Super rich in the UAE turning to lifestyle managers for help
From penguins for a party to serving divorce papers - super rich in the UAE turn to lifestyle managers for help...
The saying ‘everything has a price’ is never so true as in the UAE as wealthy clients are dishing out the dirhams to see their dreams come true.
Fixers, or ‘lifestyle managers’, are working tirelessly to deliver on a range of outrageous demands from people with cash to splash.
Whether it’s a request to hire penguins for a kids’ birthday party, to serve a spouse with divorce papers, or arrange food for a tiger, business is booming for luxury concierge service firms in the country.
Selina Dixon, of Quintessentially Lifestyle, recalled a request from a wealthy client in the UAE to source 12 penguins for a party.
She also revealed how one well-off couple wanted more exposure of their life on Dubai’s fast-paced social scene.
“Not long after the call, we secured a double-page spread and cover mention for them in a leading Middle Eastern publication,” said Dixon.
UAE clients are not just looking to carry out tasks in the Emirates.
Dixon said: “We’ve held a private event for 300 people at the Pyramids in Egypt.”
So how quickly could we have the pyramids closed for a private party? Dixon replied: “We say name the night.”
It appears there are no limits when it comes to keeping clients happy.
Andrew Orton, co-owner of Mint Lifestyle, said feeding exotic pets is no problem.
He said: “A hungry tiger is not a good thing. So, we can arrange food.”
From the mundane to the sublime, lifestyle managers in the UAE are helping to make life for residents that little bit easier and more exciting - for the right price
If you’re looking for the most sought-after tables in town for dinner - no problem. Tickets to a sold-out show? Already on their way. A flight to a private island - how does noon sound? Whatever your heart desires - providing it’s legal - lifestyle managers say they can deliver, with a quick snap of their fingers.
While arranging penguins for birthday parties, coverage in magazines and parties at the pyramids help clients enjoy the finer side of life, lifestyle managers can also be the bearer of bad news or complete tasks you just don’t want to do.
Zuzana Kalsi, founder of Dubai-based concierge service assist.ae, reveals: “One time a client asked us to serve her husband with divorce papers and deliver the bad news.”
Everyday requests include flight reservations, hotel bookings and first dibs on where to eat and shop.
Andrew Orton, co-owner of Mint Lifestyle - another luxury concierge service, says: “Our requests range from the mundane to the exotic.”
UAE clients tend to travel a lot - and several have homes abroad as well - so household assistance is a common request, he says.
“It could be about managing anything from letting someone in to fix a burst pipe, to managing tax, bills and paperwork,” he adds.
Other more practical requests include anything to do with deliveries, says Kalsi.
“Food, documents, picking up cheques, sorting out Emirates ID, getting typing done,” are popular expat requests Kalsi says.
“We’re also asked to buy items from areas that the client may not want to visit, like Satwa or Deira, where it’s hard to find parking. We have a client who lives in the Green community who wanted her groceries from a Lebanese store that’s quite far away. “She gave us a list and we did the shopping and delivered them to her doorstep.
“Also, dealing with anything to do with car issues is quite common.
“Servicing, registration, SALIK, renewals - anything that involves paperwork or standing in line,” explains Kalsi. Lifestyle managers are willing to go long lengths, and distances, to fulfill their client’s wishes - how else would you manage to source original Fidel Castro cigars for a customer?
“If you know your cigars, you’d know it’s a little like looking for Gold dust,” admits Orton. “We got them all the way from Cuba through our network of contacts worldwide.”
While other demands might be easier to source, the challenge is delivering at the drop of a hat. Kalsi recalls a request for a perfume that was only available in Oman.
“We sent someone there overnight to bring the 10 bottles as required,” she says.
Selina Dixon, head of marketing & PR for Quintessentially Lifestyle, says her firm helped a client who wanted to see in New Year at the top of the Sydney Opera House.
“We offered the world’s first opportunity to climb Sydney Opera House and watch the fireworks at midnight,” recalls Dixon. The common consensus is that there are no limits to ensuring the satisfaction of a client. The lifestyle managers say they wouldn’t mind trudging the extra mile to make customers happy as long the requests are ethical, legal and do not go against cultural and social norms in the UAE.
In other words, they rarely say no and will offer alternatives if the original request is not doable.
“It’s also about matching needs with feasibility,” says Orton. “They may have ideas but then you’ve got to just tell them it’s not going to work. Even the rich need to be told.”
PRICE OF LUXURY LIFE
>> Assist.ae has a one-hour Dhs100 minimum charge for all services completed. Fees are then charged at Dhs25 for every 15 minutes.
>> Charges for Mint Lifestyle Partners start at Dhs227 per hour or you can block book five hours at Dhs205 per hour or 15 hours at Dhs181 per hour.
>> Quintessentially Lifestyle’s membership-only service starts at Dhs10,000 per year for general membership.