Affluent Londoners fed up with apps and online sites are turning to elite introduction agencies to find love. Absolutely tried out one of the capital’s most successful
Digital dating might be the accepted new norm when it comes to meeting people, but for many – especially those with particular requirements or a job with crazy hours – they’re not a reliable or effective way of finding that special someone.
Perhaps that’s why Berkeley International, the elite introductions agency based in Mayfair, has been match-making people so successfully for so many years.
Through their discreet dating services, they help the elite and discerning find their perfect partners. Setting themselves apart from the common ‘fast-food’ type way of dating, Berkeley take a refreshingly traditional and tailored approach by encouraging members to focus purely on the individual’s personality and interests. To this end, this means they provide no profile image at all when suggesting potential matches, simply a description of the person’s background, interests and physical characteristics.
Its 5,000 plus members include billionaire CEO’s of FTSE 100 companies, leaders in technology, law, finance and media, as well as A-list actors, television presenters and entrepreneurs. Naturally, that means that the fees, upwards of £12,000 a year, can seem a little out of reach for some, but if you are doing well financially and are serious about meeting someone, becoming a Berkeley member ensures you a completely bespoke experience, and given that such an investment could lead to you meeting ‘The One’, it seems a small price to pay.
Berkeley’s Global Director is Mairead Molloy, one of the world’s foremost matchmakers and introduction specialists with somewhat of a ‘love guru reputation’ in the industry.
Born in Ireland before moving to London to study psychology at Birkbeck University, she worked in her chosen academic field for ten years before launching her own computer software company and running a hotel in Cannes, France. In 2003 she switched to Berkeley, where her expert knowledge of human relationships, intuition and the ability to listen and ask the right questions made her a perfect match for the company.
Central to Berkeley’s success is the ability to recognise the challenges that being super-wealthy poses to dating. Not only can be it be tricky finding a partner who is interested in their character rather than simply their financial success, for incredibly busy people, acquiring the services of a matchmaker is a natural and logical step, especially when it comes to balancing success in the boardroom with success in their private lives.
According to Molloy though, there is no great science to finding a client’s dream partner – just careful sifting and filtering until the cream rises to the top. By getting to know their members very well, inviting them into their exclusive ‘club’ and introducing them to well-matched potential partners, there is usually a success rate of 65 to 70 percent within a year.
It’s a highly tempting proposition, so what exactly does the process involve? It all starts with an ‘interview’ where a trusty Berkeley member of staff gets to know you, your background and your likes and dislikes. At this stage it really helps to come prepared with some key points – what qualities are you really wanting in a long term partner? This can be easier for some than others. Physical traits are usually pretty straightforward but personality and character traits are harder to pin down – go with your gut and spend some time thinking this through to get the dating process off to a strong start. As well as positive traits, remember to include your deal-breakers too.
Once that’s sorted, Berkeley write up your profile for your approval and send you the profile of your first potential date. If you’re happy with the sound of them, your number is passed on to the plus one and they get in touch to arrange a meet-up. Since no photos are shown to you before the date, it’s a great way of keeping you as open-minded as possible when you meet for the first time. If you want to find out more, keep your eyes peeled for our next Berkeley feature, where we share the experience of going on our first date.