“[New billionaires in fast-growing countries] have to buy longer-range airplanes. If you’re flying from Mongolia to Nigeria, it’s either a three-day journey flying commercial or a nine-hour flight on your jet.”
Holiday Gifts for the Business Traveler
High-style Wheelies: Why shouldn't your bike rides be as luxurious as your jet travel? Ellsworth's "The Ride" signature-series bicycles, numbered and signed by Tony Ellsworth and inventor Don Miller, are for people who can appreciate-and understand-what it means to have a two-wheeler with "a revolutionary gearless NuVinci continuously variable planetary drive." (Translation: the bike changes gears without gears.) The limited-edition, handcrafted bicycles-a blend of art, performance and precision-have low-slung seats, adjustable handlebars and ultra-lightweight aluminum frames. Price is $3,995. Info: www.ellsworthride.com.
Shoe-in Comfort: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk in King Edward VII's shoes? What about Frank Sinatra's, Cole Porter's or George Bernard Shaw's? At the very least, you can order shoes from their shoemaker. These legends all bought their custom-made lace-ups from John Lobb, a shoe shop that still uses the same exacting standards as it has for centuries. Shoe cognoscenti rave about the made-to-measure footwear, fine-tuned by at least nine veteran craftsmen. Although the flagship store is on St. James Street in London, representatives visit major U.S. cities to take measurements and orders (check the Web site for dates and locations). Leather shoes start at $4,565. Info: www.johnlobbltd.co.uk.
Say "Cheese": Ever wish you had a longer arm so you could include yourself in the photo you're taking? A new travel gadget called Quik Pod comes to the rescue. The handheld extendable tripod, which attaches to cameras and camcorders, has an adjustable arm that helps photographers get into the shot, plus a built-in mirror to center each picture. Fully extended, Quik Pod can be used for self-portraits, to shoot over crowds or for low-angle photos. The lightweight gadget also has a tripod leg for larger group photos. Price is $29.95. Info: www.quikpod.com.
Long Drive Time: Pushing the USGA's new clubhead size limit of 460cc, not to mention the boundaries of shape, the recently introduced Callaway FT-i driver is designed for powerful impact and straighter bombs down the fairway. Weight is positioned at the extreme corners of the square clubhead, providing forgiveness on shots. The carbon composite body is also significantly lighter than titanium, resulting in better stability and consistency. Prices start at $499. Info: www.shop.callawaygolf.com.
Exclusive Shave: Eshave has garnered much publicity and a loyal following of late for its shaving products, most notably its razors and creams that prevent razor burn, bumps and five o'clock shadow. The newest addition to the line is a hand-sculpted brass and nickel-plated shave stand inspired by the 1920s modernist-architectural style known as Bauhaus. The aptly named Bauhaus set comes with a five-blade luxury razor, silvertip badger shave brush and two travel-sized (two-ounce) bottles of white tea shave cream and after-shave cream. The set costs $340. Info: www.eshave.com.
Zoning Out: There's no shortage of high-end timepieces these days. Indeed, horology has never been so haute, with both major watchmakers and boutique, limited-production shops turning out wrist wear that looks like works of art-and costs accordingly. But few timepieces offer globe-trotters the option of multiple faces in a stylish, well-crafted design. Enter the IceLink men's watch, which showcases local time in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo (or other cities of your choice, if you custom order). Prices for the Ambassador collection start at $5,000. The 10-carat-diamond version (in photo) is $40,500. Info: www.IceLinkWatch.com
Birthday Bash: If you're looking to celebrate your birthday or someone else's in a manner worthy of Bacchus, point your jet toward the Poetry Inn in California's Napa Valley. The resort, perched on a hillside above the Stag's Leap District vineyards, will accommodate you and nine others for a three-night sybaritic stay replete with food, wine and every amenity possible. Celebrity chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame and his staff will prepare the seven-course birthday dinner, complete with top-tier wines from Cliff Lede Vineyards. The package also includes dinner for 10 at Keller's Bouchon or AdHoc restaurants, six bottles per couple of Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon, a bottle of first-growth Bordeaux from the birthday celebrant's birth year, limo service to and from all meals, wine tastings and other perks. Price is $60,000. Info: www.poetryinn.com.
Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy: Still dreaming that one day you'll be a rock star? Signature Days, an experiential travel company, may have just the cure-a five-day Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp that will have you jamming with Kiss frontman Paul Stanley and doing riffs with Ted Nugent. Participants "audition" and are grouped into bands by rock-star counselors-anyone from Bruce Springsteen percussionist Max Weinberg to Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Gos-who also help you rehearse for a final concert and Battle of the Bands. Rock artists like Grand Funk Railroad's Mark Farner make guest appearances throughout the week to meet you and play with your band. Locations include New York; Las Vegas; Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles. Price for five days, including meals, is $8,999. Guests can attend for an additional $599. Hotel accommodations are not included, but a block of hotel rooms is reserved and offered at a discount. Info: www.SignatureDays.com.
Engine Efficiency: OK, this may not be for everyone, but if you're an aviation nut, consider this: a donut-shaped desk made from an original Boeing 747 engine cowling. Originally designed for the producers of the runaway hit American Idol, who have an aviation-themed office, these functional aluminum art pieces are now available to the public-albeit in very limited production. Desks are 100 inches in diameter, with a maple wood top and lower shelf system. Price is $18,500. Info: www.motoart.com
Luggage with a Legacy: Everyone from Sir Winston Churchill to the Rolling Stones' Ron Wood has purchased Globe-Trotter luggage-hand-made suitcases with simple, stylish designs that are immensely durable. The London-based company has been turning out leather luggage with handcrafted ash wood frames for over a century, and currently has several lines in sizes from nine to 33 inches. Price for a 21-inch trolley case is $756. Info: www.globe-trotterltd.com.
No Ordinary Blanket: Molton Brown's lightweight, cashmere blanket, hand-woven in India, is ideal for business jet travelers looking for totable warmth during long flights. Wrapped in a silk carrying bag, the compact blanket doubles as a pillow. Price is $797. Info: www.moltonbrown.co.uk.
'Tis Better to Give... Here's an idea for the person on your gift list who says, "Don't get me anything-I already have everything I need": How about a charitable donation in his or her name? One worthy recipient is Corporate Angel Network, which uses empty seats on corporate jets to fly cancer patients and bone-marrow donors and recipients for treatment. The White Plains, N.Y.-based organization arranges about 2,500 flights per year. Donations are tax-deductible. Info: www.corpangelnetwork.org.