Picture this: You're on vacation in Charleston, S.C., staying in a beautifully restored antebellum mansion. By day you stroll through the historic city's cobblestone streets; at night you dine at some of the Southeast's finest restaurants.
Then, after a few days, the urge to hit the golf course becomes too strong to resist. So you drive down to Kiawah Island, where a Cape Cod-style beach house backing up to the par-3 sixth at Cougar Point awaits.
A fantasy, right? Not if you're a member of Private Escapes Pinnacle.
Opened to new members Aug. 21, Pinnacle is the newest of three upscale, resort-focused tourism clubs offered by Private Escapes Destination Clubs. Private Escapes Premiere, Platinum and now Pinnacle give members the chance to travel to luxurious destinations around the world and stay in top-rate properties owned by the company.
It's basically like having second homes all over the world, without the hassle of owning them.
Pinnacle is the company's premier offering, with most of the properties valued at more than $3 million. For golfers with, well, let's face it, considerable disposable income - the membership deposit is $350,000, annual dues are $22,000 and nightly fees are $185 - the Pinnacle club is a dream come true.
Not only does it offer properties near some of the world's best golf - in Charleston, for example, or at the Caleton Estates in Cap Cana, Domican Republic - new members can also stay at locations in the Premiere and Platinum clubs as part of a limited-time-offer reciprocity program.
All the clubs are so golfer-friendly that many people think they're only about the game, said Richard Keith, president and CEO of Private Escapes Destination Clubs.
"I spend more time explaining to non-golfers that it is not a golf-centric club," he said. "It appears that we're-golf centric. But in reality we're a resort-centric club."
Pinnacle goes beyond top properties in great locations; membership is an entrance to a world of pampering. Tee times, restaurant reservations and child care can all be handled in advance by an "escape planner," and a concierge takes care of day-to-day needs.
And whether in the Dominican Republic or New York City, every property comes fitted with Bang & Olufsen electronics, an Illy espresso machine and L'Occitane bath products, among other first-class amenities. Even the fridge comes stocked.
The planners "come to know you, and that when you arrive you want the fridge stocked with groceries and you like Pacifico beer," Keith said.
The Pinnacle club, which currently includes six properties but aims to boost that number to 70, has around 20 members. There are 160 in Premiere and 110 in Platinum. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young is arguably the company's most famous member.
One of the side benefits Private Escapes offers is a return on your investment. Because the company uses members' down payments (which are fully refundable if a person decides to leave the club) to acquire new properties, members get credit toward green fees, spa treatments and other services if the portfolio appreciates. Last year, Private Escapes gave out $3,406 in credit to members.
For more information go to www.privateescapes.com.
September 11, 2006
Simply select where you want to play, find a tee time deal, and golf now!