Christmas Tree by Diane von Furstenberg

Tree of Love Claridge’s 2018 Christmas Tree by Diane von Furstenberg

Claridge’s Hotel in London has become a fine purveyor of Christmas with the annual Christmas Tree creation gracing the hotel. This year, the wonderfully gorgeous tree was designed by Diane von Furstenberg, following up last year’s tree that was a marvellous Karl Lagerfeld creation. The Mayfair landmark draws visitors from far and wide, to witness an original and marvellous Christmas tree that is different each year. The 2018 tree captures the wonder and joy of Christmas and has been crafted with intricate details and the artistic flair of the famous fashion designer and frequent guest at Claridge’s.

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The 2018 tree signifies Diane’s intense passion and firm belief in the power of love. With a touch of nature and astrological influences, the tree is a personal statement from the artist to the world. The Christmas Tree stands six metres high and blue tones shine out creating a wintry appearance. Incredibly, the tree has no less than 8,000 hand-painted decorations representing silver leaves, tiny glass spheres and 150 hand-blown beautiful glass hearts. There are also six hand-made, silver-leafed animals. The owl, which represents knowledge and wisdom. There is a horse signifying strength. A dove symbolises peace and a mouse curiosity. The deer represents gentleness and the peacock beauty. They are all originally crafted by hand with intricate detail.

Diane worked closely on the Tree of Love with her long-time friends and collaborators. They include the artistic set designer Stefan Beckman, and the talented artist and illustrator Konstantin Kakanias. Astrologer Shelley von Strunckel added the final touches. They all rose admirably to the challenge and honour of designing a masterpiece that will long be remembered in Claridge’s annual Christmas Tree showcase, with a rare beauty and majestic concoction. The tree winds up to the heavens from its roots and is derived from the universe, encapsulating values such as peace, love, harmony, in-depth knowledge, the truth, freedom, wisdom and enlightenment.

Panasonic ALPHA Washing Machine

Porsche Washing Machine – China’s luxury product of the year

Yes, you read that right. A washing machine called Porsche! China is notable for unusual luxury products for the rich and while these tend to take many forms for affluent Chinese to flaunt their wealth, the latest craze is a luxury Porsche washing machine. The Panasonic Alpha Series washing machines are designed by Porsche’s Studio F.A. and have become the latest status symbol in China. Priced at US$2,700, there is no shortage of takers and Panasonic can hardly keep up with demand!

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The Porsche washing machines are just as stylish as the name suggests. Designed rather like a sports car than a home appliance, their uniqueness and beauty have captured the imagination of well-off Chinese, and the luxury washing machine is flying off shelves.

The Porsche designed Panasonic Alpha Series Washing Machine has a sporty look with a mat stainless steel body fully in keeping with the minimalistic approach adopted by the designers at Studio F.A. Porsche. The control buttons are cleverly incorporated into a TFT digital display screen that mimics a sports car’s instrument cluster. There is a useful rotary knob with an on/off button set to its left, and a flushed filling receptacle arranged to the right. The washing machine can be operated by remote control with WiFi, where the detergent can be loaded and temperature set. A text message is sent to remind users that the washing load is ready. The machine sports additional useful features and the design prevents mould from build up without having to keep the washer’s door wide open, allowing for better ventilation.

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The Panasonic Alpha Series Porsche Washing Machine by Studio F.A. is the latest and most unlikely exclusive luxury product of the year in China. Whether the thirst for zany luxury products such as this Porsche washing machine will catch on in Europe or elsewhere is anyone’s guess.

 

Rosewood luxury resort in China

Rosewood Luang Prabang’s New Luxury Resort in China plus Ancient Wonders in Laos – $1,200 a night

Rosewood Luang in China is Prabang’s newest luxury resort and promises a stay like no other. The ancient wonders of Laos are close at hand serving up a cultural bonanza and insight into the rich culture surrounding the area. The Laotian mountains, the stunning Mekong sunset and the eighth wonders of the world combined with the exquisite luxury creating Southeast Asia’s most desirable destination for those into culture, breathtaking landscapes and relaxation. Laos’s former royal capital was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, and it’s not hard to tell why. The quaint and picturesque town is snuggly nestled at the base of the forested mountains that tower over the town and Mekong River.

The luxury resort was created and designed by the renowned American architect Bill Bensley, whose signature style is based on taking a concept and stretching it beyond imagination. His vision was of an early 20th-century Laotian hill station, which is the basis of this innovative resort.

