- Hugo Campbell-Davys is the founder of Urbanologie, an invitation-only luxury lifestyle app for high net worth individuals.
- He sniffs out London’s most exclusive hangouts to give members the heads up on where to go and what to do if they want to rub shoulders with celebrities and the elite.
- Campbell-Davys spends his time schmoozing at members’ clubs and spas, having long lunches, and attending new restaurant previews.
Hugo Campbell-Davys is the founder of Urbanologie, a luxury lifestyle app for the high-net-worth jetsetters of the world.
Urbanologie tells its “members” where to eat, sleep, drink, and play, whether they’re in London, New York, Ibiza, Mykonos, Miami, LA, Dubai, or beyond.
Business Insider met Campbell-Davys at an intimate lunch held on the 37th floor of the Walkie Talkie building at the exclusive Fenchurch restaurant – a typical lunch for the Urbanologie founder.
The event was hosted by TCS World Travel, one of Urbanologie’s partners who arrange once-in-a-lifetime holidays – by private jet, no less – for the superrich.
It’s at events like these that Campbell-Davys does what he does best – networking.
“My life is probably the opposite to everyone else’s,” he told Business Insider. “I’m out every night of the week but at the weekends I completely chill, and that’s also when I’ll do most of the writing for my guides.”
He added: “I just love people and bringing them together, whether it’s for friendship or business.”
Rubbing shoulders with the world’s elite
Campbell-Davys, a former nightclub promoter and PR agent, has mastered the art of working the room and keeping his finger firmly on the pulse of London’s party scene – and he’s built a business out of it.
Urbanologie is a private network that costs members £100 a year – by invitation only – to join. Members get the lowdown on the coolest and most exclusive places to be seen in their chosen city via an app which automatically updates upon touch down in a new place.
From the latest pop-ups and residencies to the chicest private members’ clubs, secret terraces, tucked away rooftop bars, clubs, and hotels, Campbell-Davys and his app will lead you to the crème de la crème, where you can expect to rub shoulders with the elite.
“Everything starts with an idea,” he said. “We all like to surprise and delight people with ‘By the way, you would love this place.’ Our business is basically about sharing and connecting people with places and other people.”
Members can even direct message Campbell-Davys if they are curious about a specific haunt, and off he and his team will go to investigate – alhough there seems to be little going on that he hasn’t already sniffed out.
“We cater to the mass affluent time-starved community,” he explained. “But I’m always surprised at the level of my members.”
While he was reluctant to name the celebrities who are using the app, Campbell-Davys said: “Put it this way, our clientele ranges from several cast members of Made in Chelsea, to hedge fund managers, to Alain Ducasse (the world’s only 21 Michelin-starred chef).”
He also invites A-listers within his wider network to write mini guest guides in which they reveal their favourite under-the-radar places.
Rande Gerber – business partner to George Clooney and husband of Cindy Crawford – did one on Ibiza this summer in which he listed his best spots to chill, eat, and party while on the white isle.
Kelsey Grammer also wrote a piece after meeting Campbell-Davys at a fancy dinner at Boisdale in Mayfair.
The lifestyle calls for discipline…
Each day for Campbell-Davys starts with a gym session.
“Discipline is very important,” he said. “With a lifestyle like mine it’s required.”
But it’s not just any old gym he’s working out in – Urbanologie bases itself primarily at the exclusive South Kensington Club.
As well as the top-notch gym equipment, the wellness-focused club also boasts a Russian bath house, or “banya,” and a Hamam.
Campbell-Davys said he has even held business meetings in the SKC spa.
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With National Spa Week underway, it is the perfect time for our members to escape the winter chill and luxuriate in the warmth of the SKC bathhouse. Many thanks to @hipandhealthy for including us in your wonderful spa round up and for reviewing the benefits of our unique Banya treatment this week: ‘South Kensington Club’s wellness offering is a cut above the rest thanks to its focus on traditional spa treatments. Enter, the Russian Dance of Leaves, a sweaty, invigorating and uplifting spa experience. If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box treatment, this is ideal. The traditional treatment underpromises and overdelivers, a rarity!’ We also have two luxurious Private Banya Suites, Altai and Baikal, which are available for members to hire for the ultimate banya experience. Each includes an external entrance, private balcony, plunge pool and treatment room, and can be booked for a minimum of two hours. With a dedicated banschik (banya therapist) to tailor your session, a parenia treatment per person and herbal tea infusions, what's not to love? For more information about the private banya suites and prices, or our signature wellness treatments, please contact [email protected] @southkensingtonclub @hipandhealthy #southkensingtonclub #spa #russianbanya #banya #plungepool #spatreatment #birchleaves #privatemembersclub #privatespa #london #southkensington
…But there’s a lot of Champagne involved
Most days involve a networking lunch. A recent highlight, he said, was a lunch with Justin Coghlan – a co-founder of the Movember charity – at the exclusive Restaurant Ours in Knightsbridge.
“My god, that was a very, very, very, long lunch,” he laughed. “But it’s also really important to us that we do our bit for charity.”
Urbanologie’s Instagram is packed with Campbell-Davys’ snaps of delicious-looking dishes like this one.
“I’m based in Chelsea so I’m always at the Bluebird and the Chiltern Firehouse,” he said. “In terms of my new favourite hangouts it’s The Square, Mortimer House, Jean-Georges Vongerichten at The Connaught, and Rochelle Canteen at the ICA.”
It’s a hard life, but someone’s got to do it.
Lunch is usually followed by back-to-back meetings with Urbanologie’s luxury partners and then either an evening reception or a preview of a new opening.
“There’s inevitably a lot of Champagne involved,” he said.
As far as the hot new openings he’s anticipating, he referenced 85 Restaurant, the soon-to-be relocated Annabel’s member’s club, French restaurant Bagatelle London, acclaimed Turkish steakhouse Nusr-Et (made famous by Salt Bae, and Bob Bob Cite.
“Urbanologie has a narrative that London is a great city but what’s about to happen makes it even better,” he said.
By night you’ll catch him hanging out at one of the capital’s exclusive members’ clubs – usually 5 Hertford Street, the Devonshire Club if he’s in the city, or Groucho – “because they’re open late,” he said.
Creating events for “like-minded people”
When we met, Campbell-Davys was getting ready to host a party for 100 people at the South Kensington Club that evening. Some members of Urbanologie are also members of the South Kensington Club.
While the app is by no means an events business, part of what he does is help luxury brands to curate bespoke group settings with “like-minded” people in his network, where they can do business or at least forge initial relationships – and the environment needs to be just right.
In addition to stamina and a healthy dose of charisma, Campbell-Davys said it takes perseverance to live this insane lifestyle.
As for the best bit? “Getting away with it,” he smirked. “I just love getting to know a city so well.”
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