There are currently around 28 billionaires living in London and millionaire businessmen, property tycoons, entrepreneurs, celebrities and old nobility continue to want to live here over other cities in the world.
But what is it about London that continues to draw in the superrich? In a world full of incredible cities, from Paris’s sophistication, to Dubai’s exotic climates to New Yorks’ exuberant extravagance, just what is it about London which keeps millionaires flocking to the city? What is it that makes London the millionaire’s playground?
One of the major attractions of London is its location and there is no denying that London is perfectly situated amongst the world’s major cities. London is just a short train away from shopping in Paris or the slopes of Courchevel or St Moritz. It’s just a private jet flight from the Casinos of a Monte Carlo or the extravagance of Moscow. Alternatively, should business dictate, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai and the USA are easily reachable.
It is partly down to its geographical location that has helped position London as the financial capital of the world. Indeed more than 100 of Europe’s largest listed companies and the European headquarters of numerous major banks and professional services. The time zone of London is also very business-friendly, as working hours overlap those of the business districts of the world.
Of course, there is more to life than business and many would argue that culture and entertainment are the big plus points of the capital for those seeking a millionaire lifestyle. With its stunning architecture, unparalleled restaurants, private members clubs, gala dinners, designer shops, galleries and theatres – London really is a mecca for high society.
Take London’s art scene for example. Throughout the world the capital is considered to be the dominant force in contemporary art, offering so many choices when it comes to galleries and museums. From the Tate and Saatchi galleries to The Royal Academy, Londoners have access to some of the most stunning collections in the art world. For those looking to enhance their own private collections, London also hosts globally famous auction houses from Sothebys and Bonhams to Christies. These venues are constantly breaking records, with collectors ready to pay millions of historical objects and works of fine art.
London’s reputation as a gastronomic force to be reckoned with has been growing steadily over the past decade – with it’s Michelin starred restaurants and reputation for attracting the finest chefs in the world. Popular eateries include Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Le Gavroche and Ciprianis or C London as it is now called.
After dinner private members clubs are a popular relaxation stop for those looking for refinement and exclusivity. Indeed London’s West End is the birthplace of members-only establishments and some of these clubs date back to the 18th century. From The Arts Club to Whites, for centuries the world elite have been wining and dining at these age old establishments. Upmarket casinos are also a popular hotspot for the superrich with Aspinalls and Les A Club being amongst the most frequented.
One of the most appealing things about London is its many open spaces. My favourite over-all space in London is Hyde Park. When the city all becomes too much, Hype Park is the perfect space to go and relax. The Serpentine Summer Party is also a great event to rub shoulders with London’s rich and famous.
But London’s high class societies are not just about exclusivity – they also generate millions of pounds for charity through philanthropic ventures, balls and events. For instance, just recently, I attended a charity auction at Sotheby’s auction house in London for the David Rattray Foundation. Over £600,000 was raised for the charity. Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara Ball is also a fantastic event that raises money for those affected by HIV and Aids. Each year, the ball takes on a different theme but the dress code remains the same: White Tie & Tails for Gentlemen, and Tiaras and Ball Gowns for Ladies. Great Ormond Street also host splendid events as do a number of other worthy charities and foundations.
After the glamour of London’s auctions, and late night soirees, every millionaire needs to return to a spectacular home. London’s buildings are steeped in history, bringing together period architecture with modern design. These properties alone are one of the reasons why many individuals move to London as they are the grandest and most prestigious in the world. Indeed it’s worth noting that the luxury market has shrugged off the sluggish wider market due to a surge in foreign cash with recent reports showing that prices have risen 33 per cent since March 2009.
With its history for attracting the world elite, its location, its financial status and its social scene – London looks likely to retain its crown as the millionaire’s playground for years to come and surely it will not be too long before it is referred to as the billionaire’s playground