The word concierge is inextricably tied up with hotels, calling forth images of a front-desk employee attending to reservations, travel plans and numerous general duties. Did you know the word ‘concierge’ has French origins meaning ‘keeper of the keys’ or a ‘house guardian’? The concierge was responsible for streamlining the various facets of a royal household to ensure smooth service and a pleasant stay for the guests. The hotel concierge took over with pretty much the same function, only operating in hotels instead of the castles.
In modern times, the term has further evolved to spawn an interesting industry of lifestyle concierge services. Lifestyle concierge experts step in to the lives of people who need things done but do not have the time to spare for doing those. For a monthly or an annual fee, they attend to all those tasks, which the clients are too busy to do, thereby freeing the client’s time so that they can use it to do what they enjoy or like doing. Concierge companies today cover a broad spectrum of services, making their members’ life as hassle-free as possible, and helping them to ‘buy back’ their most precious possession-time. Let us take a look at five best luxury lifestyle concierge service providers of Europe today. It is almost impossible to choose only five names from a host of fantastic concierge services, so we shall limit ourselves to some of the best providers with headquarters in Europe.
When a company has its slogan as ‘Impossible is made available’, you know you have come to the right place to get that impossible reservation made or get a Black Hermes Birkin handbag delivered to you within 48 hours. Yes, Quintessentially has done all of the above, and more. Requests range from the mundane such as tickets for events, reservations in restaurants, hotel bookings and real estate assistance to whacky ones such as hiring a pyramid for a private party, finding a pink crocodile for a birthday gift or rescuing a member who was snowed-in in a mountain chalet. The main idea here is to help members to save the most precious commodity in their busy lives – time! The club takes care of the nitty-gritty, freeing their client’s time for enjoying the things they want to.
This private members’ only luxury concierge club was founded in 2000 by Aaron Simpson, Paul Drummond and Ben Elliot (a member of the royal family). This award-winning concierge service, available 24/7 and 365 days a year, functions with a network of 1500 employees including 800 personal assistants, across 60 cities worldwide. Membership ranges from general to elite. The popular elite membership comes at an annual cost of $45,000 and offers complete personalised service taking care of every aspect of your life you need help on. Members include celebrities, entrepreneurs and fashion designers. Apart from the concierge services, there are 32 luxury sister businesses, which cover every aspect of luxury living including travel, fine wines, property and event planning. Members also enjoy exclusive benefits such as access to the best hotels, clubs or restaurants and discounts and special offers from stores all over the world. Luxury brand partners of the club include British Airways, Audi, Jaguar and HSBC Private Bank.
Unusual Requests: Getting the Sydney Harbour Bridge closed for a marriage proposal; producing a life-size, edible cake party-costume!
USP: Focus on luxury.
Ten Lifestyle Concierge
Ten Lifestyle, a pioneer in the concept of concierge services, was founded in 1998 by Alex Cheatle and Andrew Long. One of the leading concierge services in the world, it provides services to over 300,000 clients in 145 countries. Available round the clock and all year round, they satisfy a vast array of request with the help of experts who speak 20 languages. Ten Lifestyle has a fantastic network of contacts and insider know-how to get you that coveted access to top hotels, restaurants or VIP events. It has employees representing over 30 nationalities giving a good understanding of various cultures and contacts all over the world. Ten has catered to well over a million requests till date. The main areas of expertise include travel, restaurants, tickets and retail. Ten can offer its members great deals with airlines, tour operators and luxury hotels; access to sold out events and the best tickets; priority access to over 900 of the best restaurants in the world; get you the best retail deals and help to choose and deliver gifts at best prices. You can choose from monthly or annual memberships. If you are a VIP member, a personal lifestyle manager is dedicated to you, who will offer bespoke services creating perfect tailor-made solutions. Services are offered to private individuals and through corporate customer loyalty schemes. Ten’s clients include Coutts, Barclays and Citi.
Unusual Requests: Sourcing a blue diamond, sourcing an elephant for a wedding, organising a match with a chess grandmaster, delivering 999 red roses to Hong Kong for a proposal!
USP: ‘Intelligent Support’ delivering faster and cheaper solutions.
For things ‘that you don’t have the time, inclination or expertise to do yourself’ there is Bon Vivant, a leading luxury lifestyle service founded by Emyr Thomas in 2009. Based in London but working globally, Bon Vivant offers a range of services related to travel, leisure and lifestyle, leaving you free to enjoy your time. A personal account manager is assigned to each client to take care of any task including finding a hotel, tickets to exclusive events and advice on any lifestyle service. Members also have access to VIP treatment, complimentary benefits and discounts at top hotels, clubs and also access to exclusive and sold out events. Everyday tasks such as finding a gym, cleaner, arranging a party are handled with ease. Personal and corporate memberships are available on a monthly or ad hoc basis. This makes it customised to your specific needs and you also avoid paying for a host of services you probably will not use. Bon Vivant even offers ad hoc, customised bespoke concierge and lifestyle management to temporary visitors to London. Celebrities, senior professionals and entrepreneurs include the clientele. Corporate clients include Sotheby’s, top city law firms, banking and media professionals.
USP: Personalised service and affordable luxury.
John Paul was established in 2008 by David Amsellem. The company offers both personal and corporate concierge services and is available 24/7 and 365 days a year. It works seamlessly to fulfil any requests, which members do not have the time, resources or contacts to arrange themselves. Members have access to special privileges, which include the best rates and benefits at top hotels, sold out tickets to top events, access to VIP events, luxury retail services and VIP airport transfers. On the corporate side, John Paul provides concierge, loyalty and customer engagement solutions through a white label, personalised customer relation approach. The CRM software used by the company is the ‘data bank’ of customers’ profiles based on their behaviour and preferences. It is the key platform to providing personalised service and offering insightful solutions.
Unusual Requests: Arranging a 50th birthday party of 60,000 euros and delivering 30 live penguins for it!
USP: CRM, Big Data and Brand advocate features to engage customer loyalty.
Alberta La Grup
Founded in 2006 by Lourdes Carbo, this luxury boutique concierge service is based in Barcelona, Spain. The personalised services limited to just 100 clients, includes Paris, London, Dubai, Miami, Milan, New York, Kiev, Moscow and others based on request. From mundane tasks like dry-cleaning and buying grocery to arranging luxury dinners, this concierge service handles it all. The custom-made experiences include gastronomy, fashion, culture, sports, leisure and entertainment. A host of multi-lingual, energetic employees offer services to clients who include CEO’s of Forbes listed companies, high net worth people and boutique travellers. They offer personal assistants who understand your preferences and tailor make solutions with every attention to detail. Their bespoke lifestyle services ‘for those who do not carry their own luggage’ help to make vacations perfect. You can also avail of the ‘ten gorgeous experiences’ consisting of wonderful experiences around the world.
Unusual Requests: Traveling 50 miles to a private European mountain villa through snowy roads to restore a client’s daughters teddy bear which was left behind; organizing a ‘Last Dinner’ experience for Chef Ferran Adriá at the renowned elBulli restaurant (now closed) at a short notice for 150 privileged clients from all over the world!
USP: Providing special lifestyle experiences with personalised attention.
Time to do nothing
“I’m a man of simple tastes. I’m always satisfied with the best,” commented Oscar Wilde. For those who want the best out of life and can afford to exchange money for time, the concierge services are a boon indeed. Seamlessly absorbing the hassles of daily living, they ensure that their clients’ enjoy a better quality of life. Bill Watterson, the renowned creator of Calvin and Hobbes once said, “There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” It is exactly this regret that concierge services aspire to do away with.