There are more and more private residence clubs offering “preview stays” as a way to try out the club before you buy.

If you're wondering whether a Private Residence Club is right for you, then the "preview stay" is a good way to stay there and try it out before making the full commitment. These "try before you buy" programs can have different names and certainly have varying terms. They may be called preview stays, site inspections, inspection trips, or simply lodging reimbursement.

They usually offer a special discounted rate to stay at the club, or at neighboring hotels if the club is still under construction. And/or the cost of your stay can often be deducted from your club membership purchase if you buy within a certain time after your stay.

Here are some recent examples of these offers:

Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square

This private residence club in San Francisco just launched their preview program in November, and offers discounted rates for potential members to stay at the club prior to joining. There is a choice of 1, 2 or 3 bedroom residences, with either city or bay views, and stays can be made for a variety of lengths.

The full membership experience is available on these preview stays, including 24 hour concierge, use of the clubs Maserati, and access to the member lounge with a daily wine reception.

Residences at the Chateaux
Residences at The Chateaux
The Residences at The Chateaux, Deer Valley

Located mid-mountain in Silver Lake Village, these luxurious three and four-bedroom residences and four-bedroom penthouses, are available in 1/6 fractions. Owners have 14 days of planned winter vacations and 14 days of planned summer vacations. After all planned vacation time is reserved, members can reserve additional lodging on a "space available" basis.

The Residences offers a preview stay program in which potential buyers can stay (and pay) for 7 nights and be treated as owners. This includes pick ups at the airport using the club's own fleet of Cadillac Escalades, providing all in-town transportation on demand, maid service and cleaning in the morning as well as cleaning and turn-down service in the early evening, and in general having their stay as seamless as possible. The cost of this trip is deducted from the purchase price if they subsequently join the club.

Borgo di Vagli, Tuscany

This restored medieval hamlet offers inspection visits for €750 per person per week or €120 per person per night to its one- and two-bedroom residences in the heart of Tuscany. The cost of these visits is refundable if you purchase a fractional ownership within 30 days of your visit.

Four Seasons Residence Club Scottsdale at Troon North

These elegant two-bedroom villas, have all the advantages of being located within the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale. Owners have access to the restaurants, spa, golf courses, tennis facilities and swimming pool at this resort in the Sonoran Desert. Prospective members can sample all aspects of club membership for $299 per night and also receive 20% spa discounts.

Tidemark Residence Club, Florida

Anna Maria Island is about 30 minutes from Sarasota on Florida's Gulf Coast. This beach community is home to the Tidemark Residence Club which offers 1/8th ownerships in two and three-bedroom beachfront residences. Potential owners can try out the club for a preview week, including using the Tidemarks own boat club for sport fishing or just cruising. The cost of the preview week will be deducted from the purchase price if you subsequently buy.

There is certainly a trend of more of these programs being offered. We recently reported on two destination clubs with similar programs, the Exclusive Resorts sponsored guest program and the Ultimate Escapes trial program.

My sense is that these various try-before-you-buy programs are becoming more prevalent amongst private residence clubs. So if you're looking into joining a private residence club ask if they have a program like this. It is certainly a good way to really get a feel for a club or luxury fractional and all the services and amenities it offers.

Do you know of any other clubs offering these types of promotions, or have you tried one out, please let us know by contacting us and we'll be happy to share it.