The Swiss have an expression for it: die Verschwiegenheit . . . secrecy, discretion, reticence, seclusion, and they value it in this part of the world – Davos Klosters. British Royals have relied on it for decades, as have POTUSs, PMs, CEOs, etc… you get the picture.
The art of providing impeccable service when, where, and exactly how it is required, with no fuss and no batting of eyelids. All while keeping schtum to an outside world full of operatives, paparazzi, industrial spies, and n’er-do-wells anxious to penetrate the inner sanctum of that seclusion.
The Tivoli Lodge, Davos, is the premier place to head for if you find yourself in need of such service. Perched high above the frankly ugly sprawl that is downtown Davos, it snuggles discretely into the mountainside. Built of local stone in the local Graubünden style, it marries contemporary and classic designed by Henriette Von Stockhausen of VSP Interiors who planned each room around art works selected by the owners (hush-hush, but an English wife who owns a fashion house, and an Italian high-flying exec. husband).
An imposing staircase opens from the lobby, not quite Gone With The Wind but striking nonetheless, with manager Anna ready to meet-and-greet. First impressions are always vital, and the chilled glass of Bolly, which magically refills when empty, offsets my red-eye flight from the UK.
I, among a select group of journos, had received invitations including this quote: ‘During the World Economic Forum this fabulous chalet is home to one of the wealthiest and most influential names in the world’. Being true newshounds we waste no time in trying to extricate names from Anna, who smiles her enigmatic smile and tells us… absolutely nothing. Trump? Jeff Bezos? Bill Gates? I have a theory that if the WiFi is so fast I need to hang on to my laptop to avoid it being sucked into cyberspace, it will be Bill Gates. I try it. Normal. I stick my head out of the window; thickly falling snow but no tell-tale laser pinpoints trained on my heart. Probably not Trump then. Anna smiles her smile and tops up our Bolly. Die Verschwiegenheit.
My room is the Master Suite, a super-duper split-level affair wrapped around a corner of the house, looking down on Davos. I cautiously peep from behind the heavy drapes but can see no lurking S.W.A.T. teams.
It’s hard to put WEF out of my mind, only 5 days away. Frozen Swiss Army squaddies are already patrolling, erecting barriers, and blocking roads in the centre, where the likes of Macron, May and Merkel will wheel and deal. Undoubtedly all will change when The Donald rolls into town.
I reflect that Tivoli Lodge would be an ideal roost for him with its children’s two storey soft-play area, ice-castle and ball-pool.
Eight staff attend to the needs of up to twelve adults and six children: two chauffeurs, chef, sous-chef, hosts, deputy manager, and Anna. I playfully test her claim to be able to provide anything a guest desires, in my case a Dirty Dry Vodka Martini constructed with particular ingredients, and an acoustic guitar. She didn’t flinch. The following day both appeared as if by magic. Impressive.
Michelin-trained Chef Scott’s food is intricate. His tasting menu includes: Foie Gras, apple purée and beetroot gel (yummy); Cauliflower soup (not so yummy); and Turbot carpaccio, scallop ceviche, Salmon roe, cucumber and chives (appetising), each course paired with fine wines selected by Berry Brothers.
A complimentary ‘grog’ tray is left for us to help ourselves and every room has a superb Bose sound speaker system as well as Apple TV, Freeview and Netflix.
Unlike WEF delegates we writers ski during the day. Tivoli Lodge arranges guides handpicked by local legend Dominik Strand, and after a day in powder on the Parsenn behind the Lodge we are collected by Brian, one of the chauffeurs, and whisked back for some R&R in the spa, sauna and steam-room; glasses of Bolly appearing in our hands as if by magic.
Anna, ever attentive, has a masseuse lined up in the Library to squeeze, knead and rub all my aches away. Pooled, and pampered, I have just enough energy to change and go down to the lounge for canapés in front of a roaring log fire, and sample the Dirty Dry Vodka Martini I had requested the previous day. I am very, very fussy about my DDVMs and find to my satisfaction that Matthew, Anna’s deputy, is a master mixologist despite his youth. Big smile, big contented sigh. Life at the Tivoli Lodge is good.
As WEF will follow my stay I investigate the economics: prices (depending on exchange rate) start at £34,000 per week, and rise to £92,138 for Christmas. WEF week is strictly P.O.A.
Assuming Bill Gates was to stay here, and based on his daily estimated income of £187,000,000, he’d have £186,907,862 left after hiring the Tivoli Lodge. Seems as if it could work.
Maybe he’d have The Donald up for a pool party and canapés after a hard day at the podium. Who knows?
Anna might, but she’s not telling.