Lux­ury Does Make a Dif­fer­ence

HIS­TORY, TRA­DI­TION, EVO­LU­TION, EX­CLU­SIVE­NESS AND HIGH QUAL­ITY CHAR­AC­TER­IZE THE WORLD’S LUX­URY MAR­KET, A SEG­MENT THAT IN­CLUDES HA­BANOS AMONG ITS PEER­LESS GEMS

Excelencias from the Caribbean & the Americas - - CONTENTS - BY / MA­RINA PAZ PHO­TOS / EX­CE­LEN­CIAS ARCHIVES

For decades, mak­ing a dif­fer­ence, hav­ing some­thing unique every­body wants but it's yet within the reach of only a few, has been the name of game for the lux­ury mar­ket, a trend that counts only on a hand­ful of se­lect items in which Ha­banos –the very best pre­mium cigars mankind has ever known- are un­wa­ver­ingly in­cluded.

Over­all, the lux­ury mar­ket –it em­braces both goods and ex­pe­ri­ences- ramped up 5 per­cent in 2017, worth over a bil­lion dol­lars, ac­cord­ing to a re­port

re­leased by Bain & Com­pany in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Fon­dazione Al­t­agamma.

More lo­cal con­sump­tion and hefty pur­chases fos­tered growth in a sec­tor that al­ways keeps cus­tomers as the cen­ter­piece of its ac­tions. Brands in such di­verse fields as fash­ion, cos­met­ics, avi­a­tion, yachts, cars, jew­els, watches, liquors and tourist re­sorts were all in the mix.

AT FULL THROT­TLE

Car sales were no doubt the num­ber-one source of growth for the lux­ury mar­ket in 2017. The As­ton Martin Valkyrie ($3.9 mil­lion) is a “For­mula I on the streets” that peaks this niche as the most ex­pen­sive sport cars, ac­cord­ing to the Forbes mag­a­zine's rank­ing.

The As­ton Martin Valkyrie is out­fit­ted with a V12 Cos­worth at­mo­spheric en­gine that makes the car speed up from 0 to 321 km/h in just 10 sec­onds. That comes cou­pled with tech­nol­ogy and de­sign that put it close to the $4 mil­lion.

This su­per sport car can bar­rel down to­day's reg­u­lar high­ways. The gear­box is the brain­child of spe­cial­ist Ri­cardo's and fea­tures seven gears in all. Croa­t­ian com­pany Ri­mac is be­hind the de­vel­op­ment of the ve­hi­cle's bat­tery, while Bosch was tasked with the elec­tron­ics. Only 150 units are sup­posed to be built.

TIME WITH EL­E­GANCE

Val­ued at $55 mil­lion, Hal­lu­ci­na­tion –pen­ciled in as a mas­ter­piece of jew­elry and watch­mak­ing- brought down the house at Graff Di­a­monds. The mot­ley 110-karat di­a­monds in­laid in this watch are both huge and un­usual. The Graff Hal­lu­ci­na­tion for ladies is thought out to step up watch­mak­ing to an un­seen notch, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts.

HANDY EX­CLU­SIVE­NESS

More than just one woman saw their mouth wa­ter over a purse launched by French com­pany Her­mès –Birkin model- that ranks as the most ex­pen­sive ever fol­low­ing an auc­tion at Christie's in Hong Kong. The buyer –his or her iden­tity re­mains un­re­vealed­shelled out $380,000 for this item through elec­tronic bid­ding. The purse –bet­ter known as the Hi­malaya Birk­in­boasts pearly white and gray shades. Only one or two of these purses are man­u­fac­tured ev­ery year. The piece was cre­ated in 2014 and is made of croc­o­dile skin, 205 di­a­monds around the han­dles and 18-karat gold in its buckles.

BEV­ER­AGES FOR THE GODS

In the realm of liquors, a Span­ish wine made head­lines in 2017 for its $29,000 price tag.

Wine­maker Hi­lario Gar­cia came up with the Au­rum­red Oro in Las Pe­droñeras (Cuenca), a mu­nic­i­pal­ity of less than 7,000 in­hab­i­tants. It's been for years one of the world's prici­est wines, but it went it­self one bet­ter in 2017.

Only 300 bot­tles of this cov­eted wine are made ev­ery year and half of them are al­ready pre-owned, there­fore only 150 bot­tles are on sale an­nu­ally.

Each and ev­ery de­tailed is care­fully ob­served in the mak­ing process, from the soils where the grapes are har­vested to the chem­i­cals the plants are sprayed with. As a dis­tinc­tive el­e­ment, ozone is added to the wa­ter used for sprin­kling the

grapevine.

DELUXE SCENT

The Clive Chris­tian No. 1 Im­pe­rial Majesty panned out to be the prici­est per­fume of 2017. It had hit the mar­ket back in 2006 at a stag­ger­ing price tag of $205,000.

