NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- A weird and perhaps slightly unsettling trend to come out of the economic roller coaster ride of the past few years has been a population of millionaires rising faster than the foam on top of a freshly poured flute of Dom Perignon. There were almost 11 million millionaires last year, according to the Merrill Lynch/Capgemeni World Health Report 2011.
How do you get a piece of that action? Well, you can rent yourself a weekend of the high life – complete with VIP dinners and nightclubs, 24-hour on-call limousine and luxury boxes at entertainment events – all for about $14,000 if you do it in New York. We also looked at how much it would cost for you to make a millionaire weekend of a jaunt to some exotic destination on a private jet.
No matter how you choose to do it, everyone deserves a taste of the good life, so call your credit card company and warn them that there are some big charges coming, because if you’re going to do it at all, you’ve got to do it right.
Nothing says millionaire like a private jet. And while owning one can easily set you back hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, renting one for a weekend is well within reach of anyone with enough disposable income.
If you want your millionaire weekend to include a trip to Paris on a private jet with your love interest, expect to spend around $85,000 for it, says James Kilmetis, a private booker for Air Charter Service.
If you're looking for a more economical way to get a taste of the good life, Kilmetis points to another option that exchanges a jet for a turboprop airplane and Paris for Canada. Shorter routes such as that can run closer to $8,000, he says.
“With all of these charter flights, you get to bypass the normal check-in procedures, and that’s when you really feel the exclusivity,” Kilmetis says. “You have a luxurious setting, and someone who walks you right out to your plane.”
If you’re not much of a jet setter, there are ways to live luxuriously without even leaving your hometown. Avoid all the hassles of trains, buses and subways by hiring a driver to be at your beck and call for the weekend. Of course, your driver will need to sleep, but you can combine two 12-hour shifts to make sure your every whim is covered, whether it’s going to a show, a nightclub, another nightclub, a jaunt to the beach to watch the sunrise, brunch in a rooftop café, or whatever else millionaires do with their time.
As long as you stay in the city, New York Limousine can put together an all-inclusive package to ferry you around in a luxury sedan ($1,386 for 24 hours of on-call service) or a limousine ($1,848 for 24 hours) to ensure you make an entrance wherever you go.
Having a luxury ride is only worthwhile when you have somewhere fancy to go, so an integral part of any millionaire weekend is a decadent, four-hour meal at one of the city’s top restaurants.
In New York, there is no better place than Le Cirque, an upscale Italian restaurant on the east side of Manhattan that even inspired a film. Here, luxury also comes at various price points, based on one variable alone: the wine.
According to Le Cirque’s maitre d’, Mario Wainer, a “chef’s table” experience where the head chef chooses a selection of house specialties and a sommelier pairs them with the perfect wine can be had for as little as $300 per person: $200 covers the tasting menu, while a minimum of around $100 goes toward the wine pairings.
Of course, the wine is no place to scrimp. While any wine pairings will be appropriate for the meal, Wainer emphasizes that the most exquisite selections can run the drink budget up to $2,000 per person. Still, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it seems fair to pay a once-in-a-lifetime price.
As an aside, don’t forget to wear a jacket: You won’t feel like a millionaire drinking your Chateau Petrus 1978 in a loaned blazer.
A Box at the Opera
Of course, your dinner shouldn’t be the only way you celebrate a bit of luxury in your life. Take that stomach full of foie gras to a private box at the opera, where you’ll be able to sit back, enjoy the show and even let your belt out a few notches without your seatmates casting sidelong glances.
New York’s Metropolitan Opera doesn’t have absolutely private boxes for two, but its VIP boxes, known as “Center Parterre,” offer an exclusive experience to see a show in more comfort and with better views than anywhere else.
A seat in the front row will run $440 for a Saturday evening show ($380 for a Friday), but for a true millionaire experience, there’s nothing like an opening night gala. Those front-row box seats will cost a whopping $1,750 apiece for September’s premiere of “Anna Bolena,” so plan accordingly.
If the opera isn’t your thing, or you are just looking to move your body after the show, there is nothing like an afterparty at a hot nightclub.
Thankfully, New York has one of the world’s premier nightclubs in Pacha, known for its flagship location in Ibiza, Spain, and with outlets in some of the major cities around the world. High rollers can get a front-row seat to the action.
A VIP package for two guarantees velvet rope access separate from the hordes waiting in line at the door, a bottle of Grey Goose vodka to do with what you will and a table on the mezzanine of the club, where the DJ makes the magic happen. For a Saturday night party such as the one this weekend featuring superstar DJ Danny Tenaglia, $425 is all you need to party like a millionaire for the rest of the evening.
Pacha is sweetening the deal by offering our readers a complimentary bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne through the end of September for anyone who books a table at the club. Simply call and ask for VIP director Janine Anderson (212-209-7524) or send her an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and mention MainStreet to get yourself set for a high-class party.
Whether you are dancing like a madman or watching the writhing masses below, you will party like a rock star, guaranteed. An inside tip: Wear your sunglasses when you go – you’ll need to look the part.
Luxury On and Off the Field
Professional sports in this country tend to be full of millionaires pushing their bodies and talents to the limit, and there’s no reason why you can’t live like their equal in the stands, at least for a couple of hours.
Of course, there’s no team that epitomizes success and luxury like the New York Yankees; with those pinstripes they certainly look like stockbrokers. Most of the Yanks’ VIP boxes require some sort of season-ticket commitment, but for your individual game VIP experience you can reserve a luxury suite at Yankee Stadium for $7,260 for a premium game (against what the club considers a “premium” team such as the Red Sox or Mets) or as low as $3,300 for a value game against some of the less successful teams in the league.
The suites accommodate different size crowds, and this is the price for the smallest one available – it seats 12. Either get a bunch of friends and bring them with you (part of being a millionaire, of course, is flaunting your wealth to your entourage) or rent the whole thing and enjoy the game in peace and quiet. Regardless, you’ll get access to the all-inclusive food and (nonalcoholic) drink menu, preferred parking, a private bathroom and a concierge service to take care of everything else you need.
Your Own Private Yacht
What millionaire weekend would be complete without a jaunt on your exclusive luxury yacht?
After your VIP trip to the ballpark, round out your millionaire weekend with a high-class yacht cruise in New York harbor. There are plenty of charter services around the island and boats to choose from, but New York Yacht & Boat Charter will hook you up with an intimate cruise for two on the Prelude, a 54-foot sailing yacht, for about $1,200.
That will get you three hours of the high life on the open seas (OK, limited to the vicinity of New York), with a bottle of champagne, a luxury dinner for two and an ambience of red roses and elegance.
It’s a perfect way to unwind after a weekend of partying like a millionaire. And just think, you did it all for less than $14,000. Not bad!
—For more ways to treat yourself to a bit of the good life, visit MainStreet’s “Luxury” topic page for all of our latest coverage!