This week we caught up with Stuart McNeill, CEO of Knightsbridge Circle, the invitation only members club. Stuart shares how he got into the industry, his most interesting requests and gives tips on where’s hot to buy a property abroad…..
1. Tell us about your background and how you got into the private concierge service?
I was always interested in the hospitality sector. As a child I dreamt of one day owning my own hotel. As a teen I wanted to be a comedian or a chef, but I wasn’t that funny and my cooking left a lot to be desired. In 2004 I joined American Express Centurion ‘The Black Card’ and in 2010 I rolled out their Elite tier, which was reserved for the highest spending Centurion members…and the rest is history.
2. What prompted you to launch Knightsbridge Circle?
I helped to make the Elite Tier for Centurion American Express a real success. Like many large corporations, when something is successful they roll it out to many more people and this severely dilutes the experience in terms of access and personal service.
In 2012 I decided to deliver the most exclusive Travel & Lifestyle Management members club. A company that does not work to targets but sells what is right for the member (not what generates the most revenue) and allows staff to travel extensively and gain unbelievable product knowledge.
3. How do you get an invitation to join the Knightsbridge Circle?
Our existing members are very happy with the service they receive and they ask us to invite their friends. Those who do not know a member are invited to send their details to email@example.com Our committee meet monthly to invite applications who meet our criteria.
4. How does Knightsbridge Circle differentiate from other exclusive member’s lifestyle clubs?
Forbes just described us as ‘’Arguably the most exclusive concierge company on the planet’’ in their November article. This is because our membership numbers are capped at just 50 and each Personal Manager has just five members – the highest staff to member ratio in Europe. It’s not just exceptional pro-active service that makes us successful, we have a black book to die for, which opens seemingly closed doors and offers our members sensational savings. Our staff won’t just tell you where to go on your vacation, they will tell you the villa number and the butler’s name that you need.
5. Knightsbridge Circle seem to cover all bases including holidays, house hunting and education. Is there anything you can’t do?
As long as it’s legal and morally right then the answer is always YES!
6. What is the most interesting request you have had from a client?
I’ve had some very strange requests over the years but we always make them happen. Just a few highlights though include:
When I retire, I think I’ll release an autobiography!
7. If a client asked you to book any restaurant in the world for a special occasion what would you book and why?
I would create a very special experience. An overnight stay at Cliveden House in Berkshire, which is the finest country house in England would be followed by Steve Harris sailing you down to Bray on-board Fringilla, where you will moor up at the Waterside Inn to enjoy a wonderful Three Michelin starred lunch. It’s an illustrious restaurant in a glorious spot on the banks of the Thames, with a relaxed dining room and a delightful terrace ideal for aperitifs. Service is charming and expertly structured. Carefully considered French menus reflect the seasons and use top quality luxury ingredients in perfectly judged, sophisticated combinations.
8. A client is looking to purchase a house abroad – where would you suggest was a lucrative destination for them?
Miami and Cape Town are wonderful. Great climates and cuisine.
9. What’s next for Knightsbridge Circle?
This year has been very successful for us and has resulted in a waiting list for membership. I am delighted to announce that we will be inviting a few more clients to enjoy the service in January.