Rosewood Luang Prabang tents

Rosewood Luang Prabang views

Rosewood Luang Prabang bedroom

The Luang Prabang started operations just a few months ago. The Rosewood luxury retreat resort features 23 villas, spacious suites and even tents. All the accommodation options have splendid mountain views and are furnished and decorated individually and uniquely. The resort is a short ten-minute drive from the old village centre and offers easy access to all the beautiful and inspiring destinations dotted around the area.

The resort has been tastefully designed to celebrate the rich culture of the Luang Prabang province and showcase the diversity of the tribes, travellers and explorers who passed through the area leaving their mark. Frenchman Auguste Pavie was such an explorer. In the late 1800s, he actually managed to become the governor of Luang Prabang. The resort celebrates the adventurous travels of many other explorers of note who used the Mekong river in the 1860s.

The resort’s hilltop tents are a throwback to a bygone era. The six tents measure 75 square metres each, and each one is dedicated to one of the tribes that used to live on the location. The tents have an ornate décor, with distinctive ethnic textiles and original antiques. In fact, all the rooms have artifacts and ornaments that tell their own stories and have their own history.

Rare Le Secret High Jewellery

Piper-Heidsieck Bejewelled Champagne Bottles – US$152,000

Good champagne has always been expensive, but rarely have we seen a bottle with a US$152,000 price tag. Piper-Heidsieck has just launched an extremely rare edition. The prestige cuvée Rare champagne is adorned with hundreds of tiny diamonds meticulously fixed on by hand. The bottle was exclusively designed by French jeweller Mellerio, and it contains vintage champagne from 1997. The champagne is aptly called Rare Le Secret High Jewellery. The bespoke bottles constitute the real value, although the champagne inside is one of the finest.

Rare Le Secret

Each individual bottle is fastened with a piece of jewellery and features a closure crafted from 24-carat gold. The limited edition champagne bottle has white and yellow gold bands wrapped around the neck. The bottle features gold ribbons that are set with over 500 tiny diamonds. Besides, there is a larger one-carat diamond, a ruby, and an emerald or a sapphire centerpiece. A total of 10 bottles were produced, and they include diamond and sapphire editions for sale in the USA and UK, a diamond version for France, and the other destinations have not yet been disclosed.

The champagne has a hint of sandalwood and yellow fruit, which provides a beautiful blend and wonderful taste. The whole package is housed within a mirrored presentation box. The Piper-Heidsieck bejewelled champagne bottles retail at US$152,000, with the UK versions going on sale at Harrods for £115,000. The value of such fine champagne presented in a diamond encrusted bottle will surely rise due to its limited run and prestigious champagne house Piper-Heidsieck. A collectible and a work of art, it would be a shame to drink the champagne leaving the priceless bottle of Rare Le Secret High Jewellery empty, now wouldn’t it?

New Zealand

Luxury Doomsday Bunkers in New Zealand – $8 Million

New Zealand is a remote country better known for its sheep, incredible scenery and Lord of the Rings! It also happens to be the destination of choice for millionaires to build luxury, subterranean bunkers. New Zealand offers a favourable tax regime, a remote location and neutrality in the event of war, which are all attractive incentives. Consequently, the island nation of 4.5 million inhabitants has become a hot spot for people plotting a quick escape in the event of a world disaster. If you have the money, the bunker offers a refuge with food and other supplies at the ready.

New Zealand luxury bunker

It is not just the wealthy. Some bunkers take 300 people at a modest cost of $35,000 each. However, luxurious bunkers are being fabricated in the USA and shipped to undisclosed locations in New Zealand and buried secretly without a trace. The very best materials are used, and they are designed to resist nuclear explosions, extreme weather, and even a Zombie attack! Surveillance cameras show you if the coast is clear before you emerge from the safe cocoon and they are equipped with everything you might need. These deluxe bunkers can cost up to $8 million, and some of them even come with garden rooms, games rooms, and gun practice ranges alongside kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms and bathrooms. They have advanced communication systems, air conditioning and air filtering systems. You get a large amount of imperishable food supplies, medical supplies and even a stash of weapons! The interior is furnished like a modern apartment with all the conveniences and gadgets one could wish for.

Waiting out Armageddon won’t be so bad in a luxurious bunker buried deep underground, equipped with all the things you need to survive in luxury!

