An authentic Italian dinner with 10 friends beneath the Leaning Tower of Pisa, serenaded by Andrea Bocelli? Try a treasure hunt at Ymittos Mountain followed by a sunset dinner cruising the Greek Islands aboard a luxury yacht with a handful of your favourite people.
For some, it’s blasting off to the international space station for seven days on a cool multi-million dollar round trip via rocket. Welcome to the widening world of experiential luxury — a passionate pastime of the world’s 1%.
Image: Hawaii Tourism Authority
The world’s richest few have benefited greatly during the worldwide pandemic. Oxfam says the combined wealth of the world’s richest ten men has risen $540 billion during this period. A widening social class gap and growing CEO-to-worker pay ratio amidst the COVID pandemic puts pressure on the wealthy to avoid flagrant fortune flaunting. Many of the world’s uber wealthy have been making more charitable donations, yes.
Still, without being seen as out of touch with reality, the uber-rich now seek to enjoy luxurious, memorable, unmatched, one-of-a-kind life experiences, more out of the public eye.
Image: Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
Companies are sprouting up to cater to demand for lavish, luxurious experiences. Brands and municipalities are getting in on the game, too (more on this later). Even more concierge services are emerging by invitation only, with a hefty annual membership fee. So-Cal based Bluefin Sims is super selective about their clientele. Montreal-based Pure Entertainment Group are experts at creating special experiences. As long as it’s moral and legal, many of these companies will fulfill it.
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Image: Dominican Republic Tourism Board
Dripping-diamond displays don’t cut it. These days, not even the 1% are keen to clammer on social media showcasing luxurious stashes of unmatched wealth. Obnoxious displays of outrageous affluence aren’t well received by a great general population struggling to get by these days. Experiential luxury is the perfect outlet for the opulently rich to burn through piles of money like it’s going out of style.
It’s not all lifestyles of the rich and famous. Regular folk are capitalizing on the experiential luxury trend, too.
Private island rental?
Experiential luxury can be as “simple” as a private island rental. Or it could be as interesting as candlelit outdoor fine dining beneath thousands of pounds of water held in one of the world’s grandest hydraulic lift locks, located in Peterborough, ON. Bookings are extremely limited. Locally sourced food is also featured in the cavernous space, says Kelly Jessup of Peterborough and the Kawarthas Tourism.
“It’s literally the underbelly of the lock,” Jessup says. “Nobody ever goes in there. It’s not a public space. They don’t tour inside the lock on a regular basis, so it will be a very exclusive experience.”
The list is endless. Brands have, for years, capitalized on what the elite class buys, introducing influencers and consumers to experiential luxury by way of VIP experiences, meet and greets, lavish trips complete with spending cards and more.
In 2021 more than ever, the luxury industry is more about transient, unique, untouchable-for-most experiences, truly unmatched. In an attempt to uniquely “wow” journalists, a Canadian auto magnate treats members of the press to a chauffeured Toronto-city tour with dinner atop the CN tower in exchange for a public push.
Brands are bustling to bend the experiential luxury trend with high hopes of extreme exposure – and to get people talking. Sure, private jets, fast cars, million dollar mansions and handmade timepieces will always be readily available. But once-in-a-lifetime opportunities are emerging as the nonpareil holy grail of luxury.
So, now Regarding Luxury has piqued your interest in living large and luxurious, what do you see yourself doing next?
Top image: Eric Berger, Bella Coola Heli Sports