A Christmas gift in a million

2013-12-15 10:50

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Exotic islands, sports cars and helicopters will keep the megarich happy.

South Africans who are battling to find Christmas gifts for their megawealthy friends need not despair.

City Press this week consulted luxury specialists who are known to grant the wishes and appease the whims of the country’s rich and famous, and came up with a few suggestions.

Even those who seem to have everything could probably use a thoroughbred racehorse, a sports car whose top speed is 431km/h or their own private island.

Helicopter flying lessons are also a good gift?–?they will come in handy for avoiding e-toll gantries on Gauteng’s highways.

Society doyenne Julie Killias, whose clients include business tycoons Sol Kerzner and Patrice Motsepe, says exotic islands are all the rage.

“An exotic island is one of the most sourced gifts right now,” she says.

In April, an unidentified South African bought Sofia Island off the Greek coast for R34?million at an auction.

Those looking for something equally exotic but landlocked could splash out by buying the former home of late singer Edith Piaf, a three-bedroomed chateau with a heated pool and gym in the Côte d’Azur, France, which is on the market for R80.3?million.

Killias says popular gifts for megawealthy women include racing thoroughbreds.

“There’s nothing better than owning your own stable of racehorses,” she says.

For the superwealthy with a penchant for luxury wheels, Killias suggests a powerful Bugatti Veyron sports car which, at a cost of R12?million, is a rare sight in South Africa.

The Super Sport version of the Veyron, designed by Volkswagen and manufactured in France, is the fastest street-legal production car in the world with a top speed of 431km/h.

Helicopter flying lessons are also popular.

“Far too much time gets wasted in traffic. Besides, helicopters are especially in vogue now with all the fuss around e-tolls,” says Killias.

The Base 4 Flight Academy in Cape Town specialises in helicopter flight training?–?a private pilot’s licence costs about R190?000 to obtain and a commercial one R700?000.

An introductory flight lesson in a two-bladed Robinson R22 light utility helicopter costs R1?650 for 30 minutes.

Nicolette Waterford of Base 4 says: “It will either be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or you’ll catch the helicopter bug and be back for more.

“This will be a perfect gift for a loved one who truly has a passion for flying.”

Apart from bespoke cuff links and designer pens, luxury yachts are also a timeless gift, says Ryan van Zyl.

He is the head concierge at the five-star Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town where US President Barack Obama stayed on his South African visit in July.

“I suppose for many of these types of people, imagination is the only limitation in what they give,” says Van Zyl.

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