The Experience of Living at its Best

by Elena Castelló

The carer, the love of detail, the capacity to understand a client’s most intimate necessities: This is where real luxury living begins.

There is no better way to understand this almost symbiotic relationship with clients, than hearing from real life experience from someone who has worked with the company Alberta La Grup.

It all started mid august, when the Alberta La Grupteam received a request to prepare a Parisian house for an American couple and their thirteen-year-old son, who were coming to the French capital for three months from the beginning of September. They were coming to spend family time together as rarely do at home due to their work schedules, and to rest, as they are able to work away from home.

They travelled with the ¨nanny¨ so that the child could continue with his studies with ease on his return to the United States.  They had been on touristic holidays before, but this is the first time they were spending a longer period of time away from home.

The father is dedicated to art and culture, making the marriage intelligent and cultured, yet still very close.

Rapidly, Alberta La Grup mobilized and got straight to work. The objective: maintain the essence and spirit of the rented house, whilst removing the more intimate details to convert it into a comfortable, personal home, with no elements that may be a reminder of the real owners. The house is on one floor, is four hundred metres squared, with high ceilings, lots of light and is covered in marble, stone and wood. Upon opening the windows, the first thing you see is The Louvre. It also contains a 120 square metre attic, where traditionally, the staff would live. The houses in this area were rooms built for the courtiers of Louis XIV. Over the years, residents included Richard Wagner, Baudelaire, De la Croix and Oscar Wilde. Today, the interior is a subtle combination of contemporary and renaissance art, an atmosphere where the artwork is naturally intertwined with elegance.

What is the first step?

The Alberta La Grup team work together with the assistant of the North American family, who provides some details about the clients and much more, by discovering step by step or by utilizing their intuition and observation; habits, objectives, preferences and tastes. It is only on the day of arrival that the Alberta La Grup team will actually meet their clients.

How do you prepare the house?

The initial step is ensuring that the area is extremely well looked after, and that the owners will respond to any possible eventuality.  It is also a client of Alberta La Grup: working with owners who already have a reference adds greater security to the final result. Copies of the keys, remote controls, list of emergency phone-numbers and utilities, access codes, alarms, wifi passwords, building rules; we introduced them to the personnel of the building, and told them their working hours, international TV channels they want to watch, their favourite music connected throughout the house, we made personalised cards with their new address  in Paris…etc.

How does the work with the team begin?

We begin by removing all the items from the home that are overly personal, meaning anything that could potentially make the tenants feel uncomfortable due to their fragility or overly familiar connotations: delicate crockery or glassware, or works of art that are closely associated with the personality of the owner. All of which we will start to pack up, but only after we have taken photos of where they were positioned, to be sure that we can return them exactly as they were, once the tenancy is complete.

A perfect modification

Once we have removed everything that is deemed unnecessary or potentially uncomfortable, we clean and review everything in terms of maintenance of the house – so that all the facilities are in a perfect condition. After, we start placing everything – small appliances and a final selection of art work, along with all the necessary instructions. The Alberta La Grup team is only a phone call away, or at the other end of an email, and we are always ready to resolve any possible issues that may arise. It is essential that the clients are not left without any support. Therefore, the house is left ready and prepared in all aspects. Also, all the ¨staff¨ in the building were advised so that the recent arrivals feel at ease in the home.

The importance of the environment

Settling into a new house, even if only for a short season, brings a necessity of knowing not only the property but also the surrounding environment. Therefore, the team toured the streets of the area meticulously. As it is a more permanent stay, rather than touristic, we have to know the markets and the streets relatively well. The Alberta La Grup team found, at the request of the clients, establishments where they can find the best fresh fruit, the closest cafes and where to rent a car, dry cleaners for regular clothes, experts of expensive clothing, weekly food shops and opening times, hairdressers, beauty salons, contacts for beauty and wellbeing treatments in the comfort of your own home…etc.

Also, we suggested French classes and needed to find football lessons for the child in the house. An intense search was carried out to find the most interesting locations, which the team took photos of so that we could draw a visual plan of everything in the surrounding area of the house, all whilst having the clients preferences in mind.

Additionally, we located the best cinemas for historical film, along with on of the most exquisite spas in Paris, the Guerlain Spa. The ¨concierge¨ of the establishment was also made aware of the arrival of the new client so that they felt completely cared for. Similarly, all the professionals, such as the French teacher, are always recommended to us. The chauffeur knew the owners of the house; the cleaner knew the house perfectly and has been working with the family for thirty years. This is essential: ensuring that the house has its own ¨staff¨ that will ensure the service is well kept, as they know the house thoroughly, paying particular attention to detail.

A job based on intuition and chemistry

One of the essential elements that the Alberta La Grup team work with is the capacity to imagine all the elements that conform to a daily lifestyle of the clients, anticipating everything they could possibly want or wish for. All of this brings a lot of meticulous analysis of a clients needs and preferences: doctors, restaurants, shops… What do they want in the fridge? What smells do they want in their home? Incense or candles? Oat milk or tea? Which flowers or plants do they prefer? The house was full of orchids, chosen by the owner who also left a handwritten letter for their new tenants. What about a restaurant for the first night? Of course, whilst attending to the smallest details: which is the best table? Which waiter is the best informed? What specialty from the menu stands out most? The team always go the extra mile: they focus on all the details to collect the best information, the best location, everything that is most in keeping with the clients preferences.

The last details

With more than four weeks to go until we welcomed our American family, everything was already arranged, down to the smallest details ready for their arrival. The ALG team prepared the transfer for the new arrivals at the airport, a porter service for the suitcases, assistance with the luggage in the building; I helped them with the paperwork and arrangement for a car that awaited them with all their luggage already inside.

The satisfaction of a perfect job

What gives the Alberta La Grup team the most satisfaction is knowing that we can do “everything”. We can always go further and further to achieve. The illusion that the client has a warm welcome and the feeling that they are happy with what they see when they walk through the door is great motivation.  Our protagonists arrived, and in no time the child was lying on the sofa, the “nanny” unpacking the suitcases and the parents were delightedly exploring the beauty of the house. It seemed as though the team had achieved their target: the house was a temporary home and the clients felt very comfortable.

Luxury and wellbeing

The contact will continue until the clients leave. The adventure will never end. The Alberta La Grup team will still plan get-aways, restaurants, and cars. The job is based on instinct, sensitivity, intuition; the ability to grasp the details is the pillar of a true experience of luxury. The luxury / wellbeing work perfectly as a pair. Without wellbeing, luxury would freeze, yet without the highest standards, welfare loses much of its strength.

Always present, yet never invasive…almost imperceptible… tiptoeing like a ballerina.

If you wish to re-print this article or photos, that’s fine. Just include the biography at the end of the article. Thank you!

Copyright © by Alberta La Grup


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