8 of London's Most Luxurious Extravagances
Updated: Sep 26, 2019
✨ MELANIE FULLBROOK AND LUCY EATON
If you won the lottery tomorrow morning what would you do with the money? Lucy would buy a boat. They say you're not meant to buy one, you're meant to hire one (the upkeep is too much of a headache), but she's just won the lottery so ration and logic go out the window. Mel has a much more selfless dream: She would build a theatre for Go People, make sure everyone in her family was financially stable, buy a proper home and then put the rest away to let it grow.
But let's say you've got your boat or you've secured your home and there's dollar left over. You don't want to be responsible and put it in a savings account, you want to spend spend spend...
Don't panic. We've done our research and compiled a list of London's 8 most Luxurious Extravagances. Because sometimes a normal-priced steak just doesn't cut the mustard.
💸 1 - STEAK FOR £200
Let's kick things off with Kobe beef. Considered to be the most expensive steak in London, M Restaurant offers authentic Kobe beef steaks in a wagyu experience menu for £200/person. (If you'd like to just have a single steak with no sides, it will still set you back £100). Is it really worth the price tag? What's all the fuss about Kobe beef anyway? Well, let's start with Wagyu, which is a more general term encapsulating a bunch of steaks that include Kobe. The term Wagyu literally translates to "Japanese cow" - simple. Wagyu beef comes from any one of 4 Japanese cow breeds: Japanese Black, Japanese Shorthorn, Japanese Polled, and Japanese Brown. Kobe comes from Japanese Black. But it's not just about the cow, it's the way it is raised and the life it leads...
Let the good people at Scotch & Sirloin explain:
"Genuine certified Kobe beef comes from the Tajima breed of cattle raised in a prescribed way in the Japanese district of Hyogo, of which Kobe is the capital."
Executive butcher at Prime + Proper Steakhouse in Detroit, Walter Apfelbaum elaborates:
"It’s what the cows are eating, how they’re raised, the kind of water they’re drinking, everything. Miyazaki cows, for example, are fed sake mash and are grazing on vegetation grown in volcanic soil, which is super fertile. Volcanic soil is where the best things on earth grow. It’s also close to the ocean so there are fish bones and minerals in the soil, which also enriches their diet."
Sounds like it might just be worth the hundreds of pounds, unless...
Enter Miyazaki beef, stage right (pictured). According to Apfelbaum, "there's no comparison in a side-by-side test". Miyazaki, another kind of Wagyu, wins out in a contest with Kobe. And it's not just Apfelbaum who thinks that: The award for "best Wagyu" at the 2017 Wagyu Olympics (it exists, honestly) went to Miyazaki beef. At the moment it's actually cheaper, so keep your eyes peeled!
Read more about Kobe and Wagyu here.
💸 2 - SUSHI FOR £600
Chef Mitsuhiro Araki is one of the world's top sushi masters and at his three Michelin-starred restaurant, The Araki, he only offers one menu for £300 per person. It offers 11 courses, including extravagant sushi offerings like seabream sashimi, tuna with truffle, and Irish abalone.
You're certainly getting an exclusive experience though and plenty of food and time for your money. There are 2 sittings a night, each lasting 2 and a half hours, and no more than 9 guests can be sat in the restaurant at any one time. To top it all off, the whole thing is run by a mere 3 staff members: Araki himself, his wife and one assistant. It seems that all the numbers are small except the price tag.
But with only 131 three Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, it's got to be worth a look-in.
💸 3 - BURGER FOR £1,100
In 2014, chef Chris Large designed the "Glamburger" for Honky Tonk in Chelsea, a burger that claimed to be the world’s most expensive. The meat consisted of both Kobe Wagyu beef (our old friend) and New Zealand venison, seasoned with smoked Himalayan salt, topped with black truffle brie, lobster poached in saffron, Beluga caviar, hickory smoked duck egg, a mango and champagne jus, grated white truffle and maple syrup coated streaky bacon. Unnecessary much much? Oh we forgot, the bun is also coated in gold leaf and seasoned with Japanese matcha and cream mayonnaise. Unnecessary maybe, but sounds crazy delicious.
This amazing piece of fast food cost £1,100 and was created after 3 weeks of researching the most premium ingredients on the market. The whole thing was Groupon's idea, who commissioned Large to create the most luxurious burger possible.
Sadly, it doesn't seem to be available any more, but if you've got a spare £1,100 kicking about and this is the only thing you want, I bet they could rustle it up for you...
💸 4 - CHELSEA AIRBNB FOR £7000
In 2016 London became the most expensive city in the world to live in. Accommodation for the average Londoner (calculated as a total of housing and office rental costs) came to a massive £80,700 a year. This puts us above 19 other seemingly-expensive world cities such as New York (with an average yearly accommodation cost of £79,600). So it's unsurprising that there are some heftily-priced accommodation options on airbnb...
Check out this beauty in Mayfair. Spanning 5 floors with 6 bedrooms, there's a little too much marble for our liking but it's certainly impressive. It will cost you £4,500 a night though, and that's before cleaning fees. That being said you're right in the heart of Mayfair, a 10 minute walk from Hyde Park and Bond Street.
