DUO by Quintess: The New Destination Club, A New Option for Ultimate Escapes Members And Others
A DUO by Quintess residence, Cabo San Lucas
Two weeks ago, I reported on the Ultimate Escapes Destination Club bankruptcy, which is the largest bankruptcy in the brief history of the luxury destination club industry. This industry has had more than its share of well-publicized bankruptcies, with the members of these clubs usually left out in the cold, money and great travel expectations lost. In this most recent case, 1400 or so Ultimate Escapes members are in this kind of labyrinthine Limbo.
But for many of these UE members, being in such convoluted place is not their first time. To understand the importance of the options created by Quintess and others, it is crucial to understand the unusual context in which the Ultimate Escapes members find themselves.
Approximately seven years ago, in 2003, the first destination club, Private Retreats, launched in Telluride, Colorado. Two years later, Private Retreats changed its name to Abercrombie & Kent Destination Club. The A&K name was leased by Private Retreats. Eventually, A&K ended their licensing agreement with Private Retreats, and the destination club was renamed Tanner & Haley.
Tanner & Haley went bankrupt in 2006-- the first destination club to do so. Then, Ultimate Resort, a small destination club founded in 2005, gathered up the Tanner & Haley members, offered them a way to continue their travel club membership by purchasing the T&H homes. About a year later, Ultimate then instigated a complicated merger with another club operator called Private Escapes. More members were picked up there. And, Ultimate Resort's name change to Ultimate Escapes. So if you're following the bouncing ball, some of the present members of Ultimate Escapes, were actually refugees from Tanner & Haley, and also Private Escapes. So, it is easy to surmise that these members have -- also! -- been bounced around from club to club.
But wait! There's more.
Cabo San Lucas, DUO by Quintess
After the financial market collapse in 2008 many destination clubs went out of business. To survive the downturn, in January 2009, Ultimate Escapes levied a one time monetary assessment on the members, with the intent of keeping the club afloat. Those who paid it could stay in the club, those who didn't, couldn't. Then, a few months later, Ultimate became a publicly traded company, trying to raise even more capital. Despite all of these efforts in September of this year, Ultimate Escapes declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In all of this sturm und drang, the Ultimate members did take nice vacations, and had planned for more, which made the bankruptcy all the painful to accept, espcially with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays coming.
Turks And Caicos -- DUO by Quintess
From this dramatic context, it can be seen that members have paid a high price -- and not ONLY for travel, but for uncertainty. Not knowing about the stability of the club is a major imbalance, and rectifying this imbalance is one of the reasons why the two major destination clubs --Quintess and Exclusive Resorts -- and others, to my knowledge, The Discovery Club, Demeure, Villazzo and Private Trade Winds, have come forth with offers that attempt to re-balance the Ultimate Escapes member mindsets, as well as their travel plans.
This is the context where the Quintess option will be explored, one that involves the creation of its new sister club, DUO by Quintess.
Ben Addoms is a co-Founder, member of Quintess, and also it's CMO. He has helped guide Quintess from the beginning, and like others in this industry, knows the history and the consequences in which the Ultimate members have found themselves. He and his colleagues were also busy creating DUO this Summer, and now, DUO is being offered initially to UE members and will later this year be available to others.
New York, DUO by Quintess
I recently interviewed Ben, and asked him more about Quintess' newest club and what in particular is being offered to current UE members.
Luxist: So, explain what DUO by Quintess is, and how it could help the Ultimate Escapes members in particular.
BA - DUO is the newest club addition to the Quintess network. We started with Quintess which we established in 2004, The Tour Club established in January of this year, and now we have launched DUO. Quintess. Quintess is the ultra luxury destination club with homes around the world averaging about $4 million in value. The Tour Club offers members a backstage pass to the best in golf. DUO homes are approximately $2 million in average value. We strive to be the most member-centric club operator, and we want to see the destination club industry thrive and grow. Ultimate Escapes members can elect to join DUO by Quintess through the special charter membership terms being made available for the first 100 members, Annual dues and initiation fees will increase for new members after the first 100 members join.
Luxist: What are the price ranges?
BA - Pricing for UE members ranges from 20 nights for $12,500 to 50 nights for $26,500. The Charter Membership annual dues range from 20 nights at $14,500 to 50 nights for $32,750.
Luxist -So, there is there time sensitivity to join DUO?
BA --Yes! Certain terms are better depending on when you join. Based upon how soon you join, you will be in one of three groups \of charter members. The first 100 members enjoy the lowest initial fees and annual dues and priority for initial reservations also.
Luxist -- What is the residence profile for DUO?
BA - DUO residences average $2 million apiece, they complement Quintess and The Tour Club Residences. DUO's residences will range from one or two bedroom for city apartments and in resort settings, to primarily two and three bedroom residences based upon location, size and market price point within a given destination.
Stowe, Vermont - DUO by Quintess
Luxist -How many are ready to go?
BA -- There are 11 Residences which are already available for reservations including four villas in Los Cabos, four apartments in New York City, one penthouse in Turks & Caicos, and one residence in South Beach. Our latest addition , is in Stowe, Vermont on the Trapp Family Lodge Resort. ( see images) We are also very close to adding more DUO properties in Jackson Hole, Vail, and Orlando. We are also looking actively in the Caribbean and Hawaii and Italy.
Luxist -How many Ultimate Escapes members, generally have taken an active interest in DUO?
BA --A dozen people have signed up in less than ten days, and there are nearly 200 people who have started the process. Our DUO by Quintess website will be open to the general public in a few weeks. We launched DUO a little early to make this offer to UE members, but it will allow us to grow the DUO residence portfolio very rapidly and that makes for a more exciting club for everyone. We are enjoying expanding all of our clubs right now. We don't want anyone to forget that we are here to enliven and expand the member travel experience. After all the bankruptcy, misery, disappointment, we want the members to experience a new day, and have fun. That is after all the idea behind a destination club membership.
South Beach, Florida -- Duo by Quintess