Dream maker, dream maker, make me a dream.
Ever wondered how the celebrated glitterati of our time manage the fantastically dreamy lives that are, on a weekly basis, splashed across the covers of those glossy periodicals and sensational tabloids that paper newsstands at grocery store checkout?
How do they book a Katy Perry performance for their daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday party? Obtain premiere courtside seats at Wimbledon at the very last minute? Share a stage with DJ David Guetta? Or reserve a prime table at Thomas Keller’s renowned French Laundry without having to wait to two years for an opening?
The answer is, of course, that the glitterati almost always have a helping hand – a wizard of sorts responsible for pulling all the levers behind the scenes to ensure that life in the fantasy land that is their world is always picture perfect and hassle free. As a general rule, this wizard shows up in some form of luxury concierge service, whose job is quite simply to ‘make it happen’, whatever ‘it’ might be.
One of the wizards that the A-list regularly turns to when they want something done is Element Lifestyle, the ace Los Angeles-based team of luxury travel and lifestyle consultants, whose roster of clients includes everyone from the influential, the powerful and the titled to the rich, the famous and the infamous and everyone in between. They are, in short, lifestyle architects responsible for bringing into being a parallel universe where the seemingly impossible is in fact quite possible and where life is seamlessly unfettered by the usual petty concerns of daily existence. Think of them as modern day genies with the ability to grant far more than three wishes…for a price of course.
Whether clients want something as simple as a bowl of soup from a favorite deli personally delivered to one of their ailing offspring halfway across the country or something as major as a runway to land a private jet on a tiny island, the team at Element Lifestyle specializes in making it happen. To that point, when askedto name the trait that best defines the Element Lifestyle philosophy, company Co-Founder, Michael Albanese, offers up the adjective “tenacity” without hesitation. It is a fitting term, given the origins of the scrappy company that came to be in 2009 under less than promising circumstances.
“Element was born from the ashes of a similar company that was driven into the ground by a charlatan,” Albanese explains. “One fateful day in September 2009, we woke up and the company had vanished into thin air, along with the membership investment of a dozen of our top clients. It was an unlikely way to start a business, but when a billionaire looks you in the eye and asks what you plan to do about the situation, you naturally respond, ‘We’re going to start our own company and want you to be our first client.’”
Nearly five years later and Element Lifestyle is a thriving concern with loads of cred in the corridors of power and a well-established history of pulling off some pretty jaw-dropping requests on behalf of clients.
“There are so many amazing stories,” Albanese says brimming with enthusiasm when asked about some of the more memorable requests Element has fulfilled. “One of the top requests for a client was convincing [Chef] Eric Ripert to fly to Las Vegas with his two sous chefs and prepare the most exquisite 7-course meal for eight people as a gift from our client to his wife and her seven guests. Everything about the experience was world-class. From the food, to the wines paired with each course (including a port from 1834), to the simple elegance of the table. It was so rewarding because Eric never/rarely does these private events.”
“Another favorite, and one of our personal favorites, was with a client last summer in Las Vegas [when we] conceptualized and produced the most outrageous, expensive bachelor party in the history of Las Vegas,” continues Albanese. “The four-day party included sixteen gentlemen from Europe who expected us to arrange activities and events that included all aspects of what the city has to offer, including penthouses and suites at The Wynn, private cabanas at beach clubs, stage access to the night clubs, amazing restaurants, an obscene amount of Dom Perignon and more. It was truly one of the craziest trips we have designed. We would not be surprised if the people at The Wynn were still talking about it especially after our client spent over $1.4 million in 4 days!”
The over-the-top aside, the real cache of Element Lifestyle is the personal concierge side of the business, which is the aspect that is most attractive to clients and the piece for which each pays mays a monthly retainer to access. In this role, the Element Lifestyle team makes a point of painstakingly reviewing in advance any and every experience they recommend to their clients. In fact, I went along with the team one afternoon for a private tour of the first class seating on a major international airline and observed firsthand how meticulously the consultants inspected the seats and every detail of the cabin to make sure that all was up to snuff. It’s all part of Element’s commitment to learning, anticipating and meeting their clients’ most intimate needs, desires and wants.
“We have developed a 16-page questionnaire for new clients that covers everything from frequent flyer data to allergies to favorite authors,” Albanese says of the company’s exhaustively personal approach. “There is an intimacy and shorthand with our clients that makes us more than just a travel agent. Sometimes we become part of the member’s family. Because we know them so well, we are able to advise them on what destinations to travel to, where to stay, where to eat …sometimes even what to eat. The more we know about our clients and how they live at their very best, the more creative and proactive we become. If your wife is allergic to garlic, we need to know that and so does everyone working in the restaurant the night you are coming in for dinner. If you hate spending money on airport transfers, we find less expensive ground-transportation options. Or if your favorite author is Stephen King, maybe we will be able to offer an opportunity to have coffee with him on your next trip to Maine. We want to know where you’ve been, where you’ll never visit again and what remains on your dream list.”
Ah dreams. Whoever says they don’t come true, has clearly never been a client of Element Lifestyle.
Find out more about Element Lifestyle at elementlifestyle.com.