Sophisticated travelers demand unparalleled experiences in iconic destinations.
Exclusive Resorts, one of the largest destination clubs, offers exactly that type of travel.
However, the club has had its share of problems with rule changes and disgruntled members. Read on to find out what problems members have.
As a member of a destination club, a traveler has access to vacation homes around the world after paying a one-time membership fee and annual membership dues.
When members decide it’s time to travel, it’s as easy as picking up the phone and speaking to their dedicated Vacation Ambassadors, who know them by name. Before members arrive at their destination of choice, their personal concierge has stocked the groceries, made reservations at their favorite restaurant, and has a surfboard or snowmobile waiting for their use.
During their trip, members may decide they would like to go ziplining or have dinner cooked by the city’s hottest chef. Your concierge will take care of everything. It’s a covetable convenience that is just one of the many benefits of being an Exclusive Resorts member.
However, we no longer recommend this vacation club to our site visitors. Here is why.
There is a long list of members wanting to sell their Exclusive Resorts membership and Exclusive Resorts does not allow resales. As a member, the reports we get is it is virtually impossible to exit your membership. The club advertises they will sell it for you, but recent feedback puts the waiting list at 12 years.
Minimum travel days are required to join this club. At 15 days minimum of travel, your annual expenses will exceed $20,700. Resorts offered by Exclusive Resorts may be booked elsewhere at rates lower than their $1,385 per night, depending on the season.
About The Club
Exclusive Resorts was founded by Brent Handler and Brad Handler in 2002. It was then sold in 2003 to AOL.com co-founder Steve Case. In its 15-year history, the club has provided more than 200,000 vacations for its 4,200 members.
Choose between membership plans offering 15 to 30 vacation nights a year. Initial membership fees start at $125,000, and annual fees cost $1,385 per day. Some plans offer a 30-year inheritable membership, and the club also offers a five-year membership plan. Both plans offer access to the club’s massive portfolio of homes.
While the majority of vacation destinations are exclusive residences with resort amenities, there are a few mini-resorts as well. Additionally, the club organizes “experience” vacations around the world.
Whether you’re interested in Vail, Hawaii, Cabo San Lucas, Greece, Thailand, or Italy, Exclusive Resorts has a destination to meet your needs.
Members pay a startup fee of $125,000. The cost per day of a nightly rental is $1,385. Members who travel 25 days per year or more, gain early reservation access. After 10 years, your $125,000 is worth $0. There is no equity with this club.
For a startup fee of $250,000, members can enter into the 30-year option, popular with those who wish to pass their membership on to their children as their inheritance. You better be prepared to love this club for 30 years, because reselling it is virtually impossible. They do not allow you to try and sell your membership on your own.
Unfortunately, if you would like to travel on Christmas or a primary holiday you must book 25 days of travel for the year, which ends up costing you $34,600 for a single year of vacations.
What You Get as a Member
Exclusive Resorts members have access to over 400 luxury residences and experiences in 120+ destinations throughout the Americas, Europe, the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa. Membership also provides access to benefits including “Gold Medallion status with Delta’s SkyMiles and discounts on Delta private jets, priority entry to restaurants and shows, access to VIP personal shoppers, and luggage delivery services.”
“Our goal has always been to provide families with the opportunity to meaningfully connect with one another over shared experiences,” says Cathy Ross, CEO of Exclusive Resorts. “Our vacation portfolio—which now includes more than 400 luxury residences and experiences ranging from Once-in-a-Lifetime Journeys to short weekend Escapes—does just that. We do all the work, so you can focus on what matters most—time together.”
Exclusive Resorts members can choose from the Experience Collection, locations around the world where the experience matters as much as the luxury home they’re staying in; or the Residence Collection, ultimate vacation homes located around the world where the modern family can relax affluently.
These are not budget vacations. They pride themselves on relationship-based service. The startup costs with Exclusive Resorts and its comparable company, Inspirato, may seem high. It also may seem unreasonable to have to pay these fees and then pay a daily rate.
The Truth: Airbnb and VRBO
Similar properties as are offered by Exclusive Resorts can be rented on VRBO and AirBNB for the same or lower rates, with no membership fee!
Paying for Service
When you join Exclusive Resorts as a member, you are receiving customized services and concierge travel that takes all the hassle out of planning. There is nothing more embarrassing than planning an entire vacation for a group of family, friends, or clients and then having something go wrong. A vacation with Exclusive Resorts takes that problem out of the equation.
Vacation Ambassadors know your family, not in the sense that they have to look up your last trip on a computer when you call. You’re on their Christmas card list, and they know your wedding anniversary. When someone knows you and your family that well, it’s easy for them to make vacation suggestions.
A dedicated Personal Concierge works with members to customize itineraries and make sure all arrangements are in place before you step foot on your vacation property. Everything from grocery shopping, advanced reservations at restaurants and tours are taken care of by the concierge, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
Residences are equipped with kid-friendly amenities like media rooms, private infinity pools, and loads of toys. If you have specific requests like a high chair, volleyball net, or board game, you just have to ask. They will have it waiting for you in your residence. The more they learn about how your family likes to travel, the better they’ll be at getting your home away from home ready for you.
