Ticket to Indulgence

Luxury living is the in thing these days, and it’s not just the nouveau rich who choose to live it up. With high fashion boutiques, exclusive residential addresses, facelifts and club memberships available to just about anyone who has cash to spare, anyone, it seems, can lead the high life. From prestigious travel destinations to stylish sports cars to the latest bling in town, here’s our guide to living it up, baby.The New Address | Members Only | Dress to ImpressLuxury Getaways | Wine and Dine | Face Off | The Good LifeThe New AddressGet yourself a new home at the Sentosa Cove (Call 6270-0200 to make an appointment), Singapore’s most expensive and exclusive residential site. Located on Sentosa, 90 percent of the plots of land has been sold, with prices up to $2m for seafront units. What sets this address apart is a mega-yacht marina complete with boating facilities, so that residents with a private yacht can berth them literally in their very own backyards. Not since Australia’s waterfront homes with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge has another seafront residential area been so popular and coveted.With a new home bought, those who want to indulge a little further should snag themselves an artwork from Opera Gallery (#02-12H, Ngee Ann City, Takashimaya Shopping Centre, 391 Orchard Road, 6735-2618). Home to some of the most expensive art pieces from all over the world, the outlet carries masterpieces by the likes of Warhol, Chagall and Picasso. But if you really want to live it up, the US$4.5m Modigliani piece Sapho is the one to get, as it is the most expensive painting selling in Singapore right now.But what’s a real home without the right set of wheels in the driveway? The world’s fastest (and one of the most expensive) cars, the Koenigsegg, is available for sale here for almost $2.1m (call 9875-9875 for appointment and enquiries). The Swede import is not only speedy, but it’s super stylish to boot, boasting a two-seat mid-engine construction with a removable hardtop.However, if motorbikes are more your thing, the striking and expensive Ducatti 999R (call Minerva Motors at 6298-4777 for appointment and enquiries) is the best out there—never mind that only one Ducatti has ever been sold in Singapore so far. Priced at over $70k, this superbike is a certified showstopper, and comes with a highly progressive design, including the striking black and red frames and wheels.TopMembers OnlySnag yourself an exclusive club membership and mingle with the who’s who of high society. The Sentosa Golf Club (27 Bukit Manis Road, Sentosa, 6275-0022) counts Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and Thailand’s Thaksin Shinawatra as members, and is the club to get yourself into. Membership is highly revered, and is mostly by invitation only. But the club intends to increase its cackle of elites to 2,500 members from their present 1,500, so just give them a buzz if you have $121k to spare, the price of a year’s membership.You can also try your luck at The Tower Club (9 Raffles Place Penthouse, Republic Plaza Tower 1, 6737-3388), as a five-year term membership is relatively affordable at just $10k. The highly esteemed board of governors includes President S. R. Nathan and Ambassador-at-Large Prof. Tommy Koh. This clandestine business club extends itself by recommendation and invitation only, so members are privileged with the power to preordain their social sets. Find out if your boss is a member, and get chummy with him or her—now.TopDress to ImpressHardcore fashionistas who have always dreamed of looking like a tai-tai, look no further. First stop: Luxury fashion store Hermes (#01-02A Liat Towers, 541 Orchard Rd., 6738-9807), where you can splurge on a much-coveted Birkin bag. This baby is individually handmade with over 2,600 hand stitches, and takes at least 23 hours to produce. First created for legendary French actress Jane Birkin in 1984 (hence its name), this is still the bag to be seen with. The starting price is $8.8k, and it goes up to nearly $20k. Waiting time: two years.If you can’t wait that long, the gorgeous Fendi (#01-32 Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Rd., 6887-5981) bags are the next best thing. This season, the B Fendi bags, which come with a multitude of breathtaking covers such as butter-soft calfskin and gleaming patent leather, are simply a must-have for