Additional travel offerings amongst the major destination clubs are evolving rapidly. The trend is to offer one-of-a kind vacation adventures, providing more travel options for members in addition to stays at the clubs luxury vacation homes.
Partnerships with hotels or bespoke travel companies aren't a specific reason to join a club, but they do provide more flexibility for members. When SherpaReport met with Abercrombie & Kent recently they gave an example of a family that had stayed at a club villa in Europe. The husband/father then had to return to work, but the mother and daughter wanted to travel some more. So the club arranged rooms with its hotel partners for them to continue their European tour.
The four clubs below all offer a bespoke travel and tours option to members. Three of the clubs also have hotel partnerships.
|CLUB||HOTEL PARTNERSHIP||BESPOKE TRAVEL & TOURS|
|Exclusive Resorts||NA||The Once in a Lifetime program offers 7 tours in 2008, including locations such as Fiji, Africa, France, the Mediterranean, Bhutan and the Galapagos islands.|
|Quintess||Quintess members are automatically enrolled in the Leaders Club through their partner The Leading Hotels of the World.||Currently there are 14 Q Leading Experiences in 13 destinations: including Thailand, Australia, Bora Bora, Boston and Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Greece, Italy, Monaco, South Africa and Washington, DC.|
|Ultimate Escapes||The Ultimate Resort Collection offers the availability of 60 luxury hotels in over 30 cities in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America. The key partner is World Hotels.||Ultimate Escapes partnered with To Escape To- a luxury excursion travel service that specializes in bespoke vacations in 13 countries throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean. Ultimate Escapes also partnered with Bruce World of Travel, part of the American Express Travel Network. Ultimate members can book luxury adventure vacations through Bruce World.|
|Abercrombie & Kent||A&K members have access to 13 Stein hotels in Europe, including London, Paris, Provence, Mallorca and Monaco.||Members can trade some of their club vacation time into A&K's luxury tours and trips to more than 100 destinations around the globe.|
For members the cost for these tours or hotels varies. In some cases members can trade in their membership nights for tour or hotel nights, in other cases the cost is incremental. Be sure to ask how each system works because it is not always going to be a one to one exchange of member nights for tours or hotel rooms.
Members at the destination clubs can typically use the hotels as a straight exchange of their member nights. So they provide a greater choice of locations, but the trade off is smaller hotel style rooms rather than single family homes.
- As part of Quintess' partnership with The Leading Hotels of the World, club members get complimentary membership in the Leading Hotels of the World's Leaders Club program which includes a variety of benefits such as: hotel upgrades at participating LHW properties and at the Relais & Chateaux hotels; access to private clubs such as Morton's in London and the China Club in Hong Kong; car hire through the Sixt Diamond Club, airline club memberships, Leading Spas benefits and more.
- Ultimate Escapes members may book up to 7 of their included days per year. There is no extra charge for their Ultimate Collection hotel stays. Additionally, Elite Members have privileges to 1 or 2 bedroom suites (dependent upon hotel property) within the collection. And Signature Members have access to deluxe rooms, standard rooms or executive suites within the collection (dependent upon hotel property). Reservations may be made up to 2 years in advance with no limits on reservation types (i.e. space available, advance, holiday advance).
- A&K's partner Stein Hotels are located in eleven European destinations across seven countries.
Tours & Trips
The pricing for tours will vary. Some clubs include tour prices as part of the annual membership fee, but many also have an incremental cost.
- Quintess launched Q Leading Experiences at the start of this year. Club members may use a certain amount of their "Base Plan" nights to reserve Q Leading Experiences depending on their membership plan. So, for example, with a Q3Unlimited Membership Plan, members can use up to 10 of their Base Plan nights; with a Q6 Unlimited Plan, members can use up to 20 of their Base Plan nights. The first QLEs were based around stays at some of The Leading Hotels of the World, but the newest QLEs in Bali and Thailand in Asia include stays at Karma Resorts.
- Ultimate Escapes' partner, To Escape To, offers special discounts to members, therefore there are no membership nights trading involved.
- The Exclusive Resorts membership fee includes access to its Once in a Lifetime experiences, although trips require a daily fee to cover some or most meals and activities, depending on the trip. An advanced reservation may also be required. In 2008, the club offered seven experiences including East African Safaris, Kingdom of Bhutan, Mediterranean cruises, Galapagos Islands, biking in the Loire Valley in France, Wakaya Club in Fiji, and Koh Samui in Thailand, and offered eight experiences in 2009. According to the club The Once in a Lifetime program accounts for approximately 5-10% of current and future club travel.
- Abercrombie & Kent Residence Club members can trade in up to 10 nights every year (depending on their membership plan) for one of the 350 tours that Abercrombie and Kent offers.
Other destination clubs can help you arrange your travel plans, and will very much plan and coordinate all your travel to the clubs homes, but they don't have additional organized programs like the ones above.