Author: Equity Estates

With warmer days on the rise, employees are cashing in their vacation time, packing their suitcases, and undoubtedly regretting their passport photos. Items that are not making it into the suitcase? Laptops, tablets, and even cell phones.

Just five years ago a resort could not expect to stay open without Wi-Fi. The opposite is now the case.

According to Forbes, in an age where media constantly surrounds us, travelers are now choosing more secluded spots and retreating to the hidden corners of the globe for some much needed R&R.

Vacation doesn’t just mean getting away from your job, but also the buzz of a text message, those pesky Facebook notifications and yet another voicemail for a wrong number. Better yet, vacation is now seen as a time to block out the digital noise and spend some quality time with mother nature and the people right in front of you– what an antiquated concept!

What’s more, overtly touristy activities and hot spots have cooled. Today’s traveler no longer wants to be herded on a tour with hundreds of other foreigners—they long to delve into the local scene and walk away with a culturally enriching experience signature to the destination they chose to visit.

Thailand and Costa Rica are just two of the many locations Equity Estates investors escape to to truly leave the tourist grid. Read on for our recommendations and expert tips from our local hosts.

THAILAND: If you’re overworked and overstressed, balance out at this underrated, underdeveloped paradise.

  • Explore the surrounding islands – The Phang Nga Bay island group has 67 islands and is located between the island of Phucket and the mainland of the Malay peninsula of southern Thailand. One of the most famous islands is Khao Phing Kan, which many call the “James Bond Island” because the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun was shot there. Home to the protected Ao Phang Nga National Park, beautiful scenery abounds in every direction. The park also safeguards the largest area of the native mangrove forest in Thailand.
  • Ride through the jungle – Rent a motorbike or a scooter for as little as 200 Baht (that’s just under $6.00) and blaze your own trail! Head to Koh Lanta and stroll down the main roads, or, venture further out for a grand adventure. Since the area is largely underdeveloped, the mountains and forests are free to thrive and provide a challenge for those biking and hiking—but the captivating scenery is worth the burn!
  • PRO TIP from an Equity Estates Local Host – “In the past, some Equity Estates members have really enjoyed the Gibbon sanctuary. Guests get the opportunity to volunteer for the sanctuary where they get to care for rescued gibbons. Additionally, the area is jam-packed with Thailand’s cultural heritage and visitors can explore local temples, village markets, and learn about Buddhist history and philosophy. When finished, feel free to mosey down to the coast for some snorkeling fun over the coral reefs where turtles and sparkling reef fish flourish. Other Equity Estates members have had a blast on John Gray Hong’s starlight sea canoe trip. They saw fantastic limestone scenery, monkeys, mud skippers, hornbills, and – well you’ll just have to see the rest for yourself!”

COSTA RICA: If you need to recharge, consider this your outlet!

  • Explore the Nicoya Peninsula – Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula is one of the world’s Blue Zones. Visitors will find breathtaking beaches, bright sunshine, and residents who live longer and happier lives than the average. The land is rich with unique, nutrient-filled fruits, which may attribute to the fact that the cancer rate is the lowest in the country. The area is not heavily populated and thus remains largely untouched – perfect for exploring! Monkeys, sloths, marine turtles, iguanas, dolphins, and manta rays are just a few of the critters found in this region. The Nicoyan towns are also celebrated among wellness and yoga devotees. They are called “digital detox” spots because the remote location allows people to unplug themselves from their devices and get in touch with their inner selves.
  • Drive to Cabuya Island – While the natives who are most familiar with Cabuya are supposedly dead, their spirits live on in the island. The island is also a cemetery that can only be reached at low tide. Legend says the island is haunted by ghosts and those who are brave enough will light a candle and take a walk along the shore. Want to know more about this local legend and others? Each Equity Estates member has access to a local host wherever they go. They are local, long term residents who can help find hidden gems and off the beaten path activities.
  • PRO TIP from an Equity Estates Local Host – “The hike to the top of the active Rincón de la Vieja volcano is strenuous and challenging, but extremely rewarding. I consider it to be one of the best hikes in Central America. On the way up, you’ll see plenty of classic Costa Rican vegetation and wildlife- monkeys are often very active along this trail and it is marked with several beautiful waterfalls. There’s a ton of geothermic activity here, including boiling mud pots, hot springs and steam vents.”

