Members since 2005, Karen and Steve S. have traveled around the world and then some with Exclusive Resorts. “When we joined, our daughters were 12 and 14. Now that they are both grown and one with a fiancé, we appreciate having a house we can all share with the entire family when we’re on vacation,” Karen says.
Through the years they have embarked on many global adventures with family and friends, sharing the gift of travel with their loved ones. “We’ve taken trips to Tuscany and Napa with other couples, golfing trips to Kiawah with friends, and family vacations in Cabo and Real del Mar. We’ve had friends who ended up joining the Club as well, and we were able to take an island trip with eight couples split between our two residences.”
Along with enjoying their own memorable travel experiences, Karen and Steve have generously donated Plan Days to the Jewish Big Brother Big Sister program’s annual charity auction over the past five years. Both active board members and Big Brother and Big Sister mentors, they are passionate about improving children’s lives through mentorship. “Exclusive Resorts has been fabulous,” says Karen. “They have matched our donated Plan Days, enabling us to auction off two vacations and working with package purchasers to ensure they have a wonderful travel experience. In fact, one winner loved their trip so much, they went on to become an Ultra Member!”
From Once-in-a-Lifetime Journeys to generous gifting, read on to learn more about how Karen and Steve make the most of their Exclusive Resorts Membership.
Where is home for you?
Our primary home is Needham, MA. We also have a second home in Martha’s Vineyard—our “happy place”.
What made you decide to join Exclusive Resorts?
We love to travel and liked the option of having a vacation home to share with extended family and friends. Joining was a great decision, and we have traveled with Exclusive Resorts more than we ever imagined.
What has your favorite trip or experience been thus far?
We have enjoyed our family trips, golf outings with friends, The World, and our first Once-in-a-Lifetime experience in Japan. All of our trips were so different and very special, so it is hard to pick a favorite—although The World, a luxury residential ship that circumnavigates the globe every two years, and the Once-in-a-Lifetime Journey to Japan were very unique and memorable for us.
Once-in-a-Lifetime trips are just that. Unforgettable. Our guide in Japan was outstanding and made the trip. We were able to truly experience the culture in a way we wouldn’t have been able to on our own. We dressed in Japanese garb for a traditional tea ceremony in a garden temple, met geishas and learned about their lifestyle, saw a sumo wrestling demonstration and ate a meal with the wrestlers, and much more. Sure, we could have explored these destinations on our own, but it is all about the experiential exposure that made this trip the most memorable. It was a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We understand you’ve gifted vacations before. What are some unique ways you’ve used your Plan Days in the past?
We are very involved and dedicated to the Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. For the past five years, we have donated four Exclusive Resorts Plan Days for a live auction item at the annual fundraiser. The Club has generously matched our donations, and we have been able to offer two travel packages each year. This auction item has consistently generated a significant amount of money for a great cause.
We have also gifted our parents trips in the past, and enjoy giving a couple days here and there to family members. This year, because we’ve had so many days roll over, we plan on giving even more—including to our daughters so they may vacation with their friends and fiancé.
Is there a time an Ambassador or Concierge made your trip more memorable?
As Members for 15 years, we had a couple different Ambassadors and our relationship with each one has been outstanding. The assistance is unbelievable. We have also had great experiences with many of our Concierges. We often request the same Concierge at the destinations we visit frequently. We’ve been to the Caymans now six times, and it’s like visiting an old friend when we arrive. We also request the same Concierge and housekeeping staff in Real del Mar as we’ve gotten to know them through the years.
What trips are on your bucket list?
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic we had to cancel our trip to Tuscany and Little Dix Bay. We hope to reschedule both of these vacations and invite friends to join us. Going to Alaska and on another Journey planned by Exclusive Resorts are on our bucket lists.