London's Inside Track
Charlotte Wilson's Personal Allies
Call it what you will—the new class system, the red-rope syndrome—but there's just no getting past the need for an inside edge, especially in London. Personal Allies, London-based Charlotte Wilson's highly tuned concierge service for out-of-towners, starts where everything else you rely on leaves off—your hotel concierge, personal assistant, travel agent, guidebook. The company provides one-to-one chaperones (personal shoppers with citywide knowledge); access to off-limits cultural sights (such as private art collections and historic houses); tickets for sold-out West End plays; entry to private clubs (including The Harrington and Hurlingham). In short, access to a little black book of insider knowledge in a city that's not your own. "It takes a lifetime to build that mechanism around you," says the precocious Wilson, who is all of 26. Be aware, though, that her knowledge, while impeccable, is fashion-driven (the "very latest" restaurants and boutiques, for instance, might not be everybody's definition of inside track). The cost of a car, chaperone, and tailor-made itinerary generally comes to $785 per day, but prices vary according to request. 29 Whittingstall Road, London; 44-20-7498-4555, 44-780-829-9492 (mobile); fax 44-20-7498-4666; www.personalallies.com.