*Heading into its 10th successful year, Equity Estates is the first and largest equity destination club in the U.S. Equity Estates is a vacation home alternative, offering all of the benefits of home ownership without any of the hassles. Its investors enjoy years of concierge supported travel before they divest. A globetrotter’s dream with more than 60 private luxury homes spanning 25 countries, Equity Estates’ mission is to deliver measurable and memorable returns.

Have you ever wondered what makes an Equity Estates Personal Travel Concierge (PTC) an expert?

Two of our PTCs talk about their roles at the company, the destinations they manage and why traveling with Equity Estates is much easier than buying a second home. Their five-star service, years of experience and first-hand knowledge of destinations makes all the difference when planning a unique vacation tailored specifically to your preferences.

1.What makes you an expert on the destinations you manage?

Monica: I am an expert on the destinations I manage and the islands/countries they are located in because I have traveled to each property and have experienced firsthand what I recommend. The knowledge I am able to share with investors is an invaluable service that I love to provide. My investors that I assist know they can trust me when I make suggestions. I am constantly keeping up with new local trends in each destination by working very closely with our local teams at each residence.

Stephanie: I do a lot of online research to make sure I’m up to speed with everything going on in my locations. I follow restaurant and travel blogs and try to learn something new about each of my locations once per week. Whether it’s a new restaurant that opened in New York or a seasonal catch Grand Cayman, I love to learn new things. In addition to my research, I have deep relationships with the local hosts. They live in these destinations and are true experts. By speaking with them daily, I have learned about the “hidden gems” that are off the beaten path and not found on Yelp or in travel magazines.

2. What is the most special thing you have arranged for an investor?

Monica: I have been a part of planning for an engagement on Hilton Head Island, a 40th birthday bash in Costa Rica, a wedding in the backyard of our Costa Rican home and many other special birthday and anniversary celebrations over the years. It’s hard to choose just one!

Stephanie: I helped plan a surprise 50th birthday trip to Anguilla. I worked with the birthday boy’s wife during the planning, and she invited eight of their closest friends to surprise him at the airport on the morning of the trip. Once there, I arranged for a fabulous private chef, private sushi making lessons at the residence, personal training sessions at the villa each morning, massages and a full day boat charter including island hopping, snorkeling and a lobster lunch. Every detail was perfect!

“Our family has enjoyed many treasured events with Equity Estates—an engagement, a honeymoon, anniversaries, birthdays and cherished memories with lifelong friends. Equity Estates residences have furnished snap shots of some of the most joyous times of our lives.” – The Lockett Family of Austin, Texas

3. What is your favorite part of this job?

Monica: After six years in this position, I am very connected to many of the families I work with. I have become great friends with them and have visited their homes and even met their children. Nothing makes me happier than being a part of our investors’ lives. The relationships and friendships that I have established with our investors and our local teams are my favorite part of this job.

Stephanie: My favorite part of the job is speaking with my investors after they have returned home from an incredible trip. I love hearing the excitement in their voices when they tell me how amazing it was. Although I wasn’t there, I was a part of their vacation. These trips are some of the most memorable and happy times of their lives, and I love getting to be a part of that. I love my job!

4. What is your favorite Equity Estates location?

Monica: My favorite Equity Estates residence that I manage is the Hilton Head Island home. I love everything about it- the pristine oceanfront location, the décor and spaciousness of the home, the 100% bike friendly island it sits on, the restaurants, excursion opportunities and of course the beach!

Stephanie: My favorite Equity Estates location is Anguilla. The island and villa are both so special. The island sports just a handful of stop lights, no fast food, four or five boutique resorts, and no cruise ships. It is so relaxing and the people there are fantastic. The house itself is out of this world! It’s on the east side of the island which is very secluded. I can think of no better view than when you walk in the front door of our villa- you look out over an infinity pool and all you can see is the ocean, St. Maarten and St. Barths. It feels as though you have the entire island to yourself.

5. What does a typical day look like for you?

Monica: No day looks the same! I spend a lot of time on the phone with investors each and every day! I’m busy booking excursions, spa appointments and dining reservations. I work on property management issues that arise with the homes I manage. I am responsible for all things related to each property including: staff, budgets, house maintenance, inventory and managing the local teams. My number one focus every day is planning outstanding vacation experiences for our investors!

6. What do you think sets an Equity Estates vacation apart?

Stephanie: The PTC support is part of what sets Equity Estates vacations apart from a typical vacation. Having expert concierges for the destinations makes the trip planning process so much easier and more enjoyable for our investors. They no longer have to do research on restaurants, activities, etc. We take out the guess work, and the leg work. We pride ourselves on custom crafting each vacation.

