Famous for the harsh schedule inflicted upon its toiling delegates, this year’s party merry-go-round at Davos was no exception. Drinks and well-watered dinners kick off from 6pm, with the central Belvedere hotel boasting around a dozen venues for simultaneous drunken revelry. They then proceeded to a collection of “nightcaps” at 10pm, and usually end in a raucous sing-along at Hotel’s Europe’s Piano Bar in the not-so-small hours.
So who can lay claim to this year’s party highlights? CNBC bagged an impressive bevy of chief executives at its event on the second night, with Deutsche Bank’s Josef Ackermann and Prudential’s Tidjane Thiam sticking around to the small hours. And props must go to Standard Chartered for its Asian-themed nightcap, which featured half a dozen elaborately lit ice sculptures (including a Buddha head) and delicious fresh fruit cocktails.
McKinsey meanwhile, dropped its exclusive entrance policy around midnight after handing out dozens of psychedelic necklaces and bringing in a big band booked till the small hours.
Few could boast the exclusive location nabbed by business PR supremo Matthew Freud, however, who held his gig in a log cabin at the top of the funicular (Davos’ cliff railway that takes passengers 300m up into the mountains for a few minutes’ ride). Luckily the champagne at the top more than made up for the oddness of having one’s ears pop on the way to a party.
It’s not just the wizened, middle-aged execs keeping up the party spirit, however. They’re helped along by a flock of youthful types who make up the “One Young World” crowd, a kind of “junior Davos” organisation that aims to bring the over-achieving under-25s together for networking events throughout the year, with the next event being in Zurich in September. Luckily for aspiring City whizz kids, they’re recruiting for attendees to hear keynote speakers that will including Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu, Lazard chairman Ken Costa and Bob Geldof. It seems there’s no escaping a new generation of Davos progeny.
Following on from a previous item about Davos’ many sponsored lounges, we hear that there was some fierce lounging rivalry between two of the big-four accountants, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Their styles could hardly have been more different: KPMG boasted a collection of stately decorative additions to the breakfast room with a view out onto the Alps and a delicious free lunch buffet everyday.
But rival Pricewater-houseCoopers went for something that little bit more stylish. The PwC “Thought Cafe” offered the wandering delegate a dreamy subterranean landscape dressed in erratically cut strips of white nylon, lit in funky pink and orange and stretched into canopies and cubby holes for important meetings. And the achingly cool white leather and see-through plastic furniture was complemented by several pointlessly large tubs of overripe oranges, for those feeling guilty about their fruit intake.
Yet it wasn’t the nylon or the fruit that won the day so much as the PwC lounge’s ready access to power sockets for laptop-users. After all, the Davos crowd is ever a power-hungry lot.