The little key
is symbolic of the privileged access enjoyed by THIRDHOME members to
magnificent private residences like Leobo Private Resort in Vaalwater, South
Africa; King Edward V111’s Estate in Nassau, Bahamas; Bay of Islands Luxury
Retreat, in Kerikeri, New Zealand; Modern Luxury and Northern Lights in
Grimsnes, Iceland; O Casarao in Armacao dos Buzios in Brazil; Alegria Mykonos,
in Kalafati, Greece; Seaside Escape in Koh Samui, Thailand; The Links at St
Andrews, UK . . . and Wings Hinterland Retreat on the Gold Coast.
The key also
opens doors to a host of residence clubs and resorts such Pristine Bay in
Roatan, Honduras; Porto Montenegro in Montenegro; Chateaux Deer Valle in Utah;
Trump Hotel and Tower in New York; Mar Adentro in Los Cabos, Mexico; and
Argentario Golf Resort and Spa in Grosseto, Italy . . .
places off the beaten track like a mountain refuge in Argentina; a charter
yacht in Guadeloupe; and a Six Senses villa on the remote island of Con Dao,
And access to
the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club properties in Aspen, Lake Tahoe, Vail, San
Francisco and Virgin Islands.
I drifted off
to sleep with my little key clasped in one hand and the THIRDHOME book still
open in the other. In my dreams I wandered like a somnambulist from chalets in
the snow to villas in the sand . . .
The day had
been one of lavish indulgence beginning with a Rolls Royce transfer by
Queensland Luxury Car Rentals from Gold Coast Airport to Wings Hinterland
Retreat, one of 10,500 properties worldwide in the THIRDHOME portfolio.
spectacular two-storey ridgetop property, 30 minutes inland from
world-famous Surfers Paradise, is set on 10 acres of land with 1500 square
meters of living space. So named for the broad wings that stretch out from the
centre of the house and magnificent pool, the retreat has eight
bedrooms, which comfortably accommodate up to 26 guests. All rooms
face towards the Gold Coast allowing early-risers to watch spectacular
sunrises. Bunks in three of the bedrooms make the place ideal for families with
young children or teens. The retreat is also a highly sought-after venue for
weddings, conferences and corporate catering.
kitchen with its huge semi-circular marble bench and adjacent dining room is
perfect for both large-scale entertaining and intimate dining.
With a tennis
court, cantilevered swimming pool, outside Jacuzzi, 14-person cedar sauna,
full-sized billiard table and yoga on the lawn, there’s little reason to leave
this peaceful, tranquil retreat but for those wanting a taste of surf, sand and
shopping, the Gold Coast is an easy 30-minute drive.
As the sun set
on a mild winter evening, divine Louis Roederer champagne appeared from
the bar accompanied by delectable canapés from the kitchen where guest
chef Gareth Keenan and his catering team where hard at work.
mouth-watering menu continued with hors d’œuvres in the form of a colourful,
fresh, edible garden with tasty olive tapenade ‘soil’ followed by a variety of
entrees including succulent cured pork belly with macadamia nut crumble,
carrots and burnt apple.
main course included sumac-crusted ocean trout with boudin noir crumble,
mandarin gel and young radish; grass-fed lamb rump with smoked carrot, baby
vegetables, dukkah and labne; pan-fried mushroom and pumpkin with potato and
chickpea fritter, spinach and red pepper coulis; or pan-seared chicken breast
with boudin blanc, sauce soubise asparagus and pomme lorette. After much
deliberation, I chose the ocean trout but all the options were delicious.
amuse bouche of white peach and green tea was served before Gareth presented a
dessert of rhubarb, meringue and freeze-dried berries with stunning visual
panache in a haze of dry ice. Even the white chocolate planter pots were
lactose-free, vegan and pescatarian options were available at each course.
As we feasted
like royalty, talented guitarist Ondre Davis entertained us with
morning, after yoga on the lawn led by the inspiring yogi Todd Belot, a
delectable breakfast was served with choices that again catered to all
drifted blissfully by with tennis, swimming, relaxing, lounging in the Jacuzzi,
steaming in the sauna and an artisan coffee-tasting experience by KoKo Coffee
Roasters, while Gareth and Yves worked more wonders in the kitchen.
