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Why Monaco remains the residence of choice for billionaires like James Richman

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Latvian-born billionaire financier James Richman, who is known to have made his wealth in successful private investments in exciting technologies with the most notable ones including Tesla, Uber and Facebook, reportedly keeps Monte Carlo as one of his main residences when in Europe / Image: Flickr, Billionaire Mindset

An average person may have a very small chance to bump into a billionaire in their lifetime, but not in Monaco. The small city-state seems to be the residence of choice for the wealthy.

Along with other mega rich, billionaire finance magnate James Richman is one of the investors known to have invested in various luxury properties and assets in the country for many years now.

With growing investments in Georgia, Cape Town, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Canada, Russia, and New York, the Latvian-born investment tycoon is known to maintain assets and residences in the world-famous luxury properties in Monte Carlo.

The intriguing country of Monaco

Monaco remains one of the most interesting countries in the world. Despite its minute size of 2 square kilometers, it has averaged more than 310,000 tourist arrivals per year since 2010.

The city-state is located in the French Riviera in Western Europe and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. Italy is just within reach with a distance of 16 kilometers, as well as Nice, France which is just 13 kilometers away.

Amazingly the country is the second smallest state, just next to the Vatican City. However, it is the most densely populated sovereign state in the world, with a total of 19,009 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Today, Prince Albert II is its head of state, is mainly governed under a constitutional monarchy form of government. Despite being a constitutional monarchy, Prince Albert II still has great political influence. The House of Grimaldi has been in power since 1297, with only brief interruptions.

The official language of the country is French, although Italian, English, and Monegasque are widely spoken and understood.

Since 1861, it has been recognized as sovereign by virtue of the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861 and became a full voting member of the United Nations in 1993. The defense of the nation relies on France despite being independent and maintaining a separate foreign policy. Yet, it still maintains two military units.

Fit for celebrity living

What could be the factor that drives the ultra-rich to peg their permanent address in this parcel of land?

With only around 40,000 residents, the average net worth per person in Monte Carlo is €1.42 million. The capital city of the principality of Monaco is known to be the favourite playground of choice for the super rich and is home to many of the world’s multi-billionaires / Image: Pixabay

One factor appears to be the posh, glitz and glamour of the way of living in Monaco.

The city-state is a virtual billionaire’s clubhouse. Recreational facilities like bars and resorts are peppered along the beaches and center of the country. Buildings and other infrastructure are beautifully designed and reflect the laid-back lifestyle of the area.

Another factor is the great tax incentive that the state offers. It lures them with a zero percent income tax policy. What’s amazing is that the country still manages to be classified as a wealthy nation. It has a $6.401 billion GDP, with a $166,726 per capita income.

It works as a sort of magnet for other common minded rich people to live here. By getting to live with more multi-millionaires and billionaires, they could live like normal people and not get the unwanted attention that could invade their privacy.

Also, the great weather serves as a come-on for the country. Most celebrities spend their summers in their residences in the city-state. It may have the world’s shortest coastline at 3.83 kilometers but this is packed with luxurious beach resorts that are fit for the rich and famous.

Events, such as the Monaco Grand Prix, also lures in many celebrities every year. Once they get to experience the wonders of the country, they find interest in spending their summer vacations or even set up their residences there.

Brushing elbows with celebrities

Experts estimate that around 30% of the population in Monaco are certified multi-millionaires.

Several celebrities also come from all sectors ranging from F1 drivers, sports athletes, musicians, actresses and much more. Monaco is certainly a haven for people who want to be brushing elbows with their idols.

Home to some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful multi-billionaires, Monaco also hosts the highest class of single-seater auto racing in the world, Formula 1 / Image courtesy: F1.com

One of the celebrities that you may come across in the country-state is David Coulthard. He is a retired formula one race car driver. His connection with the city has become very strong. During his career, he had won a total of two Grand Prix in Monaco. He says that he feels especially safe in the country and has been a very active citizen ever since.

Another celebrity who has graced and lived in the country is Grace Kelly. The late American actress boosted her fame and fortune after marrying Prince Rainier III in 1956. This made her princess of Monaco and has led to her being one of the most iconic celebrities to have ever lived there.

Sought after investment

The ambiance of Monaco is really something to be marveled at. Despite of it being “the most expensive real estate in the world,” according to Edward de Mallet Morgan, a Knight Frank partner, it comes as no surprise that it is home and well-sought after playground and investment for the global super rich such as Latvian-born financier James Richman who made his wealth investing in promising technologies such as Uber, Tesla, and Facebook; American casino mogul Steve Wynn, and UK’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s.

Monaco is home to some of the world’s wealthiest including UK’s richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe / Image: Foreign Office

The principality did not get to where it’s at for no reason. Its rich history and secure atmosphere have made it a tourist and investment destination.

Depending on the location, property costs range from $30,000-70,000 per square meter. It does come at a hefty cost, but for the ultra-rich like financier James Richman who can afford these investments, opportunities are very only welcomed.  

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4 Transportation Tips to Get Around in Switzerland

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switzerland

When someone said, “getting there is half the fun,” they must have been talking about Switzerland. This European gem has such a vast availability of public transport throughout the country.