VS. Fractional Ownership
Since Exclusive Resorts is a club, it does not include equity ownership in a specific property. Fractional ownership is where you own property and share the appreciation and maintenance costs with others. With a rental vacation club, such as Exclusive Resorts, you know what total costs will be for excellent service and destinations.
Fractional ownership gives you the opportunity for appreciation. However, it also locks you into a location or a group of houses. You have a larger variety of destinations with Exclusive Resorts club.
Exclusive Resorts Hawaii
Exclusive Resorts boasts four gorgeous mini-resorts in Hawaii between the Kohala Coast and Maui. Ocean breezes waft across lush tropical ecosystems. The entire area is surrounded by scenic beaches, perfect for heading out for a day of swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking.
In Kohala Coast, the eight residences of the tropical Hale Luana resort are just steps from the beach. Perched on a hill with spacious lanais, residences of Hale Luana’s have four bedrooms and four bathrooms throughout the spacious 3,400 square feet. Private plunge pools and hot tubs complete the luxury offerings.
The three residences of Na Hale are complete with a garden, private pool, and hot tub. Each boasts three bedrooms and 3.5 baths in its 2,600 square feet.
In Maui, the Ho-Olei at Grand Wailea offers eight residences ranging from 2,554-3,293 square feet. Each has three bedrooms and 3.5 baths set on the austere slopes of a volcano.
Montage Kapalua Bay welcomes you to its upscale tropical retreat. Nine residences each comprised of three bedrooms and 3.5 baths in a sprawling 3,221 square foot area are ready to help you embrace the relaxed atmosphere of Hawaii.
Exclusive Resorts Cabo
Three mini-resorts stand ready for your vacation experience in Cabo San Lucas, situated on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.
The Esperanza is comprised of 11 residences. Each is 3,500 square feet divided into four bedrooms and 4.5 baths, perfect for relaxing or serving as a base for activities ranging from sports fishing to sailing or golfing.
Las Residencias is three residences, each a spacious 4,197-4,380 square feet. There are four bedrooms and 4.5 baths in each residence. Las Residencias is located in the 20-mile tourist corridor known as Los Cabos.
Meanwhile, Villas Las Conchas is nestled in the private oceanside sanctuary of Punta Ballena. It is made up of seven residences that each contain four bedrooms and 4.5 baths in a spacious 3,120 square feet.
Other Club Destinations
Enjoy a ski vacation in the luxury destination of Vail. At Arrabelle, there are 12 residences consisting of three bedrooms and four baths each ranging in size from 2,218-2,795 square feet. An additional residence of four bedrooms and five baths comes in at 3,353 square feet.
You will find Vail Village reminds you of visiting a ski resort in Europe. You can enjoy a large ice rink, designer boutiques, and chalet hotel architecture.
In Mykonos, Greece, the Villa Platis awaits. A vacation here on the south coast of Mykonos is all about the beach, and Villa Platis features contemporary interiors and panoramic views of the Platis Gialos Beach. Covered seating on the terrace, a large pool, and a Jacuzzi await.
Pacific Harbor, Fiji is one of the newest destinations in the Exclusive Resorts family. At Nanuku, plan a romantic retreat in the one-bedroom beachfront pool suite or bring friends to the two-bedroom grand residence. Pacific Harbor is a South Pacific paradise on the coastline of Fiji’s main island, an ideal sanctuary of secluded beaches, innovative dining, and outdoor adventure.
Over 400 properties in 120 destinations offer a wide variety for Exclusive Resorts members.
The number of properties is diverse:
- Mountain (Ski): 12 in the Americas.
- Beach: 15 in the Americas, 8 in the Caribbean, 7 in Europe, 4 elsewhere for a total of 34.
- City: 15 in the Americas, 10 in Europe, 2 elsewhere for a total of 27.
- Homes: 30 in the Americas, 8 in the Caribbean, 24 in Europe, 9 elsewhere for a total of 71.
Exclusive Resorts Reviews
What other people are saying about Exclusive Resorts.
We at Luxury Fractional Guide agree that the Exclusive Resorts travel is great, but the membership terms and booking the club has in place make membership a poor investment.
“I have never had one bad experience. We continue to enjoy Maui, Grand Cayman, and Sea Island the most. They are great with families and the kids enjoy every minute.” – Pieter Linssen.
“Incredible! Just had our second stay with Exclusive Resorts, first in Whistler and this time in Real Del Mar Mexico, and both were unforgettable. From the concierge service to the private chiefs, everyone involved is professional and so accommodating. They make you feel like family by the time you leave. As for the destinations, both homes were beyond incredible. Completely stunning homes in even more stunning surroundings, leaving us with memories and an experience we will never forget. Thank you, Exclusive Resorts!” – Stephanie Anne Johnson
“I’ve gone on some of the best vacations with my family through Exclusive Resorts! And the customer service can’t be beat, from the ambassadors to the concierges!” – Carolyn Garavente
Whether you’re looking for a romantic and irresistible getaway or a residence perfectly positioned for access to the most coveted attractions of a city, Exclusive Resorts has properties to fit every taste. Regardless of what your desire is, what is assured is that you are guaranteed some of the best vacations in the world. However, members cannot sell and end up paying high fees that are increasing each year. Also, booking holidays is only possible by paying for 25 days for the year.
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