LV Crocodile Backpack

The Most Expensive Backpack in the World – Louis Vuitton Crocodilian Leather at US$79,000

Backpacks are generally not associated with luxury, but more commonly suited to living rough, hiking and camping. That did not dissuade Louis Vuitton. This superb looking backpack is made of real crocodile skin and is a high-end fashion item priced at US$79,000. Louis Vuitton bags are legendary, and an unmistakable seal of elegance and quality. Crocodile and alligator skins are generally associated with bags, shoes, boots and wallets. The skin has a distinctive appearance and immediately noticeable.

The world’s most expensive backpack was unveiled in 2018, at the Louis Vuitton Men’s Fall-Winter fashion show. The Crocodilian Leather Backpack blends gracefully with the new collection and was the centrepiece of the extravagant show. It is finished in Titanium grey and crafted from the finest, rare handpicked crocodilian leather. The spirit of the rugged outdoor combines flawlessly with the ultimate in luxury. Embodying a sporty spirit, the backpack is fitted with technical looking, titanium buckles along with a zip. It is padded at the front and rear, and the straps provide a comfortable carry method. The skin is produced by mature animals that are big enough for a seamless pattern. Further compounding the problem, more massive crocs tend to be more aggressive, and it is almost impossible to find one in the wild with perfect skin free of any scratches. Louis Vuitton uses the skins of specially farmed reptiles which are fed on diets that strengthen the skin.

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Luxury accessories are continually being created, and with a market worth US$77 billion a year, you can’t blame Louis Vuitton for trying something new and innovative to add to the long list of luxury accessories. The luxury bag has already carved its name in history as the most expensive backpack in the world. Whether people will actually use while camping or hiking in the wild is anyone’s guess.

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GMT Earth Movement in white gold – $979,050

True connoisseurs recognize quality and beauty and the GMT Earth Movement Timepiece has both in abundance. As the name suggests, the watch represents the world and has a miniature globe at its center rotating once a day like planet earth. The Greubel Forsey timepiece is an intricate and delicate looking watch. It is 45.5mm wide, 16.18mm high and made of white gold with a thick sapphire crystal set at the front of the watch.

The GMT Earth is strictly limited to just 33 pieces and priced at $979,050. The watch is manually wound and has a power reserve of 72 hours. The North and South Poles are clearly visible from the dial, from an aperture in the center case, and the case back. The sides of the watch are equally and impressively adorned with an inclined, 24-second tourbillon, the world time display, the GMT indication, and a power reserve indicator. Perhaps the most detailed part is the dial. It blends translucent, transparent indicators, solid hands and a three-dimensional layered surface finishes. The rear of the case sports the world time display and view of the globe. The polished and brushed surfaces add beautiful finishing touch complete with engravings.

GMT Earth

The GMT Earth Movement is designed to be an exclusive and collectible work of art. The inner workings, materials and quality add the punch making this timepiece near perfect. It is limited to just 33, which makes it even more desirable, yet confined to the very few who can afford to splash out almost a million dollars for a watch. Greubel Forsey has crafted the finest of watches with the GMT Earth Movement. Not only does the timepiece look sophisticated, but it will never stop working throughout your lifetime, and beyond.

1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale Coupe 1

1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale Coupe – Most Expensive Car sold – US$8,085,0,000

The Arizona Collector Car Auctions is one of the largest in the world, and the 2018 edition was a supremely successful event. Over 2,600 cars changed hands, and US$248 million was spent to buy them. Classic muscle cars, vintage trucks, performance cars and rarities thrilled enthusiast and turned heads. There were all the most notable car brands including Porsche, Lamborghini and Ferrari.

The star of the show was definitely a red 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale Coupe which sold for a jaw-dropping record price of US$8,085,0,000. The 275 GTB Speciale Coupe is the most expensive steel-bodied 275 GTB that was ever sold. It is one of just four built by the legendary Pininfarina and the only surviving model. The illustrious sports car is a near perfect prime example of a coachbuilt Ferrari depicting a genuine Italian automotive design that is blindingly beautiful, luxurious and, of course, fast.

1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale Coupe engine

The Speciale Coupe is designed differently from the regular 275 GTB and incorporates additional features. The car has a far more luxurious interior, and the exterior has no vent window on the driver’s side. A rear diffuser was added to improve aerodynamics, and the performance of the coupe is superior to the standard models. The smaller front fenders and more prominent indicators fit perfectly into the redesigned front grill. The cabin has high-grain leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and other comfort-enhancing features. The 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale Coupe is fitted with an ultra-powerful 3.3-litre V12 engine that can produce 265bhp. The car is rear wheel drive and has a 5-speed  manual transaxle gearbox transmission that is smooth and comfortable to use.

