring the royal family are enthusiastic animal lovers; their home features a private zoo, home to exotic animals, including tigers, lions, giraffes, and elephants. The colossal residence parades a large swimming pool enveloped by perfectly manicured gardens and palm trees. In addition to comfortably housing the royals, the palace has a banquet hall for 1,000 guests and a private cinema that can seat 80 people.

While there are no publicly available images of the living areas of the Jabeel palace. The Majlis occasionally sees VIP’s which are hosted by the royal family. Pictured here is the Arsenal football team when they were visiting the UAE. Image – Facebook / Screengrab.Via Facebook / @Arsenal

Zabeel Palace is an inspiring feat of design and architecture, flaunting 22-carat gold accents, 200 chandeliers, and marble imported from 13 different countries. Outside, the marvels are plenty, such as a Tennis court and several horse stables for the accomplished equestrians who ride the finest Arabian horses in the world.

The $100 million Surrey estate.

They are owners of several properties in the UK –
Putting the billions of the wealthy Maktoum clan into perspective is their vast real estate portfolio. The owner of the world’s most successful thoroughbred horse racing stables named Godolphin stables purchased a $100 million Surrey estate with 63,000 acres of land. He bought the storied Longcross Estate in the 1990s to escape the sweltering Dubai. Another $60 million were invested in Dalham Hall in 2009 to use as a stud farm close to the Newmarket racetrack.

Sheikh Mohammed’s remote Scottish estate.

Nearly two decades ago, Sheikh Mohammed bought the Highland estate in Wester Ross for $3 million. The excellent property is no less than a palace with 58 bedrooms, a triple helipad, and a 16-bedroom luxury hunting lodge. HH Sheikh Mohammed’s portfolio includes several apartments in the One Hyde Park development in London.

The family also owns the Dalham hall a 3,300 acre estate in the UK.

Outside the UK, the Maktoum family owns a string of properties in France, including a large estate near Chantilly. They unwind in a Swiss chalet in the exclusive ski resort of Verbier and live in their own palace when visiting Amman, Jordan. Regarding holiday homes, Sheikh Mohammed and his family vacation in their holiday palace in the city of Tangier, Morocco.

Dubai megayacht. Image – Yacht harbour

Stunning and splendid superyachts –
Are you even a royal if you don’t have palaces on land, air, and sea? The regal Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates owns several yachts like Dubawi and Smeralda. But the ones most noteworthy are the $400 million Dubai and $180 million megayacht Quattroelle, a floating Burj Al-Arab owned by the Crown Prince.

The Quattroelle

The 531-footer Dubai boasts 50 lavish guest rooms, a disco, a squash court, and a swimming pool embedded with fiber optic lights.

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Swimming pool of the Quattroelle

The eight-decker sleeps 115 guests across its 88 cabins and is staffed by a crew of around 90 people. Lurssen Quattroelle is a humongous ship that dedicates an entire deck to her royal owner while accommodating 12 guests in 6 luxury cabins.

The Sheikh’s private Boeing 747 Jumbo jet.

Palatial private jets-
Billionaires have private jets, but the affluent ruler of Dubai owns a fleet of private jets. The Boeing 747-400, aka the Dubai Air Wing One, is used for personal and official travel. The expansiveness, luxurious amenities, and state-of-the-art technology make it the numero uno choice of Sheikh Mohammed and his family on international trips.

Private Boeing 747 interiors designed by Alberto Pinto. Image used for representation only.

Interiors are sheathed in secrecy for obvious reasons, but it goes without saying that the world’s largest private jet usually includes a main bedroom with a full-sized king bed and en suite. Expect walk-in showers and a vanity with a mirror flanked with expensive toiletries.

Some of the other private jets of the royal family. Image – DAEP.

The main lounge is located upstairs, next to the salon for the royal children. Other areas include a private office that doubles as a formal dining area, meeting and conference rooms, and several guest cabins. Sounds outrageously extravagant, right? Sheikh Mohammed’s other private jets reportedly include a Boeing 737 and a Gulfstream G650.

Sheikh Mohammed and his ex-wife Princess Haya.

While we were on the topic of travel, Princess Haya and Sheikh Mohammed loved traveling together during happier days. They once spent an unbelievable $3 million on strawberries and splurged a whopping $850,000 on a summer vacation in Italy. The couple racked up a hefty hotel bill of $311,000 in Greece. The Dubai ruler had to pay his U.K.-based ex-wife a whopping $700 million in divorce settlement making it one of the most expensive divorce settlements in British history.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the Dubai art week.

The royals are art lovers-
The Zabeel Palace walls give a clear indication that the House of Maktoum appreciates fine art. The opulent walls showcase an excellent art collection, including works by famous artists like Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Auguste Rodin. Outside the palace walls, this penchant is witnessed at the Etihad Museum, which comprises works from the private collection of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. 20th-century Arab art is highlighted through works by Dia Azzawi, Baya Mahieddine, Naziha Selim, Abdul Qader Al Rais, and Fateh Moudarres.

Via Facebook / @Dubai International Horse Fair

An innate love for horses and horse racing –
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is a prominent racehorse owner and breeder known for his passion for horses, a trait shared by his son, Crown Prince Mohammed Al Maktoum, affectionately known as Fazza. Their breeding operations are counted among the most successful in the world, with the firm Godolphin Stables recording over 5,000 winners worldwide since its inception in 1992.

Crown prince Fazza has never shied away from showing his love for animals.Via Instagram / @faz3

Their love for animals shines through the state-of-the-art facilities and high-quality care bestowed on the horses. Huge investments in technology and equipment ensure the health and well-being of its horses.

Sheikh Mohammed with his Derby winning horse.Via Facebook / @Godolphin

Other stud farms that Dubai’s royal family own are Darley Stud in Newmarket, England, Jonabell Farm in Kentucky, USA, and Kildangan Stud in County Kildare, Ireland.

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With over 15 years of experience in luxury journalism, Neha Tandon Sharma is a notable senior writer at Luxurylaunches. Her expertise spans luxury yachts, high-end fashion, and celebrity culture. Beyond writing, her passion for fantasy series is evident. Beginning with articles on women-centric gadgets, she's now a leading voice in luxury, with a fondness for opulent superyachts. To date, her portfolio boasts more than 2 million words, often penned alongside a cappuccino.