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5-MINUTE INTERVIEW Leija Graf,

Date: 28 Apr 2014

Citywealth

Tell us about your business?

We create individual luxury travel experiences, with our chic Nordic-style travel boutiques offering the perfect start to a perfect journey.

Where are the most exotic places to travel to now?

Burma is very exotic, with its golden pagodas, rubies and silver, beautiful waterways and people living as they have done for centuries. A luxury cruise is the way to explore. Another place for those who have seen it all is Bhutan, where the people value gross national happiness more than GNP. Warm, friendly people who live cut off from the world in the Himalayas.

What is the most unusual trip you have organised?

When a honeymoon couple booked by another travel agency phoned our office crying about their awful hotel on the Barrier Reef, I organised for them to fly to another island – and managed to get their money back from the first one.

Where do very wealthy clients want to visit?

Generally the most popular destination for those who can afford it is “paradise‚Äù ‚Äì a lush, tropical island with just one luxury hotel, offering villas on stilts or on the beach, your own private pool, gym and spa. But our wealthiest clients are now also demanding top-notch adventures in the Galapagos and Antarctica.

What do you do for wealthy clients that they can’t get elsewhere?

Our concierge service reaches around the earth, so you could get champagne delivered to the top of Table Mountain, ready for a carefully orchestrated proposal of marriage, or be serenaded by an opera singer in a gondola in Venice…

Do you see philanthro-tourism?

The five star hotels we prefer make an effort to support and invest in the local communities. It is too early still for customers to come in and say: “Take me somewhere where they are doing good‚Äù. But I personally would like to help create the demand.

What are the secrets to travelling ?

Of course the real secret is to have a tour operator who plans everything so well that there are no unfortunate surprises – only pleasant ones

Who would you most like to have as your travelling companion?

My lovely man – whom I met just before my recent birthday

What is your VIP card ?

This is given out to our high-spending customers and entitles them to privileges like a free concierge service in over 70 countries.

What three things do you think it takes to be successful in business?

Passion, intuition and precision.

What offers do you have currently?

One&Only Royal Mirage Dubai – our new offer includes free dinners every day, 40% room discount and bottle of wine on arrival. From £2260 per person sharing including return flights from London, transfers and 7 nights in a Palace Superior Deluxe Room OR Arabian Court Deluxe Room with breakfast and dinner.

Banyan Tree Spa Sanctuary on Phuket, from £2780 per person (flights, transfers, 7 nights Spa Pool Villa accommodation, daily half board and unlimited massage treatments).

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