The millionaire fills his shopping tote at Chanel and Cartier, tucks into chocolate-dipped strawberries and sips on Laurent Perrier champagne. These might be clichés but what is not one is his penchant for holidaying in style. As the rich are getting richer, so are their playgrounds that score on several counts — no-holds barred luxury, fantastic locales, extreme privacy and one-of-a-kind designs. Heres a look at where the super rich are heading:
Lots of people walking around in gold ski suits, as Andy Castle, managing director, Ski in Luxury puts it, should reassure you that you are in the vicinity of one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world. The jet-setting sorts like to book themselves into the Chalet Atlantique and the Chalet Hermine — two of the sumptuous chalets here in the exclusive Hameau du Cospillot area of the French Alps. They offer personal chefs and chauffeurs. The experience at Courchevel 1850 covers extensive skiing on the not-less-than-perfect pistes (ski trails), dropping into designer boutiques, tucking into lavish spreads at Michelin starred restaurants and partying at hip pubs, discotheques and piano-bars in the Alpine town. And at the end of it all, retire to the intense privacy of the chalets.
A week at Atlantique comes at a starting price tag of 18,000 pounds. At Hermine its 15,000 pounds. Both chalets offer 10 sleeps (accommodation for 10 people). The tag takes care of daily breakfast, afternoon tea while six nights in the week you will be served a four- or five-course evening meal with fine wines. To complete the experience, the resort works hand-in-hand with companies offering private jets and helicopter transfers. Travel to and from the resort is not included in the prices.
The rich and the famous love to vacation at Sir Richard Bransons 74-acre island in the Caribbean. The island is usually hired by an individual or group, but then there are Celebration Weeks when it is thrown open to couples who can share it with others. Up to 28 people can put up at either the Great House on top of Devils Hill or the five Bali Houses that are dotted over the island.
Three of these Bali Houses offer alfresco-style living. Take a look at the island (www.neckerisland.com) and you will almost definitely want to book yourself in — though you probably cant afford it. Gear up for dancing the night away to the strains of a local calypso band, sway lazily on hammocks, give in to the bliss of the Bali Leha spa or just soak up the serenity on a secluded beach.
Rooms are priced at $47,000 per night for private hire upto 28 people. Included in it are all food and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), a private chef, a staff of 50, laundry, wireless Internet, phones, fishing equipment including boats, local calypso band for one party evening and entertainment. However for couple bookings, the tag starts at $22,500 per couple per week.
Al Maha Desert Resort
They call it the Romance of Arabia. The traditional Bedouin-styled encampment is in the heart of the Arabian Desert and is a 45 minutes drive from Dubai International Airport. Its Presidential Suite boasts of luxurious amenities. Read: a private pool, a large courtyard, his and her vanities, Bvlgari products, private staff at your beck and call and the like. How do you entertain yourself when you are not wallowing in luxury? Take your pick from traditional desert pursuits.
Accommodation at Al Maha (www.al-maha.com) comes with a tag of $8,000 per night which also lets you avail of two complimentary onsite activities such as falconry, camel treks, horse riding and archery. However you have to pay extra if you want to try some off-site activities that feature mountain safaris in the rugged Hajar Mountains and visits to the 200-year-old village of Hatta.
Hugh Hefners Sky Villa
If price is no object, book yourself into the playboy-themed hotel room (Hefner has stayed in his namesake room once) atop the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas. It happens to be a two-storey villa spread over 10,000sq ft with a $700,000 cantilevered Jacuzzi that juts out toward the Las Vegas Strip. Equally fascinating is a rotating bed placed strategically beneath a mirrored ceiling.
At a hefty $40,000 per night, its a dream in luxury — two bedrooms with incredible views, a personal swimming pool, a sauna, private gym, a glass elevator, huge flat screen monitors in every room, full complete bar for alcohol lovers and a poker table.