Let’s say you’re rich and powerful. Really rich. We’re talking billions. Money is no object, and you only have a taste for the finer things in life.
Where should you live?
Where offers the highest living standards for the uber loaded? Where can you find the most affluent neighbours? Where will you dine like kings and queens? And where can you spend endless amounts of money?
That’s what we wanted to find out.
So, we set out to create a mass study of 210 of the world’s most renowned cities, aiming to conclude which ones are the most opulent.
First off, we had to decide which factors constitute luxury living. From when you wake up in the morning to when you go to bed at night, what aspects of a city make it the perfect place for the filthy rich. We then weighted and ranked each factor to give us our answers.
The variables we landed on were luxury property (for obvious reasons), high cost of living (you have expensive tastes), the number of three-star Michelin restaurants (you only eat and drink the best), the number of billionaires already living there (you want to be in like-minded company), and the number of luxury brand stores.
The luxury brand score came courtesy of Hudson’s Global Residence Index. They analysed the concentration of high-end car, jewellery and watch outlets in the major cities across the globe.
|2||New York City|
Port city done well
Hong Kong won out, and not by a little. The incredibly densely populated port city scored highly across every variable.
It has the highest cost of living and the most expensive real estate. To top that, you’ll find seven three-Michelin starred restaurants and you’ll be in the company of 80 billionaires.
For when you want to spend some of your never-ending disposable income, you’ll have no less than eight Louis Vuitton shops, 50 Rolex outlets and a Ferrari dealership to keep you happy.
It’s an interesting outcome. Unlike, say, Rome or London, Hong Kong doesn’t have a history of luxury.
50 years ago, Hong Kong was just starting as an industrial player in world trade. In a very short time, it’s climbed its way to become a financial services powerhouse – its streets lined with 400-and-over metre skyscrapers.
East Asia, the land of the lavish
In fact, six out of our 10 top ten opulent cities are located in East Asia. Shanghai, Tokyo, Beijing, Singapore and Seoul joined Hong Kong at the top.
If you’re looking to follow the steps of your billionaire brethren, China could be the country for you. The cities of Beijing and Shanghai are home to the most billionaires, with 100 and 64 respectively.
If good food and high-end items are your bag, then Japan could be the one. Tokyo has more three-Michelin starred restaurants than any other city in the world (12), while street-food famous Osaka has three of its own.
In terms of shopping, Tokyo has the second-largest concentration of Louis Vuitton shops in the world – and not one, not two, but three Ferrari showrooms. It’s nice to have a choice.
Europe misses out
Only one European city made our top 10, suggesting that the old-worldly lavishness of Paris and Venice may be coming to an end.
London, Europe’s financial capital, came in 5th place. Anyone who lives there will know that the city has a high cost of living and investing in property is no joke. But that’s child’s play for the mega-wealthy.
On top of that, the UK capital has no less than five three-Michelin starred restaurants and 39 Rolex outlets.
Although East Asian cities ran the leader board, the Western world still had a horse in the race. Anybody who’s excited about the new season of Succession will not be surprised that New York City is not short on opulence.
The Big Apple scored highly across nearly all our variables. It came in third for luxury property, it has 99 billionaires who call it home and offers no less than five three-Michelin starred restaurants.
Interestingly, 2021 saw New York City lose its place as the city with the most billionaires for the first time in seven years. Beijing is now number one.
When you think of a lavish city, you’d be forgiven for thinking of Los Angeles. Home of the rich and famous, it’s where many dream to make it big.
Despite doing well in the ranking (LA came in at 10th), the City of Angels was pipped by its Californian neighbour.
San Francisco made 9th place, suggesting that extreme wealth has moved from movies and entertainment to big tech. Relocate to San Fran and you’ll be in the company of 48 billionaires (Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page among them), have the choice of three three-Michelin starred restaurants, and you’ll be living in the 8th most expensive real estate in the world.
There we have it
That’s it. Now you have some idea of where to hang your hat once your billions start rolling in.
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