How to live like a millionaire in Singapore
Throw a bottle in the air in Singapore and there’s a good chance it’ll hit a millionaire on the way down.
Maybe even the odd billionaire -- like Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.
According to a report by Boston Consulting Group, Singapore registered 188,000 millionaire households in 2011. That’s 17 percent of its resident households, or one in six homes.
Luckily, the sixth most expensive city in the world –- as ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit -– has the goods to support its millionaires' lifestyles.
Want to join the prosperity party? Here are some of the best ways to run through cash in Singapore.
Eat, drink and play big
Splurging comes easy at Pangaea, home of the S$35,000 (US$28,000) Jewel of Pangaea cocktail.
Gold-flecked Richard Hennessy cognac, jerry bitters and a smoke-infused raw sugar cube are topped with 1985 vintage Krug champagne and crowned with a Mouawad Triple X 1-carat diamond –- just so you can bring home more than a hangover.
You can always pad the bill further by booking the S$15,000 (US$12,100) Dragon Table, where you’ll have the privilege of dancing on top of 1,000–year-old saur tree tables or rest on a crocodile-skinned sofa, right next to the DJ console, thus ensuring that all eyes will be trained on you.
While good food is never in short supply in Singapore -– we've got everything from a S$3 plate of char kway teow to a 10-course S$400 (US$322) degustation dinner at Tetsuya’s Waku Ghin –- special culinary experiences are a little harder to obtain.
Restaurant Andre’s multiple-course Octaphilosophy tasting menu (S$288) has French-inspired dishes such as braised eggplant with cockscombs and duck tongue, chawan mushi with velvety foie gras and heaps of chopped black truffles, a kaffir lime consommé, baby leek ravioli, seafood carpaccio and other surprises such as the “Snickers Bar."
If that sounds a little too nouvelle for you, there's always the traditional route at Feng Shui Inn, where the star of the menu is a 1.8 kilogram steamed white sultan fish, available for S$1,224 (US$990). This wild river fish from Malaysia is prized for its smooth, tender flesh. If you're lucky enough to catch one.
For a more intimate experience, there's the Perrier-Jouët Chef-In-Residence concept.
Inspired by its private guesthouse located in Épernay, Champagne, in France, the at-home event is extended to a host and his/her guests. A five-course menu is whipped up by a noted chef and diners are taken through the Perrier-Jouët stable of champagnes, sometimes personally by its Paris-based brand ambassador, Thomas Lignier.
To complete the experience, the home is styled into a fantasy garden with grass on the dining table and centerpieces of butterflies and anemones, signatures of Perrier-Jouet.
Previous diners have seen chef Wilin Low turn out Mod Sin dishes such as hand-picked Sri Lankan crab congee consommé with egg emulsion paired with Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque 2004 and Chilean bass with chin cha lok salsa and winged beans paired with Perrier-Jouët Blason rosé.
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No need to settle for an average manicure and pedicure when there's Bastien Gonzalez’s Studio at the St. Regis Singapore.
The Rolls-Royce of mani-pedis, with elements rooted in podiatry, its treatments are a reported favorite of celebrities (though they won’t name names) attending the Cannes Film Festival, U.S. Open and Dubai International Film Festival.
The basic manicure/pedicure is done with lancets, pearl-infused buffing cream, drills and a chamois buffer that leave nails with a natural high-shine luster.
If you really want to crank up the indulgence, there's the Duo (S$270 for a 75-minute treatment), in which two therapists perform your pedicure and manicure simultaneously and finish it all off with a synchronized four-hands massage.
Keeping up with the fashion trends can be a hassle, which is why many wealthy Singaporeans outsource their needs to Club 21’s Style Services unit.
The appointment-only style advisory service (+65 6304 1388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) is a well-kept secret of many of the city’s best dressed and a number of celebrities who visit Singapore.
Not only are staff happy to style you from head to toe, they’ll organize hair and makeup appointments in the privacy of their Hilton Shopping Arcade.
Consultations are available from S$300 (US$240) per session or complimentary with purchases more than S$1,000.
For millionaires looking to get out of the city, the aptly named Billionaires Package from yacht charter Something Special might fit the bill.
The overnight stay on a 65-foot Sunseeker Manhattan 60 Motor Yacht is enhanced by a chauffer-driven car service, where a bottle of Dom Perignon or Krug helps set the mood. Swimsuit-clad models greet you upon arrival.
