The one percent’s new status symbol: Armed bodyguards on vacation


When Upper East Side dad Michael planned a French getaway for his family this summer, his first move wasn’t to book a hotel. Instead, he contacted armed guards. Each morning in Paris, Michael (who requested a pseudonym because of privacy concerns), his wife and their 10-year-old son would stroll out of the Hotel George V, where suites can go for $5,000 a night, to meet their personal security detail: two strapping ex-military men who cost $2,000 a day.

“I’m not a worrywart,” said the 38-year-old, who runs a lending fund. “But once you start having kids, [you want] peace of mind against terrorism.” Wealthy New Yorkers are increasingly turning to hard bodies to protect them during European vacations, particularly in cities such as London, Paris and Berlin that have been hit with high-profile terrorism, say security experts.

Personal-security requests aren’t just limited to major European cities. Experts say they’ve seen an uptick in Europeans and Asians hiring guards for Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The visitors are asking for “armed escorts,” said Viollis. “They’re afraid of terrorist attacks in Disney. We never saw that until about a year ago.”

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