Marti Gistaro was 67 years old when she and her husband Ed decided to invest in a 30-year membership with Exclusive Resorts. The Texas-based couple had been traveling for decades: summers at their vacation home in the mountains of New Mexico, trips to Los Angeles and San Francisco, safaris in Africa. But it was a desire to be closer to family — especially their four grandchildren — that made the private, members-only travel club a more attractive option.
That applied especially to the one-on-one trips she took with their grandchildren, each of whom were gifted a “milestone trip” anywhere in the U.S. at age 9, and anywhere in the world at 16. There were stays in the Club's four-bedroom estates in Lake Tahoe and Jackson Hole, elegant city accommodations in Paris and New York, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences in the Galapagos Islands and Kenya. Each vacation brought Marti, who now describes herself as a “full-time grandma,” fulfillment, connecting with her family in profound ways that everyday encounters couldn’t offer. “Of course, Ed and I spoiled them rotten on these trips,” she says with a laugh. “But we also got to know who they really were, often in ways even their parents didn’t.”
Those trips had a lasting impact on the rest of the family too, says Erin Gistaro Akman, Marti's eldest grandchild. "I have so many memories of our Exclusive Resorts trips, from being surprised on my 16th birthday with a trip of a lifetime to Paris to celebrating my grandfather's life in Real del Mar after his passing," she says, adding that as an adult, her appreciation for togetherness a membership affords has only grown. "I now realize how much work goes into building a special vacation, and I have so much appreciation for how easy the Club makes it."
While Marti’s Exclusive Resorts membership has helped instill a love of travel among her grandchildren, for the now 83-year-old, it also ensures a legacy she can pass on to them. That’s because every Club membership is inheritable, an investment in the future of travel for the next generation. “The fact that this membership can be passed on to my children and grandchildren was a big part of why Ed and I joined,” Marti says. “We looked at it as an investment in our family vacations and a benefit to all of our kids, even after we’re gone.”
“Our Members have stock portfolios, retirement accounts, estate plans and insurance for pretty much everything. But no investment portfolio or second home will ever match the value of your time. And how you invest that time can transform your life,” says Rachel Regan, SVP of Global Sales. “As we accumulate wealth, we plan not only for our own futures, but also for the future of those we love most. There are possessions that we guard for our next of kin: a beloved timepiece, a family heirloom. The asset of experience, however, is far more challenging to ensure for our families. An Exclusive Resort membership does just that.”
Launched in 2002, Exclusive Resorts boasts a portfolio of more than 400 luxury residences and curated travel experiences in 75 sought-after destinations, accessible only to the Club’s closed network of 4,300 members. The Club recently experienced one of its strongest years for new membership sales in over a decade, despite the pandemic and its associated challenges. Every family is matched with an expert ambassador who acts as a travel planner and real-time problem solver for each vacation, while on-site, a dedicated personal concierge takes care of every detail big or small, from dinner reservations and grocery delivery to arranging in-home spa treatments and flight transfers. Like any club, members pay a one-time initiation fee (starting at $195,000 for a 10-year plan) and annual dues based on the number of nights they would like to travel each year. Most opt for 25 travel days to access the members-only suite of benefits, experiences and luxury residences starting at $23,925/annually.*
For Marti, committing to a 30-year membership plan with 45 annual travel days in her golden years made sense because it ensured a lifetime of travel for her and her husband — and a promise to her children and grandchildren even after their passing. With her family spread out across the country, Marti began to view her annual Exclusive Resorts vacations as a way to lock-in quality time together.
“Today, more than 60% of our current members and 40% of our new members are empty-nesters,” says James Henderson, CEO. “At this phase in their life, they’re traveling more often in a bigger group — kids, grandchildren, friends, nannies — and it can be overwhelming. They turn to Exclusive Resorts so they can spend less time planning their vacations and more time enjoying them."
Now, as Marti’s grandchildren go on to establish their careers and get married, opportunities to come together as a family are all the more important, she says. And the knowledge that her love of travel has been imparted on each of them is perhaps the greatest gift of all.
“Exclusive Resorts has left a lasting impression on them for sure,” she adds. “It has become a part of our family legacy.”
*Book stays in more than 300+ of the Club’s multi-million-dollar residences by applying just one Plan Day per night (currently $1,595/Plan Day) or reserve one of the Club’s transformative once-in-a-lifetime experiences or seasonal villas in some of the world’s most sought-after destinations for an additional Plan Day or per diem. Annual Dues subject to change in accordance with Membership Agreement. Annual Dues are inclusive of certain services, benefits, and access rights. Club Membership does not provide or constitute, any investment, equity or ownership interest, or any real property interest.