Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of the Curve: Living the Luxe Life

Here are some luxuries, large and small, that just might strike your fancy.

BY June 8, 2017


We may not be Paris. We may not be Dubai. We may not even be Manhattan. But we can’t be too far down the list of places where luxury indulgences are as much a rite of passage as your first driver’s license or your first paddle raise at a wine auction (hopefully to be implemented separately).

In fact, if the mood strikes, you can experience some of the world’s finest pleasures right here. Some are obvious. You can pull into the Rolls-Royce dealership and pull out with a new Dawn and impress your friends. They’re just $431,105(ish). Or you can stumble into Yamron Jewelers and gild yourself silly with literally millions in shiny baubles—and barely dent their inventory. But there are many more interesting buys in Southwest Florida that will fill your soul with decadent soothing and drain your bank account like a Vegas wedding chapel.

As my long-gone grandmother used to say, “Buy quality. Buy once.” And though she also regularly said that Truman was not her President (she was a big Dewey fan), truer words were never spoken. So this month I thought it might be fun to look for some of the best and most interesting ways to spend your money. Grab your checkbook. (By the way, if you still need help after reading this—call me.)

What do you say we start small? Not necessarily in size (after all, they come in small, medium and large), but rather in price tag. Few things feel better than being swathed in the fluffy comfort of a world-class bathrobe, and if you find your way into Gattle’s of Naples (gattlesofnaples.com) you can grab yourself what might be the last bathrobe you’ll ever need. From S.D.H., these 70 percent lyocell and 30 percent cotton terry robes come in a variety of luscious colors. All for just $396. I’m typing in one right now and have never felt more like a writer.

Now, I know what you’re saying to yourself: “But Michael, I don’t really want the hassle and commitment of owning a bathrobe.” Hey, I get it. They’re a lot of work and responsibility. Oh wait, that’s puppies. Regardless, if you just want to try on bathrobes (without all the hassle), you should check into what are arguably the best hotel rooms in Southwest Florida. The Presidential Suite at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples (ritzcarlton.com) is the epitome of luxury and has hosted actual presidents (and you could even wear their robe!). It features a large king bedroom, one and a half bathrooms, a living and dining room with space for eight, a media room and three private balconies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The living area features hand-tufted area rugs, hardwood floors and Murano glass chandeliers—a definite upgrade over hotels that use the numbers 8 or 6 in their names (and why choose those numbers?). Rates run from $2,400 to $6,479 per night.

But don’t think Naples is the only spot to find over-the-top hotel rooms. If you find yourself in Cape Coral (it could happen), you just need to make your way over to The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village (westincapecoral.com). Sure, the name is a mouthful, but this premier resort knows how to treat a V.I.P. If you book the Admiral Suite, you get 3,129 square feet of wow. Located on the 18th and 19th floors—that’s right, it’s two floors—the two-bedroom suite offers amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico, Caloosahatchee River, Tarpon Point Marina, and even Sanibel and Captiva. Upstairs, a wraparound, open-air balcony features a bar counter with 20 stools overlooking the water (party!). There’s even a billiards table, making this the best spot to play pool in Southwest Florida. It’s just $2,000 per night.

But maybe billiards and bathrobes aren’t your thing. I totally get that. Sometimes you just want something shiny to help lift your mood. And nothing says “The sun is shining” like the one-of-a-kind Colombian emerald and opal necklace by Arunashi—available at Marissa Collections (marissacollections.com) for $245,000. It features a 4.66 CTW (carat total weight) Colombian emerald, a 26.55 CTW opal, 31 CTW of diamonds, emerald beads and a slightly overwhelming 322 CTW of Keshi pearls. It’s actually subtler than you might think. (Forget for the moment that from a distance it looks like an alien doing a hula between your breasts.) You need this necklace and you need it yesterday. By the way, if you’re sensing that I’m focusing a bit too much on the ladies, the store also has a very nice men’s blue T-shirt from The Elder Statesman for $675. Again, it’s very nice. Says “Beach” on the front of it.

Actually, here’s one for the boys. In fact, the reason a lot of guys move to the area is to do some boating, and after much searching, I’d be inclined to purchase the 72-foot 2017 Azimut Flybridge available at press time at Marine Max (marinemax.com, locations in Naples and Fort Myers). Yes, she is $5 million. Yes, she includes less square footage than the hotel room I just mentioned. And yes, she’s being referred to as a female because that’s the rule of the sea. But if you just spent $245,000 on a necklace, you owe it to yourself to climb aboard and at least check this out. Big enough to impress, small enough to handle by yourself (and a tiny crew), it’s the Maserati of the seas. Supple leather throughout. Teak and chrome. Engines the size of Volkswagens. So what if it’ll cost more than $4,000 each time you fill it up. That’s like six T-shirts.

Speaking of T-shirts, let’s say you’re looking in your closet right now and realize you have nothing to wear. Could you go to an upscale department store and spend a reasonable sum adding a few mostly off-the-rack items that you’ll end up being ambivalent about? Sure. That’s what most people do. But custom clothing is a step toward separating yourself from the pack for both men and women. Not only will you look better than ever and actually wear it; you’ll finally be uniquely you. And so what if it costs a little bit more? If you’re in Fort Myers, you want to call Ron Brodeur of Brodeur Carvell (brodeurcarvell.com) in Bell Tower Shops. He has more than 20 years of experience and is a certified Master Custom Clothier. In Naples, we gravitate toward Dominic Lacquanti of Rocco’s Tailor Shop (roccotailor.com) for a wonderfully bespoke experience. In either case, you’ll feel like a million bucks (or more) both during and after the process. And in both cases, they’ll come to either your house or office. Personally, I’d have them come to my house because they love going through your closets and helping you whittle down your cloth mementos.

Of course, there are those of you who shout, “Go big or go home.” Well, to you I say, “Why not do both?” Or, more accurately, “Go big AND go home.” You see, at press time, 2500 Gordon Drive was the most expensive home listed for sale in Southwest Florida, with a price tag of $60.9 million. Hey, it’s only money, and you can’t take it with you. This stunning five-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bathroom home features wrap-around porches, guest houses (yes, plural), a pool and pool house, multiple garages, expansive grounds and even a secret garden. It looks like you should be governor of one of the British Virgin Islands. It’s not necessarily my style, but that’s just because I’ve been a minimalist ever since watching Fight Club. And the first rule of fight club is to keep $60.9 million burning a hole in your pocket.

But you? You should totally buy all of these things.


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