Ciel is an ultra luxurious destination club that offers its members a variety of unique customized experiences, in addition to providing access to its multi million dollar homes. Founded by billionaire J. Joe Ricketts, the founder of Ameritrade, the club is limiting its numbers to just 100 members.
We recently spoke to the clubs president, Jonathan Harding, who emphasized that the $5m to $10m homes are only a part of what the club provides to its members. The real emphasis at the club, is the very unique experiences that the club creates for it's members, or in Hardings words "what you do when you go someplace" is much more important.
The driving force for this experiential base to the club came both from Joe Ricketts himself and the sort of life the Ricketts family wanted, and secondly from the research that the club carried out, showing that potential members were "materially jaded" and looking more for adventures that they wouldn't have otherwise done. The members might already own a second, third or fourth home, so while the clubs ultra luxurious homes are certainly nice, the idea is to use them as a base for the adventures and experiences.Experiences
Ciel Club has a portfolio of custom trips that it tailors to meet each member's specific requirements. Some examples that the club gives include:
|* A six day trip of elegance, glamour and high fashion at the salons and Haute Couture houses of France accompanied by a renowned style consultant.|
|* A winter wilderness trip with a guide acclaimed for his ability to teach everything from fire making in wet conditions, to tracking, to navigating by the stars.|
|* A day for gourmands and oenophiles on St Barts, in which an international wine critic will guide you though a select group of the islands finest restaurants.|
|* A trip around England's Lake District with a poet/historian guide, to visit the homes and cottages of the famous writers and poets who were inspired by the scenery and landscape.|
It will also put together adventures based on a members aspirations. Jonathan Harding gave us examples of Ciel arranging everything from climbing Everest to playing in an Orchestra.Homes
The club currently has 6 homes and plans to have a total of 20 to 22 homes, so that the member to home ratio will be a maximum of 5:1.
The current homes are in Aspen (pictured below right), Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Cannes (pictured above right), London, and Manhattan.
Each home has a culinary trained, resident manager who as well as making breakfast and lunch for members, will meet you at the airport on arrival, can arrange tickets for sold out shows and secure reservations for fully booked five star restaurants.
The club is looking to purchase more of its future homes around the US and Caribbean while offering experiences globally. The club has also made arrangements with the Forbes family, for club members to use the Forbes owned Chateau de Balleroy in Normandy, France and Trinchera Ranch in Colorado.Services
In his introductory letter Joe Ricketts states that "service and commitment to members will always be a hallmark of this club". Jonathan Harding confirmed this high commitment to providing exemplary service including 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year access to experienced travel concierges, who will arrange everything even down to pre trip packing.
Other examples that the club provides include bilingual nannies, tutors, custom-stocked kitchens, prize-winning chefs, masseurs, chauffeurs, and local guides.
Private jet travel is provided through a partnership with Marquis Jet and the club also provides a Priority Pass to 370 VIP airport lounges worldwide.
Overall Harding said that everything is included and by limiting membership to just 100 members their plan is to build a club that is very personal and collegial, where membership can be passed down through a family.
The two other destination clubs in this ultra luxurious category, Yellowstone Club World and Solstice, don't place so much emphasis on the customized experiences that they offer, but both do provide stunning homes and the highest levels of service.