Davos party secrets: Caviar, magic mushrooms, champagne


Forget the fondue.

Caviar, magic mushrooms, gold-leaf desserts, A-list selfies, $2,500-per-night hookers and secret dinners are likely to be on the menu as scores of private jets touch down in Switzerland as soon as Sunday to bring the world’s elite to the small Alpine resort town of Davos for what’s officially known as The World Economic Forum 2024.

More than 3000 masters of the universe are expected to show up for the 54th annual event at the Alpine resort nestled in the snowy Landwasser valley. The theme this year is “Rebuilding Trust.”

“You can almost smell the magic of the place when you’re there,” a well-connected Davos regular told The Post.

“Everyone’s got an agenda and you never know who you’re going to run into when you come out of the restroom. It could be Bill Gates.

“You’re around some of the smartest people in the world but one thing you learn is that they’re not always so smart.”

Dozens of private jets will be landing at Zurich airport and smaller ones, like Dubendorf Airport seen here – in advance of the Davos summit starting Monday. AFP via Getty Images
The usually sleepy Swiss town is about to host the world’s elite and endless champagne, with the action starting at the Congress Center (front) which is ground zero for the annual WEF conference. AFP via Getty Images
The caviar is in place, in this case inside waffle cones, for the World Economic Forum’s elite cocktail parties which start as soon as the masters of the universe touch down. alpengoldhotel/Instagram

WEF head Klaus Schwab, while portrayed as a real life Dr. Evil in far-right circles, is probably more of a high-rent PT Barnum than sinister global conspiracist.

Last year Vanity Fair pointed out that Schwab “developed the Forum from an earnest meeting of policy wonks into a glittering assembly of the world’s richest people. He has achieved this by ingratiating himself with those who wield power, and especially the billionaire class — a tribe known as Davos Man.”

Not all Davos Men — or women — are created equal though: there’s a caste system that separates the merely connected from the apex of the elite.

Everyone has to wear a colored badge with their full name on it at all times, and the color is an instant way of judging their importance. (The real flex — being so famous you hide the badge.)

Badges are the caste system at Davos: even the A-lister, such as 2014 attendeee Goldie Hawn, are supposed to keep them on at all times. Their color places the wearer in a strict hierarchy. AP
The complicated badge system is a way of knowing not just who someone is but whether they are worth talking to. The Reuters news agency compiled a light-hearted — but well-informed — guide to them. @AndrewLawton/X

White badges are the most expensive accreditation, but also available only to the very top tier business leaders.

Being a CEO is not enough: your company must be a household name, or at least a household name in the biggest boardrooms.

“If you look up namedropping in the dictionary you’ll see a photo of Davos,” Skybridge Capital founder and chairman Anthony Scaramucci, who’s attended Davos since 2007, told The Post.

Skybridge Capital founder and chairman Anthony Scaramucci’s annual wine party is in 2019 at the annual wine soiree he hosts at Davos every year. @siradam__/Instagram
Supermodel Naomi Campbell is among the glamorous globalists scheduled to attend Davos this year. Corbis via Getty Images

“But you know what? I’ve never left the mountain without learning something important or making a new friend.”

Other more lowly badges, in a rainbow of colors, are given to the white badgeholders’ entourages; to less important CEOs and non-profit bosses; to the media; to WEF staff; and to the legions of staff who cater to their needs.

Political heavyweights like Chinese Premier Li Qiang; French president Emmanuel Macron; Secretary of State Antony Blinken; National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan; and Pres. Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry will be jostling for invitations to the best cocktail parties along this year.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, is a must-get photo for attendees, in this case Technogym founder and CEO Nerio Alessandri. Benioff hits the dance floor at the Salesforce party. @nerioalessandri/Instagram
France’s President Emmanuel Macron is expected to be the most powerful head of state or government present, making him a must-get guest for the party scene. POOL/AFP via Getty Images

So too will OpenAI CEO Sam Altman; Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy; newly-elected Argentinian president Javier Milei; supermodel Naomi Campbell; the World Health Organization’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization; and Tirana Hassan of Human Rights Watch.

Though past and present Davos attendees like to talk about the enriching “policy discussions” at the snowy conference, the real A-listers vie for the best discreet cocktail parties and private dinners with top CEOs — then hit the dance floor with Salesforce CEO. Marc Benioff.

Angling to get into the hottest CEO dinners is an annual ritual, but for private dinner organizers, the headache is getting the hottest corporate guests, who this year will be JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Altman, to attend.

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamei Dimon is one of the two most-wanted guests for party organizers.
The other name everyone wants at their elite dinner is OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman.
Preparations for the cocktail parties and dinners are extensive, and the local hotels are keen to publicize just how they can cope with the vast influx of elitists. alpengoldhotel/Instagram

The badges help set the scene for the evening.

