A weekend away is the ultimate indulgence but where do those for whom money is no object choose to spend their time?
A no-expense spared weekend away is always near the top of any bucket list.
Luxury weekends away, however, are more easily attainable for a growing number of Australians than they are for the rest of us.
Research released by Credit Suisse recently shows the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (those with a net worth of $65.5 million) in Australia has grown to 3,000. The latest issue of the company’s Global Wealth Report found there are 33 billionaires living in Australia and the number of millionaires who call Australia home has grown to 1.16 million.
Spotting this trend, former marketing and events director Mandi Ford launched her luxury concierge business five years ago.
Ford’s business ES Lifestyle sees her partner with some of the country’s most exclusive brands to create experiences for their valued customers. In addition, she also has private members that utilise her bespoke personal concierge services and lifestyle experiences to anyone in extra need of additional help purchasing gifts, arranging holidays, relocating to a new home or entertaining clients.
Ford says the one-of-a-kind experiences sought by clients who utilise her services to restore a better work/life balance vary depending on their professional background and their stage of life.
For some, it could be as simple as arranging a private chef for a celebration black tie dinner party and their guests, for others it could be a personalised wardrobe styling session to update their look for the new season or engaging a stylist to put together looks during their overseas stay.
When organising luxury weekends away for clients with young families, Ford says most favour jumping in the car and driving or flying to a destination safe in the knowledge everything has been taken care of, ensuring their only decision is what activities the family should do over the weekend.
She says Noosa and the Gold Coast are popular choices largely because they both have luxury accommodation options with an array of family friendly dining experiences, activities for the entire family, and highly acclaimed restaurants for date night for mum and dad, access to baby sitters and treatments to rejuvenate.
Ford says most of her clients who she classifies as young singles are looking to combine a little luxury with exploration and dining hotspots and their weekend away usually extends to a four-day adventure. Byron Bay and Cabarita are their destinations of choice, offering a great selection of both beaches and grand accommodation to enjoy pool time, surf lessons on the beach, great dining experiences or health club pampering.
For couples without children a lavish weekend away usually involves a flight destination. Qualia in Queensland’s Whitsundays is a popular choice, she says, with airport transfers from home, business class airfares, arrival concierge to greet them on the island and everything taken care of for their time on the island.
Hobart has proved the destination of preference for her retired clients this year, Ford says, with most choosing to stay at the MACQ01 with breathtaking water views, a day trip to MONA, complimentary drinks and snacks on the journey, dinner and a luxury private tour of Mt Wellington and Bruny Island for fresh oysters and Bruny island cheese and chocolate to finish their weekend.
“If they have the time available, we then take them to Launceston for a winery trail or to one of our favourite resorts for hiking, exploring, trout fishing or a round of golf at a world class golf course.”
Ford says when creating these experiences for her wealthy clients it is the level of detail which ultimately proves most important.
“We often talk about what money can’t buy or question what an uber extravagant experience looks like. But that really is dependent on the audience, what they do for a living and what stage they are at in their life journey.
“[It’s the little things that count] from remembering a favourite room spray and flowers for the house right down to the bathroom amenities, robes, slippers, music, magazines on the coffee table, books by the bedside for an afternoon in the sunshine to the song list that is on the sound system.”