If you’re looking  to park your money in an investment and enjoy a swanky holiday at the same time, the Hideaways Club is a new luxury property investment fund that offers members an equity share in a portfolio of luxury villas and apartments across the world and exclusive use of the properties for their holiday.

The Hideaways Club offers two different collections for its members. The Classic Collection membership offers year-round access to 100 well-appointed villas that range from beach bungalows to stylish ski chalets in far-flung destinations that include France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Japan and Southeast Asia. The City Collection is designed for the urban traveller with a portfolio of 120 designer apartments in major cities across the world like London, New York, Venice, Barcelona and Vienna.

The ratio of properties to owners is purposely designed to be restricted to a total of only 600 owners under the Classic Collection at 1:6, with a slightly higher ratio of 1:10 for the City Collection.

Apart from annual stays at a property of their choice, members will also have access to a top-notch personal concierge service to make travel arrangements, prepare accommodations according to their every whim and fancy, receive expert on-the-ground advice for every location and secure reservations at the finest restaurants, clubs and cultural attractions.

Founded by one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the UK, Mike Balfour is the brains behind Fitness First in 1992, a business that has grown to become the world’s largest health club chain operating in more than 18 countries with 1.5 million members and over 530 clubs worldwide. After 17 years, he left the board of Fitness First to start The Hideaways Club. He tells us more about this unique investment fund.

Can you describe a typical Hideaways Club investor or member?

We have over 200 members and they include chairmen, chief executives, corporate directors, investment bankers, lawyers, accountants, private equity partners, entrepreneurs and well known athletes. Approximately 20 per cent of our members are based in Asia.  Our members are looking for top class holidays in a variety of holiday destinations, and diversity in their investment. Considerably less than a US$1 million investment can go a long way with The Hideaways Club because it is spread across the Club’s entire two fund portfolio, in contrast to investing US$1 million in a single property. They value luxury lifestyle, high levels of service, and appreciate the investment potential of the Club’s funds and can enjoy all the benefits with their family, friends and or companies.

What is the initial investment of being part of The Hideaways Club? What other costs are involved?

Membership fees for the Classic Collection range between £132,500 and £250,000 while membership fees for the City Collection range between £65,000 and £120,000. There are different levels of membership available. Members pay an Annual Cost Contribution (ACC) that covers the expenses of maintaining and servicing the properties of the Fund, as well as the Club’s unique and highly rated private Concierge Service. The ACC payable depends upon the membership level.

How do investment returns in The Hideaways Club compare to other property investments?

The Hideaways Club offers a sound option for those who want to safe-guard their investments. There is no other property fund in the world with a scheme similar to ours. We are an equity-based ownership club in which members can invest. In contrast to other property investment clubs, The Hideaways Club is 100 per cent owned exclusively by the members and the property assets held in this company, providing the highest degree of security and full asset ownership.

Timeshare schemes have received occasional bad press – how would you address a potential investor’s concerns?

Our investment scheme is unlike a timeshare scheme. We are an equity-based investment club with 100 percent member ownership. The management of the Club does not own any part of this company. If the value of the portfolio increases, so does the value of the member’s investment.  An investment with the Hideaways Club brings holiday experiences in a wide variety of desirable locations for a fraction of the cost of just one solely owned property while avoiding the hassles that inevitably come with overseas ownership, plus the economic benefits in sharing the operating costs of infrequently used assets. The Hideaways Club offers its members the opportunity to take a share of a property rather than taking complete ownership of a single property in one location. Each member gets year round access to all of the properties in the fund they invest in.

What happens when members fail to use their membership nights within the stated booking time?

At the moment if a member of the Classic Collection doesn’t use their allocation they can roll over 30 points (one week peak time) to the following year. Members of the City Collection can roll over their yearly allocation.

What is the management background of the investment team at Hideaways?

Mike Balfour O.B.E is a co-founder, investor, and chairman of The Hideaways Club. Mike is a qualified Chartered Accountant and the Founder of Fitness First, which he set up in 1992. The business is now the world’s largest health club chain operating in more than 18 countries with 1.5 million Members and over 530 clubs worldwide. In 2009 he was awarded the OBE for services to business.

Stephen Wise is a co-founder, member and investor, in The Hideaways Club. After working as a senior management consultant at Bain and Company in the late ’80s, Stephen has since set up and managed a number of different successful businesses, including QMS, which was originally formed in 1993 and became a leading organiser of technology exhibitions and conferences and Networks Direct, another technology business.

Helmut Schön is a co-founder and investor of The Hideaways Club. Helmut is an experienced institutional and private investor, with board involvement in a number of early and late stage businesses. He also has a successful track record in the financial markets (IPOs, M&As) as a senior corporate financier with Merrill Lynch and UBS.

Jonathan Feuer is a member and investor of The Hideaways Club. Jonathan is a managing partner of CVC Capital Partners Ltd and has been a director of numerous companies.

Can a member sell his membership back to the company or to another potential member? How will the sale value be calculated?

A member can sell their share at anytime. If it is sold within three years of joining, they would pay a 10 per cent administration fee. If sold after the first three years of ownership, the administration fee is not payable. Members can either sell the share directly themselves at no additional cost or ask the company to do so on their behalf with a 5 per cent marketing fee. The amount due to the member will be the entry cost plus 80 per cent of the difference between the value of the share price on entry and the value of the share price on exit.

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