Best of the Best 2008: Full-Size Destination Clubs: Exclusive Resorts
In 2007, exclusive resorts opened 75 new residences for its members, who now have access to more than 350 homes in 35 locations. But the club’s most significant new addition has been outside the home. The five-year-old company—which, with more than 3,000 members, is the world’s largest destination club—recently initiated a program that allows its members to travel to far-flung destinations beyond the realm of Exclusive Resorts residences.
Known as Once in a Lifetime Experiences, the club’s new journeys include escorted trips to Bhutan and the Galápagos Islands. "If our members want to go to Antarctica or go cycling through Europe, we’ll make it happen," says Brent Handler, cofounder and president of Exclusive Resorts. "We’re very bullish on our experiences program."
The Once in a Lifetime trips count against a member’s annual nights, just as a stay in one of the club’s homes would. (Current membership plans range from 10 nights per year, for a $139,000 deposit plus $13,900 in annual dues, to 60 nights, for $479,000 plus $59,900 in dues.) Additional fees apply for certain services and activities on the journeys, just as they do for various pursuits that Exclusive Resorts concierges can arrange for members while they are staying at the club’s residences.
Among Exclusive Resorts’ newest acquisitions are 28 residences at the Kapalua resort on Maui, 12 at the new Fairmont Heritage Place in Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, 30 at the MGM Mirage CityCenter in Las Vegas, and 24 at the Cloister on Sea Island in Georgia. Each of these residences is affiliated with a hotel or resort, so members will have easy access to amenities such as spas and golf courses. "Our size gives us great buying power," says Handler. "And the bigger we get as a club, the more we can offer our members, both in terms of vacation properties and our services and amenities."
Exclusive Resorts, 866.863.2688, www.exclusiveresorts.com