Inspirational Houses By Andrew Spencer
Forever Wild, Nantucket
There’s an old saying involving real estate that tells us location is everything, . . . and the folks at Inspirato with American Express, a luxury destination club, understand the inherent truth in that cliché. Inspirato offers members access to accommodations around the globe at more than 130 amazing properties valued at over $450 million collectively, including such enviable destinations as Provence, Turks and Caicos, Aspen and, yes, right here in Nantucket. The range of available properties borders on mind-boggling. The portfolio of signature properties under the Inspriato umbrella range in size from the relatively cozy 1,200 square feet to the uber-sprawling 16,000 square feet. The club offers its members more than 200 travel options spread out among 60 different destinations, including private residences, hotels and a 142-foot luxury motor yacht. Want to tour vineyards of California? They’ve got you covered. Feel like heading out on an African safari? You’re in luck. Want to channel your inner Charles Darwin and explore the Galapagos Islands? Right this way. The company was launched in January 2011 by four professionals, including luxury travel industry veterans Brent and Brad Handler, who saw a niche market that was begging to be filled. “The founders of Inspirato are very experienced in the destination club industry,” said Christine Rafanelli, Inspirato’s Senior Public Relations Manager. “They took all their collective knowledge of the traditional destination club model, then improved upon it.” Anyone who has perused the real estate pages of Nantucket – or any of the other places where Inspirato maintains properties – has no doubt seen the eye-popping numbers that such homes command from would-be buyers. For most of us, those astronomical figures put home ownership far out of our realistic reach. That’s where Inspirato comes in.
“Forever Wild,” Nantucket
“We lease long-term houses in top vacation destinations,” Rafanelli explained, “which allows us to fully manage and control the homes, offering the homes exclusively to our club members, lowering our overhead and increasing our flexibility in terms of places we can offer to our members.” The result means that Inspirato members get significantly reduced nightly rates on properties in some of the world’s most amazing locations. “One of our main priorities is strong availability, so we actually don’t want all of our locations booked at a single time,” said Rafanelli. Most real estate professionals – especially those involved in the rental market – would salivate at the prospect of having no availability to offer prospective clients, simply because it would mean that they’re fully booked and, therefore, making as much income off the property as they possibly can. But that’s not the Inspirato model. “We’re very club-focused,” she explained, “and we want our members to have their choice. We maintain an open dialogue with all of our members and encourage their input on destinations they’d like us to add.” Membership in Inspirato includes more than just access to these spectacular residences, though. Each member has a personal vacation advisor, who is trained to tend to members’ wishes when it comes to planning the perfect vacation. Those details go far
Los Cabos, Baja California Sur
Punta de Mita, Mexico
Telluride, Colorado beyond simply deciding on where to go. For example, if members wants to visit Nantucket, they can choose from one of four properties, which range in size from just a little more than 2,400 square feet up to 10,000 square feet. Once they arrive on the island, members can rely on their dedicated, on-site destination concierge to arrange things like bike or car rentals, babysitters or even a clambake on the beach. One Inspirato member said their Inspirato destination concierge “ exceeded a fivestar hotel concierge.” That’s high praise in anybody’s book. Adding to the perks members enjoy is the flexibility in membership rates available. Currently, Inspirato offers three different levels of membership: the Core membership, the Flex membership and the Trios membership. Core membership offers access to the full portfolio of properties but, as Rafanelli pointed out, not every family of four needs 16,000 square feet in which to lounge and many older couples might prefer to travel at less peak times. For those who don’t foresee needing more than a three-bedroom residence, the Trios membership offers access to those properties for a smaller, one-time membership fee. The Flex membership offers access to properties in off-peak times for similarly reduced charges. Regardless of level, though, every membership comes with the personal vacation advisor feature and on-site destination concierges. Given the range of options members enjoy – not to mention the cost associated with owning and maintaining a single home in one of
the 60 different destinations open to members – it’s easy to see why membership in Inspirato is considered such a bargain. Core membership has a one-time membership fee of $17,500, plus a $3,000 annual fee. For both the Trios and Flex memberships, that one-time fee is reduced to $7,500, plus the $3,000 annual fee. With nearly 4,000 members already signed up, it looks like Inspirato is catching on quickly. “We want our members to have the amenities of a luxury hotel, plus the privacy and intimacy that comes with being able to spend private time in a vacation home,” Rafanelli said. That sentiment is echoed in the voice of Inspirato members. “The vibe is relaxed, welcoming, and supportive, so we truly feel at home in paradise,” said one member. Anyone who has ever owned a home knows the collection of headaches that go along with the process, from searching for a new home, to buying it, to furnishing it, to paying all the bills that come along with it. That’s what makes Inspirato such a refreshing concept. They’ve taken all the headaches and all the worry and all the time out of the process and cut straight to the enjoyment. Because they do all the work for you, all you have to do is show up and enjoy your time. And with all of the options they provide, the hardest part of being an Inspirato member is deciding what luxurious destination you want to visit next. With Inspirato, the world really is completely open to you.