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Experience the 'Pinnacle' of golf vacations with Private Escapes

By S. Adam Cardais, Contributor

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.

La Quinta Resort & Spa, California
The view from the Private Escapes' residence at the La Quinta Resort & Spa in California.
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La Quinta Resort & Spa, CaliforniaPrivate Escapes Pinnacle interiorCabo Del Sol
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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.

Many of these are located near some of the best golf courses in America, including PGA West in California and Reynolds Plantation in Georgia.

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."

Not only do members get access to private golf courses, they also receive discounts at public facilities. Green fees are 20 percent off at PGA West and 50 percent at The Sagamore in New York.

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.

S. Adam Cardais, Contributor


 
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Dates: July 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014
Escape to the Palazzo Resort Hotel & Casino. Stay two nights in a Palazzo Luxury Suite and play 2 rounds of championship golf at your choice of Bali Hai Golf Club or Royal Links Golf Club. As part of this unique package you'll enjoy up to 30% off of your AVIS car rental, 20% off Postrio Bar & Grill, 2 for 1 cocktails at LAVO and the Summer Passaporto with offers valued at more than $1,000. Book your escape today!
Price range: $489