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The Lap of Luxury

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luxuryYOU MAY THINK YOU ENJOY THE FINER THINGS IN LIFE. AND TO SOME EXTENT, THAT'S PROBABLY TRUE.

YOU MAY SLIP YOUR FEET INTO FINE ITALIAN LEATHER, DRESS YOURSELF IN CUSTOMTAILORED SUITS, DRIVE AN EXOTIC EUROPEAN SPORTS CAR, AND CONSIDER THE HIGH LIFE LIVED. But even the concept of luxury living isn’t safe from that most elemental concept of the sea: There’s always a bigger fish. For every beachfront mansion, there’s a beachfront compound. For every pricey meal, there’s one served in a restaurant that only a handful of people can afford to enter. The scale of luxury climbs to dizzying heights, creating a level of opulence that those of us below the clouds can only dream of. We ventured to the highest spires of luxury and are pleased to present our findings on how the other one percent lives.

 

YACHTS

IF YOU THINK A SLOOP IS A RAPPER, FEEL KETCH IS PLAYED WITH A BASEBALL AND GLOVE AND BELIEVE THAT YAWL IS A SOUTHERN GREETING YOU ARE LIKELY NOT RUBBING SHOULDERS WITH THE ROCKEFELLERS.

reisingsunRISING SUN

This $200 million, 453-foot floating palace was originally built for Oracle Software founder Larry Ellison, and is currently owned by David Geffen. “That’s a big boat,” you may ask. “Does it have a...” Before you even finish that question, the answer is yes. A gymnasium/spa? Yes. A wine cellar? Yes. A private movie theater? A basketball court? A helicopter pad? Yes, yes, yes. Well, you have to have something on board to keep your guests busy, since Rising Sun boasts quarters for 16 guests, plus steerage for a crew of 45, among the 82 rooms in its five stories. They can’t sit on the deck sunning themselves all day. Well, OK, so they can, since there’s 3,300 square meters of deck space. But come on, the sun is free.

projektmarsPROJECT MARS

Rising Sun may be a floating testament to money well spent, but what good is it to us? After all, David Geffen owns it and doesn’t tend to lend it out (not that we asked). Now Project Mars you can actually buy, although we should phrase in all fairness that it could be bought, since you probably don’t have $162 million floating around. Luxury yachtbuilders Fincentieri and H2 originally embarked on Project Mars for a client who backed out partway through. But take a look at these renderings; you don’t just leave a work of art like this unfinished. The boatmakers continued working, offering their masterpiece to whoever can afford it. Beyond the standard mind-boggling luxury standards like a gym, sauna, steam room and heli-pad, Project Mars boasts a formal dining room, back lit onyx fireplace, an exterior lounge that connects to a saloon and a complete green house. Who needs shore leave?

porchePORCHE FEARLESS

28 So what if you’re looking for the high life on the high seas, but you don’t feel like hauling around an entire luxury hotel with you? What if you just want to open up the throttle and split the waves like the sea-borne speed demon you are? Then we have two words for you: Aquatic. Porsche. This $350,000 beast chews up ocean under the power of a maximum 550 horses, hitting speeds of up to 69.5 knots. That’s 80 mph to you landlubbers. Speed is given though, when you take the slick, clean lines of a Carrera 205 GT and stretch them over a fivepiece carbon-reinforced hull.

 

CARS

THERE’S MORE TO LUXURY CARS THAN PRESTIGE. PREMIUM CARS OFFER THE MOST ADVANCED SAFETY OPTIONS AND BEST ENTERTAINMENT TECHNOLOGY ON THE MARKET.

MERCEDESMERCEDES SLR MCLAREN CONVERTIBLE

So your Formula 1 career never took off like you were hoping. There’s still a chance for that white-knuckle excitement, if you have $495,000 to invest. Make no mistake, she looks like a Benz, but she roars like a racer, thanks to a hand-built supercharged V-8 engine putting out a G-force-inducing 617 horses. With a top speed of 206 mph, this droptop hits 62 mph in 3.8 seconds, and since speed like that needs a certain panache, Mercedes added a couple of features that add nothing but a healthy dose of wow factor. First, the doors utilize a unique “swing-wing” design to swing forward and upward when you get in, lending a certain fighter jet appeal. That Top Gun motif continues in the cockpit, when you start the engine by flipping open a hatch on top of the gearshifter, thumbing a glowing red button like you’re taking out an enemy MiG. This car proves that luxury doesn’t always have to be rich leather finishes and tomb-silent interiors. Sometimes it’s getting to play Maverick.

