There are a host of statistics that illustrate the astonishing global gulf between the richest and the poorest, but a new calculation included in a pre-Davos report by Oxfam is freshly staggering.
The world’s 85 richest individuals, it finds, are worth as much as the world’s poorest 3.5 billion people, or half the population.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, poor dears! Must be tricky to spend all that dosh!
To be fair, the super-rich are giving more away, it seems.
But they’ve also, thank goodness, got somewhere snazzier to stay in the USA.
The New York Times brings news of a surge in hotels designed to “cater to the superrich”.
A “race to the top has broken out”, it reports, “with hotels outdoing one another to serve this tiny, if highly visible, niche”.
That US $28,000 burning a hole in your pocket? The New York Mandarin Oriental can give you a night in a “3,300-square-foot suite that includes floor-to-ceiling windows and a dining room that seats 10”.
Or perhaps you’d prefer to save $3,000 and instead crash at the “Jewel Suite by Martin Katz” at the New York Palace …
The three-story, 5,000-square-foot space — a sort of penthouse Versailles — itself resembles a jewel box, albeit one with its own private elevator and views of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings.
It’s hard to imagine Louis XIV being left wanting. The floor in the entryway on the 53rd floor is glittering black marble arranged in a sunburst pattern, while a 20-foot crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling. The living room sofa is a brilliant sapphire blue and a tufted ivory chaise has a pearlescent sheen. Two floors up, in a second living room next to a vast private terrace, the wet bar (one of two in the suite) and half-bath are swathed in a sparkling wall covering, and an angular lavender sofa calls to mind an amethyst crystal. Iridescent tiles lining the private rooftop hot tub give the impression of sinking into a giant opal.
And then there are the jewels themselves: More than a million dollars of the jewellery designer’s work is displayed in five museum-like cases in the entryway, and a boudoir area in the master suite has lighting and floor-to-ceiling mirrors designed specifically for jewellery showings.
No price details are yet available, meanwhile, for the soon-to-open Dallas Ritz-Carlton’s 5,135-square-foot suite wing, “including three adjoining suites and two rooms … Multiple interconnected spaces make it more convenient to house the phalanx of nannies, assistants, bodyguards, personal chefs and other attendants that the super-wealthy bring with them on trips.”
It’s all about “bragging rights,” luxury marketing adviser Pam Danziger tells the paper. “You find that the new money types are the kinds given to this excessive display, valuing the display of this excessive, over-the-top consumption. Subtlety is not appreciated.”
Subtlety? For losers, clearly.