Now this next one is a bit more to our taste. The wooden beams and four-poster beds - you could almost be out in the Cotswolds. Only you're not. You're slap bang in the middle of Chelsea, with easy access to all the tourist attractions the capital has to hold. £6,950 a night! Bargain!
💸 5 - HAIRCUT FOR £20,000
Stuart Phillips has been at the forefront of the British hairdressing world for over 20 years, styling big names: Serena Williams, Rita Ora, John Cleese, Frances Macdormand, David Hasslehoff, the list goes on. He is the official hair stylist of the BAFTA awards, and can give you a cut and blow-dry along with luxury car service and a champagne lunch.
Back in 2009 it was reported that a session like this with Stuart Phillips himself came in at £20,000 without VAT. We can only imagine what's happened with inflation. Maybe it's best not to think about it. Mum's pudding bowl haircut will do. Then again, apparently the salon has Swarovski crystal chandeliers and cutting edge technology so a visit to the salon alone is a truly out-of-the-ordinary experience.
💸 6 - A MAN'S SHIRT FOR £30,000
Harrods sold an 80th Anniversary Eton shirt for £30,000 based on the fact that it was made from the finest Egyptian cotton and had 7 different coloured diamonds as the buttons and cufflinks.
One of the foremost names in luxury clothing, Sweden-based Eton took the world of luxury by storm in the year 2008, when the company came out with this extraordinary offering. Widely hailed as the most expensive shirt, the Eton shirt was introduced marking the occasion of the company’s 80th anniversary, made available through the luxury retail store Harrods.
It had an epic price tag, but was actually auctioned off and all proceeds went to a charitable cause. It will forever be known as one of the most expensive things sold at Harrods though. So maybe just commission something similar. Ring up Alexander McQueen (Freddie's favourite) and ask if they'll pop a few diamonds on a white shirt for a cool £30,000?
💸 7 - HOTEL SUITE FOR £26,000
The Royal Suite at the Lanesborough Hotel costs this much per night. You'd think it would lie empty at that rate, however the hotel estimate a 60% occupancy rate throughout the year. Boasting 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms and a private dining table for 12, the suite also (obviously) includes its own butler. Interestingly, the Royal Suite can be booked in part or in its entirety. For those guests booking all seven bedrooms, the hotel’s chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce Phantom is available as a complimentary service. Wonderful!
If you haven't quite got £26,000 but you still want the best of the best, check into the Diane von Furstenberg Piano Suite at Claridge's for £8,500 a night or the Shangri-La signature suite at the Shard for £10,000 a night. The latter one we can vouch for (see right). With 1,000-thread count cotton Frette linen sheets, marble-clad bathrooms with Acqua Di Parma goodies and the finest views in the whole city, at less than half the cost of the Lanesborough's Royal Suite, we think it's a pinch! In fact, we love it so much we'll be performing there for one night a month until February 2019. For £85, you can spend an evening in the Shangri-La suite (if not a night in the bed) and watch some intimate theatre whilst sipping on complimentary Veuve Cliquot and nibbling on canapés from the TĪNG lounge a few floors below.
To book tickets to a Revels show in the Shangri-La Suite this winter, visit here.
💸 8 - COCKTAIL FOR £50,000
Last but not least, let's talk booze. Mr. Salvatore Calabrese’s bar at the Playboy Club offer what used to be the world’s most expensive cocktail. It also held the title of world's oldest cocktail, because the ingredients are so fabulously vintage. Made up of 1778 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, 1770 Kummel Liqueur, 1860 Dubb Orange Curacao and 1900s Angostura Bitter, the cocktail is known as Salvatore's Legacy and costs £5,500. Just let that all sink in for a moment. Not the price, the ingredients. You are drinking liquors that were made more than 2 centuries ago. That's undeniably magical. This is what Calabrese himself had to say about it:
"Other expensive drinks normally have some sort of gimmick, but mine was valued according to its true retail price owing to the sheer age of the liquids – in total that’s 733 years of liquid history in one drink."
Sadly for him, the Legacy was then overtaken. The Gigi cocktail at Gigi’s stole the trophy for World’s Most Expensive Cocktail, coming in at £8,888. Made with vintage Cristel champagne and a rare Armagnac brandy from 1888, the drink was created for singer and actress, Grace Jones. If you want to try it you'll have to make it yourself at home because Gigi's is now permanently closed, but don't worry: If you still want to splash outrageous amounts of money on liquid, there' s a new girl in town...
Mexican restaurant Cantina Laredo in Covent Garden is introducing a £50,000 Margarita. Remember that thing Calabrese said about gimmicks? Well take a look at exhibit A. The Cantina Laredo Marg takes a leaf out of the Eton Shirt book and comes with a 4.1 carat diamond nestled on top of the exceptional holiday drink. Don't plan on turning up to order one on a whim; it must be pre-ordered, because 2 security guards will accompany the drink to your table.
Wish we could have talked about the diamond-encrusted PG Tips bag, but there just wasn't time.
Let us know if you've heard of anything outrageously extravagant that we haven't included, and we hope to see you in the Shangri-La hotel's signature suite this winter! The first show is a Noël Coward double bill on Tuesday October 9th. Book here.