astonASTON MARTIN ONE-77

This car costs $1.4 million. Just let that sink in for a minute. If you’re going to drop seven figures on a car, this is a great place to start. But you had probably better know a few people: They only made 77 of these, hence the name. But if you can get your hands on one, you’ll enjoy one of the finest cars in the world. There’s the obvious glut of power, with an engine that puts out 750 horsepower (or 559 kw in its native British) and can take you from 0-62 in 3.7 seconds. But anyone can simply overpower a supercar and call it a day. Aston-Martin justifies the price tag by applying a startling amount of attention to the details. The body itself is forged from a single piece of carbon fiber, making it more race car than street machine. The aluminum body panels are hand crafted. The suspension isn’t even fine-tuned until the driver takes delivery, so it can be tailored specifically to the driver. James who?

ferrariFERRARI LaFERRARI 

There’s a horrible tendency among carmakers to unveil mindblowing concept cars that completely nail the very essence of what a line is supposed to be, then underdeliver with what they finally roll out. This time, however, the factory model itself is more concept than concept. That’s what it’s called the “LaFerrari,” as this was designed to encapsulate the very essence of the Ferrari with ferociously aggressive lines, a low profile, and more speed than you could possibly find use for. But perhaps the biggest surprise is that LaFerrari is a hybrid. Yes, your Prius’ sexy Italian counterpart has a V12 engine putting out 789 hp coupled with an electric motor that gets charged in corners and while braking (as though you’ll be doing a lot braking in this thing). The result is a net 16.6 mpg. Hey, it’s not putting up Nissan Leaf mpg numbers, but take a look at this thing. Sexy always comes at a price. Only 499 of these will be made, and the sticker is around $1.3 million.

 

fashion & ACCESSORIES

THE RICH DON’T HAVE A UNIFORM ANYMORE. TODAY, THEY ALL WEAR THEIR WEALTH DIFFERENTLY.

LOUIS-MOINETTHE LOUIS MOINET TOURBILLON ROSETTA STONE WATCH

Any luxury watch can wrap your wrist in luxurious red gold and leather. Any luxury watch can boast hand-wound movement and a price tag of $500,869. But name one luxury watch that ups the ante by including a real chunk of 4.6 million-year-old meteorite in every watch. What exactly does this chunk of meteorite do, in terms of timekeeping? Anyone who would ask such a question does not deserve this watch. Although the space rock could be a nod to one of this watch’s most amazing features: the Rosetta Stone automatically adjusts for slight variations in time caused by the earth’s gravitational pull. Yes, they added in a feature that only theoretical astrophysicists would know is working. But when you get to that appointment .00008 nanoseconds before the other guy, you’ll be glad it is.

DEBBIE-WINGHAMs

DEBBIE WINGHAM’S WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE ABAYA DRESS

One in every one hundred million diamonds is naturally colored red, making the red diamond the rarest in the world. On average, they only find one about every fifty years. By placing this most ultra-rare of rare gems on a dress, designer Debbie Wingham has created a work of fashion that serves as a wearable treasure chest. Beyond the centerpiece red diamond, more than 2,000 diamonds are set in platinum and woven into the Abaya with 14k white gold thread. Buyers were invited to consult with Wingham personally in the penthouse of the Raffles Hotel in Dubai. If you had $17.7 million, you could have joined them.

 

 

BERLUTI RAPIÉCÉS REPRISÉS

BERLUTIUsually, when one says you have the world at your feet, they’re speaking metaphorically. Unless you’re wearing these. Luxury shoemaker Berluti’s name is well-known enough for custom-made bespoke menswear and incomparable shoes. But the Rapiécés Reprisés elevates this craft to an artform, creating a masterpiece crafted through 250 different operations and personally fitted for you in Berluti’s Madison Avenue storefront. Listed by Forbes as the most expensive men’s shoes in the world, the Rapiécés Reprisés run a surprisingly affordable (for this list) $1,830 a pair.

 

TRAVEL

LUXURY HOTELS THE WORLD OVER ARE RENOWNED FOR THEIR SERVICE AND AMENITIES, WHETHER YOU ARE STAYING IN A STANDARD ROOM OR A SUITE. BUT THERE ARE ALSO THOSE SUITES WHERE YOU GET SOMETHING OVER AND ABOVE THE NORM.

