they travel in jet private; they sail on luxury yachts; They have housekeepers, butlers, and chauffeurs, and they rent or buy villas and private islands for their vacations and social gatherings. They are rich and demand rich services. The number of great fortunes does not stop growing in the world. Also in Spain, which is among the 10 countries with the most millionaires globally, according to the Credit Suisse bank. The ultra-rich population with more than 30 million dollars of liquidity is also gaining weight: it increased by 9.3% in 2021 and already exceeds 610,500 people in the world, according to the consulting firm Knight Frank.
An entire ecosystem of companies dedicated to offering luxury products and services revolves around the large bank account of these privileged people, from the most traditional (jewels, watches, fashion, cars…) to the most innovative. The exchange of high standing second homes only for the rich is one of the latest businesses to dock in Spain. It’s kind of like the Airbnb of high class. Thirdhome is an exclusive private club that offers second home owners to stay in the luxury homes of other millionaires. To enter the club you have to pass some filters. For example, the minimum value of the house that is exchanged must be 500,000 dollars (475,000 euros). From there up. “The average value of the properties that belong to the club is two million euros and, before being admitted, each profile is carefully studied. In addition, the properties must be in an attractive destination, have an exclusive interior design and quality furniture and appliances”, they point out in the company, created in 2010 in the US.
This private international travel club has almost 14,000 properties spread over 1,700 destinations in 98 countries. In addition, it has agreements with 85 resorts of luxury that are part of its offer: Ritz-Carlton (Aspen), St. Regis (New York) or Vidanta (Mexico). The number of partners exceeds 13,800 and among them there are “doctors, influencers, politicians and soccer players”. In Spain they opened an office in Marbella in 2020 and they already have 101 homes. The house with the highest value, 12 million euros, is in Catalonia.
Members earn credits or keys based on the availability of their second homes. The more time they are free throughout the year on the platform, the more keys they get. In addition, they must pay an exchange fee that is around 700 euros per week, a figure far from the 12,000 euros per week that the rental of this type of house usually costs. Obviously, saving is not the highest priority of the partners. “It is a concept that goes beyond the monetary issue and focuses on giving life to second properties that spend a lot of time empty,” they say in the company. There are houses in Barbados, Belize, Switzerland, France, Colorado, Fiji, Italy, Kenya, Punta Cana, Malibu, Greece…
Another of the services designed only for the wealthiest pockets is the rental of private islands around the world at prices that vary from 5,000 to 50,000 dollars per week (between 4,745 and 47,457 euros). The catalog available to wealthy customers has expanded, as some islands that were offered for sale have been withdrawn from the market and are currently only advertised for lease. This is the case of Tagomago, which in 2020 was sold for 150 million euros. Now, this islet of 600,000 square meters less than a kilometer from Santa Eulària des Riu, in Ibiza, is only rented “weekly or for unique events”. Footballers or musicians like Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo or Justin Bieber have already stayed there.
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In Vladi Private Islands, one of the companies that rent the island, they say that this practice is usually common. It is done “to cover the operating costs of an island and to demonstrate its beauty,” says Farhad Vladi, founder and president of the German company. The businessman says that, in addition, the ownership of some of these islands is in the hands of several relatives or partners and it is difficult to reach agreements. Among the services offered to those who rent the island are chef, waiter, personal trainer, garden and pool maintenance staff, limousine transfers, medical service, babysitter…
Butler or housekeeper
It couldn’t be otherwise. In the long list of essentials for the great fortunes is luxury domestic service, a market that has not stopped growing in recent years. The demand far exceeds the supply, especially that of certain profiles such as butler, ship steward or managers of yachts and private jets. The great fortunes claim staff for their large flats, villas or mansions. “Outside the urban centers, they demand domestic service for hunting and recreational estates, as well as for holiday homes in Marbella, the Balearic Islands or Sotogrande, and yacht services,” says Carolina Carcedo, director of the House & Seniors domestic service agency .
They are looking for an internal marriage, cleaners and ironers, housekeepers, babysitters, salus (professional home caregiver for newborns), chauffeur, gardener, chef, butler or nurse. They also demand positions of governess, maid, personal assistant, responsible for the different dwellings of the employer and responsible for the services inside the yacht. It can be permanent staff, both internal and external, or temporary for the vacation period or for special events.
The client is usually Spanish, but there are also many Venezuelan, Mexican and Colombian families used to having service personnel. “They live permanently in Spain or spend long periods of time here, and their need to have a good domestic team is so great that we have a Mexican client who spends six months a year in Madrid and, in order to keep his trusted staff, pays for everything financially. the year with the same salary”, says Carcedo. Important was the Russian client, who demanded services for their holiday residences in the Balearic Islands and Costa del Sol. “I don’t know how their demand for domestic staff in Spain will evolve after the war in Ukraine,” he adds.
Those who request these services are businessmen, CEOs of multinationals, ambassadors and diplomats, elite athletes and artists. In addition to specific training and experience, they require maximum discretion (they must sign a confidentiality agreement), the use of a uniform and maximum time flexibility, also when traveling.
Salaries depend on requirements and experience, but, as an example, a professional butler starts at 2,600 or 3,000 euros net per month, and a maid, from 1,400 euros. A nanny with specific training, English and a passport from a European Union country to be able to travel with the family charges between 1,200 and 1,600 euros per month. A chef moves between 5,000 and 6,000 euros, while a cook, from 1,200 euros. An internal domestic marriage, from 2,800 euros, and a salus receives between 100 and 115 euros per night.