|The Bahamas Investor Magazine
June 21, 2010
June 21, 2010
Amid the excitement of moving to a new country, a new home and into a new lifestyle, it’s good to know there are experts around to take care of all the details.
Those details may include clearing your furniture and other belongings through customs, making sure cable and utilities are hooked up, seeing to it that the pool is ready for your first relaxing swim and that the linen is properly put away.
Experienced concierge firms take the stress out of moving, adding to the pleasure of moving to The Bahamas and removing the irritations that inevitably crop up if you try to do everything yourself.
Concierge, incidentally, comes from the French comte des cierges, which means “keeper of the candles”–the servant responsible for lighting the way for nobles visiting castles in medieval times. Today, the word means a lot more than holding candles.
Luxury lifestyle management
Platinum Pineapple, for example, specializes in “luxury lifestyle management” for everyone from newcomers, local residents and corporations to wealthy visitors and boaters.
Founding partners Michelle Albury-Spurlock and Sarah Campbell-Munro launched the company in 2006, capitalizing on their experiences working in the hospitality industry and offshore banking.
“As business professionals, we have both experienced the constant balancing act between work and home life,” says Albury-Spurlock. “We recognized the need for this service locally, particularly for second homeowners. We find they are the majority of our clients.”
Platinum Pineapple’s team of six stays busy every day, providing a host of services for clients residing in eastern and western New Providence, especially at the exclusive Ocean Club Estates and Ocean Club Residences & Marina on Paradise Island, where Platinum Pineapple serves as the on-site concierge.
“Currently we are based in New Providence,” says Campbell-Munro. “However, we have assisted some of our clients with planning and coordinating events at their vacation homes in the Out Islands.”
She explains that Platinum Pineapple provides “everything lifestyle-related,” which could be anything from arranging ground transportation, planning parties and booking private chefs to more domestic tasks such as grocery shopping, housekeeping and bill paying.
“Basically we provide whatever is requested by our clients,” says Campbell-Munro. “Nothing is too big or too small.”
When it comes to assisting new clients moving to New Providence, Albury-Spurlock notes that Platinum Pineapple’s services can be especially helpful.
“We act as their personal assistant to ensure that everything is in place and ready for their arrival,” she says, explaining that this includes shipping of belongings, customs clearing, arranging for movers and interior decorators, establishing accounts at utility companies and overseeing utility hook-ups.
In addition to making sure a client’s home is in turnkey condition, Platinum Pineapple also helps clients settle in to their new island lifestyle by making them familiar with their new environment, pointing out the locations of various businesses, schools and whatever else they need to know.
Island Concierge Limited specializes in taking care of “to-do” lists for busy clients, particularly residents and guests at affluent gated communities such as Lyford Cay and Old Fort Bay, located in western New Providence.
Also in business since 2006, Island Concierge Limited is run by partners Cathryn Evans and Fina Johnson. Bahamas-born Evans gained extensive knowledge in the hospitality industry after studying hotel and catering management at the University of Portsmouth, while Johnson, who was raised in The Bahamas, earned a graduate degree in interior design from the New York School of Interior Design.
This company’s full range of services incudes almost everything imaginable, such as organizing entertainment for parties, finding pet sitters, picking up prescriptions and even assisting with film and commercial productions.
“We do a lot of production services for movies, photo shoots, commercials, music videos and so forth,” says Johnson, noting that they assisted with a fashion layout for Vanity Fair with the renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz as well as a Louis Vuitton photo shoot with famous Lyford Cay resident Sir Sean Connery.
When they aren’t rubbing shoulders with famous actors and fashion designers, the staff at Island Concierge Limited are kept busy maintaining clients’ homes or assisting new clients relocating to The Bahamas from abroad. This service includes finding homes and rentals, recommending schools for children, expediting work permits, finding staff, importing and clearing household goods and pets, stocking homes with groceries and other supplies, setting up telephone, cell phone and cable Internet accounts and even introducing them to various key people in the community.
“We are there from start to finish, offering pointers and advice on island living,” says Evans, adding that it’s not uncommon for their clients to ask them to manage their property once they have moved and settled in.
“We have created friendships with many of our clients, and we continually offer assistance with any hurdles they may encounter during their time in The Bahamas.”
For those who are too busy to manage their many tasks, both large and small, concierge services can be a real lifesaver. There are limits, however, to what they can provide.
“We were once asked to get a zebra for a wedding,” says Johnson. “Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.”
tel 393-4921, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.platinum-pineapple.com
Island Concierge Limited,
tel 636-3191, e-mail Cathryn@ICLBahamas.com or Fina@iclbahamas.com, or visit www.iclbahamas.com