Moving past the occasional traffic jams and road constructions, they know how to make traveling comfortable for everyone. Their public transit network is orderly, on time, pristinely clean, and much popular among the locals.

So, if you are in Switzerland and are planning to travel, the number of ways you can enjoy the serenity is endless. But the first step on this journey is to get travel from the airport to your desired destination.

Zurich airport transportation gives you three ways to enter the cities from the airport with much ease. You can either take the train for a view of nature or the tram if you want to enjoy the city’s sights or take a taxi, which is the most comfortable option but is also expensive.

Read on for some helpful tips that will make traveling easier for you in Switzerland. 

1. Utilize Free Public Transportation

If you are traveling to Geneva, Lucerne, Bern, Basel, or Lausanne, transportation will not be something you’ll have to worry about. Switzerland offers everyone free public transportation in their most traveled cities, including these. You can not only save taxi fares but also be able to explore the whole city for free. 

Most of the time, the hotel you’re staying at will provide you with a transport card which you can use to travel for free. So, if you are staying at a hotel, make sure to ask at the reception for potential freebies.

2. Don’t Purchase Travel Passes.

A travel pass should be your last option. It takes up a good amount of funds, and if you don’t end up using public transport a significant number of times, then the pass hasn’t been put to use well. 

Before you finally settle on buying a pass, you may ask yourself what all places you will travel to? Will you cover long distances at all, or will you stay around the same area? How frequently will you use the pass? These questions might help you understand if the pass is necessary or not.

3. Get a Free Bike

Geneva, Zug, Bern, Zurich, the Canton of Valais, and Neuchatel are some places that will offer you bikes for free. And if you are in one of these cities, you’re in for a treat. You can rent bikes for a few hours, a whole day, or for an even longer time. All you will need is your valid ID and a small deposit amount, which you get back after returning the bike. 

If you are not in one of these places, you can still rent out a bike. They may not be for free, but they are still cheaper than other public transports or taxis. 

4. Grab the Free Activities

You will be surprised to know that there are so many things that you can enjoy for free when you are in Switzerland. You have to pay attention and look in the right direction. 

Many free walking tours take place all across the country. You can visit the free wildlife parks in Winterthur, Interlaken, Zurich, St. Gallen, and other places. Museums, churches, hills for hiking, and Old towns are open and free to all.

Take a toll through parks, bridges, and botanical gardens. You can visit Europe’s largest waterfalls, that is, the Rhine falls in Schaffhausen.

Experience the cheese factories and enjoy all the free samples. Talk to people and explore, and you’ll find there’s always something left yet to explore. 

A few bonus tips to make your trip budget-friendly in Switzerland.

Avoid staying in major cities. No doubt staying in a major city has its perks, but it’s too expensive, and you also miss out on the scenic beauty of nature that Switzerland is all popular for. You can instead find a hotel or Airbnb far outside of the city and the postcard Switzerland you came for. 

Avoid high seasons. The high seasons are winter and summer when tourists flood this country. This is also the time when rates go very high because of the demand. If you want a good deal, then plan your visit during the spring or autumn when accommodations are cheaper, and there is a lesser crowd. 

Cook your meal. Carry mini gadgets that can help you cook your food, like a mini rice cooker. Stay in a place that has a kitchen, so you don’t have to buy your food.

Rent an apartment if you’re planning to stay for long. This way it is much cheaper, and you can cook your food. 

Take advantage of the Swiss Pass. If you do end up getting a Swiss Travel Pass, ensure you make full use of it. Visit the museums, castles, enjoy free rides as much as you can.

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Eight Hilton Hotels Located in Historic Buildings Around the World

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Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, China

For more than 100 years, Hilton has spread the light and warmth of hospitality across the world, creating a portfolio of hotels that not only excel at offering world-class services and amenities, but also purposefully adopt local cultures, lifestyle and a general sense of place reflected in the architecture and designs. This philosophy of adopting the feel of a hotel’s surroundings is especially evident in properties that have a significant historical value; making Hilton keen to preserve the property’s architecture and décor while combining the modernity of offerings and amenities to offer travelers an authentic, artisanal experience.

From a historic train station in St. Louis to a colonial fort in the Bahamas, and a one-time bank headquartered in Amsterdam to a chocolate factory in Croatia, here are just eight of the many Hilton hotels that allow guests to indulge in culture and comfort.

St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, United States

Built in 1894 in what was once the most ornate railway terminal in the United States, this National Historic Landmark in downtown St. Louis was converted to a hotel in 1985 and is well-known for its iconic Grand Hall, a lobby lounge area with 65-foot ornate vaulted ceilings on which a dazzling 3D light show is projected nightly.

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Mexico City – Centro Historico, Mexico

The hotel is located in “Casa San Agustin,” a registered historic building in Mexico that was built in the 1800s by Bienes Culturales de Mexico, the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Hisotria, and the Nacional de Bellas Artes. Considered an architectural jewel, the building has been used for accommodation purposes since its beginning. Various restorations have preserved much of the original exterior façade’s style, including ajarcas—moldings and ornaments that were combined with tezontle exteriors in that period.