aspiring tai-tais, and they’re gorgeous to boot. The damage: Over $33k for selected models.Shoe sluts must get their feet into the $1.5k Alaia shoes from On Pedder (#02-12 Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road, 6835-1307). These are the season’s most luxurious and trendiest heels, and are available for the first time in Singapore. Proclaimed by fashion high priestess Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune as fashion’s latest must-have, Alaia shoes come with delicate intertwining straps and killer vertical heels. Trendsetter Sarah Jessica Parker (TV’s Sex and the City) has been spotted with many pairs, and they are set to replace Manolo Blahnik as the shoe that befits any fashion queen.Further bling out your inner Paris Hilton and 50 Cent with Cartier’s (#01-33 Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Rd., 6734-2427) range of yellow gold plated panther necklaces and pendants. The range, which boasts 18-carat gold, beautiful black lacquer markings and onyx muzzles, is a must have for any self-respecting golddigger, considering that most of the pieces cost over $50k.Those who want to take it a little further can invest in a customized watch from Audemars Piguet (#17-00 Liat Towers, 541 Orchard Rd., 6238-6678), which can fetch as much as $3m. Each timepiece can be made according to the customer’s needs—from the dials to the movements to the crown—and attracts business types as avid fans.Complete your luxe ensemble with the highly refined and sought after Vertu (#01-36 The Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd., 6723-2288) handphones. The sleek Signature phone, which comes with 69.25 carats of pure scratch resistant sapphire crystal, starts at a cool $7.9k. Local celebrities such as actress Kym Ng have been spotted with one, and it’s about time you are too, if you want to make it to the high life.TopLuxury GetawaysQuite naturally, all that shopping would require you to take a much deserved luxury holiday. Landlubbers with queasy bellies can still enjoy a cruise with Crystal Cruises (jeffhang@usa.net, www.crystalcruises.com), especially since it’s a six-star cruise line which offers pure luxury on the high seas. These cruises take you to ports around the world, though predominately to those in Europe. What’s US$8-10k for a two-week cruise (excluding airfare to/from the port destinations), when you can have 24-hour butler service, champagne and fine wines in all the suites and the chance to hobnob with the rich and famous from the world over?If cruising with hundreds is just not your style, how about hiring a private yacht for your exclusive use? A 3D/4N long weekend sail to Pulau Tioman on board Rising Tide, an 85-foot rigged schooner, will set you back $11k for eight persons. Dive, snorkel, wakeboard or just laze about in the sun. You’ll enjoy three meals cooked right on board, and comfy air-conditioned cabins and bathrooms.Or fly to Bangkok or London on a private jet. Pacific Flight Services Ltd. (ST Aerospace Engineering Building, Seletar West Camp, Seletar Airport, 6481-3756) can fly you to over 200 destinations, and charges $3.6-3.8k for every hour you’re on-board the plane.Perhaps a secluded private island is more your thing. At Pulau Pangkil (enquiry2006@pangkil.com, www.pangkil.com), you can rent the whole island for a mere $11.8k for a 3D/2N weekend for 30 people. You don’t have to play Robinson Crusoe on this island located just off the coast of Pulau Bintan. This is executive camping at its best, with butlers and maids at your beck and call yet not losing that rustic outback feel. There are nine elegant driftwood bungalows, all just a few paces from the beach. Don’t expect air-conditioned rooms here though. The natural sea breeze and the hypnotic sounds of the waves nearby are enough to lull you to sleep on the four-poster beds.Amanpulo of the ultra über Aman Resorts (6887-3337, reservations@amanresorts.com, www.amanresorts.com), has just the thing for couples looking for a romantic holiday, no holds barred. At US$5,595+++, expect to be indulged for five nights on private Pamalican island, an hour’s flight from Manila. Staying in the Beach Casita, you’ll be indulged with a welcome champagne, three meals a day, a sunset cruise with cocktails and canapés, and a beach BBQ with a massage thrown in. The highlight of this lovers’ trip is the “blessing” on the beach at sunset.Not