We caught up with Thomas Balashev, the 30-year-old founder and CEO of Montague Property – a bespoke Mayfair-based international property investment firm with a portfolio of ultra luxury properties across Europe, the Middle East and North America, and projects valued in the hundreds of millions of pounds.
My car of choice
It would have to be the La Ferrari. Ferrari as a brand has been a source of inspiration for my own business for years and Gianni Agnelli is one of my style icons. At £1.2m I’m still a few years away before I climb behind the wheel!
My favourite holiday destination
Italy. My first trip with my wife was to Florence and my ‘stag do’ was in Milan. I’m in love with the place. Skiing, sun, great food – it has it all. It’s why I’m trying to buy a hotel there at the moment.
My gadget I can’t live without
Two friends I grew up with started a fine wine business and they sell this great product called an iFavine, which lets you decant a fine wine in minutes rather than hours. It’s a complete godsend, and I’d be an awful dinner host without it.
My go-to fashion brand
I might operate in an older man’s industry, but it doesn’t mean I have to dress like one. I’ve always liked that Parisian street style so it’s Sandro for casual daywear. When it comes to business, I keep it simple – Crockett and Jones shoes and a well-cut Italian suit.
My airline of choice
The best airline experience I’ve had was Qatar Airways, but my go-to is British airways. Its slipped in recent years but it’s still a British institution. I always fly business – having the best trip is about arriving at your destination comfortably and refreshed not in need of a chiropractor.
My favourite watch brand
A good friend of mine once told me: before you buy a watch, imagine all the people who bought it in one room together – and ask yourself how long you could stay in there for. It’s for this reason I choose Patek Phillipe.
My favourite restaurant
It’s difficult to name just one, but it has to be La Famiglia in Chelsea. I’ve had birthdays and business lunches there, and it’s around the corner from my team – Chelsea FC – so the perfect place to get dinner before heading to a game.
My guilty pleasure
A great red wine. I’m not quite at Johnny Depp levels of spending but I spend a little bit more than I should. In keeping with my love for Italy, a super Tuscan is always my preferred choice.
My favourite way to give back
Being charitable is important for anyone, but I’m a great believer in giving back in ways beyond just donating money. I spend a lot of time mentoring youth – whether it’s someone lost in their career or coming from an underprivileged background. Giving someone the right mentorship can be life-saving.