Country houses for sale

Europe’s First Property Investment Club Is Launched

A new property investment scheme gives members part ownership of a wide range of £1 m plus ski chalets, Mediterranean villas and Tuscan estates for £207,500. From May 2007 members of the Hideaways Club will have access to luxury properties in Croatia, Cyprus, the South of France, Italy, Majorca, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey for a minimum of four weeks a year. According to the Club’s founders, membership costs at least 50% less than renting a luxury villa, purchasing a property or staying at a 5 star hotel. When they wish to sell their share, they will benefit from the appreciation of the portfolio’s value.

Although property owning membership clubs are common in the United States, the Hideaways Club is unique to Britain. ‘After years of frustration encountered from owning and running holiday homes, with the restrictions of always returning to the same destination, or the disappointment of taking luxury vacations that failed to live up to our expectations, we knew there must be a better solution,’ said Stephen Wise, CEO and the founder of The Hideaways Club.

The venture is backed by leading entrepreneurs Mike Balfour (founder of Fitness First) and John Lovering (chairman of Debenhams and Somerfield) and the portfolio already includes a number of spacious, detached houses with private gardens and swimming pools. There will also be six ski chalets and a number of luxury city apartments. Impressive audio visual equipment will be installed in each property including flat screen televisions, films libraries and iPod systems. Broadband internet connections, luxury kitchen equipment and outdoor furniture will also be standard.

‘The club eliminates the downside of sole ownership, and the share in the upside when the value of the property portfolio increases makes the club an interesting investment as well as a wonderful way to holiday,’ Mr Wise continued.

Members will be required to pay £10,000 per annum for running costs, repairs, maintenance, insurance and tax but this fee includes an extensive concierge service. Airport collections to and from the property, daily maid services, garden and pool maintenance, and a grocery box will be available on arrival.

The £10,000 annual fee earns you 10 points: peak weeks cost three points, mid peak weeks, 2.5 and off peak weeks 2. Additional points can be purchased for £1000. Unused points can be used by friends and family.

According to Hideaways, membership costs at least 50% less than renting a luxury villa, purchasing your own property or staying at a 5 star hotel. The typical cost of renting a £1 m plus property with concierge would cost up between £4000 and £8000 a week (£20,000-£25,000 for four) whereas two peak and two off peak weeks at one of the Hideaways Club property costs £10,000 – plus you are benefiting from the portfolio’s appreciation.

The Hideaways Club has space for 600 members and will ultimately boast 100 properties in 20-25 locations.

To contact The Hideaways Club call 020 7664 8860 or log onto

From the Hideaways portfolio:

Gran Vista, Mallorca

Gran Vista on the Southeast Coast of Mallorca us a region of nature reserves, white sand beaches, romantic coves, small fishing villages and golf courses. The house is situated in a private location, minutes from the marina, beautiful beaches and the golf course at Val D’Or. There is an over-sized swimming pool and tropical garden.

La Pleta, Majorca

La Pleta is situated in a quiet and peaceful country position and boasts a large swimming pool, and terraces looking out across the sea. The historic town of Santanyi is nearby with wonderful churches, townhouses, cafe bars and interesting shops, boutiques and galleries. La Pleta is a traditional style house with five bedrooms. Outside there are Mediterranean gardens and a tennis court.

Podere Le Sensaie, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Podere Le Sensaie is a stunning 150 year old restored farmhouse situated in a scenic area approximately three kilometres from the 12th century village of Lajatico and approximately 75 kilometres from the historic city of Florence. The farmhouse is the archetypal Tuscan dream, located in isolated splendour, in an elevated position and with fabulous panoramic views and sweeping landscapes towards the village. The property is set in just under two and a half acres of mature landscaped gardens which include a small olive grove and a beautiful swimming pool. Lajatico is the hometown of Andrea Bocelli and in the summer months, regular open air concerts and theatrical productions take place in the main piazzas of several of the surrounding towns.

Darhasnaa, Marrakech, Morocco

Darhasnaa on the outskirts of Marrakech is a large impressive luxury style villa in the Moorish style set in exclusive private grounds. The property looks out across palm and olive groves towards the Atlas mountains which are only an hour away by car. The villa has four large bedrooms, a Moroccan style lounge and a large swimming pool.

Le Rouret, France

A beautifully restored stone villa is set in mature terraced gardens, with a magnificent swimming pool. Built in the traditional style with stone fireplaces and terracotta flooring, the house oozes character and style. The property is situated in a rural location near the villages of Valbonne and Opio, and within easy reach of Nice, Cannes and St Tropez.