Eighth is Brunei Darussalam
This is where Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei, resides and gets his $20,000 haircut. There are 1,788 rooms, including 257 bathrooms, a banquet hall that can hold up to 5,000 visitors, a mosque for 1,500 people, an air-conditioned stable for 200 polo horses, 5 pools, and 18 elevators.
His income, generated from the country’s vast oil and natural gas reserves, is believed to be over $28 billion, more than 50 times that of Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom.
However, not everything in the Sultanate is roses, and not just because Bolkiah is no longer the world’s wealthiest king, a designation he held for many years (Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn is roughly $15 billion wealthier).
Malnutrition is endemic in Brunei, despite the monarch’s luxury and an on-paper per-capita spending power of almost $60,000. Despite the lack of statistics, it is believed that 40% of the 450,000-strong population earns less than $1,000 a year.
With just a few hundred cases reported, the country escaped the worst of the COVID-19 epidemic. The pandemic-related drop in oil prices did not spare it: after reaching a 13-year high of 3.9 percent economic growth in 2019, GDP growth plummeted to 1.2 percent in 2020.