STATUS SYMBOLS

Gone are the days of the 1950’s when the most prized status symbol was a toaster and foam sofa, and in the 1960’s a washing machine. Today it’s all about houses around the world, haute couture clothes, cars, art, wine, private jets, yachts and even a trophy wife.

But not in Britain where Hot Tubs are the new status symbol there!

In a survey released today hot tubs are thought of as the greatest status symbol followed by a walk-in wardrobe, US style Sub Zero fridge and music speakers in every room. It looks like everyone will be popping the champagne and getting into their swim suit post Olympics.

Other newer items that have hit status symbol prestige are –

Specialty bikes (as in the peddling type). Retailers of custom bikes command only 14 percent of the market, but 44 percent of the dollars and it’s nothing for someone to spend $30,000 on one that isn’t even made to race.

If cycling isn’t your thing, how about an elite fragrance? A fragrance that is designed from your DNA Genetic code and customized individually.

If you are all about animals a Chinese buyer recently paid $200,000 for a racing pigeon, while another paid $1.5 million for an 11-month old red Tibetan mastiff dog named Big Splash (the world’s most expensive dog)

But if you are old school and still like splurging on a car, in Singapore you can now park your pride and joy in your living room at this new apartment block (apartments go for between $7.5mill and $24mill)

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/luxury-car-in-condo-apartment-at-scotts-road.html

VIVE LA LUXURY!

Booking a shopping holiday but not sure where the best value is to buy those luxury goods? Look no further than the home of that famous bike race, cheese, champagne and Louis Vuitton.

France is the most popular international travel destination for tax-free shopping, followed by Singapore, Germany, England and Italy.

The Chinese millionaire accounts for the largest proportion of consumption spent on tax-free shopping across the globe, making up about a quarter of Chinese global consumption.

In Singapore Chinese tourists spend an average of $10,481 on luxury watches and jewelry. And a single Chinese tourist can buy up to 20 branded bags at one shop based on a shopping list of requests from people back home.

Russian & Chinese tourists account for almost 40% of global tax-free spend, followed by Japanese and Indonesians.

And remember it can be worth putting in that tax form at the airport, saving you up to 19% of your purchases which can add up to a lot when you are buying a Louis Vuitton luggage set!

SMART ART

Last week two new pieces of artwork arrived that I had ordered to hang in my office at home (and they look absolutely amazing!). Not wanting to break the bank, but still wanting something unique, I went with some customized art. I know you are probably thinking of those awful pop art prints that hung everywhere at one time, or a massive black and white family shot that has been blown up on to a canvas… you can relax, my taste is a tad more sophisticated. I went with two specific items – and not only are they great for home, but can add a unique feel to an office.

1. A customized map which is available in any colour, size, pattern you like. It comes with pins so you can track any location around the world and you can print whatever wording you like on it too (mine is pictured above).
Perfect for –
a) Remembering family holidays
b) As a gift (especially a wedding present)
c) Business – hang it in reception or a meeting room so you can show office locations around the world

2. A “Favourite Things”. All of your cherished things – quotes, holiday locations, people, movies, experiences, dates, food, values – all on one canvas and the list is endless. Every house should have one. And again completely tailored and available in any colour and size.
Perfect for –
a) Children’s rooms
b) Gifts
c) Business – Company values, office locations, customer lists… whatever your style.

Best place to source this from? After a lot of research from all over the globe, I found one supplier who provides not only a high quality finished product, but has the artistic prowess to design something special for each individual.

Check out the BLANK website to see for yourself – http://www.blankbespokeart.com/Gallery

The best thing… the customized art starts from only USD$425 and they can be shipped anywhere in the world!

HOTELS THAT RAISE THE BAR

Not excited about staying in the Marriott Hotel again, where the only option for an after work drink is in the lobby bar that hasn’t had a facelift since the 1970’s.

While we know everyone is limited by corporate hotel selection, you can still venture to these hotel bars, if only for a drink and to impress!

Here are some of the hotel bars that have been named as the best (based in cities).

Connaught Bar at the Connaught, London
What recession? Opulence at its finest. Signature drink – juleps laced with herbal Fernet-Branca

Hemingway Bar, Ritz Carlton, Paris
Decadent and full of history. Signature drink – Bloody Mary. Where it was invented for Hemingway, to disguise the smell of alcohol on his breath.

