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Monday, April 14, 2008

The Most Expensive Beach Resorts

The guests who stay at these ultra expensive beach resorts are heads of state, billionaires, and celebs who demand only the best for their evenings. When money is no object, these expensive waterfront hotels and pricey beach resorts provide the ultimate experience whether you are traveling on your honeymoon or for business.

Although you can find some great packages and rates at the following luxury resorts without breaking the bank, the following resorts and hotels are without a doubt, some of the world’s most expensive rooms.

Featured in this series from Five Star Alliance are:

Burj Al Arab - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

One and Only Palmilla - San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Little Palm Island - Little Torch Key, FL, United States

Peter Island Villas - Peter Island, Virgin Islands, British

The Most Expensive Whiskies

15 years ago, any fine bottle of single malt Scotch would have been worthy of most of life’s hallmark moments–a wedding or a daughter making partner at a law firm. Now, times - and prices - have drastically changed.

Here’s a significant story. On a recent trip to New York City a young man from Toronto stepped into Park Avenue Liquor Shop and bought a $10,000 bottle of single malt Scotch for his son.

“He wanted something very special,” says Vice President Jonathan Goldstein, who sold him his second-to-last Macallan 50-year-old in its Lalique crystal decanter. “I don’t think he actually has a son–yet,” says Goldstein. “In fact, I don’t even think his wife is pregnant.”

“It used to be that a [$200] bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label was the crème de la crème,” says Goldstein. “Now, there seems to be no limit at the high end of whisky.”

Greg Leonard, director of public relations for Diageo, the world’s largest premium drinks business, says more than just expensive whisky, they’re “selling a lifestyle.” Whisky has become a type of badge that says a lot about who you are, he says, and how far you’ve come. “People who have found wealth are wanting only the finest things that money can still buy,” he adds.

Here are a few of the World’s Most Expensive Whiskies:

The John Walker 1805 Pack - $20,000

This cask-strength blend was specially created as an homage to John Walker. It’s a blend of extremely rare whiskies, many from now-defunct distilleries and all ranging in age from 45 to 70 years old. Only 200 bottles exist, and none is for sale. Rather, each bottle will be presented, privately, to a select individual “who has made a significant contribution to modern life,” says Brand Manager Bill Topf. Steve Fossett, the first person to zip around the world in a hot-air balloon was considered “bottle worthy.” JW’s keeping mum about other giftees.

The Balvenie Cask 191 - $13,000

On Jan. 26, 1952, cask No. 191, containing the last Balvenie single malt Scotch whisky from the 1950s, was laid down to mature in a single sherry cask in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. In 2002 the cask was emptied into just 83 bottles–the smallest Balvenie release ever. Only five bottles of this liquid, which hints at sherry and honey, were brought into the U.S. Each bottle is numbered, dipped in wax and hand-signed by Balwenie’s master distiller.

Macallan Lalique - $10,000

In 2006, Macallan released its limited edition 50-year-old whisky in a sleek, specially designed Lalique crystal decanter and slapped a near-$6,000 price tag on it. Now this deep amber single-malt whisky–made with Golden Promise barley and with palatal notes of cumin, cardamom, dark prunes and chocolate–retails for almost double that.

Bowmore 40-Year-Old - $7,000

This liquid spent the first 20 years of its life in a Spanish sherry butt, which in 1975 sprung a leak. Since no more sherry casks were available, the spirit was transferred to a bourbon cask, where it stayed 20 more years. No one knew how to inventory the barrel, so it was left to mature in a corner of the warehouse. Sometime in the late 1980s, Bowmore realized it had a most unusual whisky in the making and released it close to 10 years later.

Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1964 - $2,000

Over the years it has been a tradition at the Glenlivet Distillery for the master distiller to hand-select the most exceptional casks to be set aside to mature in the Glenlivet cellar. These casks were stored in the original warehouses built in 1858. For the past 150 years, the cool, damp environment has yielded whisky of distinct quality. The whiskies from these special stocks are bottled in a limited quantity. In 2004, when the 1964 vintage reached its peak of maturity, Glenlivet created 1,824 numbered bottles of this classic speyside whisky, of which only 800 were made available.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Buffett is World’s Richest Man, Not Bill Gates

Warren Buffett is the richest man on the planet.

Riding the surging price of Berkshire Hathaway stock, America’s most beloved investor has seen his fortune swell to an estimated $62 billion, up $10 billion from a year ago. That massive pile of scratch puts him ahead of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who was the richest man in the world for 13 straight years.

Gates is now worth $58 billion and is ranked third in the world. He is up $2 billion from a year ago, but would have been perhaps as rich–or richer–than Buffett had Microsoft not made an unsolicited bid for Yahoo! at the beginning of February.

Microsoft shares fell 15% between Jan. 31, the day before the company announced its bid for the search engine giant, and Feb. 11, the day we locked in stock prices for the 2008 World’s Billionaires list. More than half of Gates’ fortune is held outside of Microsoft shares.

Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helú is the world’s second-richest man, with an estimated net worth of $60 billion. His fortune has risen $11 billion since last March.


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