For most, nighttime brings crowded cocktail parties where lavish canapés, some flecked with caviar, are served with champagne, and there are lines for selfies with A-listers that have included everyone from Matt Damon to Priyanka Chopra over the years — but where attendees stay on their feet, and likely have to listen to a speech from one of the organizations hosting it. 

Both private dining and cocktail scenes can converge at private performances by world-famous artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Chris Martin of Coldplay and the Black Eyed Peas. 

In 2020, Lenny Kravitz was the big draw at the Salesforce party, and got tagged on Instagram despite the party being supposed to be private. The San Francisco-based software giant has not announced this year’s headliner. @djmarymac5star/Instagram
Will.i.am is a Davos regular and will be attending this year. The Black Eyed Peas have also played for a corporate party there. WireImage

Nile Rodgers, Will.i.am and Cool and Dre are expected to perform this year.

Once it was Marissa Mayer of Yahoo who hosted the biggest names, but now it is Benioff who books the acts — and like Mayer he is an enthusiastic participant on the dance floor.

Scaramucci is once again hosting his wine “soirée,” this time at the Hotel Europe.

His wine list features relatively economical $260-a-bottle Laurent-Perrier No. 26 Grand Siècle champagne for bubbles fans, but hits the high notes with $802-a-bottle Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru 2005 from Burgundy and from Bordeaux, the 2003 Chateau Latour, Pauillac, which retails at $995 a bottle.

Cocktail-party goers can expect high-end canapés, with ingredients including lobster, wagyu beef, crab and out-of-season vegetables making their way to the Swiss Alps. alpengoldhotel/Instagram
The dance floor is another chance to flex at Davos, with one influencer posting her experience at the McKinsey and Company party in 2020. paulaschwarz3000/Instagram
Paula Schwarz did a backflip with an assist in front of partygoers enjoying the management consulting giant’s hospitality. paulaschwarz3000/Instagram

Matt Damon, Goldie Hawn, Richard Branson, Andrea Bocelli and now-First Lady Jill Biden have been among the boldfaced-names at Scaramucci’s past parties but he said he doesn’t know until the last minute who’ll be showing up.

Scaramucci said he still hasn’t heard any details about whether Dimon is having his own event. “I wouldn’t make that list anyway!!” he said.

Last year Scaramucci had competition from more exotic substances, with a psychedelics company offering micro-doses of magic mushrooms to delegates and talks from Deepak Chopra. It is not returning this year.

Deepak Chopra came to Davos last last year as part of a pop-up offering microdosing. He spoke about how to deal with the potential downsides of the experience, as well as the upsides. @firesideproject/Instagram
Microdosing on psilocybin is not on offer at Davos 2024, leaving the more traditional distractions of high-end champagne and wines without exotic competition. Cannabis_Pic – stock.adobe.com

Of course, the specter of Jeffrey Epstein also hangs over Davos, as it has done for years. This year JP Morgan star banker Mary Erdoes is expected.

She dealt with Epstein after he was first convicted, was alerted to suspicious activity by him at least six times but even sought tax advice from him. Campbell has her own Epstein connection; she was named in the recent drop of unsealed documents about the late, disgraced financier.

“There’s always been a slight dark side to Davos,” said another Davos attendee who has gone to the conference two times in recent years. “You know what they say about world leaders and top CEOs being psychopaths.”

Actress Priyanka Chopra was one of the A-listers to attend in 2020, just before the start of the Covid pandemic. Getting the stars to come is a key to the Davos party scene. LightRocket via Getty Images
The price of admission to some cocktail parties is attending events just before them held by the organizers, who use the town’s shops and offices as pop-up centers. AP

In 2016, for instance, former Tradeshift CEO Christian Langg, then 45, who was fired last year for allegedly having his assistant sign a “slave contract,” posed for a photo with actor Kevin Spacey. The alleged victim later accused Langg of torturing her even while the two were at Davos. He denies the allegations.

Though a new study by Salesforce indicated that a majority of Gen Z are surprisingly pro-Davos, a news organization calling itself the “Anti W.E.F.” is not having it.

Bozoma Saint John (top left) is a veteran Davos attendee. When she was Netflix’s global head of marketing last year she took a selfie with Dancing With The Stars’ Julianne Hough (front) and British television executive June Sarpong (right).
The Davos parties will begin on Monday night with the arrival of the world’s elite. badassboz/Instagram

“”More back-slapping from the metropolitan elites who brought you wars, a cost of living crisis, woke-obsession and public services that no longer work,” the group snarled in an text to The Post.

“Once again those who think themselves the great and the good meet in Davos to discuss how they might make the world more businesslike, while ignoring the problems that real people face in supporting their families, in coping with the fear of world conflict, and in giving their children a better life… They offer the world nothing that will improve it.”

Indeed, aside from some deal-making, it’s hard to say what concrete achievements come out of Davos.

“That’s above my pay-grade,” said one longtime observer.


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