Both of these clubs have launched in the last two years, and both offer fully serviced vacations at luxury villas, residences and select other travel opportunities. So how do they compare to each other? Read on....
What are they?
Inspirato with American Express (formerly Inspirato) describes itself as “a private, members-only luxury destination club.” Their members “enjoy exquisite vacation properties, highly personalized service and the reassurance of superior quality whenever and wherever they travel with the club.” “Inspirato has taken best-of-class service and resort amenities, combined with the space, privacy and intimacy of a private vacation home."
Portico describes itself as "a private club that gives you access to a growing portfolio of incredible luxury vacation homes in the world's best destinations, combined with personalized pre-trip planning and expert concierge service, all at members-only nightly rates."
So while their self-descriptions are slightly different, on the whole they are saying very similar things. The core of both offerings are luxury vacation villas and residences, with full pre-trip planning services and on site concierges. (Editorial note: the two clubs combined in 2013 and now operate under just the Inspirato name.)
Both clubs charge an initial fee to join, then an annual membership fee. After that, the prices are on a per night basis for each of the villas and residences. These nightly rates vary by villa, by location and by time of year, as well as other seasonal factors. The times of year that are in most demand command the highest nightly rates, and the times of year that are in least demand command the lowest nightly rates.
At Inspirato the initial fee for the core membership is $17,500, and the annual membership is $3,000. Inspirato also offers lower priced "Flex" and "Trios" memberships priced at $7,500 for members who wish to avoid the busiest travel times or who prefer staying in smaller residences of three bedrooms or less. Their "Inspirato for Business" product is designed for businesses looking to access the club's portfolio of homes and services for employee incentives, off-site meetings, and executive benefits. (Editorial update 2019: Inspirato now offers three membership levels, Key at $10,000, Family at $20,000 and Executive at $35,000. Annual dues are $3,600 at each level.)
At the heart of Inspirato’s portfolio is the club’s collection of “Signature Residences,” valued at approximately $450m. The company shared the following details on staying in these "Signature Residence" villas:
- Average nightly rate for a non-holiday stay: $895
- Average nightly rate for a holiday stay: $1,569
- Lowest nightly rate: $286
- Highest nightly rate: $6,357
The Inspirato "Jaunt" program, for last minute travel deals, offers members homes at $295 per night for the first seven nights and then $495 a night for nights eight through fourteen.
At Portico the initial fee is $2,500, and annual membership is $2,500, with nightly rates that typically range from $650 to $1,200. They also offer "Portico for Business", which companies and business partners can use for corporate retreats, team-member rewards, or client gifts.
Justin Halloran, Portico CEO, stated that the overall average of booked nights was $1,000 for a 3-4 bed home, but the most frequently booked are 2-3 beds, which cost closer to $650 per night in urban locations.
Both clubs have marketing partners through which they offer incentives to join, and/or have offered special promotions in the past. So if you're looking at them it's worth asking about the deals they have on offer. In addition, Inspirato's partnership with American Express adds additional benefits for American Express Cardmembers. So if you're considering joining or are an existing American Express Cardmember it is worth asking about any cross-promotions or offers before you sign up.
The nightly rates at both clubs are available for members only and both Inspirato and Portico say that members can save up to 50 percent below the open market rental rates for comparable residences. Portico markets savings of approximately $350 a night, while Inspirato states "Saving money is not the primary reason to join Inspirato," though savings are considerable with nightly rates entirely controlled and managed by the club.
Homes & Locations
Both clubs provide luxury vacation homes without the uncertainty of villa rentals. The two clubs have a selection of different homes around the world, with most of them concentrated in North America and the Caribbean and each club has a few homes in Europe and Asia.