ritzy enough for delicate sun-sensitive tai-tais? At Banyan Tree Seychelles (6849-5800, www.banyantree.com), the two-bedroom Presidential Villa, which goes for $7-7.4k per night, offers “the ultimate in luxury, exclusivity and privacy.” The price includes your very own private cove, a free-form infinity pool carved into granite boulders, an outdoor jet pool and shower, a large sun deck, and living pavilion with a kitchen and guest bathroom.Bhutan is a unique holiday destination to name-drop at your next high society do, especially if you stayed at the Uma Paro (+975-232-6254, infor.paro@uma.como.bz, www.uma.como.bz). At US$13,716 for a Himalayan Explorer seven-night package, you’d have much to brag about. The package includes accommodation with full board, custom designed activities, a COMO Shambhala massage and other administrative costs. Uma Paro is set in the forested hilltop with only 20 rooms and nine villas on the 38-acre estate. And in keeping with the meditative, wellness focus of the property, dishes served are wholesome and nourishing, relying on organic produce grown in the surrounding valleys.But if don’t plan to travel far, check in at the Presidential Suite at The Fullerton Hotel (1 Fullerton Square, 6877-8077). Priced at $5,880+++ per night, the space comprises a living room, dining room, entertainment area with a Baby Grand piano, kitchen, a magnificent glass enclosed air-conditioned verandah, and round-the-clock butler service.TopWining and DiningEvery suave dinner party must have wine. But pull out all stops, or in this case corks, and bring out the jaw-dropping $8,000 bottle of Domaine de la Romanee Conti from Burgundy. You can lay your hands on this rare and much sought-after wine at Bacchus Boathouse ( #03-01 The Boathouse, 3 Fullerton Rd., 6538-9038).Living the high life must include knowing (or at least appreciating) your food and wine. What better way than to join a group of connoisseurs from the Slow Food Convivium Society (www.slowfood.org.sg)? Their monthly gourmet five-hour lunches are a steal at only $120 per person, considering this includes free flow of wine and champagne.Planning a private party? Let the experts glam it up for you. Sit back and look pretty as Wendy and Adeline from LE (6736-1782, Lelife@le.com.sg, www.le.com.sg) conceptualize and execute the itsy bitsy details that go into making your party the talk of the town.TopFace OffWhat better way to indulge yourself than a little nip-tuck and a facelift whenever necessary? Famous plastic surgeons Dr. Woffles Wu and Dr. Marco Faria-Correa spill some of their most popular services., Ticket to IndulgenceDr. Woffles Wu (#09-02 Camden Medical Centre, 1 Orchard Blvd., 6733-9771)What are the most expensive operations you perform?$25k for a full face and neck lift, and a facelift for $15k.What are the most popular procedures?Double eyelids and eyebag surgery, which cost about $3.5-5k. Botox and fillers are also popular among tai-tais and socialites. I also do about two major liposuctions a week.Who are your clients?Celebrities, tai-tais, entrepreneurs, corporate bigwigs and prime ministers.How often do your regulars see you in a year?About four to five times.Why is plastic surgery so important today?Because it is human nature to want to look good. It’s an age-old desire., Ticket to IndulgenceDr. Marco Faria-Correa (#02-07 East Shore Medical Centre, 319 Joo Chiat Place, 6464-8075)What is your price range like?The cheapest is $500 for a botox injection, mole removal or scar removal. A nose job costs around $5-6k, and a nose implant about $8k. Extreme makeovers can cost as much as $18-20k.Who are some of your main clients?Most of them are quite high status people: Professionals, entrepreneurs, celebrities and rich tai-tais. I not only see locals but also many visitors. They recommend me to their friends by word of mouth.What are the most popular procedures?It depends on the age. For instance, liposuction is most frequently requested by men and women from all age groups, while older women prefer breast lifts and implants. The men prefer to work on double eyelids, eye bags and nose jobs because they want to look young. This is especially so with politicians, artistes and celebrities.Why is plastic surgery so important today?It makes you feel good. It is a very personal thing: Go for it if you are unhappy. Beauty is a very strong concept here. Tai-tais need