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The latest trend in upscale resorts is residence clubs, fractional ownership resorts or, said another way, very glorified time shares. Instead of buying a second home that sits empty most of the year, vacationers with deep pockets can purchase a share of a luxury condo or villa on a resort property, which entitles them to use the residence for a few weeks or months a year, with lavish hotel-style amenities included. There are Four Seasons Residence Clubs in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Carlsbad, Calif., Ritz-Carlton Clubs in Aspen, Colo., and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and a Club Regent in Park City, Utah, among others.
Now Auberge Resorts joins the club, so to speak, with its Esperanza Resort and Residence Club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The 17-acre property on the Gulf of California will include 80 owner villas, a full-service spa and a 50-suite, six-villa hotel. The first phase of the villas was completed in September; the entire resort opens in early 2002. For between $150,000 and $2.5 million, fractional owners get the use of a fully furnished two- or three-bedroom ocean-view villa (with maid service), the pool, clubhouse, restaurant and private beach. Available extras include spa treatments and meals at the hotel's three restaurants. Upon request, the Esperanza staff will even stock the villa's kitchen with groceries. But why cook when you can order room service?
Esperanza Resort and Residence Club, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; (866) 311-CABO (2226), www.esperanzaresort.com.