Playgrounds Catering to the Rise of the Über-rich
Now let’s assume for a moment that you, reading this article, were rich. Not Michael Jordan rich, rather man-who-signs-Michael-Jordan’s-paycheck rich. Where would you travel, given your bottomless wealth? It seems a rather strange question to ask, in an age when traveling has become increasingly affordable.
Yet, needless to say, part of the allure of traveling to a certain destination lies in the activities one may engage in once there. Almost anybody can visit Las Vegas. Not everybody can blow a million dollars playing Blackjack at the Bellagio.
So where would you need to go if you were itching to put a dent in that wealth of yours? Here’s 5 places that should get you started.
Since the turn of the century, Dubai has forged for itself a reputation as the ultimate playground of the rich and famous. Dubbed the “shopping capital of the Middle East”, tourists from all over the world have been known to engage in some serious retail therapy at its 70 shopping malls, including Dubai Mall, which with 1200 shops spread over 84 hectares of retail space, is the world’s largest.
Located within the mall is the Gold Souk, which boasts a dazzling array of jewelery from more than 300 jewelers. Splurge yourself silly on the wide variety available, which also includes diamonds, platinum and silver. You might even want to try your hand at haggling with the sellers, just for kicks of course.
But if all you really want is a fancy place to rest and recharge, head to the One&Only Royal Mirage located on Jumeirah Beach and surrounded by 65 acres of beautiful gardens. For roughly US$7000 a night (rates depend on the time of year), you can have a garden villa suite all to yourself, allowing you the luxury of private, cushion-strewn terraces for dining and sunbathing.
Since 71% of the earth’s surface is water, it probably makes sense that a travel destination should not be constrained to the remaining 29% land mass. More and more people are turning to cruise vacations, given the marginally better value it provides when compared to a land vacation. With a cruise, all payments are made upfront, thereby allowing passengers to live like royalty without having to worry about exceeding their budgets.
Nevertheless, if you’re counting costs while on a cruise, chances are you shouldn’t be on that cruise in the first place. The ease, convenience and service provided on these multi-million dollar aquatic vessels do not come cheap, apparently.
Take The Alysia for instance. Owned by Liveras Yachts, this 280-feet luxury yacht will set you back 700 thousand Euros for a one-week charter. Staffed with a crew large enough to ensure a one-to-one guest to staff ratio, The Alysia also comes equipped with spa equipment , cinema and library, just in case you and your friends get bored of the Mediterranean.
Ilha Grande, Brazil
So you’re rich. Congratulations. But what good is all your money if you can’t bend over to touch your toes? Or you can’t walk a couple of blocks without panting? Everybody knows your bank account is bursting. Do you want them to see your shirt burst open too?
Forget those expensive, good-for-nothing gym memberships. What you really want is seven days on Ilha Grande. Located 100 miles south of Rio de Janeiro, this private island is noted for its scenic beauty: home to 106 beaches and 56 waterfalls. Kayak, snorkel, hike, meditate. Have someone massage your aching muscles. Eat healthily. Repeat. By the end of the week, the staff guarantee you will be reborn, a better, more fulfilled person. Albeit slightly poorer.
Recently ranked the world’s most expensive city, Tokyo’s bright lights have been attracting tourists, rich and not-so-rich, for decades. To burn the proverbial hole in your pocket, be sure to try the dishes at Aragawa, a steakhouse twice named by Forbes as the world’s most expensive restaurant. A dinner for two here can easily reach four figures, especially if you indulge in their specialty: Kobe beef.
The restaurant, located within the capital’s Shinbashi district, affiliates itself with a farm that both raises and slaughters the sake-fed cows, apparently treated well before their dreadful demise. A theory goes that happy cows produce better meat. And better meat sell at better prices. 800 dollars a pound to be exact.
Fancy being an astronaut for a day? For twenty million dollars you can. Space Adventures, a Virginia-based space tourism company provides opportunities to travel on board spacecraft to the moon’s orbit and back. Space tourists experience weightlessness, a breathtaking view of the Earth and a chance to undergo cosmonaut training.
For those who want a ‘cheaper’ space experience, sub-orbital flights like the ones provided by Virgin Galactic cost 100 times less (that’s 200,000 dollars). Such flights won’t bring you all the way to the moon though, peaking at an altitude of 100-160 kilometers.