to please their husbands. It is also a sign of power.TopThe Good LifeHigh flyers in the industry show us how to live it up., Ticket to IndulgenceMichelle Nicholas, Director of beauty and spa boudoir Adriana“My idea of living it up is to have a massage at least three times a week and a weekly indulgent facial to stay youthful; taking short holidays to nearby destinations at least once in three to four months to unwind; indulging in vintage wines at private tastings and chilling out in a good ambience with music; shopping in Hong Kong, China, Europe, Australia, the US and never getting bored looking for flattering and everlasting fashion cuts and statement pieces from local designers and brands such as Chanel; enjoying the finer gourmet dining in some of my favorite haunts including Sebastiens, The Canteen, Les Amis, Au Jardin, Shiro, Garibaldi’s and Morton’s; and driving in a BMW Z4 3-liter with a six speed manual gearbox, although that hasn’t really happened yet. (Laughs). But my real ticket to indulgence is to fly to Paris, Monte Carlo, Milan, Zermatt—been there, done that, but I will do it over and over again!”, Ticket to IndulgenceHenne Mercer, managing director of TONI&Guy“Travel is my ultimate indulgence, and I always have a long list of must-see places that I am planning to try and fit in trips to. However, apart from chilling out with my family on holidays, we treat ourselves to crazy “girls’ weekends” for shopping and pampering in places like Bangkok and Bali. I love discovering local designers in these places and buying fantastic clothes, accessories and jewelry. One of my favorite getaways is Bali, a place and people that is always inspirational, serene and truly beautiful. My recent trip with my husband, David, my daughter, India, and my parents was indulgent in every sense. We stayed in a huge villa set in gardens with a pool in the heart of trendy Seminyak. We ate at amazing restaurants, had divine massages, sunbathed by the pool and explored unknown parts of the Bali countryside.”, Ticket to IndulgenceMadeleine Ho, marketing director of Hermes“My greatest indulgence is really clothes and food. I’m into functional art, and what’s more functional than clothes and food, two things that we all need daily. I have given up collecting paintings, sculptures and books as they have become nothing more than clutter to me. I usually do most of my shopping when I’m in Paris for work, twice a year. This is usually at the very tail end of the seasonal markdowns, which also coincides with the beginning of each season, so I get the best of both worlds. As I only have one afternoon to shop, I usually land up at places like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Favorite buys this year from Singapore and Paris: White Ann Demuelemeester skirt from Printemps, hairy Martin Margiela vest from Club 21, Tina Borg ruched shirt dress from Felt, Victorian lace top from Kenzo and the most gorgeous lambskin laced up platform heels from Hermes. Apart from fashion, I also stock up on beauty products, lingerie and food.”, Ticket to IndulgenceMelvyn Goh, managing director of Eurosports Auto and Lamborghini car enthusiast“I love Lamborghini for its extremism and exclusivity. As Lamborghini keeps pushing the boundaries of performance, it is a symbol of ‘nothing is impossible.’ It is also an appropriate symbol of success for its owners. I drive a Model Year 2005 Gallardo Coupe, which features 500 horsepower from a V10 engine. Shortly, I will be upgrading to the Model Year 2006, which has an additional 20 horsepower and even more extreme performance. The model year 2006 Gallardo Coupe is currently available at $798k, excluding COE. In terms of modifications, Lamborghini is a car that you customize in the factory with a wide range of options. Each Lamborghini is custom tailored to the owners’ specifications, down to the color of the stitching in the leather seats. Lamborghini also offers a wide range of accessories, clothing and leatherware for its owners. This ranges from pencils to wallets, document folders, attache cases and luggage sets. Certainly, a Lamborghini is an indulgence. It is also a lifestyle, as it is about declaring who you are and reveling in the extreme nature of a Lamborghini. Lamborghinis are specifically designed as extreme sports cars that one can use daily. To own one is to declare to the world that ‘I have truly arrived.’”Top