Luxury and extravagance are often associated with exclusivity and wealth and certain parts of the world cater for this sort of lifestyle. Whether purpose built for high rollers and money makers or just attracting that sort of crowd by the businesses and leisure facilities they have in place, we look at the playgrounds of the rich and famous via the 15 most extravagant cities in the world.
1. Dubai – United Arab Emirates
In just three decades, Dubai has transformed itself from nothing but endless desert into a shining metropolis of towering skyscrapers, including the world’s biggest. Designer boutiques and bays full of luxury yachts have all come about from the oil boom and as the country tries to diversify its economy it has turned its eye to luxury tourism and this is where most of its efforts are focused. The famous Burj-Al-Arab hotel is often referred to as the world’s first 7-star hotel (although management doesn’t endorse this statement) it has $20,000 night rooms for those who really want a taste of the high life.
2. Las Vegas – Nevada, USA
There’s a reason this glowing Oasis in the desert has been dubbed ‘The City of Sin’. Built up as a gamblers paradise in the Mojave desert, gambling and prostitution are legal in this city of bright lights and big rollers as the world famous ‘strip’ is filled with 24-hour casinos, nightclubs, and lavish hotels. An iconic American city, rumor has it, it was built by mob money. Many entertainment acts and superstars are attracted here for ‘residencies’ where they are paid big bucks to perform weekly concerts for one exclusive casino or arena.
3. Zurich – Switzerland
Not particularly renowned for its excess and indulgence, Zurich is, however, one of the most expensive places in the world to live. A hub for international banking and finance, just a basket of regular groceries can cost an obscene amount and so it tends to be a city of the rich filled with expensive shopping malls and boutiques filled with designer items.
4. Geneva – Switzerland
Like Zurich, Geneva is renowned for its banking prowess but it also has stunning scenery with lake Geneva and being nestled in the Alps. With an amazingly high quality of life, it attracts the well-to-dos from across the globe to its streets and is the most expensive city on earth where you can pay about $30 for a club sandwich!
5. Hong Kong
With one of the highest concentration of Billionaires in the world, Hong Kong is the premier financial hub of the East with a modern futurescape of innovative skyscrapers set against the green mountains. Homes sell for $100m and private clubs abound. It is also not an uncommon sight to see the latest designer store with a queue out the door as people clamor to get their hands on the latest tech or fashion.
6. New York City – New York, USA
The home of entertainment figures, music moguls and real estate developers, New York is one of only 2 cities in the world with an AAA++ rating in terms of finance and business. The Wall Street bankers and media moguls with the serious money tend to live on the Upper East Side where gym membership can cost $4000 a year. Star-studded and extravagant, if you want it and can afford it, you can probably find it in NYC.
7. Paris – France
Known for being a center of culture and sophistication, Paris has long drawn the arty and the fashionable and with it, the money to indulge in such fine things. Home to such brands as Chanel, Dior, and Lacoste, it has most of its wealth at the heart of the city but those who live there will usually have the cash to splash.
Known for being a tax haven for the super-rich, those with wealth come here to avoid paying the income tax of their home countries and so the gorgeous, sandy beaches attract wealth alongside the azure waters. Famous for its Formula 1 track through the streets, the sports cars that are parked nearby on a day to day basis often outnumber those of lesser brands as 1 in 3 people in the city are millionaires. A Roya principality on the French Riviera, the abundance of sunshine and tropical vegetation probably also does a lot to draw those with money.
9. Rio de Janiero – Brazil
wealth may not be the first thing you associate with Rio as it is better known for its slums filled with fierce street gangs and known for drug-related crime, however, the high-end lifestyle is also well enmeshed within the city with stunning real estate all along the beaches and the residential areas being a hot-bed of glorious parties and carnivals with high-end shopping and fashion to boot.
10. London – UK
The second of the two AAA++ rated cities, London is an extremely expensive city to live in and has a high concentration of the wealthy within certain boroughs. With the highest skyscraper in Europe and ultra-modern architecture mixed in with its Victorian heritage, it is the finance districts that rule the roost. Entertainment and media hubs are also housed in London so the rich are often abound.
11. Macau, China
What Vegas is to America, Macau is to China and it is actually the largest gambling center in the world with wealthy business people flocking from across the globe to risk their hard earned cash on the tables of the casinos. One of the most highly densely populated cities in the world, its economy is closely linked to tourism and is home to some of the most expensive villas on the planet.
12. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo brings an almost unique sense of ancient history and futuristic together with its marrying of Japanese history with the love of technology that sees it a center for arts, fashion and tech. Famed for Harajuku and Kabuki styles, the craftmanship is a massive part of the culture and this attention to detail has meant some of the largest industries in the world originate from or are based in Tokyo, making their founders rich and the city a playground for them.
13. Milan, Italy
One of the most famed fashion capitals of the world, Milan is stylish, glamorous and rich. Designer brands such as Versace, Dolce and Gabbana, Valentino, Armani and others all base themselves here meaning that fashion conscious individuals flock to the city to stay up to date on the latest trends. With them comes the (in)famous nightlife of high-end clubs and bars that maintain a level of exclusivity and privacy for the super rich who just need to get away from it all.
14. Cancun – Mexico
A stunning beach resort on the Mexican coast, Cancun is known for its glitzy hotels and exclusive DJ sets for those who want to party the night away and can afford the money to do exactly that, only to recover by day on the sun drenched beaches. The whole premise of the city is to do exactly that and so luxury is its number one concern in order to attract the highest paying tourists to its lavish location.
15. Benidorm – Spain
What has become a bit of a joke amongst British tourists as a spot where many go to drink heavily and lounge in the sun, is actually a very high-end resort with many Spanish celebrities, skyscrapers and parties. Free cabaret acts add to its famous nightlife whilst popular with visitors from across Western Europe.