Exclusive Resorts; wildly popular European Villa Collection lets Members live in luxury while experiencing destinations like a local. Hand-curated to include the most sought-after destinations like Lake Como, Italy, and Lisbon, Portugal, the portfolio is vetted and refined every year. Gina Bach, Exclusive Resorts Vice President, Experience Collection, oversees the selection process. “We know our Members have very high expectations,” she says. “For every 10 to 15 villas we look at, one makes the cut.” Bach and her team ensure properties are up to American standards and professionally decorated, with fully updated modern bathrooms, WiFi, and air conditioning.
Infinity-edge pools, chef-grade kitchens, gardened landscapes, and stunning views are what draw guests to book, but experiences coordinated by local hosts (think in-residence cooking classes in Sicily), are what Members rave about. Most luxury villa collections work with a destination concierge to oversee three to four houses at a time. But Exclusive Resorts personally selects local hosts for each European villa to ensure Members have the most authentic experience possible. “We personally train each host, so they are wearing the Exclusive hat,” says Bach. “We want the experience to feel like you have a friend in town who might meet you for an aperitif, share shopping tips, or walk you down to the boat dock to meet your captain for a sunset sail.”
Over the years, the Collection has expanded from large, three- to six- bedroom homes on secluded clifftops or vineyards to also include more intimate, two- to three-bedroom apartments with prime locations in city centers within walking distance to restaurants and shops. Bach and her team carefully consider Member feedback when scouting new properties and destinations each March and April. Bach hints that Members have been asking for ski villas in the Alps as well as homes in Greece, and the team has been spending a lot of time looking at more properties in Spain (the 2023 Collection will be announced late summer). Always in-demand destinations like the Amalfi Coast, Dubrovnik, and San Sebastian will be included. Here, Bach shares what makes these escapes so beloved by Members.
The Amalfi is consistently one of the Collection’s hottest destinations, according to Bach. “You simply can’t beat the Italian coast during the summer months,” she says. Families book the five-bedroom Villa Bella for its central location in Positano, spacious outdoor terrace, and infinity-edge outdoor pool (a rarity in the region) with dazzling ocean views.
Europe’s latest urban darling is defined by its limestone streets, Baroque architecture, and pebbled beaches. Both Old Town and the beach are a short walk from Villa Mare, a newly built, single-family residence with an outdoor dining area and multiple decks with city and sea views. Villa Arya is all about the location. Situated right across from the beach and within a five-minute walk to the Old City, Villa Arya sets you up perfectly to experience Dubrovnik. “The scouting team loves these stunning villas!” adds Bach.
”San Sebastian is a city most Members wouldn’t have experienced on their own,” says Bach. Members can take food crawls to sample the region’s famed pintxo bars or tour the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. A three-bedroom apartment, Casa de Carousel, has an unbeatable location across the street from Playa de la Concha and magazine- worthy, contemporary interiors, while Casa del Rio is a modern, bright, two-story apartment located on the ground floor of a newly renovated building close to Playa Zurriola and Old Town with a rare, private outdoor space overlooking the canal waterfront.