Splurging for the Games

2012-07-29 10:00
Gabisile Ndebele
The staggering amounts the South African jet set pay for a jolly good time

South Africa’s mega-rich are digging deep into their pockets for a luxury experience of the London Olympics games.

While they may not be on par with European financial royalty and their superyachts that have transformed London’s East End docks into a “mini-Monaco”, our local monied are also not skimping on their A-list experience.

Concierge companies Quintessentially and The Desk have sold an impressive number of packages to those who would rather have a front-row seat to the action than watch it from the living room couch. And the splurge costs up to a quarter of a million rand per person.

Director of The Desk, Carole Day confirmed that “the clients will be attending the games, staying in stunning hotels, eating at wonderful restaurants and, of course, shopping”.

Their R250 000 package, which excludes flights, will see clients staying at the five-star Claridges Hotel on Brook Street. The hotel is a favourite among A-listers and has hosted the likes of Brad Pitt, Mariah Carey, Mick Jagger and U2.

While in London, these demanding VIP clients have also opted to be wined and dined at celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen – a restaurant with a three-month-long waiting list.

“Once the clients have enjoyed their sport event of choice, we’ve arranged for private shopping expeditions and golf at some exclusive venues,” said Day. She added that the VIP experience for the Olympics was not “on the cheap and cheerful side”.

“However, London is a fantastic city with a lot to offer and so clients are prepared to pay for the experience.”

Quintessentially’s package costs marginally less at R160 000, including business-class flights, travel insurance and visas to the UK.

According to Quintessentially’s Jessica Webb, the package buys you five nights at the exclusive Mandeville boutique hotel with daily breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners.

Clients also get two Olympic event tickets (members can select which events), closing ceremony Category A tickets, a visit to the London Eye for the champagne capsule brunch and VIP Lion King theatre tickets.

The R160 000 is in addition to the annual membership fee of up to R320 000.

Webb believes it is worth the expense. “We cater for whatever the client needs. If they want front-row seats to the games, we have to make that happen, no matter what.”

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