When you’re planning the vacation of a lifetime — or you’re a high-net-worth individual, celebrity or former president — using your usual travel agent or a DIY booking site might not cut it. Hiring a travel concierge is the latest trend in luxury getaways. Travel concierges can provide the kind of ultra-personalized and exclusive access that you won’t get through credit-card perks or Groupon deals.
Want a table at Paris’ top restaurant — where the chef will create a meal especially for you? Or a suite at a members-only hideaway in Buenos Aires’ artsiest neighborhood? Or an overnight delivery of $35,000 worth of rare-vintage wine? Here are three travel concierge services that can make it happen.
Oasis is for travelers who love to experience other cultures
CEO Parker Stanberry helped start Oasis by seeking out global properties in cosmopolitan cities that were uniquely tailored to culture-seeking travelers.
The Miami entrepreneur didn’t stop there: Realizing that travel is better with a local expert, Oasis enlisted “Sidekicks,” insiders who know every nook and cranny of their beloved city, to guide guests and unlock doors. Lean on your Sidekick to get you into the most popular hotspots in any of the 23 cities where Oasis operates — or to fulfill your every whim and desire.
“During the World Cup in in Rio de Janeiro in 2014, our Sidekick received a three-page, $35,000 alcohol order, complete with obscure tequilas and fine wines,” Stanberry said. “It was a scramble, but they did it.”
Sienna Charles sets the standard for one-of-a-kind trips
Jaclyn Sienna India developed a taste for exceptional service during her training at Philadelphia’s now-closed Le Bec-Fin. But when she went to work at a travel agency, she saw that vacation-planning provided a lopsided level of service compared to the cost.
“At the restaurant, I would see how someone spending $2,000 on a meal would speak with the sommelier and get introduced to the chef and learn about the ingredients and the pairings,” Sienna India said. “Yet someone spending $30,000 on a vacation would get no intimate knowledge about where they were staying or dining.”
Sienna Charles, her travel concierge service based in Palm Beach and New York, sets the standard for luxury travel with one-of-a-kind trips that are always expert-tested. Her most noteworthy excursions? Accompanying former President George W. Bush to Ethiopia, planning a private dinner at Versailles, and organizing breakfast atop the Arc de Triomphe.
“When money is no object, you can plan a really amazing experience,” she said.
BA Cultural Concierge specializes in Buenos Aires
When Madi Lang landed in Buenos Aires about 12 years ago, she had no idea the stay would become permanent. She decided to make a business out of her love for the beautiful, complex, idiosyncratic city.
Lang founded BA Cultural Concierge, headquartered in Aventura, to guide her clients toward the best of Buenos Aires. Besides ultra-posh hotels and impossible-to-book restaurants, BA Cultural Concierge gives guests an insider’s glimpse of the city, booking private art viewings, professor-led architecture tours and in-home dinners with top local chefs.
This concierge also offers 24-hour support, a service that Lang’s clients appreciate, especially with the unexpected hiccups that can arise in South America. “It’s all about understanding the lingo of the city and its people and how they move through life,” she said. “That gives you this richness of context that you wouldn’t necessarily experience on your own.”