There are only ten bot­tles out there, seven of which were ac­quired by col­lec­tors and the re­main­ing three are in ex­hi­bi­tion: one at Harrods (Lon­don), an­other one at Bergdorf Good­man (New York) and the third one is trav­el­ing all around the world.

The neck of this 500-ml. Bac­carat-glass bot­tle is decked out with a gold neck­lace set with five di­a­monds.

WINGS OF PLEA­SURE

When it comes to fly­ing as a truly ex­cit­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, ex­perts point at the lux­ury, speed and com­fort pri­vate jets have to of­fer.

In this sense, the rec­om­mend the world's only pri­vate Boe­ing 787 Dream­liner. Turned into a pri­vate jet by UAS In­ter­na­tional Trip Sup­port, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Deer Jet Air­lines, this air­craft can be rented for ap­prox­i­mately 60,000 an hour.

The in­ner de­sign was al­tered to give more com­fort to the pas­sen­gers, who even­tu­ally have far more legroom and space to move around dur­ing the flight.

It can fly with 16 pas­sen­gers in a huge cabin equipped with pre­mium-class seats and two couches that can be put to­gether to cre­ate a rest­ing area. Cou­pled with that, there's a diner with two ta­bles that can also come to­gether to form an im­mense con­fer­ence ta­ble.

In ad­di­tion, there's a bed­room with beds for two peo­ple, a 42-inch TV, a locker and fully-equipped bath­room for two plated in Ital­ian and Aus­trian mar­ble, plus a shower room and four ad­di­tional bath­rooms also spruced up in mar­ble.

In such a de­mand­ing mar­ket as lux­ury, in which growth must re­main on the rise in com­ing years, ex­perts rec­om­mend to de­velop brand-cus­tomer re­la­tion­ships in a cus­tom­ized way, an ob­jec­tive that will con­tribute to mak­ing the elite clien­tele loyal to their par­tic­u­lar brand of choice.

LUX­URY IN EV­ERY ROOM

In search of com­fort, plea­sure, ex­per­tise and cus­tom­ized ser­vice, ev­ery year thou­sands of peo­ple book in dif­fer­ent ho­tels around the globe. But those on a quest for the ul­ti­mate lux­ury must travel all the way to Asia.

The fa­cil­ity known as “The 13” is in Ma­cao. It fea­tures 200 suites be­gin­ning at 185 square me­ters and a mon­u­men­tal suite called “Stephen” of nearly 3,000 square me­ters.

The build­ing of each ho­tel suite cost more than $6 mil­lion and vir­tu­ally all de­sign de­tails are cus­tom­ized and spe­cially cre­ated for The 13.

The Villa du Comte suite has a pri­vate el­e­va­tor and round-the-clock but­ler ser­vice –trained by MCM Palace Con­sul­tants and cer­ti­fied by the English Guild of But­lers. The price is around $100,000 per night.

DI­A­MONDS IN THE MOUTH

The uni­verse of cos­met­ics awed its fol­low­ers with a lip­stick made of di­a­monds. Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, it's in­deed glam­orous lip art cre­ated by Vlada Hag­gerty.

Vlada is widely known for her awe­some lip cre­ations, but this is def­i­nitely her ul­ti­mate mas­ter­piece, spe­cial­ists agree.

It was made for Smash­box and is of­fi­cially the world's most ex­pen­sive lip­stick, as reg­is­tered in the Book of Guin­ness World Records. The artist used Smash­box gloss and 6.5-karat di­a­monds pro­vided by Zoe Chicco in the mak­ing of this piece of makeup.

ROSY DI­A­MONDS

In the jew­elry sec­tion, a rosy di­a­mond of 59.6 karats that went un­der the gavel at $71.2 mil­lion at Sotheby's was the star of the year. Pink Rose –that's the name of the di­a­mond- is con­sid­ered the world's big­gest flaw­less gem, ac­cord­ing to a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is­sued by the Ge­mo­log­i­cal In­sti­tute of Amer­ica. It was found in 1999 in an African mine and it took roughly two years to make all the cuts it shows off now.

THE BEST AT SEA

Deluxe su­pery­achts –some of them have been turned into gen­uine fancy man­sions- re­mained high on the list of ma­jor al­lures in 2017. Owned by Rus­sian bil­lion­aire Ro­man Abra­mavich, the Eclipse is by far one of the most ex­pen­sive boats in the world at a whop­ping $1.5 bil­lion. It's a 160-me­ter-long ves­sel built by Blohm + Voss, a ship­yard in Ham­burg. The up­per part boasts two he­li­ports and car­ries a minia­ture sub­ma­rine. It's fit­ted out with a mis­sile-track­ing sys­tem, a gym, a sauna, a ball­room, a movie theater, a beauty salon, a casino, a con­fer­ence hall and a whole lot more. It fea­tures over 300 suites and an ar­mored head­room de­signed for Mr. Abramovich.

Over­all, the lux­ury mar­ket ramped up 5 per­cent in 2017, worth over a bil­lion dol­lars

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