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Plush, Resort Vacation Home Programs Continually Multiply

High-end homes in world-famous vacation destinations, where exclusive memberships ranging from $125,000 up to $300,000 enable travelers the use of these “wow” properties, have been growing in popularity since 2001.

That’s when Mitch Willey, a 54-year-old entrepreneur and former corporate lawyer, having limited time to enjoy his vacation properties in Naples (FL), Nantucket, Palm Springs, and Paris, came up with the idea. His company, Time & Place Homes, has grown to nearly 100 properties today.

And there are now a half-dozen similar programs, where travelers pay a large one-time fee plus a set annual fee to vacation in a selection of properties with resort-like amenities, that are multiplying.

Two new entrants are targeting golfers and weekend travelers. Markers, one of the first residence clubs targeted to golfers, started accepting members this month for its 36 homes, all of which are situated on or near golf courses. The starting price for charter members is $195,000 and annual dues of $14,500, which doesn’t include green fees.

Signature Destinations Club is offering clusters of homes within driving distance of major metropolitan areas. The company recently started taking reservations for its first group of residences in the Seattle area and plans to expand to nine additional areas throughout the U.S., including the East Coast early next year. Members pay a $125,000 initial fee and $8,500 in annual dues, for eight weeks per year in the homes.

Some of these exclusive properties are now entering the barter marketplace during the shoulder seasons. The vacant time is traded, enabling barterers the use of these fabulous properties for a weekend or longer. Selected trade exchanges and corporate barter companies will have access to this inventory.