From the coolest restaurants to the hottest new nightclubs, if it’s high end, hip or happening, Hugo Campbell-Davys of Urbanologie is guaranteed to know about it
It’s no easy thing being what the Evening Standard recently described as ‘London’s best-connected man’. For a start, there’s the sheer stamina involved in keeping one’s finger firmly on the pulse 24 hours a day, seven days a week – of always being the first to know about the opening of the latest must-visit club, restaurant, bar or pop-up. Hugo Campbell-Davys’s ear is so firmly to the ground that he can probably hear a passing Tube train.
But that, one suspects, is the way he likes it. Why else would he be out at receptions every night of the week – or, for that matter, have launched the App Urbanologie, a ‘virtual private members’ club’ that, for a subscription of £100 a year, keeps busy high-fliers up to date with the latest events and openings in cities from London and New York to Los Angeles and Miami. Networking, being in the know and forging connections between luxury and lifestyle brands is what feeds his business, and his energy is infectious.
Our members want the insider scoop on a destination, whether it’s a cool new chef collaboration or restaurant opening
“Our members are always the first to know,” says Campbell-Davys enthusiastically, when I catch him on his mobile between meetings at his club 12 Hay Hill in Mayfair (below). “It’s all about anticipation. They want the insider scoop on a destination, whether it’s a cool new chef collaboration, restaurant opening, pop-up or an exclusive offer.
“We have a great network of local editors in each city who deliver curated enriching content on a daily basis that you can’t get anywhere else, helping people to travel like a local. It’s a powerful concept. Our editorial approach is if it’s high end, hip or happening we will cover it.”
What started as an email newsletter for a PR company (Campbell-Davys’s background is in hospitality, business development and PR) has now blossomed in to a thriving business with plans to roll out new cities and destinations, including Monaco, Geneva and Zurich. Campbell-Davys wants to reach 25 destinations in the next five years.
We’re helping people to travel like a local. It’s a powerful concept
“We have eight destinations at the moment, plus the Jet Set category, but we are looking to add further holiday destinations like Barbados and a South of France guide, and are working with new hotel partners and forging relationships with luxury brands to be able to bring our members exclusive offers, like tickets for the Coachella festival. It’s all about being able to get these offers before the rest of the world.”
While I have him on the phone, it would be remiss of me not to glean a few gems – top tips from the world according to Urbanologie that might ensure that I’m only seen in the best places in town.
“I spend a lot of time in the South Kensington Club, and I also like Charlie Berkely Street and I adore Lulu’s – it’s a great place to connect with people. And then, of course, Annabel’s will be amazing when it reopens.”
Ask Campbell-Davys where he likes to eat and the answer comes back quick-fire and assured. “I like pop-ups like Carousel-London and Clover Club but I also appreciate restaurants that have been around for a while, like Sartoria (above), which has recently reopened after a refurbishment, and Kitty Fisher’s in Mayfair.
London is now at the epicentre of gastronomic discovery
“Jason Atherton also has an Italian opening in Nova, Victoria, this year which is very exciting, and I’m looking forward to the new Philip Howard restaurant in Chelsea. He is a phenomenal chef. London is now at the epicentre of gastronomic discovery.”
Anything else coming up on the London restaurant scene we should be getting excited about? “The two Michelin-star New York-based Nordic restaurant Aquavit, which is opening a London outpost, and New York’s diner-style eatery, Red Farm. There’s also the opening of Robert de Niro’s new luxury boutique hotel, the Wellington Hotel, in Covent Garden next year, which promises to create quite a buzz.”
As I say, not easy keeping all that information coming across two continents for the cash-rich but time-poor. But, by the sounds of it, an awful lot of fun.
To access three months’ FREE membership just enter the invitation code beyondbespoke at www.urbanologie.com