How the internet made luxury more accessible than ever
Technology has always defined and redefined what we consider to be luxury. New inventions are expensive to develop, so are naturally adopted by the well-heeled first. As mass-production reduces the costs of new products, they are opened to a wider audience, but this also reduces their sense of luxury. With the arrival of the internet, however, things are a little different. These days, undeniably luxurious products, services and experiences are now made available to most of us, without them losing their sense of exclusivity.
Here are four of the most luxurious experiences which have been made more accessible thanks to the internet.
Visiting a casino
Until the turn of the century, a visit to a casino was the preserve of those with a six-figure bank balance, with enough left over for a bow tie and dinner jacket. And depending on your location, it might also involve a rather expensive trip to a gambling friendly city such as Las Vegas or Macau. These days, thanks to the internet, you can enjoy the thrill of all casino games from the comfort of your own home. Video poker with a live dealer, virtual roulette and baccarat are all available online and evoke the same thrill, excitement and sense of luxury as their real-world versions. And in the slot machine space, the internet has in fact made the online experience rather more glamorous than in the real world. Now instead of pumping pennies into a one-armed bandit showing lemons and oranges, you can immerse yourself in a world themed to your tastes, choosing your stake and even your own risk level. Due to the collaborative power of the internet, most online casinos take part in shared jackpots which allow you to compete with others for prizes that run into the millions and give you the chance of enjoying the ritzy high roller lifestyle for real. With the online casino world offering such a rich experience, there is less and less need to visit places like Monte Carlo to try your luck.
Renting a private jet
Nothing quite screams ostentatious wealth more than having access to a private jet. The thought of being able to pull up at the nearest airport, be welcomed onboard by your own crew, and then be flown in total comfort to whichever destination you wish, seems to be reserved for the mega-rich. However, these days, you don’t have to have to be a Russian oligarch to make use of the convenience and luxury of your own aircraft. In recent years, there has been a surge in websites offering the tantalising possibility of a luxury trip on a private jet. These sites take advantage of the fact that the owners of the jet often only fly in one direction, leaving a so-called ‘empty leg’, where the jet must be flown back to its home airport. If this flight home coincides with your need or desire to experience this most luxurious form of travel, then you can make significant savings. For example, Fly Victor allows you to compare prices, book and manage private jet charters direct from your smartphone, saving up to 75% of the cost of a conventional private charter. This can allow you to treat your loved ones to some amazing experiences such as whisking them off to the Amalfi coast for a day. You could also use it for convenient last-minute business travel, where you simply must make the right impression.
Gaining access to business class lounges
If you can’t find the perfect empty leg on a private jet, you may have to consider flying with the rest of us on a scheduled flight, but even here the internet has thrown up a way to travel in style, by giving you access to a business lounge. These restricted areas offer an oasis of calm away from the hectic environment of your typical airport departure lounge, where you can relax in a comfortable sofa, enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks, and take advantage of flat screen TV’s and high-speed Wi-Fi. Some airports such as Heathrow even offer lounges in the arrival halls, which is great after a transcontinental flight as you can take advantage of a juice bar, a clothes-pressing services, and rather opulent shower facilities. Just a few years ago, these lounges were off limits to anyone who wasn’t flying first class or who hadn’t accrued enough Frequent Flyer points with the dominant airline at that particular airport. However, thanks to services such as Priority Pass, you can now buy access to lounges at over 1000 airports worldwide for a very affordable annual fee. All the major business airports are naturally covered, as well as luxury destinations such as St Maarten in the Caribbean and Nice in the South of France. For frequent business flyers who don’t know where work will take them next, to a family who just wants to make their holiday that little bit more luxurious, Priority Pass is a convenient and cost-effective way to live the high life.
Chartering a luxury yacht
To enjoy a cocktail with loved ones on a luxurious yacht in a sunny clime is a dream for most of us, but this dream could be more attainable than you probably thought, as long as you don’t mind renting. The UK multi-millionaire and former publishing magnate Felix Dennis once remarked that “if it flies, floats or fornicates, always rent it”. While we can’t comment on the last item on his list, wily Felix certainly would approve of renting a yacht over buying one, and thanks to internet marketplaces which match yacht owners and potential renters, you too can enjoy the thrill of spending time on one of these beautiful vessels. For example, Y.co allows you to search for yachts for hire across the world, which can be booked for anything from a week upwards. These ships operate in the best locations in the world such as the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean and come with a crew to attend to your every need. They can accommodate anything from 7 up to 36 guests, which make them perfect for family reunions, business meetings where you need to impress, or romantic escapades that will live long in the memory.
These are just a handful of examples of how the internet has opened luxury products and services to more of us, and made the lifestyle of the rich and famous accessible. As lovers of luxury, we look forward to future innovations in the premium experiences market.