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It’s the holiday season, and industry types are once again flocking to ski destinations like Aspen and Deer Valley or enjoying quick trips to the desert. And, according to travel companies, high-net-worth customers are becoming more exacting in what they expect from their winter getaway.
“For direct villa rentals, our clients are looking for a truly luxurious experience — much like the one they would receive at a five-star hotel,” says Kelly Grumbach, GM of Quintessentially Travel. “Service is absolutely key to the entire villa rental experience — you can have a gorgeous, well-designed home, but if the staff is subpar, it can ruin the entire vacation.”
According to Morgan Bruemmer, partner at The Clear Creek Group in the ski town of Jackson, Wyoming, an added focus on amenities may be a product of the COVID years, when reduced travel options put the spotlight on comfort, making for a boom time for luxury rentals in key markets throughout the world. In Jackson — which Bruemmer calls a “burgeoning market for Los Angeles in the past few years” — the Clear Creek Group offers rentals like the lakeside five-bedroom Phillips Ridge ski lodge (around $78,000 a week), featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and a private bowling alley on 75 pristine acres of mountain land. Services can include everything from keeping fireplaces burning to delivering lift tickets.
In Joshua Tree, Homestead Modern offers similar high-end homes that are light-years away from the typical rental. “We recently launched A-Z West House, the former home of acclaimed artist Andrea Zittel, situated on a sprawling 80-acre compound filled with site-specific artworks and direct access to the national park,” says Mollie B. Casey, CEO of Homestead Modern. Its offerings also include the Black Desert House, which overlooks a 440-acre private ranch “with landscape that rivals any location in the Joshua Tree National Park,” says Casey. The home has a disappearing-edge heated pool and hot tub, fully stocked contemporary, gourmet kitchen, study, and EV charger. Homestead Modern’s concierge team, she adds, “is able to coordinate any in-home services desired, such as a private chef, mezcal tasting, or private yoga class on the deck surrounded by ancient boulders.”
Many real estate companies are also focusing increasingly on the high-end rental market. The Agency offers rental properties in many popular winter getaways. The Aspen House (recently featured on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) will set one back $12,500 a night. The six-bedroom open-plan home features four fireplaces, a game room, hot tub and private elevator and is located only four blocks from the heart of Aspen.
For those looking for a more permanent getaway, a rebrand of the timeshare is gaining traction — as “co-ownership.”
One of the companies leading this field is Pacaso, which offers co-ownership in places like Aspen, Park City and Vail. “Pacaso [offers] fully managed LLC co-ownership and offers one-eighth to one-half ownership of luxury second homes with integrated financing, and, after purchase, professionally manages the home and supports seamless resale,” says Pacaso CEO Austin Allison.
“Versant in Vail, Colorado, is a prime example of a home within our Pacaso marketplace,” continues Allison. “Perfectly situated on Vail’s coveted Forest Road, the home is a new construction contemporary property, steps from a ski run and a quick ski down to the Lionshead Village Gondola.”
All Pacaso homes come with in-home essential items and app-based scheduling. Prices range dramatically. For one-eighth ownership, says Allison, “We have Pacaso homes in the low $300s in Indian Wells to $2.6 million in Aspen available now on our marketplace. On average, owners stay at their Pacaso home six to seven times per year, depending on their personal travel preferences.”
These aren’t your grandmother’s timeshares.
A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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