CULTURE

Quintessentially, at your service in Greece

Looking for an organic turkey for tonight’s dinner or perhaps the ultimate experience in travel on board the Virgin Galactic? Your membership card is enough to fulfill your – wildest or more simple – desires now that Quintessentially has landed in Athens. With service being on everyone’s lips as the notion of true luxury in the 21st century, the Quintessentially world team comes to Greece with a mission: «accessing the inaccessible.» Initially established as a private club in London by Aaron Simpson and Ben Elliot in 2000, it is currently a leader in lifestyle management and service provider for the international high-flying elite. Simpson, an Oxford University graduate who turned to producing films, observed that there was a niche for servicing those with very little time to enjoy the finest things in life. A consultant to James Goldsmith while at Bristol University, Elliot has a solid experience in developing nightlife and restaurant ventures. «We are not after an OK experience, we are after a brilliant experience,» said Ben Elliot in Athens for the launch of the Greek office. With branches stretching from New York to Shanghai and Beirut to Cape Town, by the end of the year Quintessentially will have 52 bureaus and 1,500 staff members spectacularly up to date with what’s going on around the globe. Each office has a limit of 5,000 members, while partnerships are formed with people in the know – in Italy, for instance, Quintessentially works with Renault Formula One boss Flavio Briatore. A key word in the Quintessentially universe is the «concierge.» In the last 30 years, the number of companies entering the field reflects tough competition. What makes Quintessentially stand out in this crowded place? «We have a global network of up to 30,000 suppliers. They are the top in their field, hotels, shops, service providers, clubs, spas, transport companies. Our suppliers offer our members access, better prices, value-added products and services,» says Annia Spiliopoulos Eliades, adding the combination of a local/global reach. Managing director of Quintessentially Hellas, Spiliopoulos Eliades is a graduate of Oxford University and Harvard Business School (MBA), with experience as a consultant and assistant film producer. In 2001 she joined EMI, working out of headquarters in London and New York. Why was it time for Greece to join the Quintessentially club? «The need for high-end servicing and to have the opportunity to free up time and save money in an increasingly busy world is a global phenomenon,» says Spiliopoulos Eliades. «A Greek is as busy and wants to have access and be in the know as much as a person living in Oslo, in Panama or in Istanbul. Greeks have been known to have a good sense of perspective, i.e. a sense of what really matters in life.»  Services range from traveling to buying property and securing invitations to exclusive events. An up-to-date website offers suggestions, while around the clock on-call staff deal with needs and emergencies. For the Greek office, there is an extra challenge involved. «Greece on the world map as a high-end destination. We want to contribute to raising even more the standards of high-end servicing in Greece,» says Spiliopoulos Eliades. «Greece should be on top of the list and overtake St Tropez, the Caribbean, the Italian Riviera as the destination of choice for travelers who are looking for only the best in scenery, accommodation and service. We have the natural resources, it is all a matter of execution.» For more information log on to www.quintessential.com.