Hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones has a penchant for buying plush properties. He owns a mansion in Greenwich, Conn., an apartment in Manhattan, an estate in the Florida Keys and another in Zimbabwe, where he enjoys hunting and fishing.
When he bought a 350,000-acre landscape in Tanzania in 2003, the area had a rampant poaching problem. Jones worked closely with the local African populations to help restore the area's wildlife and create an attractive tourist destination.
Eventually, the problematic plot of land was transformed into a luxury safari experience in the heart of Africa's untamed wilderness.
Today Jones' Singita Grumeti Reserves features air-conditioned tents with other amenities to provide a luxurious camping experience. Guests have the opportunity to dine under the trees while watching the famous wildebeest migration before retiring into exclusive lodges with Venetian mirrors and crystal chandeliers.
Forbes teamed up with the Travel Channel to create a list of the most luxurious billionaire-owned hotels. Jones' Singita Grumeti Reserves and 10 other hotels and resorts will be featured on an episode of Forbes Luxe 11, which debuted on the Travel Channel and Travel Channel HD Saturday, Nov. 21 at 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific.
Medical-device maven William Cook also made it his mission to restore a problematic locale into a luxurious getaway, spending $450 million to renovate the French Lick Hotel and Casino in Indiana.
In 1996 the resort was a wasteland of vacant buildings. Thanks to Cook's millions, it has since adopted a Donald Russ-designed golf course, a dozen eating venues, a spa and a 42,000-square-foot casino. The property has won dozens of awards.
Close to the Egyptian pyramids, Kuwait's richest man, Nassar Al-Kharafi, owns the Port Ghalib Resort, a premiere beach destination on the coast of the Red Sea. The resort's exclusive location offers some of the best scuba diving in the world.
Port Ghalib provides three different settings within one resort. The ultra-luxurious 19-suite Intercontinental Palace was designed in the image of an old citadel, offering its guests a feel of being in the 12th century. The Sahara Sun Sands provides an up-market beach feel, while the cheaper Sahara Sun Oasis gives an accessible experience with more conventional décor.
Donald Trump's flagship tower, Trump International, overlooks Central Park, providing an oasis for those seeking a luxurious refuge from the bustle of Manhattan. An opulent lobby with marble and chandeliers leads up to homey guestrooms. Room service is provided by one of New York's best chefs, Jean Georges, whose restaurant is located in the hotel.
In 2007 Israeli real estate titan Yitzhak Tshuva transformed New York's iconic Plaza Hotel into a haven for guests after buying it for $675 million and remodeling the building's suites while also adding high-end condos.
World’s weirdest hotelsThe combination of the hotel's premier address on Central Park South and Fifth Avenue, white-glove service, gourmet dining, luxury retail shops and 100-year history makes staying at the hotel an unforgettable experience.
Topping the list of billionaire-owned hotels is Steve Wynn's masterpiece, Wynn Las Vegas. The casino magnate's namesake resort — where he lives in a suite — boasts a five-star restaurant, an art collection worth millions of dollars, plus a Ferrari-Maserati dealership.
Each of the whimsical rooms features magnificent windows with a view of Sin City's famed neon lights.
© 2012 Forbes.com