Well, New Business just found dozens of them hiding away. And we are going to spill the beans about The Hideaways Club, an investment less ordinary. New Business chats to Director Donald Watt

Where did the idea for the Hideaways Club come from back in 2006 and how were the initial investments funded?

Before The Hideaways Club, many investors and high net worth individuals (HNWI) who owned holiday homes had to experience the frustrations and pitfalls associated with second home ownership. You visit the same property every year, with no choice. When you eventually visit your property, you're welcomed by a myriad of maintenance hassles and errands that drain the fun out your holiday. Additionally, a luxury second home is an expensive investment, one that is completely at the mercy of the fluctuations in property prices in that particular region of the world.

From this, The Hideaways Club was born. Our founders transformed those frustrations into a concept that combines investment in a diversified portfolio of exquisite properties in some of the world's most desirable locations, with a lifestyle of hassle-free, luxury holidays and experiences that are truly unforgettable.

Was it a club back then or did it evolve gradually to where it is today?

The Hideaways Club has been a membership club from its inception and, as the membership has grown, so has the portfolio of villas, chalets and apartments available to experience. We are very privileged to have such a diverse and international membership, extremely successful in the worlds of business, finance, media, sport and fashion they come from. As our members' tastes, desires and expectations evolve, we have the exciting challenge of staying ahead of trends to ensure we continue to exceed their expectations.

What's the criteria for a property purchase by the club?

We take a very multi-faceted approach to property acquisition, with thorough consideration of all possible factors to ensure that each purchase optimises the value of our membership's investment. At the foundation of this approach is collaboration, every year members complete a property survey to share their opinion on future locations they would like to see included in the property portfolio. With this information, and with the expertise and experience of the club's professionals, we handpick luxury homes that are not only exceptional places to stay but that have potential for meaningful investment growth. 

Gran Vista Majorca The Hideaways Club villa Majorca

Are they purchased for the long term or are they bought and sold depending on market conditions?

We have a very dynamic asset management strategy and, while market conditions certainly feature in our decision-making, it is by no means the only factor we consider. For example, if our members adore a property, we won't even consider selling it, even if the market is conducive to a sale.

Would a typical member be: an investor first and foremost or be looking for high quality flexible holiday accommodation with a financial interest attached?

That's a great question. One of the reasons that The Hideaways Club is so alluring to HNWIs around the world and across so many diverse industries, is that they invest in an established fund with the potential for growth while enjoying luxury holidays all year round. The beauty of The Hideaways Club is that we don't have a ‘typical' member, our members range from young successful individuals and couples who wish to travel with the support of a full concierge service to ‘third age' members who wish to share their holidays with children, grandchildren, family and friends. We are also seeing interest from companies who invest as a corporate asset for its investment portfolio but also for executives' travel requirements.

How does membership work? Are there different levels and what does a member get for a yearly investment?

We run two distinct funds, the Classic Collection, a portfolio of luxury villas and ski chalets around the world, and the City Collection, a portfolio of stylish city centre apartments located in some of the world's most iconic cities. One of these apartments is right on New York's Times Square. Every year, millions of people flock to Times Square on New Year's Eve to watch the ball drop, a Hideaways Club member has the opportunity to watch it live from the comfort of the home. This is just one example to illustrate the exclusivity and quality of the club's properties.

There are different levels of investment, to ensure that an interested investor can buy into a fund at a level that suits their unique lifestyle and holiday needs. While we have two distinct funds, many of our members are investors in both the Classic and City Collection Funds. Typically, members use up to 4-6 weeks during peak holiday seasons in the Classic Collection and up to 24 nights in the City Collection each year.

Membership with The Hideaways Club unlocks more than just the exceptional homes, but a full concierge service that moves the hassle from the holiday. Our first-class concierge team takes care of everything from restaurant bookings, airport transfers, arranging curated tours, in-house catering, and more. You'll be very hard-pressed to find a team who knows more about our destinations. It's also important to mention The Hideaways Club is a community and members love to share their experiences and top recommendations to other members.

Are there many members that have been with the club from the early days?

Yes. Many of our founder members, the members that have been with the club since inception, are still with us. This is something we are very proud of and is testament to the extent to which we consistently provide exceptional experiences and holidays. Additionally, most of the club's new members come from referrals from existing members. This level of organic growth is pleasing to us, as it's a clear sign of a happy, engaged and loyal membership.

Has Brexit changed the company outlook in any way?

Brexit has had a minimal impact on the company. We are fortunate that we have a strong financial and legal team who closely monitor Brexit developments and ensure that we remain well-positioned to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate any risks. For example, the depreciation in the pound post-referendum has increased the accessibility of the club for international investors to join. On the other hand, it has made the running of some of the properties more expensive.

Anything on the 2018/19 shopping list for the club?

We just acquired a gorgeous villa on Italy's Lake Maggiore and we absolutely can't wait to unveil it to the membership. There are more exciting and unique acquisitions on the horizon and I would absolutely hate to spoil the surprise!

For more information visit www.thehideawaysclub.com