10 years ago New Zealand-born George Burdon began renting luxury chalets and villas – in France throughout winter and Ibiza during summer – to avoid a boring existence working in hotels. Three years later, Spanish-born but Australian bred Rob Del Castillo arrived on the scene, and together the two created travel and concierge company Dynamic Lives. We caught up to find out how these two dynamic blokes from the other side of the world ended up with their fingers on the pulses of Europe’s hottest (and coldest!) seasonal destinations.
You’re a long way from home – how did you fall into this business?
George: Originally I wanted to get into hotels, but it meant staying in one place, which didn’t appeal to me. I wanted to travel. Ibiza and Chamonix gave me the flexibility to live and work in both places.
Rob: I’d been running a family business for 20 years. I was ready for a change so I came to Europe for fun, adventure and a bit of a break. I met George during a winter and when I wanted to go somewhere warm, coming to Ibiza seemed like a good idea! Seven years down the track, we’re still here…
What is it about Ibiza – what keeps you coming back here?
Rob: I love being near the sea, the relaxed atmosphere and the fact as soon as you drive for five minutes, you’re in the countryside. It’s still a small community, really rural, but a mix of people and things I’d never see in my hometown. I’m quite conservative and Ibiza’s taught me to accept all sorts.
George: It’s completely unique, an island in the middle of Europe, so central and accessible. The people are great and I have a real connection with them. My draw to Ibiza is everything from the countryside, which I adore and grew up in, to the coast, which I’ve become quite attached to. I love the local attitudes and really respect how they’ve maintained traditional culture even with all the tourism.
Are there many challenges, working in Ibiza?
Rob: People expect more, because it’s become one of the most expensive places on the planet, so getting locals to meet client’s expectations has been a challenge. It’s getting better all the time. It’s very competitive and there are some unprofessional people who think they can come in, set up a website and do what we do. Our clients know we deliver.
George: But every time you look out to the sea, the challenges just disappear.
Are there similarities between your clients in each location?
Rob: I noticed as soon as I arrived there was a real connection between London, Ibiza and Chamonix – a lot of like-minded people travel between them.
George: We have a lot that overlap, following us! That’s why we do both. It’s partly about client demand, but also about us, living and working in places we can be in business, look after people and still have fun.
What about your own holidays – are you fussy, given the level of service you provide?
George: To be honest, I haven’t taken that many! We went to Sri Lanka recently and stayed in the nicest hotel, having breakfast, lunch and dinner every day in the same place it was that good. So I might be fussy from now on!
Rob: We get little breaks, quiet times in the season, but in the last seven years, I haven’t really been anywhere apart from Chamonix and Ibiza. In the future, I’ll take more holidays away. I’d love to just go away on a boat, with someone else sailing…