An emotional experience is quintessential for a memorable vacation. Renowned hotelier Tom LaTour believes this with all his heart and created LaTour Signature Group to bring a relationship-based vacation experience to the world of fractional ownership.
The former Chairman and CEO of the Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group took his vast hospitality experience to the fractional market. "I failed at retirement," says LaTour. "My nature is not to sit leisurely around the house and be idle."
Before boredom could creep in, LaTour quickly got back to work by identifying a need in the hospitality industry and making preparations to respond to it. He teamed up with ResortCom Elite and created LaTour Signature Group to service resort developers and manage new and existing fractional resorts.
To assure that all visits to LaTour properties will be memorable, Tom LaTour instated five key brand pillars: culinary, wine, wellness, entertaining and concierge. He says: "Our objective is to provide life-enhancing memories for high-end vacationers at exquisite properties." These pillars are in place to make distinct statements about the quality and level of service to be expected from all LaTour Signature resorts.
- Culinary - Every resort will have a market-based restaurant that uses the freshest local ingredients to drive the menu. Creative and passionate chef personalities will be a central part of the resort's energy.
- Wine - Wine is a personal passion of LaTour's. He has a 25 acre vineyard in Napa and produces 2,000 cases of wine a year into the commercial market. Fittingly, all LaTour Signature resorts will have a major wine cellar. Owners will have their own cabinet of wines which they hand-pick to enjoy when they arrive at their villa. The cellar features local wines as well as LaTour wines and other flavorful choices.
- Wellness - The wellness director in every resort will supervise the spa and all of the activities that go on to enhance life and wellbeing.
- Entertaining - Why not let the restaurant come to you? In-villa entertaining has become a trend in the industry. A concierge will set up all in-villa activities which may include the resort chef coming to cook for a private party, live music and more.
- Concierge - Owners have a concierge for life. The service is included in the maintenance fee and is available 24/7 to book any excursion desired throughout the year, not just when owners are vacationing.
Not every resort out there will qualify to be a part of LaTour Signature Group. LaTour is looking for the very upscale and cream of the crop. "What really sets a resort apart is the experience. Anyone can compete at the physical level, the pillows, shower head, shampoo, etc, but we are offering something very authentic. When one of our owners is asked what they remember most about their vacation experience - I want the answer to be 'the people.'"
LaTour hires his staff, not for their impressive resumes, but because they have charisma. He wants all his employees to have a special relational quality so guests will have positive and memorable vacations. "It is of paramount importance to train employees to respond to guests' essential and aspirational needs beyond just their functional needs," explains LaTour. "For after all the real 'Wow' is rooted in the attitude that you are committed to doing whatever it takes to create those life-enhancing and worldview-defining experiences."
LaTour's premiere resort, designed to "Wow" potential owners, is the exclusive Olamar (Pictured right) property in Cabo San Lucas. The property features three to four bedroom villas with an average of 3,000 square feet of living space each. The property to owner ratio ranges from 1:4 to 1:12. The average, a one eighth interest, runs between $250,000 and $400,000 and whole ownerships start at $2 million. Owners can start planning their vacations at Olamar as early as June 2008. Benefits will include: infinity-edge swimming pool, spas, fire pits, outdoor bar and restaurant, fitness center, lounge and direct access to a secluded swimming and surfing beach. Maintenance fees are approximately $9,000 for a one eighth interest or 6 vacation weeks.
Don't expect to see hundreds of LaTour Signature resorts scattering the maps. LaTour believes something this good takes time and would be "thrilled with a dozen resorts." In addition to Olamar, LaTour is in negotiations with Mexico projects in Rosarito and Ensenada, Los Cabos (Loreto) and Playa del Carmen, as well as other emerging ski, golf and oceanfront locations throughout North America and the Caribbean.
Nearly all the destination clubs have homes in Cabo San Lucas, in fact it's the most popular location for club homes, and there are several other private residence clubs in the area. See examples of these luxury shared homes under the Mexico category in our home listings.