Apr 21 2024


Decoding the quiet luxury lifestyle of Singapore’s wealthiest

Asian man on holiday enjoying the city skyline from the hotel's rooftop infinity pool
COVER Here are some signs to help you identify if your friend or colleague is secretly part of Singapore’s super-rich community.(Photo: Getty Images)

Beyond mere possessions, we reveal the subtle hallmarks of the ultra-wealthy Singaporean, only recognisable by those in the know

What are the true hallmarks of a life steeped in luxury? In the heart of Asia’s financial hub—the latest Knight Frank Wealth Report shows our little red dot boasts the highest number of ultra-high net worth individuals in Southeast Asia—it’s a lifestyle defined by exclusive experiences and possessions.

Here in Singapore, despite being a city renowned for gleaming skyscrapers and opulent dining establishments, the truly affluent indulge in subtle displays of wealth that offer mere whispers of success. Perhaps due to the deep-rooted Asian cultural notions of modesty or simply to avoid being made targets (a valid concern when your net worth hovers north of SGD$30 million), you might be wondering if someone in your social circle is a secret crazy rich Asian.

Ready to enter the covert world of Singapore’s super-rich elite? We reveal the enigmatic indicators favoured by the wealthy to signify their privileged status, a lifestyle of exclusivity, and refined tastes—only identifiable by those also in the know.

1. Luxury real estate

As every local surely knows by now, an enviable address in Singapore’s prime District 4 or 10 is a clear signifier of success. Both highly desirable areas are within striking distance of the city centre while remaining secluded enough for an air of exclusivity. Properties in these neighbourhoods are either of the luxury apartment or landed property variety, and where you can find the ultimate status symbol: a coveted Good Class Bungalow.

2. Private club membership

Drinking with the masses? Certainly not for this society of elites. Social spaces like the ultra-exclusive Tanglin Club or 1880 Singapore offer a safe haven for the wealthy to network and unwind in sophisticated settings, not to mention unfettered access to prestigious and private events.

3. Quiet luxury wardrobe

You won’t catch the old-money personalities stepping out in head-to-toe designer logos à la the Mob Wife aesthetic. Instead, their stature is communicated through a penchant for quiet luxury brands: think Loro Piana, Brunello Cucinelli, The Row and more. The top one per cent take it even further with bespoke tailoring for everyday staples and have dedicated tailors that generations of their family patronise—you won’t find prêt-à-porter pieces in their wardrobes.

4. Extensive art collection

Art gallery openings and vernissages are regular fixtures on the social calendars of the rich and discerning. From private showings to intimate soirees with the artists themselves, the wealthy gradually cultivate refined art tastes. Coupled with the keen investment acumen that propelled them to such heights in the first place, another sure sign of the super-rich is an extensive collection of paintings and antiques, artfully adorning the walls of their luxury properties, of course.

5. Michelin-starred cuisine on demand

Singapore’s culinary scene is a playground for the affluent, with seven restaurants ranked in the prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024 awards. While the rest of the city might struggle to secure dinner bookings, high society members often have standing reservations at the finest restaurants in town. We’ve even heard rumours of them enjoying Michelin-starred chefs on speed dial. After all, when you’ve got that much clout, why shouldn’t you enjoy award-winning fare in the comfort of your own dining room?

6. One°15 berths

You might be familiar with families with his-and-her vehicles, often of the luxury automobile pedigree like Rolls-Royce or Bentley. But the true telltale sign of being in the company of the wealthy might be overhearing discussions over the best marinas to park your yacht in.

7. Whole family vacations

When money is never an issue, why not fly out the entire extended family for a ski trip? The next time you’re waiting to board at Changi Airport, keep your eyes peeled for the multi-generational family (with helpers in tow). Hint: they’ll likely be boarding ahead of the rest, first-class perks and all.

8. Limited-edition timepieces

Sure, owning an Audemars Piguet watch might be a lofty yet (one day) achievable dream for the average Singaporean. But if you’re rich enough for your family’s net worth to rival a small nation’s GDP, exclusivity is key, think timepieces with limited releases of just a thousand. Isn’t the thrill of owning a luxury timepiece greatly enriched by knowing it’s one of just a few?

9. Singapore Airlines lifetime Solitaire membership

Racking up all those miles won’t be for naught, here’s an introduction to the Solitaire Life PPS Club membership. While you can still qualify for Solitaire PPS Club if you commit to it, the lifetime memberships can no longer be bought or redeemed—enshrining esteemed card-carrying members in a rare and prestigious status.

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