Feature Article February 2011

Your Own Private Banyan Tree

Exclusive, perpetual yet flexible, the asset-backed portfolio for discerning globetrotters

As anyone who has tried it will tell you, there is nothing quite like kicking back in the shade of a banyan tree. A native of tropical Asia, it is revered for providing shelter to weary travellers. But having your own private banyan tree takes the luxurious experience to a whole different level.

The Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts Group has, for some years, been a well-known name in the high-end vacation destination market, but the launch in 2006 of the Banyan Tree Private Collection (BTPC) has given members bespoke travel experiences and the enjoyment of a second home in an exotic location, without all the hassles and hefty expenses of owning a property.

Exclusive apartment in the former imperial capital of Kyoto, central Honshu

And 2010 has seen even more properties added to the private collection’s portfolio, meaning members can enjoy everything from beach-front properties in the Seychelles to private villas in Tuscany or Grasse, and a luxury apartment in London. In Japan, members can stay at an exclusive property in the ancient capital
of Kyoto.

“The main selling point of membership is that it is perpetual; it never expires and is a family asset for ever”, said Margaret Koh, who became marketing director of BTPC in December. “Secondly, it is transferable and any time a member wishes to sell the membership, he or she can recover the initial investment”.

On top of that, she emphasised, the investment is asset-backed—meaning that, whatever the future of the Banyan Tree, members will continue to have access to the collection of villas and apartments across the globe as the properties are placed in trust, with independent trustees and shareholders from the Banyan Tree Group. But above all, Koh said, having the club managed by an award-winning hotel group reassures people that whatever property they plan to visit, they will be on the receiving end of a level of service and care for which the Banyan Tree has been recognised.

Double-pool luxury villa in stunning Phuket, south-west Thailand

“The BTPC boasts one of the most attractive fees in the destination-club industry, with membership priced at a one-time joining fee starting at $150,000 and annual fees from $3,150”, Koh said. “Members receive seven nights a year at the club’s worldwide destinations and can lock in a lifetime of vacations at the present price level, while the payback period of the initial outlay is within seven to eight years”.

Members have complete freedom regarding how they choose to split their annual entitlement stay, where they want to stay, and when they want to travel. As well as enjoy exclusive properties, members can dive or fish from the 14-metre, twin-hulled catamaran that is based at the Banyan Tree Seychelles, or get one up on their golf partners by playing the world’s longest course—the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club—in Lijiang, China, at a special rate. But the BTPC is constantly looking for other special properties and plans to include more of the existing Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts in its own portfolio, including the upcoming destinations of Macau, Shanghai and Balaclava in Mauritius.