Inside Bill Gates’ OTT mansion, Xanadu 2.0: the Microsoft billionaire splurged US$63 million to spruce up the home with tech, art and 24 bathrooms … but was it really a ‘nightmare’ for Melinda?

Bill Gates owns the Xanadu 2.0 property. Photos: EPA, The Luxurist/Youtube, Luxurylaunches
Today’s tech billionaires may think nothing of splashing fortunes on multimillion-dollar homes, but Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates arguably set the tone in 1988. He bought a plot in Washington state for just US$2 million but spent another US$63 million to build one of the most impressive homes on the planet, Xanadu 2.0. Seven years, 300 labourers and oodles of inspiration from Charles Foster Kane’s home in the film Citizen Kane led to this 66,000 sq ft abode.
Bill Gates’s home Xanadu 2.0. Photo: Luxurylaunches
The Gates family has branched out since then, the kids have grown up, and the parents have split. However, the house made out of 500 Douglas fir trees and seven types of stones stands tall and robust.

With the help of information gleaned from The Economic Times and real estate website Square Yards, let’s take a look at how one of the youngest billionaires of his time chose to live in what he once called “the coolest house of all time”.

Just how big is Bill Gates’ mansion, Xanadu 2.0?

Bill Gates’s home Xanadu 2.0. Photo: YouTube

Not many people know that Xanadu 2.0 is set on a large parcel of land surrounded by properties Gates bought for US$14 million to ensure ample privacy. The tech billionaire spent US$63 million to make the space his own. Today, the whole complex is worth US$130 million.


Architects James Cutler and Peter Bohlin were the draftsmen of the Pacific lodge-themed house. Designer Thierry Despont was responsible for the striking interiors and was personally appointed by Melinda Gates.

Bill Gates’s home Xanadu 2.0 under construction. Photo: Luxurylaunches

However, Melinda had creative differences with her then-husband and halted construction. The place was “a bachelor’s dream and a bride’s nightmare”, claimed a 2008 profile of Melinda in Fortune magazine, with “enough software and hi-tech displays to make a newlywed feel as though she were living inside a video game”.

Oddly, Xanadu 2.0 boasts seven bedrooms, which seems underwhelming for such a large house, but includes 24 bathrooms, which certainly seems excessive.

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Xanadu 2.0 is the smartest mansion on the planet

Bill Gates spinning some tunes. Photo: Luxurylaunches

The technological masterpiece flaunts a statewide server system and the highest levels of security. Guests visiting the Gates are given a pin-like device that captures their personal preferences – from preferred temperature to lighting and even choice of music. The floors across the mansion are fitted with sensors that immediately detect the presence of individuals with no pin on them.

Bill Gates and his ex-wife Melinda Gates at a Andy Warhol exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Photo: @melindafrenchgates/Instagram

Technology is embedded in every aspect of the home, even art. Several mansion walls are outfitted with special screens displaying photos, paintings and even high-end art. The man who gave the world avant-garde technology couldn’t live in anything less than this, right?


The tech aspects are not limited to humans but even cater to trees. Bill’s favourite 40-year-old maple tree is monitored by computer, and if it becomes too dry at any point, water is automatically pumped into it. There is no dependency on humans to carry out essential functions like changing the music, watering the plants, or hanging a new painting.

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An array of luxurious amenities

Guests at Xanadu 2.0 for Jennifer Gates’ bridal shower. Photo: Luxurylaunches

When the yearly tax payable on the property alone is US$1 million, one can only imagine its size and features. An entire room with a six-metre (20-foot) ceiling houses a trampoline complex, and the impressive house can accommodate 150 people for a sit-down dinner party.

Bill Gates baking a cake for his long-time friend Warren Buffett. Photo: Bill Gates/YouTube

There are no less than six kitchens to cater to guests and gourmets. Xanadu 2.0’s long list of luxuries includes a steam room, sauna and a 25,000 sq ft gym. However, the most unheard-of trimmings remain the significant amounts of sand delivered by barge from St Lucia each year on the lakefront shore.

Xanadu 2.0 includes an imposing library

Bill Gates’s home Xanadu 2.0 features an impressive library. Photo: YouTube

A library in a billionaire’s home is nothing out of the ordinary, but the one in Xanadu 2.0 is a notch above the rest. The 2,100 sq ft repository of knowledge has two secret bookcases and one hidden bar. A quote from The Great Gatsby enhances the ceiling as it reads, “He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.”

Bill Gates with the Codex. Of the 30 scientific journals authored by Leonardo da Vinci, it is considered to the most important. Photo: Luxurylaunches
It also contains a 16th-century Leonardo da Vinci manuscript, the US$30.8 million Codex Leicester, according to Business Insider. But Bill is not the only voracious reader in the mansion. His youngest, Phoebe, loves to read and spend time in the extensive library.

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Bill Gates’ daughter Phoebe Gates on the dock of Xanadu 2.0. Photo: @jenniferkgates/Instagram

Bill threw light on the same. “My daughter Phoebe and I love reading all kinds of books and are big fans of @johngreenwritesbooks. We both couldn’t put down his new novel, Turtles All the Way Down, which tells the story of a young woman who tracks down a missing billionaire,” he wrote on Instagram.

Xanadu 2.0 was the venue of Jennifer Gates’s bridal shower

Bill Gates’ daughter Jennifer Catherine Gates and mum Melinda at Xanadu 2.0. Photo: @jenniferkgates/Instagram
Despite the divorce, Melinda threw an enchanting fairy tale-like bridal shower for daughter Jennifer at the Gates’ lakefront mansion, according to British media. The eco-mansion was ideal with its artificial stream, beautiful fish, sprawling views of Lake Washington and gorgeous landscaping.

Melinda French Gates didn’t think of Xanadu 2.0 as her forever home

Bill Gates and his ex-wife Melinda Gates. Photo: @melindafrenchgates/Instagram

On living in a stately home, Melinda once said in an interview with CNN, “We certainly spend money on ourselves. You see it in the house that we built. We won’t have that house forever, though. Anyway, just to be clear, the house was being built before I came on the scene. But I take responsibility for it.”

Melinda also suggested that she didn’t think of the expansive property as her forever home: “I’m actually really looking forward to the day that Bill and I live in a 1,500 sq ft house.”

Many can only aspire to own a home like Xanadu 2.0, but Melinda seemed to prefer the simpler pleasures of a cosier home instead of this palace. The home is so grand that, in 2009 as part of Microsoft’s annual charity drive, a tour of the mansion went under the hammer for US$35,000, per Techcrunch.

This article originally appeared on Luxurylaunches
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  • Gates bought the Washington home for US$2 million, but spent much more to make the 66,000 sq ft property his own with hi-tech security, a trampoline room, and sand from St Lucia along the lake
  • Youngest daughter Phoebe loves the library, which houses a US$31 million, 16th-century Leonardo da Vinci codex, while Jennifer had her bridal shower at the home too