Introducing the modern-day genies that can magic up anything your heart desires.
The "cash rich, time poor" mantra has engendered a new breed of professional services that pamper to our every whim. We scope out the world's top fixers.
The wealthy elite has moved beyond luxury labels and the show of riches of the 80s as today's top earners forsake showy status symbols in search of that exclusive thing that sets them apart from the pack. Whether it's dining in the finest restaurants or a private audience with a world famous soprano, the pleasure no longer rests in the acquisition of luxury goods, but in the pursuit of exclusivity. Reverting to primeval instincts, the challenge is in the chase – obtaining the unattainable.
However, today's most sought-after luxury is time. While time can't literally be bought, forward-thinking entrepreneurs have cashed in on time as a prime commodity. Rising to a variety of challenges from the sublime to the ridiculous, these modern-day Jeeves perform miracles daily in the name of luxury.
CONSIDER IT DONE
Ever dreamed of Centre Court Wimbledon tickets, a backstage pass for a Madonna concert, or just leaving the holiday plans to someone else? Welcome to the world of personal concierge services. Since the late nineties these virtual, global PAs have given the gift of time to the select few.
The biggest name on the service scene is Quintessentially. Aaron Simpson and Ben Elliot, nephew of Camilla Parker Bowles, launched the service five years ago. The founders' high profile connections ensured success as Quintessentially's number was programmed into the speed dials of the worldwide cognoscenti at a virus-like speed. "Today we look after more than 60 per cent of the world's rich list," says Simpson. Recognizing a niche for a service, which promises to fulfill the demands of its affluent clients, the company has become a global set-up, with 20 offices worldwide and plenty more on the way.
Aaron Simpson's Secret Addresses
57 Peel Street
T: +852 2858 8760
209 Baker Street
London NW1 6AB
T: +44 (0)20 7486 5026
PO Box 1176 Victoria Mahe Seychelles
T: +248 293 100
Preferred Circle is the highly exclusive bespoke service founded by Emad Ghobrial, former concierge of The Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel. With only 31 members, and a cut-off at 60, LA-based Ghobrial surprisingly eschews the showbiz scene. "We don't have any celebrities on our books, mainly high-powered executives." Ghobrial and his dedicated staff pride themselves on assuming the role of wife and PA to the fortunate few. "Our clients want to be able to get what they want, when they want it, that's what they pay for," he explains. "We always try to be one step ahead and I think that has a lot to do with the relationships we have with our clients; it's very personal."
Emad Ghobrial's Secret Addresses
Hotel Baur au Lac
T: +41 (0)44 220 50 20
Blue Ribbon Manhattan
97 Sullivan Street
New York 10012
T: +1 212.274.0404
Las Ventanas Al Paraiso
San Jose del Cabo
Baja California Sur 23400
T: +011 52.624.144.2800
London-based celebrities and socialites seeking personal service turn to Lady Cosima Somerset of Concierge London for assistance with everyday problems, from hiring domestic help, to bagging a last minute reservation at The Ivy.
Lady Cosima Somerset's Secret Addresses
Dr Elizabeth Dancey
28 Winchester Street
London SW1V 4NE
T: +44 (0)20 7821 8257
Private members club
12 St George's Street
London W1S 2FB
T: +44 (0)20 7491 0576
21 rue du Mont Thabor
T: +33 (0)126.96.36.199.22
Dr Rita Rakus
34 Hans Road
London SW3 1RW
T: +44 (0)20 7 460 7324
While many concierge services claim global connections, there's nothing like local knowledge. While in Ibiza, Jade Jagger's former chef, Serena Cook of Deliciously Sorted Ibiza, is in charge of organizing the island's most glamorous events, including Jagger's notoriously debauched star-studded soirées, Calvin Klein's midnight sushi party, or simply organizing accommodation and sightseeing itineraries for the island's visiting celebrities.
A dedicated 24-hour fixer may be surplus to needs, but there are plenty of services that offer casual crisis assistance. For example, Sergio Rossi's 24-hour emergency shoe line (1888-4Shoe911) promises to deliver new shoes to stylish Cinderellas in Manhattan and Beverly Hills within two hours, averting disastrous dinner dates.
Hong Kong's luxury department store, Lane Crawford, offers a concierge service for its clients, including wardrobe and make-up advice as well as personal shopping (www.lanecrawford.com).
Lost luggage is a nightmare for any traveler, except for those staying at Berlin's The Regent Hotel, (+49 030 20338 www.theregentberlin.com) where trunks filled with current collections from the nearby Hugo Boss store are on hand, as well as an in-house alteration service.
New Yorkers short on space can take advantage of Garde Robe's online wardrobe (www.garderobeonline.com). The storage specialist will pick up lesser worn garments and photograph and document them before storing them until requested. The virtual closet is displayed online so that each customer can browse their extended wardrobe space at any time from anywhere in the world.
If the thought of stepping through the imposing doors of Paris' most famous couture houses fills you with dread, fear not, for New York-based personal shopper Susan Tabak knows the city better than most native Parisiennes. With a black book that's literally bursting at the seams, this French-speaking New Yorker will guide you around the world's most fashionable city with ease (www.parispersonalshopper.com).
PURSUIT OF PARADISE
The UK-based Private Travel Company has been called upon to fix everything, from a 50th birthday party in a St. Petersburg Palace, to an extended vacation. "We once had a gentleman who was due to retire and he wanted to go on holiday for two years. He faxed through this day-by-day list of what he wanted to do and we had to tailor-make an itinerary for him. You can't book anything over 12 months in advance, so he went away without everything booked, and we completed the task as he traveled," explains Mark Robinson.
As part of the Latsis Group's prestigious Luxury Alliance, Privatsea not only offers tailor-made trips on some of the world's most beautiful yachts, but members of the elite yachting club also receive unrivaled access to most private clubs around, including the renowned Automobile Club de Monaco. Enjoy five-star service onboard, or step ashore and tee off for a couple of rounds at the prestigious Monte Carlo Country Club. The group also offers luxury villa rental and private jets for when you get sea legs.
Feel like setting up camp in the middle of Botswana's Chobe National Park, or sneaking an exclusive peek at some of the major sold-out art exhibitions around the world? Tselana Travel offers all this and more. The company's French-Lebanese founder, Marie-Louise Moineau, puts her extensive travel knowledge – particularly of Africa, Southern Asia and the islands – to good use to create bespoke holiday experiences for individuals or small groups. Marie-Louise's impeccable taste and attention to detail will leave you wanting for nothing.