Published December 21, 2005
Listen up, Robin Leach: When buying gifts for the rich and famous this holiday season, forget the champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Today's big spenders want Bentleys, bling and a little peace of mind.
Where to begin? Purchasing for the privileged is easy if you follow a few cardinal rules.
One: No pop star or music executive needs an iPod Nano. If an item is that popular, chances are they have had it since before it went into mass production.
Two: Before booking a private show with Elton John, as offered for $1.5 million in the famous fantasy section of the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, make sure the person is a fan of the Rocket Man.
Three: Santa's sled has nothing on the new Bentley.
"There is about a 6- to 8-month waiting list for the Bentley Continental Flying Spur," said Cosmo Lisica, salesman at Manhattan Motor Cars, home to exotic vehicles like the Spyker, Lotus, Ferrari and Bentley.
Reaching 100 miles per hour in less than six seconds, the Flying Spur, which costs $170,000, boasts a keyless entry system, heating and lumbar massager on the front seats and a 12-cylinder engine.
"This car is bananas," Lisica said. "It even has solar panels that work off the sun to recycle air in the car when it's not in use."
While a car might be a little too much for a business gift, a fine cigar is quite appropriate.
"For business gifts, the best choices are always the Davidoff or Zino Platinum cigars, because they have a reputation for being super high-quality and made by the best people," said David Kitchens, of Davidoff.
"The Zino Platinum goes from $17 for a metal box of 10 to $2,500 for a suitcase of 15 cigars. The Zino Crown Series set of four, $151, is an excellent seller also," Kitchens added.
If you're buying for a real cigar aficionado, you might want to think beyond rolled tobacco. Davidoff's Giant Red Mahogany Cigar Humidor, $5,725, makes for an impressive gift, especially when coupled with the $185 mahogany matchbox holder.
There's also a less ordinary gift gaining momentum: Feng Shui.
"A lot of people are getting Feng Shui for their children" said Feng Shui master Pun Yin, whose clients include Donald Trump.
Though her services can go well into the thousands, Pun Yin's spiritual assessments, which are rooted in Chinese astrology, are said to enhance everything from careers to personal relationships.
And as we know, even the rich and famous have their share of problems.
"Desperate Housewife" Nicollette Sheridan recently parted ways with fiance Niklas Solderblom. But rather than heading for the Twinkies, Sheridan opted for a more Hollywood approach to heartache: she bought diamonds.
Lucky ladies this December will be receiving everything from Jacob and Co.'s cushion-cut diamond drop earrings worth $220,000 to their 51-carat cushion-cut diamond necklace, priced at $653,000.
"My jewels are very unique," Arabo said. "Some of the pieces take nine months to create. I design how every piece should look and then my artisans translate that."
While many feel that jewelry is a "woman's gift," keep in mind that a majority of Jacob and Co.'s clients are men. Lenny Kravitz, Rudy Guiliani and Enrique Iglesias are all fans of Arabo's watches. And what high-roller wouldn't love to receive a signature pair of $6,000 ruby-and-diamond encrusted dice cufflinks?
Bookish types also have their share of "wow" gifts this year.
Bauman Rare Books sells a bunch of old books that are sure to be the highlight of any mansion's library.
"Children's books are always a good gift for the holidays," said Bauman spokesman Justin McShea.
A first-edition of childhood favorite "The Hobbit," bound in its original dust jacket, sells for $65,000, and bedtime classic "The Cat in the Hat," also a first-edition and in its original dust jacket, sells for $8,000.
"People love buying books like 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Catcher in the Rye' because people's nostalgia has increased in recent years and there is a mania for all kinds of collectibles," McShea said.
But what would Christmas be without the original 'Carol'? "We sell a lot of Dickens this time of year," he said. One of those sellers includes a $45,000, 1844 rare trial copy of "A Christmas Carol."
For the romantic looking to get away with his honey while still being able to have some big-boy fun, there is a surprise jewel in Atlantic City called the Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa, a favorite among celebs like Jamie-Lynn DiScala.
Co-owned by MGM Mirage, whose other establishments include Las Vegas' swanky Bellagio and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, the Borgata is a self-contained big-wheelin' fun zone.
Both ladies and gents can indulge in decadent spa treatments, try their hand at blackjack and dine at world-class restaurants.
"The Borgata was a complete trade-up to the rest of the Atlantic City market," said Larry Mullin, Borgata COO. "We get people from all over the world. A lot of people come here for a private stay because they know they won't be put under a microscope."
But just because the options are out there doesn't mean that high-end shoppers are anxiety-free.
"Well, I don't know what I'm going to buy my wife. It's a problem," said Kirin Smith, co-manager of a successful hedge fund in New York City.
"A nice fur coat for the winter is always an option," Smith said. "I could get her a Prada or Fendi bag. Maybe a spa treatment?"
For Smith and other confused gift-givers of means, FOXNews.com has compiled what we think are the top five big-budget gifts for every personality.
And the winners are ...
5. For the High-End Hippie: Spiritual Lingerie's unique body chains start at $1,250 and are hand-designed to stimulate centers of spiritual energy on the body and enhance what the person needs most.
4. For the die-hard "Sex and the City" Fan: Jacob and Co.'s New York Skyline pendant set in 18k white gold, $8,000, is a better keepsake than a pair of Manolo Blahniks.
3. For the thirsty jet-setter: Krug's limited-edition champagne trunk, $45,000, features a truffle grater, mother-of-pearl caviar spoons and, of course, three bottles of Krug's finest champagne. Drink up!
2. For the always-traveling CEO: Henk's $20,000 silent rolling suitcase has 22 moving parts and is made out of everything from red Italian burl to horse hair. Lest we forget, it fits in all overhead storage compartments.
1. And finally, the gift of all gifts: a flying car. Moeller International is selling several prototypes of their M400 Skycar for $3.5 million, also featured in the fantasy section of the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book. Though the Skycar is not meant to be driven or flown just yet, it is no doubt a collector's item, especially for the aircraft enthusiast.
But remember, just because you can afford a Bentley doesn't mean you can't hand out a couple lumps of coal.