Filed under: By Design
As with many great ideas, this one started small, and from unpleasant, stressful experiences. Exclusive Resorts was originally founded seven years ago, by Brad and Brent Handler, two brothers who had consistently experienced classic vacation dilemmas with their own families. When traveling with children, grandparents and friends to high-end resorts and hotels, they experienced the same problems again and again: not enough room, no kitchens, child-unfriendly spaces, and the distinct impression from some hotel staffs that larger families with children were noisome rather than welcome.
At the same time, a new luxury travel idea was already in the air. That year, 2002, a company called Private Retreats, based in Telluride, Colorado, was launched to address the same vacation dilemma. It was called a destination club, a new idea with a model that combined two vastly different yet already successful industries: the country club and the fractional jet business. From the country club model came the idea of paying a membership deposit and annual dues, and from the fractional jet world came the idea of paying the dues and deposit in relation to the amount of time the potential member wished to use, so there was a range of pricing, usually from one month to three, or more or less. But in both cases, the member did not own or invest in the club, or the homes, instead he or she paid to use, and so it was called a non-equity club.