Wednesday 17 January 2018

Passport, tickets, money, money, money: On holiday with the kids of the super-rich

Hard yacht life: A holiday post from the Rich Kids of Instagram account
Hard yacht life: A holiday post from the Rich Kids of Instagram account
Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

The filthy rich used to find it fairly easy to book a holiday befitting of their wealth and status. They hired a private jet or, at the very least, turned left on an airplane; they booked into the type of hotels where the front-of-house staff remember your surname and they rested assured that they would not have to rub shoulders with the hoi polloi. Unless of course a member of the hoi polloi was physically rubbing their shoulders in the hotel's award-winning spa, which, of course, is entirely different.

These days, however, thanks to the democratisation of the luxury travel market, it has become more difficult for the super-rich to assert their affluence.

They board a first-class flight and discover that they're sitting beside a smug techie who bought his seat for a song in a last-minute auction. They check into a five-star hotel and notice that a number of people surrounding the reception desk are tightly clutching GroupOn vouchers between white-knuckled fists. They visit Nikki Beach in the hope of pouring champagne down a Victoria's Secret model's bikini bottoms, yet the only celebrities they spot are Dean Gaffney and some chick from Celebrity Big Brother.

In a travel market where two-destination honeymoons are the new normal, chocolate-dipped strawberry dirty weekends are par for the course and Instagram filters can make Courtown look like the Côte d'Azur, the super-rich have no other option but to up the ante when they go abroad. It's tough at the top...

This could explain the grotesquely conspicuous consumption on the popular Rich Kids of Instagram accounts, which collates images of obnoxious young people flaunting their wealth with gold-plated extravagance and preposterous Balthazars of champagne. Life is just one long holiday for this lot, so when they actually pack a suitcase and go on holiday, they tend to pull out all the stops.

Anyone who has been forced to use a black sack rather than pay the €10 per kilogram Ryanair excess baggage fee will know that the right luggage is key when travelling. This is especially true for the super-rich who know that nothing says Trabolgan like a last-season suite of monogrammed Louis Vuitton luggage - particularly if you don't have a hired flunky to carry it for you.

Staff, you must remember, are essential to the #RichKidsofInstagram and now that most reasonably-luxurious hotels have a concierge desk, these jetsetters have had to upgrade to establishments that offer services meeting needs they didn't even know they had. Think bath butlers, sleep concierges, fragrance consultants and fish valets. It also helps if there's a staff member available to help them fill the bath tub with bank notes (a strangely popular pursuit among Instagram's young elite).

Like the rest of us, the Rich Kids of Instagram avoid using the mini-bar, but not because they think charging €7 for a Twix bar is daylight robbery. Actually, they simply prefer a wider selection. They also tend to their hangovers differently: we go in search of the local farmacia; they attach themselves to an IV drip like Alexander Smurfit, son of Dr Micheal Smurfit, demonstrated on his Instagram account.

Likewise, we get excited when the hotel maid leaves a towel swan on the bed; they expect nothing less than a fluffy white replica of Michelangelo's David.

Let's face it, though: hotels are a touch common, which is why the kids of the super-rich often prefer to charter superyachts with helipads on the top decks (mere mortals can push the boat out by renting a pedalo, with a slide attached, on the last day of their holiday).

And while the rest of us are only delighted to check into a resort with two swimming pools and a jacuzzi in which there is only a marginal chance of contracting impetigo, the mega-rich aren't on holiday until they're in their own private infinity pool, preferably overlooking the harbour of Portofino.

It's equally important to get a shot of themselves in said pool, looking serene and contemplative (even if they're actually surveying the local landscape and thinking, "One day, this too will all be mine".)

A few gentle laps also offers the ideal opportunity to showcase their hard-won bikini body. The pre-holiday grooming routine for the average woman consists of bikini/leg wax, blowdry and, if they're going all out, an eyebrow and eyelash tint. For the Rich Kids of Instagram, a pre-holiday grooming routine includes €5,000 worth of facial fillers, buttocks implants and labia contouring.

We may holiday in the same destinations as the Rich Kids of Instagram, but make no mistake, their culture and customs are completely and utterly foreign.

Irish Independent

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