Palaces, Superyachts and Chauffeurs: How UHNWIs Will Watch the 2024 Paris Olympics


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A rendering showing premium seats at the Olympics opening ceremony. 
On Location

This summer, crowds are expected to flock to Paris for the summer Olympic games. Prices for hotel rooms are likely to skyrocket. Tickets for even the lesser events will be eagerly sought. And almost every aspect of visiting the French capital is likely to become trop cher for ordinary travelers. For some elite spenders, however, nothing is too expensive.

Olympic luxury packages are already on sale, offering exclusive access to the sporting spectacle, alongside very upscale travel and accommodation experiences. The lucky few for whom expense is no object can expect to pay north of several hundred thousand dollars for a ringside glimpse of the games.

For instance, a North American family of five traveling to Paris for the Olympics with experiential travel company The GR8 Experience can expect to spend between USD 250,000 and USD 380,000, depending on the five-star hotel or luxury rental they choose.

These six-figure sums include 11 nights of accommodation, premium seats for the opening ceremony and tickets to sports such as swimming, water polo, diving, beach volleyball, track and field and soccer. They will also enjoy VIP transport services around Paris and dedicated hosts for their time in the city.

As the prices above show, the sports tourism industry is big bucks — in 2022 it was worth nearly USD 588 billion, and it is expected to grow 17 percent by 2030. And this year, there’s no bigger sporting event than the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“Our clients want direct access to the most popular sporting events; gymnastics, tennis and basketball to name three,” says The GR8 Experience CEO and co-founder Barnabas Carrega. The company is seeing a record number of inquiries from its predominantly North American clientele for the two-week event.

With Paris’ emblematic Seine river set to take center stage during the opening ceremony as organizers swap the traditional stadium setting for a floating parade of nations, the first night is, as usual, is highest in demand — so long as it’s  “experienced in the most exclusive way possible,” Carrega says.

“We also have some clients actually going the day prior to see the set-up (of the Opening Ceremony) for a really cool behind-the-scenes experience,’ Carrega says.

GR8 says some of its clients have privately hired Ducasse sur Seine, the riverboat of Alain Ducasse, the first chef to have three restaurants with three Michelin stars, for one evening. Others will rub shoulders with Olympic executives, heads of state, A-list celebrities and past Olympic champions at the Trocadéro, where the parade will come to an end.

Tailor-Made Itineraries

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Wealthy Olympic audiences will be able to watch the opening ceremony from a brasserie-style setting. 
On Location

In itineraries seen by CNN Travel, experience companies are tapping into the most exclusive packages provided by official hospitality provider On Location for tickets to Olympic events. These include access to hospitality suites which will be fully catered, with alcohol available. The general public, meanwhile, won’t be able to buy alcohol as per France’s strict booze ban inside sporting venues.

Tour operator Kensington Tours says it has two clients coming into Paris for the first seven nights of the Games. They’ll kick off their stay watching the opening ceremony from the vantage point of Alma Bridge, with the Eiffel Tour rising in front of them. The base price for this official Bridge 360 Package is USD 10,300 and includes flowing Champagne, live music and meet-and-greets with Olympians in a brasserie-style setting.

Kensington says the best tickets – “gold 1st category A” – have already been secured for their clients at a cost of between USD 500 to USD 1,000 a ticket for tennis and basketball events. On the one day they are not attending any events, they’ll be whisked away on a private whiskey tasting led by a distillery owner.

AZA Luxury Travel’s Angela Adto Tepper says her company has designed a whole Paris program for a family of financiers from Oahu, Hawaii, who are coming specifically to watch basketball and wrestling.

“Paris presents a wealth of opportunities for luxury travelers to indulge in during the Olympics,” Adto Tepper says. “I have tailored an itinerary that includes Michelin-starred restaurants, guided curated shopping excursions in Parisian fashion districts and private tours to iconic sights like the Louvre.”

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In case exclusive Olympic tickets aren’t enough, wealthy visitors will be able to get behind-the-scenes tours of the Palais Garnier opera house. Craft Travel

Similarly, Craft Travel has organized a busy, 15-day itinerary for a family of four, including two teenagers, from New York. Among the exclusive experiences is a private concert at the Palais Garnier, Paris’ gilded opera house.