Monica is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and has been a PTC with Equity Estates for six years. She is a graduate of University of Alabama. After college, she backpacked through Europe for six weeks and she hasn’t stopped traveling since! Her hobbies include spending time with her daughters, hiking, camping, reading, traveling and drinking wine with friends. She is passionate about fostering new experiences and filling her memory bank whenever possible.

Stephanie is a native of Douglasville, Georgia and has been a PTC with Equity Estates for nearly two years. She is a graduate of Georgia Southern University where she was a softball pitcher. She loves being outdoors and some of her favorite activities include hiking, biking and kayaking. She loves to travel—even if it’s just a quick weekend getaway to the North Georgia mountains, she loves to experience new things and new places as often as she possibly can.

Equity Estates is an equity destination club heading into its tenth year. This vacation home alternative is for accredited investors, offered via private placement.  A globetrotter’s dream with more than 60 private luxury residences spanning more than 25 countries, Equity Estates’ mission is to deliver measurable and memorable returns. Equity Estates Fund I sold out in 2012, and Fund II will sell out by the end of 2016. Equity Estates has collectively raised and effectively deployed over $75 million and delivered over 10,000 outstanding vacation experiences. Equity Estate’s unique model could allow investors to travel for free for 10 years or get paid to travel, pending the appreciation of the portfolio when sold.

We are thrilled about our new partnership with The Eden Club!

Our new partnership with The Eden Club will allow Equity Estates investors unparalleled access to legendary St. Andrews, Scotland—including the storied Old Course. Investors will enjoy high-end accommodation on the grounds of famed Pittormie Castle while checking off the courses on every golfer’s bucket list. Though the courses of St. Andrews are arguably some of the best in the world, our portfolio boasts many other incredible destinations for golf enthusiasts. Continue reading below to discover our top picks for golf within our portfolio.

Cape Town

With its splendid natural surroundings, cool ocean breezes and rolling hills, it’s no wonder why Cape Town is the golf mecca of South Africa. Many of the fairways that dot this city are both visually stunning and technically challenging, making them a favorite of both local and international golf enthusiasts. Our residence in Cape Town is set on the grounds of the five-star Arabella Western Cape Hotel and Spa, surrounded by outstanding beauty and home to a championship golf course by the same name. Arabella Golf Crouse is set on the banks of the largest natural lagoon in South Africa and offers a world-class golf experience, complete with 18 meticulously crafted holes. This course regularly attracts professional players and celebrities from around the globe.

Hilton Head

When most golfers think of Hilton Head Island, the signature RBC Heritage event surely comes to mind. This small island is home to more than 400 golf holes, making it a very popular vacation destination since the 1950s. Spring is the perfect time to play a few rounds, when the weather is ideal and the azaleas are blooming. Our beachfront residence offers stunning Atlantic views and a very close proximity to many courses including Harbour Town Golf Links within The Sea Pines Resort. Harbour Town is one of the most celebrated courses on the PGA tour, making it the perfect place to put your game to the ultimate test of finesse.

Punta Cana

Punta Cana was established as a golf destination when Teeth of the Dog opened in the 1970s, but newcomers within the last decade on the island’s eastern shore have cemented its reputation. One of these is La Cana, located within the Punta Cana Resort & Club. Our expansive home in the Punta Cana Resort & Club overlooks the signature 12th hole known as “island green” and offers unparalleled access to this renowned course. Additionally, Punta Espada and Corales—arguably the best seaside golf experiences throughout the entire Caribbean—are both located just a short golf cart ride away from our residence.

“When compared with renting comparable vacation homes or purchasing nights in luxury hotels with no investment component, Equity Estates is a no-brainer.”

Equity Estates investors enjoy incredible vacations in high-end residences around the world, all while making a diversified investment in luxury real estate which has great potential to provide a healthy return on investment. We sat down with Tyler, an investor in Fund I, to discuss the vacation value he’s enjoyed from his investment thus far.

Tyler has been an Equity Estates investor for seven years, and during that time he’s enjoyed concierge supported vacations all around the globe—often during peak travel times. After analyzing his travel history against comparable accommodation rates—using alternatives within the same buildings or neighborhoods during the same times—we estimate he’s taken $840,000 worth of vacations and will soon hit the $1 million mark.

