RAISING THE BAR ON EXCLUSIVITY

It's time for another peek [Lifestyle Theme] into "The Lifestyles of the Rich... and Cranky."

It’s time for another peek [Lifestyle Theme] into “The Lifestyles of the Rich… and Cranky.”

The cruel irony of being rich these days is that, well, it’s become so common. For example, thanks to bloated executive paychecks and the government’s plutocratic economic policies, there are now a million millionaires in America alone. It’s hard to feel you’re above the crowd or to wallow in the exquisite eliteness of wealth, when everyday millionaires are booking tables at your favorite four-star restaurant in the South of France or crowding the sugar sand beaches of secluded Caribbean islands.

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Luckily, though, the truly rich no longer have to despair, thanks to the ruling royals of the United Arab Emirates. These guys understand big money and the sensibilities of the ultra-wealthy. Thus, they built the Burj-al Arab hotel in Dubai. Actually, they built it on an artificial island they created out in the Persian Gulf, reachable only by a guarded private bridge.

Taller than the Eiffel Tower and shaped like a massive, billowing sail, the “Tower of the Arabs” is a 7-star testament to excess, with gold-plated decor and rooms rising to $28,000 per night. Guests arrive via chauffeured limousines, are served by a brigade of personal butlers, and can be pampered with such luxuries as $300 massages “for men only.” The hotel has an underwater restaurant accessible by a simulated submarine voyage. The soaring building is topped by a helipad – indeed, to help launch the Burj, Tiger Woods was helicoptered in to launch a few golf balls from the helipad into the waters below.

This is Jim Hightower saying… And if you really want exclusivity, do what supermodel Naomi Campbell did in May. She got her new boyfriend, a super-rich Dubai prince, to rent every room in the Burj for three-days, so she and her glitterati friends could celebrate her 36th birthday. The cost: 1.8 million bucks.

Sources:
“Celebrity culture, Dubai’s laws collide,” Austin American-Statesman, July 2, 2006.
“Dubai hotelier expanding in the U.S.” Austin American-Statesman, May 31, 2006.
“Private Party at the Burj Al Arab,” www.luxist.com, June 2, 2006.
www.burj-al-arab.com

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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