“The performers will include a National Opera Ballet dancer, a classic quartet and an opera singer. A gourmet dinner will accompany the performance. Afterwards, they’ll enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the opera house, including a visit to the costume workshop where all the magic happens,” Craft Travel’s director, Andrea Galvez, says.

Home in Paris for the family will be the La Réserve Apartments, just across from the Trocadéro. “They wished for a prime location and a luxurious environment that feels homey yet offers the services of a five-star hotel, and this is exactly what they’ll get,” says Galvez. The apartment will include a full-time attendant and a private chauffeur so they can avoid the city’s already-stretched public transport network.

Palaces and Superyachts

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Some wealthy Olympic tourists have privately hired Ducasse sur Seine, the riverboat of Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse. Pierre Monetta

To ensure their clients have access to Paris’ most prestigious hotels, many luxury travel advisers have made blanket bookings at properties across the city.

“We’ve contracted room blocks at eight different hotels for the full period of the games. We’ve then made shorter stays available inside those blocks to our guests,” says Dave Guenther, president of sports travel experts Roadtrips, an Internova Travel Group company. Among those are Rosewood Hôtel de Crillon, Le Bristol Paris and the Shangri-La Paris.

Those that have snared a room at Paris’ top hotels are paying top dollar for the privilege. At Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris, one of France’s ultra-prestigious “palace” hotels (a status awarded to exceptional luxury properties), its 190 square meters (2,045 sq foot) Royal Monceau Suite has been booked for the duration of the Olympic Games at a rate of USD 27,000 per night.

And, just like the athletes they have come to cheer on, wealthy travelers are bringing their entire entourage with them to Paris. “Some of the top suites have been personalized according to guest’s décor preferences and will feature a hair and make-up area,” Le Royal Monceau’s General Manager Nicolas De Gols says.

“A regular guest is traveling with their personal chef and working with the hotel’s culinary team to adapt the kitchen inside the suite to fit their needs, too.” In front of the hotel, an area will also be designated for the guest’s own fleets. “Some are traveling with almost 20 vehicles,” De Gols adds.

With other French cities such as Marseille and Nice — and even the far-flung French territory Tahiti — hosting Olympic events as well, it’s hardly a surprise that superyacht charters are also trending for the games.

Fraser Yachts says Askari, a 33-meter (107-foot) classic yacht based in French Polynesia, has received multiple inquiries for surfing events in Teahupo’o, Tahiti.

In the Mediterranean, the Monaco-based yacht brokerage has a confirmed charter on a 27-meter (89-foot) motor yacht in Marseille to follow the Olympic windsurfing competition in early August and is also looking to deploy yachts from its US fleet to the Mediterranean to accommodate increased charter demand in the south of France this summer.

The Wine Olympics

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The Royal Monceau Suite at the Raffles Paris has been booked for the duration of the Olympic Games at a rate of USD 27,000 per night. Patrick Locqueneux/Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris

Considering the choice of the host nation, it seems many luxury travelers are also keen to secure allocations of gold medal-worthy wines to enjoy while in Paris. Clément Bru and Charles de Brosses, the duo behind Cookoon, a luxury gastronomic service that connects clients with Michelin-starred chefs in exclusive, private locations, say they are already seeing a high demand for fine and rare wines from incoming Olympic visitors.

“We’ve been contacted by an American professional sportsperson who has told us that they really like older Burgundys,” Bru says. Thanks to their service’s network, the pair have already been able to source a nearly 40-year-old bottle of Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanée “Cros Parantoux” — a wine that averages around USD 16,000 a bottle — as well as wines from another revered Burgundy estate, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

The wines will be served in an ultra-exclusive private property secured by the duo. “We are organizing a special evening with a leading chef and sommelier in an amazing venue with a view overlooking the Champ de Mars,” Bru says.

Yet, despite their intricate network of connections, it seems like there are some requests even the most well-connected of UHNW concierges can’t guarantee.

“A client of ours is interested in doing a whole behind-the-scenes experience with [US gymnast] Simone Biles,” GR8’s Carnega explains. “It’s very complicated because she’s very focused on trying to get her to win.

“But we’re working on it.”

This article was first seen on CNN Travel

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