What does it take to keep the filthy rich happy on holiday? If The White Lotus is anything to go by, the answer is prostitutes, flashy palazzos, horny husbands and hotel staff who will do anything to make holiday dreams come true.
The new season of the hit HBO dark comedy, which follows a group of 1 per centers on holiday at a five-star hotel in Sicily, is full of them. It’s more of a disaster than a dream holiday, especially when a dead body washes up on the beach in the first scene, but it’s brilliantly addictive to watch how the super-rich react when things go wrong.
Someone who knows exactly what that looks like is Gregory Patrick, the founder of the House of DreamMaker, a luxury travel agency for the super-rich that has just expanded into the UK. Holiday disasters are his speciality. In fact, he specialises in creating them.
The House of DreamMaker is the agency the obscenely wealthy hire when they want to organise a holiday out of the ordinary. Until recently the company only took new clients by referral. Most are American millionaires and 80 per cent are members of the YPO (Young Presidents’ Organisation), an exclusive world network of super-rich CEOs and directors.
To join you have to be under 45 and in an “extremely profitable organisation”, which means it’s essentially a club of very wealthy millennials. Collectively the YPO members’ companies generate sales of more than $6 trillion. The objective of a House of DreamMaker holiday is to create an experience that is truly one of a kind and to do this Patrick employs some unique tactics.
During the holidays his company organises, he hires actors to dupe his guests into thinking something out of the ordinary has taken place, that they have witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime moment. “I’ll tell them where the client is that evening, they’ll have a cue and they’ll have one take to improvise a scene in front of them,” he says.
Sometimes the scenes are sweet, like watching a proposal. On other occasions they are a bit more edgy. During one holiday for a client — a couple — Patrick booked an anniversary meal, and then organised for the family on the table next to them to have an argument. “I’ve had clients [on holiday in London] get pickpocketed in Piccadilly Circus by fake thieves who have stolen their wallet, only to have it returned by a fake stranger back at their hotel.”
Essentially Patrick is pranking really posh people, which if judging by the popularity of Matt Hancock in on ITV (Hancock has been voted for more bushtucker trials than anyone else) is something we common people like to do.
That is not Patrick’s motive, though. Bored of beautiful places and pretty things, his clients want something deeper. “It’s about making them feel something, whether that is shock, awe, sadness, laughter,” Patrick says.
“It’s about manipulating their reality to create an experience that they are going to remember for ever, that moves them and provokes them to talk about it.”
Patrick claims his clients to this day still have no idea. Harsh? Maybe, but I do find it quite amusing that there are a handful of Americans naive enough to think that if they misplaced their wallet in central London, it would make its way back to them.
Source: The Times