Instagram Influencer sitting pretty on a private jet.

Picture: Instagram
Instagram Influencer sitting pretty on a private jet. Picture: Instagram

From private islands to superyachts: 4 guilty pleasures of the rich and famous

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Sep 13, 2019

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From lounging under the Mediterranean sun on a 180m stretch of yacht to jetting off to private islands, when it comes to spending, the wealthy know how to indulge.

It’s guilty pleasures galore on this list of things the rich and famous have squandered their millions on:


Stunning multi-storey superyacht 
The word “super” really says it all when it comes to these sea monsters. From Giorgio Armani to Eric Clapton and Beyonce, many a celeb has splurged on buying a superyacht. Epitomising wealth, these buoyant symbols of status are ultra luxurious, professionally crewed and range from 24 metres to more than 180 metres in length. Catering to the occupants every beck and call, they are often available for charter with a staff that caters to guests at a high level of comfort. 

Many of the ones you see today are decked out with saunas, steam rooms, massage rooms, hair and nail parlours, gyms, swimming pools, Jacuzzis, wet bars, underwater observation rooms, helicopter landing pads, cinemas and new-technology glass portals - to name just a few features. So just how much does a superyacht cost? The reports reveal that on average, a 100-metre superyacht with a top speed of 25 knots and 50 crew members should cost around $275 million. But, usually, with all the plush extras celebrities are bound to indulge in, they probably cost much, much more. 

Emma Spence, a British academic who has infiltrated the lifestyles of the super-rich through her studies, explained in an interview with The Guardian, how possession is one minute aspect of being a yacht owner, it does not quite enhance the profile of the elite, unless it is being used correctly. Location as well as how it’s used are equally as important. 

The sultry summer weather as well as the Cannes Film Festival draws celebrities from all over the world to the yachting hotspot in May every year. American singer and actor Justin Timberlake and actress Anna Kendrick spent time at the Cannes Film Festival to promote their new film Trolls. Of course, their visit wasn't all business and the pair found time to enjoy the French Riviera from a classic Riva.

The Beckham family along with their closest friends, music legend Elton John and his partner, Canadian film-maker, David Furnish, are known to frequent Southern France aboard their luxury yacht. They spend their days lounging in the sun, riding jet skis, having family meals together whilst cruising around and exploring new destinations like the island of Île Sainte-Marguerite where they stopped for lunch.

Lavish parties and tropical getaways aside, it’s really having the right crew members that makes superyachts the ultimate status symbol. During the Monaco Grand Prix, having the most prestigious docking position on the T-jetty (the first row of yachts at the start line) is reliant on the captain’s contacts, not the owner’s, Spence said in her interview with The Guardian. “It’s knowing who to pay extra for the privilege." 

Private islands

Stunning views of Necker Island. 
No number of expensive cars, yachts, or the rooms in your Monaco mansion, could compare to the status that comes with owning an island. Private islands are highly coveted primarily because of how scarce they are. Industry experts gage that there are only 2000 islands that meet the right demands. In order for the richest of the rich to have any interest, they must be close enough to land, located in stable regions, and allowed to be developed. 

Some of the world's most famous businessmen, musicians and actors have bought their own private islands. Some serve as a paparazzi free hideaway and luxurious holidaying spot while others are rented out to wealthy travelers. Popular destinations include the Bahamas, Fiji's Lau Group of islands, and the islands off the coast of Belize. 

Founder of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson bought Necker Island when he was 28. It took only three years, along with millions of dollars to transform it into the private island retreat that it is today. Local stone, imported Brazilian hardwoods and Asian art, rugs and antiques, along with a team of architects and designers created a 10-bedroom Balinese-style villa. Each bedroom has open walls, offering panoramic views of the sea. The island can accomodate 30 people with rent being a staggering $2167 per person per day. If you’re lucky enough to stay, you'll be spoilt access to two beaches, private pools, tennis courts, scenic views, a personal chef, a team of about 100 staff and a wide array of water sports equipment.


Picture: Pixabay
Art is beautiful, cultural, historical - it has meaning. But, when it comes to the wealthy, who can scoop up a couple of paintings at Sotheby’s on a whim, it mostly has value. 

Rich people invest to get richer while others, as The New York Times Magazine's Adam Davidson phrased it, splurge on a $120 million piece of art as a very frank way of showing people they have $120 million to blow.

In 2018, The Wealth Report by global real estate consultancy Knight Frank and real estate firm Douglas Elliman, investigated what people with endless amounts of money choose to spend on. It revealed that, for the first time in nearly a decade, rich people spend more on art than wine. Andrew Shirley, editor of The Wealth Report shared that, people are investing in Chinese works with a growing demand for African art also emerging. The record-setting sale for the year of the report was conducted was for the 1974 painting of Adetutu Ademiluyi, a Nigerian princess, by Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu. The famous work, called Tutu, went missing for decades before being sold for $1.67 million from Bonhams London.

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West as well as Leonardo DiCaprio are some of Hollywood’s biggest art investors. Over the past few years, DiCaprio has been seen meandering through the aisles at Art Basel Miami, and attending the opening of an Andy Warhol show at the Brant Foundation. 

Private jets

JLo looking subline in Chanel on her private jet.
From important business deals to performing at sold-out shows, the rich and famous lead jet setting lifestyles where they often have to travel between continents, sometimes last minute. So it's no surprise that buying private planes are on the list of big splurges. 

Oprah Winfrey is one of the richest TV show hosts in the world. With a networth that’s reportedly reached 1 billion dollars, she was able to dole out 45 million dollars to buy her own Bombardier BD-700 Global Express XRS. The plane with its long-range combined with its top speed and plush interior is able to fly passengers in comfort and style.

However, when money has no limits, your mode of transport will certainly mirror this and private jets are no exception. Jets and planes can be made to order with fully equipt spas, full service kitchens with private chefs, personalised decor and furniture, dedicated bedrooms and meeting rooms. 

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