Twenty ways to indulge yourself or a loved one - from the decadent to the simple.
1. Commission a piece of jewellery
Custom jewellery isn't just for your wedding finger. Many local jewellers work closely with clients to create one-of-a-kind pieces, from rings to pendants to brooches and cufflinks. Commission a piece for a loved one from local jeweller James McCarty, who collaborates with clients to develop something extra special. The process includes an initial consultation to gauge what is desired, taking everything from function to bone structure and personality into consideration. To make an appointment, ph (09) 376 8127.
2 Have your stationery personalised
Write a love letter or a handwritten note on chic personalised stationery, like fashion designer Karen Walker. She has personalised writing paper from Smythson, who offer a bespoke service where you can create your own correspondence cards, social and business cards, invitations, memo slips, writing paper and hand tissue-lined envelopes; selecting paper type, ink colour, lettering styles and more.
Order online with Smythson's on-screen representation (email email@example.com).
Closer to home, fine stationers Rawlence and Horton also offer a range of personalised stationery - make an appointment with founder Michael Rawlence for an extra personal touch (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
3. Be inspired by the runway
Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz appreciates luxury, telling Women's Wear Daily, "Modernity for me is beautiful and emotional and comfortable and timeless. I mean, to see a woman sitting on 50m of tulle, I am not sure it's modern." Be inspired by this idea of modern luxury in one of Elbaz's beautiful rose print dresses from Scotties - or try a matching silk satin scarf. $600, from Scotties.
4. Get the Midas touch
Indulge yourself with the 24-carat gold leaf facial by Nahaia Active Organics at the Spa at the Pullman, which sees gold leaf applied to the face to apparently slow down collagen depletion, reduce the appearance of sun damage and age spots and fight damaging free radicals to help prevent premature ageing of the skin ($180). To book ph (09) 355 1242. The Ming Gold facial at Chuan Spa also utilises the power of gold, with the use of "Ming" or royal gold infused with natural essential oils ($150 for first consultation, $135 for follow-up consultations). To book, ph (09) 300 2960. Or try Gold Woman by Amouage, a powerful scent considered to be one of the world's greatest. ($549 from World Beauty stores).
5. Lounge in luxury
Have a good night's sleep in For Every Minute's sensuous silk satin pyjamas in joyous rose colour. Shirt and pants $299 each, order from foreveryminute.com.
6. Initial it
We love Louis Vuitton's Mon Monogram service, which personalises classic leather goods with coloured stripes and your initials - making it the perfect individual gift. Louis Vuitton agenda cover $765; Louis Vuitton "Sarah" wallet $1370. Enquire at (09) 358 5080.
7. Order a customised laptop
Technology is the new frontier for luxury, whether it be a Prada mobile phone or an Alaia laser-cut leather iPhone case. Then there is Cottin Paris, who offer customised, handcrafted laptops, tablets and USB keys with bespoke finishes - you choose the colours and materials (metal, leather), engraving or inlaid jewellery. For very special pieces they will work with Parisian artists, designers, engravers, goldsmiths or jewellers. Get a quote from cottinparis.com.
8. Sign up on the waiting list for an heirloom cot
Indulge your little one - and future generations - with a handcrafted Kalon cot, set to arrive at Nature Baby stores next month. The heirloom quality cots, inspired by storybook circus wagons, were selected by designer Stella McCartney to feature in her spring 2011 kids events. From $1095-$1295, ph (09) 360 8546.
9. Holiday like a princess ...
Princess Margaret knew how to live a decadently luxurious life, much of it spent at Les Jolies Eaux, the villa designed especially for her on the private island sanctuary, Mustique. The famous five-bedroom villa can now be rented out, though it has been extensively refurbished since its hedonistic 1960s heyday. The island is much quieter these days too, but with high-end visitors: Mick Jagger, Tommy Hilfiger, Bryan Adams own villas, and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have reportedly holidayed here too. Rates from $18,000 to $28,000 a week. To book go online.
10. Take a cooking class ...
And learn from the best: Sabato will host classes with top chefs Michael Van de Elzen and Michael Meredith this month and next. $95 a class, to book ph (09) 630 8751.
11. Send someone a very special gift
Surprise someone you love by sending them a gift from Net-a-Porter.com. Want something extra-special? Try Karl Lagerfeld's one-of-a-kind collar, handcrafted from metallic-black suede, edged with approximately 40 carats of pavé black diamonds and embellished with a 22.33-carat green emerald-cut hydrothermal emerald, which also comes with a hand-signed sketch from Lagerfeld. It's a snip at £31,395 ($61,322). A percentage of profits will be donated to children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent, which should appease any buyer's guilt.
12. Develop your art collection
True luxury is buying what you love, not what is expected or most expensive. Andy Warhol's 91.5 x 91.5cm silk screen prints could be a good place to start your collection ($495 unframed) from Design 55, ph (09) 308 9455.
13. Stop and relax
Spoil someone you love by giving them some time out. Book them in for a Breakfast at Tiffany's package at Lucy and the Powder Room, a 2+-hour package that includes a one-hour luxury facial, neck, shoulder and scalp massage, full pedicure, sea salt hand polish and massage, plus lash tint and brow treatment. They'll leave feeling like a new woman. $270, to book ph (09) 488 0585.
14. Fly to Paris to develop your custom fragrance
A custom scent is the ultimate indulgence but flying to Paris for it makes it even more luxurious. Guerlain offers customised scents, taking between six months and a year to develop. Once completed the scent is presented in a 500ml Baccarat bottle with quatrefoil design, you also receive three 30ml bottles and 20 60ml bottles, containing a total of two litres of Eau de Parfum, equivalent to five years of consumption. Guerlain also does personalised bottles, and perfume workshops.
15. Sleep well
Turn your bedroom into a haven of soothing tranquility with a Bianca Lorenne silk duvet inner, covered with 300 thread count cotton sateen casing, with layers of hand-stretched pure grade A mulberry silk inside, from FatherRabbit.com ($317) and a hand-knitted, organic merino hot water bottle cover, $90 from Everyday-Needs.com.
16. Spray your linen
The simple act of doing the laundry can be luxurious, by spraying your sheets with delicately scented linen water. Panier des Sens lavender linen water, $31, and metal linen water spray bottle, $43, both from FatherRabbit.com.
17. Start a fashion archive
Make like "passionate fashion collector" Lady Gaga and start a fashion archive. The singer last week spent a record £85,250 on an Alexander McQueen creation at an auction of Daphne Guiness' garments. The key to a good archive? A focus on key pieces from key designer collections - but more importantly, collecting pieces you love. American-based designer Lisa Perry's Jeff Koons collection, featuring dresses printed with the artist's distinctive works, could be a good investment.
18. Book a ticket to paradise
Air New Zealand began direct flights to the paradise island of Bali last month. Stay at the luxurious spa resort Royal Pita Maha Resort in Ubud, looking out on to a valley landscape and Ayung River, or the Bulgari Resort, with its breathtaking clifftop views over the Indian Ocean and elevator access to the private beach below.
19. Go long
Luxuriate in the drama of a floor-length gown, whether it be a special occasion or not. Juliette Hogan sheer silk georgette "Garden" dress, $599, ph (09) 360 9347.
20. Throw a dinner party ...
and serve it on decadent Versace porcelain (priced from $129) with Christofle's "Jardin d'Eden" decorated cutlery designed by Marcel Wanders (priced from $152). Available from Studio of Tableware, ph (09) 638 8082.