Luxury Lockdowns: How the World’s Super-Rich Quarantine
Thu, April 22, 2021

Luxury Lockdowns: How the World’s Super-Rich Quarantine

 

Governments around the world have enforced lockdowns to stop the spread of Covid-19 but not all quarantines are created the same.  / Photo by Deliris1 via Shutterstock

 

Governments around the world have enforced lockdowns to stop the spread of Covid-19 but not all quarantines are created the same. While essential workers continue to work amid the global health crisis, the world’s mega-rich have afforded luxuries that allow them to better manage the pandemic.

 

What life's like for the world’s richest 1%

The world’s richest 1%, those with more than $1 million, owns 44% of the world’s wealth, according to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report. They may have followed government advice to stay at home but their homes are usually mansions with all the amenities that others would be tempted to go out for. This means that if middle-class income earners share a shower in the queue at home, the super-rich are being served poolside drinks.

Canadian-American print magazine Vice recently highlighted the tweet of Canadian rapper Aubrey Drake Graham. Inside his domicile is an NBA regulation-size indoor basketball court that qualifies as extravagant. “My life for the next however long,” the rapper shared on social media.

Some were on holiday before the lockdowns and simply extended their stay indefinitely. Luxury resorts in the Bahamas, West Indies, and Mexico reported that they have wealthy guests who stay put during the lockdown. This means they could stomach the cost of $812 per night stay instead of going to crowded airports or the possibility of quarantining at their residence.

 

 

Renting out the entire hotel

The King of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn takes quarantining a step further. Thailand’s controversial monarch reportedly self-isolates in a luxury hotel in Alpine resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The law provides that anyone who criticizes or insults the monarch could be imprisoned for up to 15 years. German tabloid Bild detailed that the Thai King rented out the entire resort in the German Alps, complete with golf course, spa, and pool for himself and a “harem” of 20 concubines. The King was also reportedly with numerous servants but it is unclear whether his four wives are in the hotel with the group.

 

Private chateau

But would you need a crown to rent a hotel? Exclusive resort rentals and hotel buyouts platform Rent-a-Resort’s head of marketing Daniel Rudolf said that they have a client who requested a private chateau or manor house in France for his birthday party. There was also another client to simply wanted to enjoy time in one of their villas near a port city in southern Spain, Malaga. This means that these clients can enjoy exclusive properties while the rest of the world talks about how the pandemic impacts the rest of the world. For that villa in Malaga, it cost about €9,000 (£7,907) a night.

Scotland's chief medical officer Dr. Catherine Calderwood was also forced to resign after she breached her advice of avoiding non-essential travel. She was seen making an unauthorized visit to her family’s second home. Her move was likened to wealthy New Yorkers who flocked to Martha's Vineyard, Rhode Island, and the Hamptons.

 

Demand for jet charter services increased

Jet charter services, such as PrivateFly, also saw an increase in demand of more than 60% in March compared to the same month in 2019. PrivateFly CEO Adam Twidell told Vice that they were able to arrange a flight from Grand Bahama to Gibraltar, a British overseas territory, for two adults and a canine. These were clients who are British citizens but with dual residences in these two places.

 

Building a shelter in the back garden

Although other ultra-rich preferred to fly off to rented properties, some chose to build a shelter in their back gardens so they can grow their food in the event the pandemic becomes a resource war.

 

Some wealthy individuals who own a yacht prefer to stay away from these floating properties for fear that it may become a Covid-19 hotspot.  / Photo by Pola Damonte via Shutterstock

 

Hiding underground

If all those things are not enough, there is another idea that the ultra-rich depend on: the bunkers. These were supposed to be a defensive military fortification designed to protect people and valued materials from falling bombs, which is the reason why bunkers are usually hidden underground.

Underground survival community Vivos Shelters’ founder Robert Vicina said that their company had to use automated email responses during the pandemic as they have been getting many inquiries about their community. Most of these emails were from very successful people that the public would recognize and these possible occupants were asking for a separate bunker to place their wine collection, art pieces, collectible vehicles, and their toys. Some even requested to put a tunnel between their bunkers so that they can go back and forth in these spaces during a lockdown situation.

 

 

Superyacht isolation: the floating mansion

Some wealthy individuals who own a yacht prefer to stay away from these floating properties for fear that it may become a Covid-19 hotspot. However, American business magnate David Geffen, who is a producer and film studio executive by profession, braved the open seas using his $590 million superyachts called the Rising Sun.

Full-service yachting company Fraser Yachts’ CEO Raphael Sauleau also shared that they have a lot of clients who are on their yachts in the Caribbean. Since it is like an extension of their home, they feel safe on board with their family there.

 

 

US adults without rainy day fund

In a recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center, they found that 41% of those in the upper-income level have no rainy-day funds, which is a reserved amount of money to be used in times when regular income is disrupted or decreased. On the other hand, 58% of upper-income adults in the US have access to money in case of an emergency. It was also found that only 34% of the middle incomes and 16% in the lower incomes have emergency funds.

Financial concerns are also not felt equally by all people in the US. For instance, only 15% of upper-income families worry about paying their bills but 59% of lower-income adults said they worry almost every day about it. Only 18% of upper-income adults worry about the cost of healthcare for them and their families, but 47% in the lower-income families share the same concern.

The economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has affected many people but not all are feeling the financial pinch. The world’s super-rich are able to self-isolate in ultimate comfort and can quickly access swab tests to offer them peace of mind knowing where their health stands.