BADRUTTsBADRUTT’S PALACE, ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND

For a mere $5,425 per night, you can book a luxury suite in the “Grand Dame” of luxury hotels. This place has five stars and it has earned each one through a dedication to limitless indulgence. The gourmet restaurants, individually-appointed rooms, and endless possibilities for winter sports from sledding to skiing are all window dressing, however, to the hotel’s real star: breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps and Lake St. Moritz. 

destinoCASA EL DESTINO

But what if you don’t want to rub elbows with the rich and famous of Europe? What if you just want to disappear to your own private island and soak up the tranquility that comes with complete solitude? Then prepare to lay down $70,000-$105,000 a week for magnificent Casa El Destino. Located at the tip of Punta Mita near Puerto Vallarta, El Destino offers seven luxurious bedrooms, a private chef, horseback riding, watersports, whale watching, and of course, inspiring ocean views.

feradura1ISLA DE SA FERRADURA

A private mansion on an island is all well and good, but never forget that rule about bigger fish. For those times when you just want to rent an entire island, accept no substitutes. Rates are reportedly $230,000 a week for this Mediterranean “superhacienda” off the southern coast of Spain, with seven suites, a full kitchen staff offering regional Ibiza-sourced dishes, and a cave system to explore with its own whirlpool, Turkish bath, and sauna. Go sailing, snorkeling or exploring this island once infamous as a pirate retreat. Cross the water and clubbing in Ibiza. Or simply do nothing, knowing that you are ensconced in the absolute zenith of resort perfection. In this case, there are no bigger fish. This is as luxurious as luxurious gets.

 

JEWELRY

The diamond trade is still very alive and as long as people have a penchant for the ridiculously expensive it always will be.

diamond-neckLaceStatement mesh diamond necklace

A more fitting name has never been given than the one bestowed on this $128,500 necklace from renowned jeweler Blue Nile. A grand total of 651 diamonds truly makes a statement in a 18k white gold mesh design evoking timeless elegance.

Louis Vuitton Lockit Bracelet in white gold and diamonds

Louis-VuittonInspired by the emerging custom of “love locks,” in which couples attach a padlock to the railing of a bridge before throwing the key into the water as a symbol of their love (kids today), the $16,000 Lockit bracelet winds 116 diamonds around a band of white gold. The clasp is a functioning LV padlock, and the bracelet comes with a set of keys on a white gold chain “to be worn by the loved one.”

cartierCartier Panthere Earrings

You don’t get called out by name in the song “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” without some ferocious jewelry chops, and the famous house of Cartier proves it. With this $46,700 set of earrings, the iconic panther of Cartier’s designs is stunningly rendered in white gold with an onyx nose and emerald eyes. Louis Cartier was a pioneer in taming panthers (true story), but with this design, “tame” isn’t the right word.

 

If money WERE NO OBJECT...

There’s a concept in economics called a “Veblin Good.” Essentially, there are certain items that become valuable for the simple fact that they are valuable. For these luxury goods, the inflated price tag is the most attractive thing about them. To those who can’t afford them, a Veblin item like a $1,000 iPhone app that doesn’t do anything seem like a gross overindulgence. To those who can, IT’S ONE MORE WAY OF EXPERIENCING THE FINER THINGS IN LIFE.

carbonCARBON-FIBER TOILET SEAT

The website at carbonfibergear.com states in bold typeface and in no uncertain terms, “Due to the nature of the product, sales are final.” So think before you click and purchase this $300 2x2 twill carbon fiber toilet seat. Why would you need a toilet seat with a tensile strenth of 550,000 psi? It’s hard to say, but there’s a joke about the lightweight design making you go faster that we’ll avoid.

monopoliMONOPOLY

Luxury British toymaker Geoffrey Parker offers a classy take on Monopoly featuring hand-bound Dauphin calfskin sides, leather-bound bankers boxes, a game surface embossed with gold, and silver playing pieces. This set goes for $7,500, yet surprisingly the money it comes with is not legal tender. A word to the wise: Anyone who can afford this is not someone you want to play Monopoly against.

GOLDPLATED STAPLES

goldplatedOne cube of 24 goldplated staples will set you back $80, but your TPS reports will have never looked more stunning. According to the website selling them, ooms.nl, “Intended primarily as a form of jewelry, these luxury pieces can be applied to clothing (or just about anything) with the help of your average stapler.” As though any stapler loaded with gold could be considered average.

iamrichI AM RICH

I am Rich was an app that sold for $999.99 and didn’t do anything that would remotely justify its price. It simply showed a diamond that, when pressed, would fl ash the following text: “I am rich. I deserv [sic] it. I am good, healthy & successful.” Sounds dumb, right? Well it was taken off the app store the next day, but not before eight people bought it. Only two of them by mistake.

 

DESTINATION: Posh

Travel website tripadvisor.com unveiled its annual Tripindex, a list of the most expensive cities for travel, this past June. The list was based on how much it would set you back for a night at a four-star hotel (gauged between June and August 2011), a cocktail, a round-trip taxi ride, and a two-course dinner with a bottle of wine.

1. Oslo, Norway $581
2. Zurich, Switzerland $523
3. Stockholm, Sweden $522
4. New York $516
5. Paris, France $511
6. Sydney, Australia $460
7. London, England $451
8. Copenhagen, Denmark $444
9. Cancun, Mexico $441
10. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic $436