FOR THE DISCERNING traveller, luxury and quality service are vital. But with busy work schedules and shrinking down time, arranging a holiday can be stressful. The Hideaways Club (thehideawaysclub.com ), which opened a branch in Hong Kong earlier this year, aims to change that. The concept is simple: members sign up and get yearround access to an impressive portfolio of properties. They can also have equity ownership in them. There are luxury villas, chalets and city apartments spanning the globe. If nature and golf are special interests, the Villa Arabella in Cape Town, South Africa, fits the bill. Divers can explore the Banyan Tree Angsana Velavaru in the Maldives, while ski lovers in search of a mountain chalet are spoilt for choice. We talk with CEO Iain Johnston.
Why Hong Kong? “Word of mouth is how we have expanded. We set up in Hong Kong this year after several members from London and Dubai moved to the city and told friends about the great holidays they were enjoying. Hong Kong is now our fastest- growing member location. It’s a great concept: unrivalled travel lifestyle, without the inconvenience of second home ownership.”
What are your favourite destinations? “Dubai for its exciting business culture, and amazing scale of architecture and buildings. I love Phuket and not just for the amazing warmth of welcome and the hospitality of the Thai people, but for the combination of great climate, amazing scenery and an eclectic mix of foods and experiences. I also love Singapore – it’s a genuinely international business community. There is always something new going on, whether its Formula One Grand Prix car racing, for business travel or as a great stop-off point for travelling through Asia.”
Where have you eaten your best meal/drunk your best coffee? “At.mosphere on top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. I had the best foie gras and steak I have ever eaten coupled with an amazing desert and wine list. Now that I have discovered the Nespresso machine, I am very happy that I can enjoy my coffee in every Hideaways property anywhere in the world.”
Do you have a favourite airline? “I’m a big fan of Emirates. It has balanced rapid growth with keeping quality very high, together with a modern fleet and superb service.”
What do you always pack? “I travel very light. I always pack a spare charger and multi adapter for my mobile phone. Also, one more shirt.”
What’s the future of travel? “Choice and flexibility and, as people become increasingly time pressured, a growing need to guarantee the quality of each travel experience.”