Leading New Zealand luxury stays and experiences company, Queenstown based Touch of Spice, has stepped into a new era catering to discerning visitors travelling to New Zealand as borders re-open following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Founder Jacqui Spice says they have spent the past two years recalibrating the business to offer a refreshed approach to luxury travellers coming to New Zealand.
“Pre-covid the business was rapidly expanding to cope with international demand, we had 24 full time staff and our primary offering, our private villas portfolio was gravitating more and more towards larger high-end properties. When the pandemic hit I took a breath and decided to keep forward momentum by specialising only in the very top luxury accommodation offerings in the country. I passed over what we considered our Private Villa Collection level of villas to other industry professionals to focus solely on our premium tier The Residence Collection – a portfolio of the crème de la crème luxury rental homes.”
The Residence Collection by Touch of Spice is a showcase of exclusive private villas and estates created and styled to meet the tastes and demands of elite world travellers.
“It encompasses large estates, high-end villas, super yachts and private islands,” says Jacqui. “These residences are the very best of the super villas styled for high-net worth individuals who invest a lot of money into the region when they visit. Because these residences and villas are private that’s what they are after – it’s all about seclusion, privacy and space while still being a home away from home.”
“We manage every aspect of the guests’ stay in and out of the residence including highly curated experiences from private chefs, helicopters and boats to personalised activities specific to the client. Our management team oversees everything in the property including special touch points like New Zealand food and wine and amenities throughout. We also manage all the marketing which includes attending global trade shows multiple times a year.”
Touch of Spice launched in 2005 as New Zealand’s only personal concierge service for high-net worth individuals and Jacqui says they have been hugely successful particularly at the absolute upper-end of the market regularly working with VIP’s, celebrities and even, at times, royalty.
“We have continually evolved over the past 17 years and I feel so lucky to now have this opportunity to take the company to the next level with all the right skills and core team in place. Our properties we represent are from referrals only and they are mostly exclusive which guarantees only exceptional villas and residences make our private lists ensuring a world-class service for our international guests. That is a huge part of our business success.”
A CLASS OF HER OWN
A passionate and consummate professional and self-confessed perfectionist Touch of Spice founder Jacqui Spice can meet any challenge, large or small.
Jacqui spent ten years on the international super yacht circuit kickstarting her personal concierge career.
“I travelled to Europe as a 19-year-old and a few years later got the travel bug when friends of mine encouraged me to join them on the super yacht circuit. It turned out to be a very successful career move as I became one of the most sought-after stewardesses for an amazing super yacht owner who didn’t want to lose me.”
“For me it was simple – give these high net-worth people what they want and don’t ask why – nothing was a problem. When one of my concierge clients in Queenstown asked me if I could rent out their luxury home that was the impetus for my own personal concierge company.”
Touch of Spice has attracted countless accolades and client testimonials endorsing both its property and guest services and has an extensive database of high-end agents and luxury clients that use and refer the company regularly.
“We have been a Condé Nast travel specialist for the past ten years, invested significantly in international trade shows and are the only New Zealand villa operator to be part of Virtuoso which is the largest luxury travel consortium in the world.”
“As a significant business supplier I value the long-term relationships we have developed with local restaurants, wineries, chefs and luxury providers. It ensures we can pick up the phone anytime and get preferred reservations for our VIP clients which is all part of the experience.”
Jacqui and her family divide their time between homes in Auckland and Queenstown and she is thriving on the challenge of being back at the business coalface.
“Now that borders are open, we are getting bookings from clients in the US, Australia and parts of Europe. Privacy and safety is king right now and these guests want everything exclusive so they don’t have to travel with thousands of others,” she says.
“We are experiencing what feels like a rebirth of the business, shedding some of the past and taking only the very best pieces and learnings forward in an amazing new direction. People see us as being very much a step apart from everyone else, as top tier luxury only, which is just the way we like it.”