British Colonial Hilton Nassau, Bahamas

Sitting on the Old Fort of Nassau site dating back to 1695, British Colonial Hilton Nassau is the island’s oldest resort operating in a historic building. Demolished in 1873, the Old Fort was built to protect the Nassau Harbour’s western entrance, specifically from pirates. The original hotel was built by American industrialist Henry Flagler in 1900. The existing concrete building, known as the New Colonial, was constructed in 1923, after the original wooden building was destroyed by fire. The hotel’s western wing was built on these ruins.

Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, Netherlands

The hotel’s 93 rooms and suites are housed inside six 17th– and 18th-century buildings facing the historic Herengracht canal. As the former headquarters of a bank, the hotel is still home to the original, thick-steel vault door, which stands in front of the aptly named Vault Bar. Behind the bar itself, a wall of safety deposit boxes is propped open, with some serving as bottle shelves.

DoubleTree by Hilton Lisbon Fontana Park, Portugal

Once the site of an ironworks factory dating back to 1908, DoubleTree by Hilton Fontana Park pays homage to the building’s former life, fusing modern design with original character. Complete with an open-air courtyard and beautiful waterfall, the hotel provides a calm oasis for travelers after a busy day of sight-seeing in the Portuguese capital.

Canopy by Hilton Zagreb City Centre, Croatia

Once home to the Union chocolate factory, the first chocolate maker in South Eastern Europe, the hotel is one of the Croatian capital’s newest lifestyle hotels, where guests are presented welcome gifts of handmade chocolates upon check-in. Finding themselves located in the heart of the city, travelers are encouraged to grab a Canopy Bike and follow the brown tourism signs throughout downtown toward the Croatian National Theatre, historic Upper Town, museums and the stunning Zagreb Cathedral.

Hilton Sydney, Australia

Housing the renowned Marble Bar—a 127-year-old underground bar—Hilton Sydney is built on the ruins of the Tattersalls Hotel. Marble Bar features authentic sheets of plate-glass mirrors, marble walls, pilasters and mosaic floors. Originally built in 1893, the Victorian structure was painstakingly dismantled, transported and reassembled in Hilton Sydney in 1973—where the restored mahogany bar and marble archways still awe guests to this day.

Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, China

Once the renowned Shanghai Club, the hotel retains much of its original design, offering guests a unique taste of Shanghai’s heritage and culture, all while enjoying unparalleled service, award-winning cuisine and views of the majestic Huangpu River. The historic building was built in 1864 and used to be the principal men’s club for British residents in Shanghai. The hotel is suitably located near the iconic Bund, featuring waterside strolls and shopping.

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What can I do if I lied about my criminal history to travel to Australia?

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You’d be surprised to hear how many people actually lie when they apply for a visa to get to Australia. This is because Australia has very strict laws concerning visas and immigration authorities want to know about any type of offences the applicants might have committed in their country of origin or indeed in any other country where they have resided for a longer period, 12 months or more typically.

What sort of offences do you need to declare when applying for an Australian visa?

Short answer: Any offence on your record.

This is the part that baffles most foreign nationals applying for an Australian visa. Why would a minor traffic offence committed 10 years ago matter to Australian authorities? Well, it matters to them so deal with it.

Can you get away with it? Yes, if you apply for a tourist visa or a Working Holiday visa you can get away with it. You will be asked for a statement concerning existing convictions and if you say you don’t have any, they’ll most probably take your word for it.

What foreigners don’t understand is that having minor convictions doesn’t necessarily mean your visa application will be denied.

If you state that you have some offences on your record, you will be required to present a national criminal history record certificate. If your convictions total less than 12 months in prison you have no reason to worry your application will be rejected. In most cases, it is only people with lengthy prison terms on their record that have to worry and even then the immigration officer in charge of your case may grant you a visa after reviewing your circumstances.

So, why would you lie if you only have some minor offence on your criminal record?

What can you do if you lied on your visa application?

Many young people coming to Australia on a Working Holiday visa (417 visa) decide they want to stay longer if they’ve found a good employment. For that, your employer needs to sponsor you for a Temporary Skills Shortage visa (428 visa) and this is when that little white lie comes back to haunt you.

When you apply for a 428 visa you will need to submit a national police check from your country of origin which will include the offence you have lied about in your original visa application.

The only thing you can do is tell the truth this time and hope for the best. If you’re lucky, the officer in charge of your application might not notice you omitted to mention your past convictions when you first came to Australia and granted you the 428 visa no questions asked.

However, there’s a strong possibility your lie will be discovered and that’s pretty serious. Even if it was a stupid traffic offence, the Department of Home Affairs might deny your request simply because you lied in the first place.

If you really want to stay and work in Australia it’s best to seek professional migration assistance. There are various organisations that deal with such problems and they can guide you through the process.

It’s not a guarantee, but in many cases the lie in your first visa application can be forgiven provided you can offer solid character references, which are an essential part of the character assessment.

Bottom line – If you want to travel to Australia, better don’t lie to the immigration authorities, saving yourself a lot of headache!

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