Inspirato offers more than 245 vacation options in 62 destinations. Inspirato long-term leases all the homes in its "Signature Residence" portfolio, making the homes available only to Inspirato members. This structure allows Inspirato to fully manage and control each home's nightly rates and availability. The club's long-term leasing structure also enables the club to make long-term investments in its homes, including updating the homes' interiors and outfitting each home with top-of-the-line electronics, luxury linens and a gourmet, fully-stocked kitchen, guaranteeing consistent quality across all the club's homes. The average value of the homes in the Inspirato portfolio is in the region of $3.6m. In addition to their "Signature Residences," Inspirato also offers special discounted access to hotel partners in several locations. And, the club also provides adventure travel options such as an African Safari, a Galapagos Voyage and a guided tour of Machu Picchu..
Portico offers members 170+ luxury vacation homes in more than 60 destinations worldwide. The vacation homes, range from seven-bedroom villas with fully-equipped kitchens, perfect for large family gatherings, to penthouse suites ideal for two. Every vacation home boasts high-end furnishings, fine linens, spa-quality amenities and other special touches.
|Beach||Abaco, Bahamas; Anguilla; Bora Bora, French Polynesia; Cap Cana, Dominican Republic; Catalonia, Spain; Central Pacific, Costa Rica; Island of Vis, Croatia; Isle of Palms, SC; Hamptons, NY; Los Cabos, Mexico; Maldives; Maui, HI; Mykonos, Greece; Nantucket, MA; Newport Beach, CA; Palm Coast, FL; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Rancho Palos Verdes, CA; Riviera Maya, Mexico; Rose Hall, Jamaica; Sea Island, GA; St. Barths; Turks & Caicos; Virgin Gorda, BVI||Abaco, Bahamas; Anguilla; Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico; Grand Cayman; Hawaii, HI; Hilton Head, SC; Kiawah Island, SC; Los Cabos, Mexico; Maldives; Maui, HI; Nantucket, MA; Naples, FL; Newport Coast, California; Oahu, Hawaii; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Punta de Mita, Mexico; Rosemary Beach, FL; San Diego, CA; South Beach, FL: St. Barths; Koh Kood, Thailand; Tortola, BVI; Turks & Caicos;|
|Mountain||Beaver Creek, CO; Chamonix, France; Deer Valley, UT; Jackson Hole, WY; Lake Tahoe, CA; Snowmass, CO; Steaboat Springs, CO; Stowe, VT; Telluride, CO; Vail, CO||Aspen, CO; Beaver Creek, CO; Deer Valley, UT; Jackson Hole, WY; Lake Tahoe, CA; Snowmass Village, CO; Steamboat Springs, CO; Sun Valley, ID; Telluride, CO; Vail, CO; Whistler, BC|
|City||Chicago, IL; Geneva, Switzerland; Las Vegas, NV; London, England; New York, NY; Paris, France; Rome, Italy; San Francisco, CA||Buenos Aires, Argentina; Chicago, IL; Florence, Italy; Las Vegas, NV; London, England; New York, NY; Paris, France; San Francisco, CA; Toronto, Canada ; Vancouver, Canada; Washington, D.C.|
|Leisure||Amalfi Coast, Italy; Arenal, Costa Rica; Burgundy, France; Devon, England; Doonbeg, Ireland; Dordogne, France; Orlando, FL; Provence, France; Scottsdale, AZ; Sonoma, CA; Texas Hill Country, TX; Tucson, AZ; Tuscany, Italy||Asheville, North Carolina; Bordeaux, France; Charleston, South Carolina; Colorado Springs, CO; Florence, Italy; Mediterranean Cruise; Provence, France; Racho Santa Fe, CA; Sonoma, CA; Texas Hill Country, TX; Tuscany, Italy; Virginia; Private Yacht Charter|
The above lists are from the two clubs current websites. We've removed the locations labeled "coming soon" to just list the current destinations, although both clubs have been growing very quickly and rapidly adding new locations.
Looking at just a few of the popular destinations:
- In Tuscany, Portico has 4 residences ranging from 5 to 8 bedrooms and starting at $1,322 per night. Inspirato has 11 residences ranging from 2 to 9 bedrooms and starting from $357 per night.
