Travelers looking for upscale accommodation need not choose between the comfort of a private house and the services of five-star hotel. Time & Place Homes (timeandplacehomes.com) offers more than 100 estates, apartments, and houses in Bermuda, France, Mexico, and the U.S. For a three-night rate of $13,053, you can take your top executives to a ski-in, ski-out retreat with five-bedroom suites in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Or you can relax poolside at the former Palm Springs (Calif.) home of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio -- at $9,720 to $12,960 a week, depending on the season. Hampton Retreats (hamptonretreats.com) also specializes in short-term luxury rentals in fashionable Long Island (N.Y.) beach towns. In-season rentals start at $7,500 a week, but you can rent by the day in the off-season.
Besides daily maid service, these companies will arrange for chefs, catered parties, spa treatments, kayaking tours, personal trainers, and tee times. If you want a chartered plane on leaving, the round-the-clock staff will oblige.
Who's benefiting from consumers' appetite for luxury goods? Look at this list of stocks compiled by Boston Consulting Group. It has BMW, Callaway Golf (ELY), and Coach (COH) -- plus warehouse retailer Costco (COST) Wholesale and discount airline JetBlue (JBLU). The idea? Research shows people seek bargains on some purchases so they can drive a Bimmer or sip $4 lattes at Starbucks (SBUX). As for companies like Bed Bath & Beyond and Limited Brands, they sell some higher-end goods at more reasonable prices.
Iced coffee drinks are all the rage at coffeehouses, and now you can make them at home. Toddy Products sells a cold-brew system ($36.50) that turns ground coffee into a low-acid extract to flavor such beverages. It's used by such chains as Gloria Jean's and Seattle's Best for their concoctions. Or buy bottles of premade latte and low-carb latte concentrates, enough for 12 servings, for $6.25 each at ToddyCafe.com.
If glistening art, set in lush vegetation sounds tempting, a trip to the Atlanta Botanical Garden might turn a tiring business trip into something refreshing. Through Oct. 31, the works of glass artist Dale Chihuly will be on display amid the garden's flowers. Crystalline orbs float in pools. Green glass shoots adorn a Japanese garden, and splashy works compete with the orchids. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and holiday Mondays. Admission: $12.