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Saudi royal rescue for Smurfit holiday home?

SO this is how the other half lives. Cardboard box tycoon Michael Smurfit's opulent Marbella retreat is up for sale and these photographs provide a clue to how the multi-millionaire tycoon spends some of his fortune.

La Casa Loriana has been languishing on the market for several years but a wealthy buyer -- either Arab or Russian -- might snap it up soon, a local agent suggests.

"It's being quietly marketed at a certain price and it will move in six to eight months," said Michael Corry-Reid, of Aylesford, a seller of luxury homes on this Golden Mile stretch of the Costa del Sol.

"With the Middle East being so unstable, Arab property hunters are back in the Mediterranean," says Corry-Reid. "King Fahd [the Saudi Arabian monarch] still has his palace here, and there was a huge Middle Eastern wedding here this week. It wouldn't surprise me if it sold to a Middle Eastern buyer. But there are a lot of Russians down here too."

The house was reportedly rented by a Saudi princess for €20,000 a day a few years back. The massive Fahd royal compound is nearby.

"Things are moving in the €10m-€15m bracket but the Casa de Loriana is another level however -- a unique and fantastic property."

The current asking price is circa €30m, some way south of the reputed €50m boomtime price tag. For that you get the works.

Situated on an elevated position above the beach, the property consists of four houses sprawling over 3,900 square metres, with a total of 10 double suites plus accommodation for several personal staff.

The ultra-private estate boasts a private cinema, medical room, formal and informal dining rooms, sitting room, vast lounge area and a lagoon- style heated swimming pool with a cascade waterfall overlooking the Mediterranean.

The main house hosts five double suites and has a private lift. Take it to the top floor (dedicated to the master of the house) and you have a library, office and a sauna for two. There are 'his' and 'her' bathrooms, dressing rooms and huge terracing providing stunning views, of both the coast and the mountain.

There's also a private beach with a handy mooring dock for your yacht at the bottom of the garden.

Be it ever so humble . . .

Sunday Indo Business