The cruise heads to Singapore’s southern island, most often stopping at Lazarus Bay, where the Sunseeker's collection of water toys –- jet-rib tenders, carbon fiber propulsion devices -– are put to good use.
The company can also erect marquees, provide an inflatable island, pick out a gift involving diamonds or bring aboard a celebrity chef.
At price tags that range from S$8,500-S$20,000 (US$6,850-16,100), anything is possible.
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Live at the Ritz
Move into the Ritz for just S$23,800 a month.
What this buys you is four bedrooms at The Ritz-Carlton Residences spread across 3,057 square feet of space with a view of the city skyline from the balcony.
But why settle for a typical condominium (granted with top-class Ritz-Carlton service staff) when you can drive your sports car right up to your living room?
Further down the street, the Hamilton Scotts comes with its own ensuite car porch/elevator, which KOP properties' CEO calls “a museum showcase."
This beauty sells for S$9.4-$23.5 million (US$7.5-18.9 million) and rents from S$18,500 (US$14,900) a month.
Chump change for the bragging rights, really.
Aside from shopping malls and condominiums, hotel rooms are in plentiful supply.
The two-story Ocean Suite, at S$2,440 (US$1,970) a night, offers more than just 400-thread-count Egyptian sheets. It comes with a wraparound view of the Marine Life Park with a sunken Jacuzzi.
For high rollers, there’s the Chairman Suite at the Marina Bay Sands. It doesn’t come cheap at S$17,000 (US$13,700) a night, but if you’ve just won big downstairs, this is one way to enjoy your newfound wealth.
The suite looking over Gardens by the Bay comes with a grand piano, ensuite steam and sauna room and billiards table.
But where’s the fun when you can’t share it? For the flushed who roam with a posse, The Sentosa has a S$25,000 (US$20,100) Fit for Royalties special (available by request) that lets you and seven entourage members live it up in the Garden Villa.
Each guest gets three-hour massages with a 24-carat Gold Scrub, round of golf and five-course dinner -– and they’ll ferry everyone around in a stretch limousine.
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Buy luxe, buy local
For the wealth-laden lady who doesn't want to be mistaken for a stereotypical Birkin-toting lass, there are many options -- one being Singapore-based EthanK, who has designed bags for members of Middle Eastern royalty.
A fourth generation artisan who uses exotic skins (lizard, crocodile, python) often dyed in jewel hues of emerald green and pink, Ethan uses a secret skiving technique -- hand-rubbing skins over a metal pole –- to make these arm candies lighter to carry.
They're topped with clasps encrusted with precious stones.
No design is off-limits for Ethan, who insists, “we are not rushing to make more; instead we concentrate on the best quality.”
One client ordered an olive green Ethan 11 bag made out of porous crocodile with a diamond frog motif –- to match her favorite olive green sofa, of course.
To remain a cut above the rest, the man about town needs a dapper suit by Kevin Seah.
Using material sourced from mills in the UK and Italy, Seah provides a highly personalized service in his salon (complete with a glass of single malt to aid the decision-making process).
The self-professed Anglophile draws inspiration from Savile Row, but keeps his prices affordable (suits start from S$3,000/US$2,400). His one-stop salon also offers bespoke spectacles by Nackymade, Gammarelli, and Mazarin socks and Gaziano and Girling shoes.
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Pangaea at Marina Bay Crystal Pavilion: Entrance by the B2 Marina Bay Sands Shoppes, 2 Bayfront Ave.; +65 9861 17013 (VIP Bookings); www.pangaea.com
Andre’s: 41 Bukit Pasoh Road; +65 6534 8880; www.restaurantandre.com
Feng Shui Inn: 39 Artillery Ave., Basement 1-M, Crockfords Tower, Sentosa; +65 6577 8888; www.rwsentosa.com
Bastien Gonzalez’s Studio: The St. Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Road; +65 6506 6896; www.remede.com
Ocean Suites: 39 Artillery Ave., Sentosa; +65 6577 8888; www.rwsentosa.com
Marina Bay Sands: 9 Bayfront Ave.; +65 6688 8868; www.marinabaysands.com
The Sentosa, a Beaufort Hotel: 2 Bukit Manis Road, Sentosa; +65 6275 0331; www.thesentosa.com