- In New York, Portico has 6 residences which are either 1 or 2 bedroom apartments, with nightly rates only available to members. Inspirato has 10 residences which are either 1 or 2 bedrooms and also only discloses the rates to members.
- In Aspen and Snowmass, Portico has one 4 bedroom starting at $600 per night. Inspirato has 7 residences offering from 4 to 7 bedrooms and rates starting at $395 in the low season.
- In Beaver Creek, Portico has 3 residences with 5 to 7 bedrooms and starting at $1,095 per night. Inspirato also has 3 residences with 5 or 6 bedrooms and starting at $571 per night in low season.
- In Los Cabos, Portico has 6 residences offering from 2 to 4 bedrooms and starting from $950 per night. Inspirato has thirteen 3-4 bedroom homes starting from $535 per night in low season.
When you travel with either club as a member you can expect a full service experience. Before your trip "Personal Vacation Advisers" at Inspirato or "Escapists" at Portico will help you organize and plan all the details. While you're staying at the homes the "Destination Concierge" at Inspirato or "Concierge" at Portico will take care of your every need. This may include booking restaurants or theater tickets, arranging private chefs, booking tee times or other activities for everyone in your travel group. This service is a key part of the club experience and one of the big differentiators from just renting villas on the open market. Club staff can literally arrange everything for a members vacation, to ensure a truly relaxing and enjoyable time.
Inspirato offers special, members-only programming with VIP access to exclusive events such as private concerts, golf tournaments and movie screenings. It has also partnered with a variety of major brands to provide exclusive member benefits, including NetJets, Hertz, ClubCorp, AirMed, Luggage Forward and Tour GCX.
Inspirato launched in early 2011 and was founded by the same team that founded Exclusive Resorts back in 2002, including brothers Brent and Brad Handler. Inspirato now has more than 3,800 members, making it the largest, fastest-growing luxury destination club in the industry.
Portico was launched a year later by Exclusive Resorts. Destination club Exclusive Resorts is one of the largest destination clubs with over 3,500 members and has provided more than 160,000 vacations for their members.
So both management teams can draw on a strong depth of experience in this high end hospitality and travel sector.
In any destination club, it's important to understand how to make reservations. In both these cases the reservation model is very simple – essentially you call your vacation adviser or escapist, or you go onto the club website and see what's available for the locations and dates you want to travel and you simply book it.
For Inspirato, reservations may be made up to one year in advance of your desired check-out date. Members may place a tentative hold on a desired Inspirato residence for up to twenty-four (24) hours. At Portico members may also make reservations up to one year in advance and can book spontaneous getaways as close-in as the day before a trip - a convenience that Inspirato also allows.
Both clubs say if a (club) destination is full during the time that a member wishes to travel, they will work to find alternate accommodations as an included service of membership, although these are subject to availability and negotiated market rates.
Co-Members and Guests
Guests are more than welcome at either of these two clubs when a member stays at a club home- the great value of large, multi bedroom homes is that there's plenty of room for friends and family. In addition at Inspirato a spouse or life partner may be added to a membership as a "co-member." At Portico members can share unaccompanied use of their Portico membership with their spouse, as well as the members and the members' spouse's parents and adult children, at no additional cost.
Before joining, look through the clubs reservation systems, see which homes they have in areas that you like to travel, look at prices and availability. We haven't heard many reviews from members as yet, but given the background of both clubs we feel confident in saying that they will both provide very high levels of service and the quality of the accommodation goes without saying.
If you're seriously considering and comparing the destination clubs, then download our free Guide to Destination Clubs here. We do ask you to register to access the Guide, but you'll find it's a very comprehensive tool for assessing the different clubs.
Editorial Update: As of December 2013 these two clubs are combining and will be using the Inspirato name. At the time of this combination the combined club will have over 500 residences in over 100 locations. For more information on Inspirato start at the overview here.