Lifestyles of the rich and the famous

Private Property South Africa
Jackie Gray-Parker

Imagine you could have or do just about anything you wanted with a phone call. Personal concierges can make that a reality, if you’re rich enough.

Imagine you could have or do just about anything you wanted at the snap of your fingers? Well, for some well-heeled people that’s a reality thanks to the services of personal concierge service providers such as ‘Quintessentially Lifestyle’.

Established in 2000, Quintessentially Lifestyle positions itself as an award winning luxury lifestyle and concierge services provider capable of meeting the demands of its discerning members at the drop of a hat. The company has offices all over the world staffed by 2000 ‘lifestyle managers’ who speak more than 35 languages. Each office has a strict limit of only 5000 members which ensures the services offered remain of the highest caliber.

Quintessentially Lifestyle offers its services to corporate and private members alike. Services include but certainly aren’t limited to exotic travel arrangements, reservations at the world’s most in-demand restaurants, VIP access to the best bars and nightclubs, ‘unique experiences’ tailored to your interests, emergency requests, educational consultations and support and equestrian related services.

The company also assists with day-to-day errands, relocation support, and general home management. Under this banner, Quintessentially can oversee maintenance work, organise baby sitters, builders and cleaners and direct interior designers and landscapers as necessary. Heck. The company will even walk your dog or fill your pantry if that’s what you want. Looking for a new home but don’t have the time/inclination to trawl websites and visit show houses? Quintessentially will do the leg work. Relocating? You won’t have to lift a finger. Just log a request and you’re as good as moved.

For those who are only interested in home related services there’s ‘Quintessentially Home’ which specialises in London based homes. This offshoot of the company focuses on property management, as well as home and vacant property management. And then there’s ‘Quintessentially Estates’. Quintessentially Estates provides comprehensive property search and acquisitions services across commercial and residential markets for both investors and occupiers around the world.

Yup. In other words, no request is too big or small for Quintessentially – so long as it is legal. From last minute dinner reservations and to tickets for sold out concerts to film premieres, private school arrangements and everything in-between, Quintessentially purports to be able to provide it. At a cost of course. According to an article published in 2014, ‘general membership’ cost around $2,300pp plus a $500 joining fee. Elite membership - offered by invitation only - was priced up to $38 600 per year.

Over the years Quintessentially has tackled some truly outlandish requests. The company managed to close the Sydney Harbour Bridge for a marriage proposal, created a romantic meal for two on an iceberg and built a replica ‘bat cave’ for an avid film fan. The company has also provided a number of exotic animals for private events, tracked down a long-lost father, hired the Egyptian pyramids for a private engagement party for 400 guests and organised a surprise flash mob in Times Square for a member’s wife and children for her birthday.

As if that wasn’t enough, you could always request one of the world’s most sought after luxury items or experiences which ‘can’t be bought.’ According to a recent article published by the Daily Mail, these include, amongst others:

  • A Hermes Birkin bag: With no waiting list, no ordering system and no way of knowing when the next bag will be available, these $12 000 bags typically only end up in the hands of a very few, well known owners. A record was recently set by a Birkin handbag which sold for $300 000 at auction
  • Arabo jewellery: New York jeweller Jacob Arabo’s jewellery typically costs hundreds of thousands of dollars for each piece. Even if you can afford such bling, chances are you wouldn’t get your hands on any anyway as Arabo only designs for celebrities.
  • A RW Smith watch: Made by award winning watchmaker Roger Smith, these watches sell for between £100 000 and £500 000 each. Again, even though you might be able to afford to spend the equivalent of a luxury house on such a timepiece, you probably wouldn’t be able to get one. Each watch takes the better part of a year to make and there is a four year waiting list. Only 50 people in the world currently own one of these watches.
  • A booking at Rao’s: Apparently it hasn’t been possible to book a table at this New York based restaurant in 38 years. Its 10 tables are ‘owned’ on a ‘timeshare’ basis by wealthy owners who let their high profile friends use them should the fancy take them.
  • A £20 500 manicure: A-list manicurist Leighton Denny’s nail treatments cost up to £20 500 a pop. Even if you do have that kind of cash to blow on your nails, chances are you wouldn’t be able to anyway. Denny has a long line of celebrities jostling for his attention and he has been known to keep princesses waiting…
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