Best of the Best 2007: Destination Clubs: Solstice
In what went down as the year of the great shake-up in the destination club industry, one major player, Tanner & Haley, filed for bankruptcy, while other top clubs scrambled to consolidate their holdings. Solstice was no exception: Last year, the three-year-old company merged with newcomer Parallel to bolster its property portfolio and solidify its financial position. The merger appears to have been seamless, and Solstice now plans to add two homes in the coming year: a rustic residence that neighbors the Nickel & Nickel, Opus One, and Cakebread Cellars wineries in Napa Valley, Calif., and a five-bedroom unit at Warapuru, a futuristic spa and resort in the Brazilian rain forest near Itacaré.
Solstice already owns a Basque-style farmhouse in Telluride, Colo.; two homes in the West End of Aspen, within walking distance of the village; a home above Gustavia on St. Bart’s; an apartment in a Michelangelo-designed building that overlooks Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy; a five-bedroom home at Pedregal Estates in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; a two-story apartment in a 17th-century building on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris; a fifth-floor flat in the West End of London; and Solstice I, a yacht that plies the Caribbean (winter) and the waters off New England (summer) and the Bahamas (spring and fall).
What sets Solstice apart from its competitors, though, is its emphasis on quality over quantity. Thanks to the hands-on involvement of cofounder Graham Kos and his wife, Shay, who does all of the company’s interior design, Solstice homes are a thoughtful amalgam of vintage hardware, furnishings crafted by local artisans, reclaimed stone and timber (the Napa property will incorporate stone from a 150-year-old Texas fort), and quirky antiques that the couple has acquired over the years on trips throughout the world.
Solstice offers three levels of membership: Sky ($1.65 million deposit), Platinum ($875,000 deposit), and Signature ($535,000 deposit). “Many of our members already own two homes,” says Graham, who plans to limit the club to 350 members. “They join Solstice because they don’t want to own another house. They want to experience a variety of luxury homes in interesting locations around the globe.”