When we first mentioned The Hideaways Club two months ago, they were still getting ready to launch. Now with them officially launched and accepting members and their first properties opening in May this year, it's time for an update on this European equity based destination club.

Hideaways Club Majorca

The club currently has 43 prospective members in the membership process and has agreed to purchase 6 properties, with another 4 that are close to purchase and 3-4 others that they are reviewing. The prospective members are mainly from Europe but they also have interest from around the world including the USA, China and Hong Kong. All the members pay an initial membership fee of £207,000 (US$404,000) plus an annual charge of £10,000 (US$19,500).

Properties

The properties will typically be £1m (($1.95m) luxury villas and have a minimum of 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Current locations include Italy, France, Spain (pictured to the right) and Morocco, with Greece, Turkey, Switzerland, and Portugal included in the list of other planned locations. The plan is to have 100 properties all within 4 hours flying time of London.

Usage

The club uses a points based system for usage of its properties. With bookings split into 4 categories of "priority", "peak", "mid-peak" and off-peak". A "priority" or "peak" week is 3 points, "mid-peak" is 2.5 and "off-peak" is 2 and each member receives 10 points a year. So a member could have 5 weeks of "off-peak" vacations for their annual fee. Members can also buy additional points for £1,000 ($1,950) each, so that they can have unlimited usage of the luxury properties.

Ownership Structure

The club consists of two separate companies, a property company and a management company. All the members buy shares in Hideaways Club Property Co., which also owns all the clubs properties. This provides asset backing for the members initial deposits and means that the members share in any gain (or loss) in the value of the property portfolio. The Hideaways Club management company provides all the member services and looks after property maintenance and management.

Membership in the club has some of the similarities to investing in private equity or venture capital. There is an initial minimum membership period of three years. When a member does sell, there is a 5% fee to the management company and the member receives 80% of the capital gain and the other 20% goes to the management company. The company has hired Knight Frank and Savills, two large, well respected European property advisors, to perform annual valuations of the property portfolio as well as help with identifying properties to purchase. They are also in the process of hiring a firm of independent auditors.

With its experienced management team, equity structure and European focus, the The Hideaways Club seems to be off to a good start.

Another club with a somewhat similar structure but with a more North American focus is M Private Residences.

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