The Ferrari Speciale Coupe is a rare breed that is passing into extinction. They don’t make sports cars like this anymore, but this one is a survivor, and in over 50 years since she first took to the streets, she’s still going strong and turning heads in admiration with beauty from a bygone era.

Superyacht Schooner Concept 1

Superyacht Schooner Concept Turns Heads At The 2019 Monaco Yacht Show

The classic schooner form has been taken into the superyacht stratosphere with this latest and most distinctive concept. The schooner style seems to be catching on a lot more these days and this beautiful creation has a beautifully overhanging stern and bow structures so characteristic of sea vessels of this kind. The concept is heavily influenced and inspired by popular 16th-century Dutch designs. The Dutch word ‘schoon’ means clean and good-looking, which aptly describe this fast and versatile boat.

The classic yacht type has been augmented to an innovative motor yacht concept based on present usage and years to come. The interior focuses on art, beauty and leisure, the things that matter most. The architecture is integrated into the stylish design providing a haven of privacy, sensory stimuli, inner peace and tranquility. You will be forgiven if you think you are in heaven! As you explore the beauty and richness that surround the sea, the Superyacht Schooner Concept is fit for royalty.

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The whole idea is to provide space for all the meaningful things that are really important. The owner’s master suite is accessed by a private staircase and as you ascend you are greeted by flooded light cascading in from multiple skylights and glass ceilings. To say the views are incredible is a gross understatement. The Art of Life stern lounge affords 360 degrees panoramic views thanks to sizable floor-to-ceiling slanted Windows. The expansive lounge on the uppermost deck has glass facades, grand open decks and evolving views that change as the yacht’s wake disappears into the distance.

Superyacht Schooner Concept 3

With an indoor health & beauty center located on the lower and the main decks, the central architectural staircase accentuates the spacious effect and feeling of open space. Add to all that the flybridge on top of the bridge deck, and you have optimum style, design and function perfect for enjoying the expansive vistas surrounding the sea world with your family and friends. You can use the outlying al fresco dining area to lounge about or party at sea or in port. They thought of everything with this marvelous sea craft, that alas is still a concept. Not to worry, today’s concept is tomorrow’s reality.

hoversurf hoverbike 1

HoverSurf Scorpion-3 Hoverbike US$150,000 – The Future is Now!

The future has caught up with us! High tech, futuristic, Star Wars-style speeder bikes were recently in the realms of science fiction. Not anymore! The Scorpion-3 HoverSurf Hoverbike is a reality today at the cost of US$150,000. The ingenious contraption is essentially a four-rotor, electric flying machine made entirely of carbon fibre and controlled like a video game with two similar joysticks to fly the hovercrafts. You can change altitude and direction with the joystick controls. The Hoverbike dubbed the Scorpion-3 is being built by HoverSurf, based in San Jose, USA.

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The Scorpion-3 is ultralight, therefore under FAA rules, you don’t require a pilot’s license, and you don’t even need to have a motorcycle license! Nevertheless, you will need to become accustomed to the flying machine before venturing on a trip into the heavens! With a range of 13 miles and a reasonable top speed of 40 mph, the battery charge time is just two and a half hours. Orders are being taken against a deposit of US$10,000, with the balance payable upon delivery.

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The company developing the Hoverbike also produces drones and recently posted a video of the Scorpion-3 Hoverbike prototype, which is a single seater, electric powered Hoverbike. It looks great, with more than a hint of Star Wars influence. The contraption is a hybrid motorbike and quad-helicopter technology based on drones and dubbed as an extreme sports instrument. The electric aircraft has been created with amateurs as well as professional navigators in mind, so little skill is needed to master the aircraft.

The hoverbike uses unique custom-made software that limits its range and speed capability to assure a safer ride. The Scorpion-3 was inspired by sport-utility motorbikes, and it literally surfs through the air like a miniature hovercraft. Such is its potential, the US Department of Defense recently announced it was developing the vehicle for the US Army in conjunction with a UK based firm Malloy Aeronautics. What’s for sure, we will be seeing a lot of these Hoverbikes flying along the roads in the coming years.