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Sun 3 Feb 2008 02:06 AM

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Dubai tops bankers' wish list

Mortgage meltdown will not prevent bankers splashing bonuses on their No.1 destination, survey finds.

Bad bets on subprime mortgages might have blown mansion-sized holes in the balance sheets of some big banks, but bankers are not scaling back their plans for splurging this bonus season, according to Trader Monthly.

Lavish vacations in Dubai, a $265,000 (135,000 pound) sports car and $20,000 bottles of Scotch whisky top their wish list in the magazine's annual reader survey.

"There seemed to be just as much enthusiasm this year for going out and spending money as there ever has been," said Ty Wenger, editor of Trader Monthly.

"These are still guys who look at their money as monopoly money."

Despite billions of dollars of losses due to the mortgage meltdown, Wall Street bonuses are only expected to fall by 5.5% in 2008, according to an estimate released this month by New York state.

Readers polled by Trader Monthly picked a stay at the Raffles Dubai hotel, where the cheapest room will set a guest back $1,600 a night, as their top getaway spot.

"Dubai as a destination has become so alluring. It has that mystical, anything is possible, Disneyland-for-the-rich feel to it," Wenger said.

The Aston Martin DBS, featured in the 2006 James Bond film "Casino Royale", was the favourite in the cars category, topping the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano and the Porsche 911 Turbo.

Traders looking to relax with a drink after cashing their bonus checks chose Johnnie Walker Blue Label 1805, a blend of whiskeys aged 45 to 70 years. The $20,000 bottle comes with a Victorian-style writing case and a nib pen.

Patek Philippe's $63,500 Annual Calendar Chronograph, which spares owners the burden of resetting the date to reflect months with fewer days, was the runaway top choice for wristwatches. (Reuters)

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