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Continuing Marquette Turner’s theme of questioning what “Luxury is”, for this article we feature the largest Palace of the Sultan of Brunei.

The largest of the Sultan of Brunei’s four palaces, Istana Nurul Iman, is indisputably the world’s largest residential and administrative palace currently in use.

The palace is used for all State functions. It is both the seat of Brunei’s government and the location of the prime minister’s office. In addition to Audience and State Rooms, there is a Throne Chamber used for various occasions such as the proclamation of the Crown Prince and the annual Birthday Investiture.

At 2,152,782 square feet (200,000.0 m2) the palace has 1,788 rooms, 257 bathrooms, and a floor area of 2,152,782 square feet (200,000 m²). Amenities include 5 swimming pools, an air conditioned stable for the Sultan’s 200 polo ponies, a 110-car garage, a banquet hall that can be expanded to accommodate up to 5,000 guests, and a mosque accommodating 1,500 people. The palace was built in 1984 at a cost of around $400 million USD and has 564 chandeliers, 51,000 light bulbs, 44 stairwells, 18 elevators, and 13 (exterior) satellite dishes.

Furthermore, there’s a mosque for 1500 people, a banquet hall for 4000 guests, air conditioned stables for his 200 polo ponies, and 165 Rolls Royces, aeroplanes and helicopters.

The palace and its upkeep are funded by the oil wealth generated by Brunei, as are all of the grand structures in the country.

And even though the price of oil may have slumped, Brunei’s wealth still make perhaps the place to live right now, especially if long-term security is what you are after. Even though the people cannot vote, they pay no taxes, education and health care are free, everyone receives a pension, and the minimum wage is the highest in South-East Asia.

On the flip side, however, given the world’s massive reliance on oil and indeed the extravagance, and greed that it fosters, the extremes of rich and poor that are its result, is worth questioning what true “Luxury is.” I’ll leave that for you to define.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on The World’s Most…; or Palaces; or Luxury Homes; or “Luxury is…

Even during these tough times, there are more millionaire households in the world than at any other time, with the growth highest in China and Europe.

The total number of millionaire households in the world (ie. those with assets of $US1 million or more) now stands at 9.6 million.

This represents only 0.7% of all households, owning $US33.2 trillion. This is a staggering one third of the world’s entire wealth which just goes to show the inequality of wealth.

Here’s the Top 10 of millionaire households, and I’ve also included the countries’ ranking for households with in excess of $US100 million (with Australia added on, given our Australian roots).

No. 1: USA

Total millionaire households: 4,585,000

Total population: 301,139,947
Total $100 million+ households: 2,300 (rank: 1)

Bill & Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet

No. 2: Japan

Total millionaire households: 830,000
Total population: 127,433,494
Total $100 million+ households: 1,300 (rank: 2)

Softbank President Masayoshi Son with Actress Ava Ueto

No. 3: Britain

Total millionaire households: 610,000
Total population: 60,776,238
Total $100 million+ households: 810 (rank: 3)

Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson

No. 4: Germany

Total millionaire households: 350,000
Total population: 82,400,996
Total $100 million+ households: 620

No. 5: China

Total millionaire households: 310,000
Total population: 1,321,851,888
Total $100 million+ households: 180 (rank: 13)

No. 6: Italy

Total millionaire households: 270,000
Total population: 58,147,733
Total $100 million+ households: 530 (rank: 5)

No. 7: France

Total millionaire households: 265,000
Total population: 63,713,926
Total $100 million+ households: 260 (rank: 9)

No. 8: Taiwan

Total millionaire households: 220,000
Total population: 22,858,872
Total $100 million+ households: unknown

No. 9: Switzerland

Total millionaire households: 205,000
Total population: 7,554,661
Total $100 million+ households: 300 (rank:8)

No. 10: Brazil

Total millionaire households: 190,000
Total population: 190,010,647
Total $100 million+ households: 210 (rank: 10)

No. 13: Australia

Total millionaire households: 135,000
Total population: 20,434,176
Total $100 million+ households: 150 (rank: 14)

PBL Chairman, James Packer

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on The World’s Most Expensive…; Luxury Homes; and Warren Buffet

More information: Figures taken from a study by Boston Consulting Group

Experts suggest that the price of parking your car is, in general, inversely proportionate to the amount of office space available.* Therefore, due to a relative glut in commercial office space in Australian cities, we have some of the highest parking rates in the world!

Monthly Parking Rates (all in US Dollars)

  1. London City, UK                $1,167
  2. London West End, UK        $1,136
  3. Sydney, Australia              $775
  4. Hong Kong, China            $742
  5. Perth, Australia                 $610
  6. Brisbane, Australia            $592
  7. New York, Midtown, USA  $585
  8. Tokyo, Japan                     $552
  9. Stockholm, Sweden          $509
  10. Dublin, Ireland                 $508

Therefore, particularly to all you Aussies, there’s never been a better time to look for a more economical and sustainable method for your work travel arrangements.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read more Environmentally related articles; others on the Credit Crunch; or Sydney real estate

*the experts in this case are the Commercial Research team from Colliers International

The world’s most expensive coffee machine From Goldstriker comes the the world’s most expensive coffee machine.

They have showered the Nespresso Crystal Coffee Machine with over 3100 original Swarovski crystals complete in the colour crystal. The cup warmer is made of aluminum and the grill can be removed for preparing Latte Macchiato. The Nespresso Crystal Coffee Machine will retail for a cool £1,995 ($2,000).

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