Tyler started out with an Executive Membership Interest (15 nights of annual usage) in Fund I and dabbled with other destination clubs as well. After traveling once with each club, he says, “We decided we would be better off having more time in the Equity Estates portfolios. The overall travel experience, as well as the equity position in EE, was the much more attractive option.”

Shortly after, Tyler upgraded to two Elite Membership Interests (60 nights of annual usage) and has taken more than 50 trips during his time as an investor. “We determined the travel experience provided by Equity Estates was the best we had ever experienced,” Tyler said. His family averages about 50 nights per year, and he typically gifts 10 nights per year to friends and employees.

Compared with renting like-vacation homes or purchasing nights in luxury hotels with no investment component, Tyler says Equity Estates is a no-brainer. He considers the value of his Equity Estates membership to be “outstanding” and says he could not have taken vacations of similar quality elsewhere for even close to the same cost.

Fund I will begin its divestment plan in 2021, after which investors will receive back first 100% of their initial investment and then 80% of the appreciation thereafter. Tyler calls this an added bonus. “When the portfolio is liquidated, we could receive a handsome profit on our investment. The only negative is determining what to do to replicate the experience once the portfolio is liquidated. I certainly hope that EE has another fund available when that time comes. Equity Estates has become an integral part of our lifestyle.”

Browse some of Tyler’s highest value trips over the years below.

In 2016, we introduced a new way for investors to enjoy Equity Estates in the exclusive company of fellow members. In addition to the many special travel experiences within our luxury portfolio, investors can travel the world and enjoy once-in-a-lifetime, custom-crafted itineraries. We released two expeditions in 2016, both of which sold out in a matter of weeks. Our first expedition, a private yacht tour of the untouched Galapagos Islands, took place in March 2016 and an African Safari followed that December. Most recently our group explored Florence, the world’s top rated city, and the stunning Tuscan countryside like never before. The experience from start to finish was expertly crafted and everyone was dazzled. No detail was missed, and extraordinary surprises were drizzled throughout the week. “The Five Senses Tuscany Expedition was a magical way to explore and enjoy the sights and sounds of the region. We were surprised and delighted each day with unique and highly curated experiences. No detail was overlooked- from the transportation to the way each meal was carefully executed and presented. Each day was filled with surprises that exceeded our expectations. We all enjoyed the camaraderie and had great fun sharing stories of our favorite EE properties and experiences. I can’t wait for the next expedition!”

There are some things money can’t buy. Powerful family bonds, wonderfully enriching experiences and lifelong memories are a few.

Though these things can’t be bought, Equity Estates can help facilitate them by bringing your family together through inspired, custom-crafted vacation experiences in a portfolio of private homes that you also own.

Imagine planning a trip for 12, including four kids under five, to a destination with which you are not familiar. How do you find the safest areas, the best restaurants, the must-do activities? We are experts in each and every one of our destinations and will take the stress out of trip planning, allowing you to relax and truly take a vacation.

Vacation homes built for families

Spacious living rooms, fully-equipped kitchens and dining areas with ample seating, so your entire family may gather for meals or game night.

Area expert concierges handle all the pre-trip planning

Your Personal Travel Concierges are experts on each destination and your Local Hosts are truly local residents, providing you with insider knowledge which allows you to experience hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path places.

Bringing along children is a breeze

Homes come fully equipped with Pack ‘N Plays, booster seats, high chairs, pool alarm systems and more. In addition, your Local Host can arrange for the home to be pre-stocked with diapers, formula, snacks, strollers and car seats. Setting up experienced babysitters for an adult-night out is just another reason to bring the kids along on your next vacation.

Vacations made extraordinary

What makes a vacation truly extraordinary? According to our investor members, it’s the unique experiences in the space of a private luxury home that create lifelong memories and deepen family bonds. From our surf instructor in San Diego who has a 100% success rate, to our Local Host in Watersound Beach who arranges private beach bonfires complete with s’mores and games in the sand, we are experts in crafting memorable vacations.

Don’t just take our word for it.

“Our family has enjoyed many treasured events with Equity Estates—an engagement, a honeymoon, anniversaries, birthdays and cherished memories with lifelong friends. Equity Estates residences have furnished snap shots of some of the most joyous times of our lives.” –Investor Member Marsha L.

“The “next” vacation is a common topic of conversation in our household. The experiences we have had with Equity Estates are second to none. From the planning with our concierge to the actual vacations themselves, EE has provided our family with the most memorable times. I would not trade those memories for anything else.” –Investor Member Dave P.