Swiss ski resort of Verbier – The playground of Russian oligarchs
The £5,000 cocktail, the £50,000-a-week chalet and the £500,000 impulse purchase! This is what Coco Club, the first luxury VIP club in the Alps, in the glamorous Swiss ski resort of Verbier is offering to the guests from round the globe this season. Verbier has become Russian oligarchs’ playground where they spend, spend, and simply spend. The place has been billed as one of the most expensive in the Alps and on the earth. The club’s wallpaper is hand-painted, curtains are fur and one of the walls is covered in £30,000 worth of gold leaf. Although, the temperature outside is freezing at minus 12, but it’s baking hot inside. The cheapest champagne costs more than £100 a bottle while the most expensive demands nearly £11,000. Princes William and Harry are regulars at the club’s Colin Barber’s bar. Hugh Grant, Jemima Khan, Victoria Beckham and Jamie Oliver are all regular visitors.
Coco club is just the start. Verbier, the lavish ski resort in the Swiss Alps, will soon be home to a ski lodge by Richard Branson, which would probably be the world’s most expensive. The man has spent a cool £3.5 million on a sumptuous makeover on The Lodge, which was once a bare wooden shack. His ski lodge will entertain the guests with an underground swimming pool and spa, nine staff and a personal chef. A week’s stay in the season is priced at £57,000. This price includes accommodation for 18 guests, but it excludes the cost of the ski pass.
Verbier’s third new opening is Gul Coskun’s art gallery selling expensive pop art to the juvenile crowd. Huge Andy Warhol images of Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus (with beard drawn in diamond dust) is visible from outside. The art gallery is attached to the front of one of Verbier’s best-known hotels, the Rosalp. Coskun, who also owns a gallery in Chelsea, is selling works by Warhol, Robert Indiana and Roy Lichtenstein.
A Warhol portrait of Muhammad Ali is on sale for £500,000. An aluminum sculpture by Robert Indiana that spells out the word ‘LOVE’ in huge capital letters is priced at £350,000. Warhol’s diamond-done Santa Claus is bit (just a bit) cheap at £35,000. Coskun’s shop has become a distinguished place in Verbier for the visitors.
Charlie Berman, 49, a modest millionaire City banker who has been visiting the place since first arriving 25 years ago says that although Verbier has always attracted the seriously wealthy, it’s primarily a sporting venue. The arrival of the Russian oligarchs has moved Verbier’s opulence up a notch.