News & Reviews News Exclusive use property hunting

The luxury travel market is a happy place to be – as much as my demeanour may sometimes say otherwise.  It’s about making people happy.  That’s the ultimate aim of every enquiry, and that’s what we set out to do.  The only way to do that is by having plenty of knowledge on the best luxury resorts, islands and villas.  This is the part I find the most fun.  Being a so-called expert means you should pretend you know everything, but if you truly feel that conscious about it, you’ll never learn anything.  I am always learning something new.

Almost every enquiry we receive feels like an invitation to explore hidden corners of the world.  It asks me to lean on our accumulated knowledge, past first-hand experiences, contacts, suppliers, and even insights from trade shows we’ve attended or plan to attend. This journey constantly introduces me to unfamiliar properties and exciting opportunities.

I love the research.  I loved it when this was a hobby, and I did it for myself, and I love it now when I’m doing it for someone else and not spending my children’s future education fund.  Every time I stumble upon something new that perfectly aligns with a client’s wishlist, it feels like a win.

Exclusive use properties were already booming, but since covid they have become the dominant area of the ultra luxury market.  Here’s a few properties I’ve been researching for Dorsia guests as of late.

Reid Creek Lodge, USA

Following the hot trend of Disney’s 2013 masterpiece The Long Ranger, with the ever-loveable cannibal Armie Hammer and everyone’s favourite bed disinfection expert, Johnny Depp, it was inevitable that everyone would try and cash in on this goldmine.  Reid Creek Lodge has gone full method by having the property on a ranch.

The US is not known for the luxury market, with barely a handful of properties worth visiting.  Reid Creek looks to be one of them.  Like the others, most good US properties are all-inclusive or full board, and Reid Creek is no different; all activities, food, and drink are included.

Set in Wyoming on 300,000 acres of land and only open several months per year, Reid Creek is all about offering groups the chance to chill out in nature.  The log cabin lodge is over 8,000 square feet (740 sqm) and offers seven bedrooms.  You’re not here to just stare at the walls, though, the point is to go outside and yee-ha it up with hiking, horseback riding, camping, wildlife viewing, shooting (duh, it’s America), fishing, archery, even a mechanical bull.  Everything is bespoke and created for your family or group, with personal chefs and guides ensuring you’re looked after.

Magee Homestead, USA

Magee Homestead offers another authentic Western-style trip.  Also found in Wyoming, it differs from Reid Creek.  First up, it’s Relais & Châteaux, so that does guarantee the food will not be a reheated reheated McRib.  Secondly, the facilities are more impressive.  You and your buddies will have sole access to 7,000 private acres, complete with a swimming pool, grotto, spa, and a range of inclusive activities and dining options.  Nestled amidst sprawling prairies, mountains, and serene creeks and rivers, this secluded ranch can host up to 27 guests, providing accommodation in 9 cabins that house 12 bedrooms.

Activities include mountain biking, archery, ranger-led tours, yoga, hiking, and high ropes/zip line adventures.  Their devoted team is at your beck and call to ensure your stay is seamless and enjoyable. A private chef will craft meals tailored to your taste preferences, while your bartender will get you as trashed as required, should you be there with family that you don’t really like but felt compelled to invite. Their expert guides are on hand to help enhance your skills in a range of activities, whether it’s fishing, riding, shooting, or digging graves that no one will find to hide that family member who’s really annoying you.

Magee is part of Brush Creek Ranch, so you can hang around the riff-raff, should you desire.  The videos on the website look a bit like a porn shoot is about to take place, so maybe don’t take your kids.

Over Yonder Cay, Bahamas

A private island, barely an hour’s flight from Florida, with its golf course.  What more needs to be said?  How have you not booked it yet?

With four villas, allowing up to 30 guests, Over Yonder is one of the world’s most impressive and exclusive islands.  With that exclusivity comes all the personalisation you might expect and then some.  The facilities include a tennis court, movie theatre, DJ station, dance floor, pools, jacuzzi, private beaches and a nine-hole golf course. They’re also throwing around their green street creds, as it’s powered by a renewable green energy system, which includes its three wind turbines and a 1.5-acre solar field.

There are some places best seen rather than described.

Azul y Verde, Costa Rica

Having only just come on the market, Azul u Verde is hoping to give some stiff competition to the flurry of Costa Rican luxury properties.  Like Four Seasons.  And, erm, yep, that’s it.

Nestled on a vast 250 acres, Azul Y Verde promises unparalleled privacy and pristine views where you’re unlikely to see another soul. Everything’s taken care of during your stay: dedicated staff, gourmet meals by a professional chef, and access to a private 18-tee/9 Hole golf course. Plus, the beautiful Playa Carillo Beach is just five minutes away, and don’t be surprised if you catch sight of local wildlife, including playful monkeys!

Azul Y Verde offers eight stylish ocean-view rooms for up to 16 guests. The primary room boasts a private pool, balcony, jacuzzi, indoor and outdoor showers, walk-in closet, a smart TV with cable, a private office, and two double queen beds. The three VIP rooms provide sweeping views of the Pacific and mountainous rainforests, private TV/living spaces, walk-in closets, and jacuzzis.

With everything from a wine cellar, three infinity pools, a cinema, a gym, sauna to a steam room, a massage room and a yoga deck. To complete the luxury, there are three infinity pools, including a 25m main pool with a bar, a 12m private pool in the master room, and a 15m pool in the second module.

Argentaia, Italy

Regrettably, my flights were cancelled, so I did not have the chance to visit whilst I was nearby in Tuscany at the truly delightful Hotel Il Pellicano.  Sometimes, the brochure and a chat with management tell you most of what you need to know.  It looks spectacular.

Argentaia Villa is a six-bedroom, picturesque retreat in the heart of Italy’s stunning countryside, offering a blend of traditional charm and modern luxury.  Designed on the ruins of an ancient monastery, its design echoes that historic charm.  Inside, it’s like an art gallery, with numerous unique pieces by artists that I won’t pretend to know anything about, whilst outside, you have perfect, manicured gardens, an infinity pool and panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards, hills and olive groves.  There’s also a spa, tennis court, and movie theatre. However, what truly sets them apart are the distinctive activities they offer.

They have a massive focus on one-of-a-kind activities and performances, including something called “emotional catering”.  I use the same term when I eat a tub of Häagen-Dazs and then cry afterwards.  There’s even motocross.  The weirdest might be Pet Therapy – I think that’s what my pets call it when I’m not around.  You’ll have to tell me what that is.

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 24th Oct '23

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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