Long Bar, Raffles Hotel, Singapore
Armchairs, big ceiling fans and throwing peanut shells on the ground. Old school colonial at its finest. Signature drink – The Singapore Sling. Invented in 1915 and still going strong – the bar sells 2,000 Singapore Slings daily.

Martini Bar at the Raleigh, Miami
Keeps things art deco and classy in Miami . Signature drink – martini

Redwood Room at Clift, San Francisco
Where the in-crowd of Silicon Valley can be seen. The room is filled with digital art to keep you entertained. Signature drink – Lavender martini

New York Bar at the Park Hyatt, Tokyo
Yes made famous in Lost in Translation, this cool bar is 52 floors up with stunning views. Signature drink – Yamazaki whiskey

Bar 1200 at Sunset Marquis Hotel, West Hollywood
Celebrity spotting of the music variety is rife – so look sharp or arrive early to get in. A recording studio is on-hand near by. Signature drink – Marquis-tini

Sky Lounge at Upper House, Hong Kong
49 floors up and you will find huge windows, an amazing view and an oasis above the bustling street of Central. Signature drink – Soul Happiness

The Drawing Room at the Greenwich Hotel, New York City
Cosy and warm in Tribeca you will feel like you are in your fantasy living room. Signature drink – Manhattan

What is your favourite hotel bar for an after work drink?

ARE YOU RICH?

The definition of “Rich”: having wealth or great possessions; abundantly supplied with resources, means, or funds.

So what does that exactly mean in 2012?

In a recent survey by Gallup, you’re rich if you have $1 million in assets, or $150k in annual income per person (as answered by people surveyed in the USA). The government usually says it’s a salary of $250k (which only accounts for 1% of Americans).

In China, Super Rich is defined as a person who holds assets worth at least 100 million yuan (USD$15mill). The China Daily estimates there are 8,200 of these individuals currently residing in Shanghai. 75% are business owners and 25% are made up of investors (mostly real estate) But the super-rich club of Shanghai is only the third largest in China though. Beijing holds the pole position, while Shenzhen is second.

Author Nassim Taleb explores the whole concept in his book “Fooled by Randomness” where he uses a great antidote about some fictional (?) neighbours. Was it just plain luck that one guy was richer than the other? We will never know if hard work really pays off.

DON’T FAKE IT

Decided you might treat yourself on your latest business trip and thought that Gucci bag was a bargain at $200… think again.

Counterfeit goods production has risen by over 10,000 percent during the past two decades, partially as a result of existing consumer demand. Fake product sales are now at USD$600 billion worldwide and make up 7 percent of all products traded around the world. The International Chamber of Commerce estimates that this figure will double by 2015.

Luxury goods, such as fake Louis Vuitton and Chanel handbags, footwear and clothing, represent only approximately 4% of the industry. The other 96 percent is made up of pharmaceuticals, auto parts, airplane parts, electrical cords, toys, software, hardware, CDs, DVDs, books, baby formula, alcohol, toothpaste and even eggs!

The World Health Organization, has estimated that 10 percent of all medications worldwide are fake, with sales amounting to approximately $320 billion. And many of these medications are now being made in the UK, not just India or Asia.

In the UK alone over 800 million pounds of fake DVD’s are sold each year
In the Ukraine 90% of all computer software used is fake

So if it’s too good to be true… then it’s usually fake!

TRAVEL TUESDAY – Going Green

If you are booking your next business trip, have you considered staying at a “green” hotel?

Environmentally friendly hotels are all the rage, and many hotels have been doing their bit (albeit sometimes token) for the environment for a while. More than 33% of business travelers “seek out hotels that are environmentally friendly”, and 28% said they will pay 10% more to stay in a green hotel. Business travelers expect hotels to recycle, use energy-efficient lighting, give guests the option of not having sheets and towels changed every day and use environmentally safe cleaning products.

But the Travel Weekly business travel survey found that 75% of those surveyed said that their company’s travel policies do not recommend staying at hotels with green programs. Does your corporate travel agency??

In my experience these guys are setting the standards in business green travel:

Kimpton Hotels – green efforts date back to 1981 and continue strongly to this day http://www.kimptonhotels.com/kimpton-cares/earthcare.aspx
Hyatt Olive on 8 Seattle – the best hotel I have stayed at in Seattle http://olive8.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/
Marriott – is named best hotel chain for green efforts

And if by chance you want to take a break this chain is amazing at doing luxury eco-friendly 5 star stays! http://www.sixsenses.com/soneva/