Lunch was a
series of elegant finger-food platters served cocktail-style outside by the
pool and tennis court on a gloriously warm, mid-June day. The ice-cold Fire
Gully rosé from Margaret River was divine and guitarist-vocalist Nick Trovas
provided splendid entertainment.
We were blessed
with perfect weather but on the rare occasion that it rains on the Gold Coast,
Wings has ample space and facilities to cater inside for large numbers in the
grand entrance foyer, three generous living areas, bar and dining room.
afternoon, we learned the full story behind THIRDHOME, a US-based company
established in 2008 by Wade Shealy from Tennessee. The story behind THIRDHOME
is a fascinating one. Shealy had spent 28 years in the luxury real estate
business, helping clients realise their second-home dreams, when he came up
with the concept of using those valuable but sometimes seldom-used assets to
gain access to properties of an equal standard all around the world . .
. as holiday homes or ‘third homes’.
“I learned that
the main reason people hesitate to buy a second home in a single location is
that they love to travel to other places too,” says Shealy.
“I knew if I
could create a way for second home-owners to leverage the investment they’ve
already made, to stay in a variety of desirable destinations, I would really
have something,” he says.
His aim was to
use a second home as the key to a third home . . . and a world of travel
So in 2008, he
created an ultra high-end home exchange club entitled THIRDHOME and came
up with the term, ‘staying worldly’.
Shealy knew the
service fulfilled a real need but he had no idea how successful the business
would become, how many lives would be changed . . . or how fast.
| These trips are beyond extraordinary. The choices are mind-boggling.|
unlike any other home exchange or travel club. The scale, trust and access it
provides are unrivalled,” says Shealy.
portfolio of member homes numbers 10,400 luxury residences across the globe
with an average value of $US3 million. In addition to private homes, many are
located in the 75 world-class resorts and residence clubs that have selectedTHIRDHOME as
a trusted exchange programme for their owners – like The Ritz-Carlton
So how does it
developed its own ‘key’ currency that allows members to manage their vacation
plans, hence the golden Fairfax & Roberts key. No direct or simultaneous
exchanges are required. Members earn ‘keys’ by depositing available weeks in
their second homes into the THIRDHOME ‘bank’ and then go online, browse other
properties within the club, choose a home and book their vacation. A service
team is on hand around the clock to assist.
In an exciting
new development, THIRDHOME has recently added vacation rentals to the
mix meaning people without a luxury second home can access the keys to
exclusive properties not previously available to the public. There are
now over 300 stunning THIRDHOME properties available for rent in
spectacular locations in 36 countries around the world. This number is set to
rise exponentially as the popularity of using private residences for holiday
accommodation gains international momentum.
I am assured
the high standards that THIRDHOME is renowned for will be just as evident in
the rental program as it has been in the home exchange service. The average
value of rental properties is $3 million and each home is carefully reviewed for
its desirable location and quality furnishings. Guests also undergo a
comprehensive screening procedure.
to list their homes on THIRDHOME’s rental website can do so without charge and
with no commission when also signing up to the home exchange club. In so doing,
they will become a member of a prestigious property and travel club that opens
doors to thousands of magnificent homes around the world.
launched is THIRDHOME Adventures, carefully curated programs tailored towards
guests who want to immerse themselves in their destination and have
meaningful, long-lasting memories.
Guests can go
fly fishing in Patagonia, sail exotic Lamu Island by authentic dhow, become a
castaway on the secluded island of Noasy Ankao in the Indian Ocean, sleep under
the stars in the Dubai dunes, discover the culinary history of Japan,
experience Italian culture, cuisine and wines at Maestro Andrea Bocelli’s
childhood estate and vineyards in Italy, spend time with the Maasai and
Kipsigis communities in Kenya, or explore Iceland’s natural and cultural
wonders, spectacular array of wildlife, migrating whales and breath-taking
These trips are
beyond extraordinary. The choices are mind-boggling.
As Shealy says
'THIRDHOME is determined to stay ahead of the trends and focused on providing
five-star service and unparalleled offerings for those looking to stay and play
in luxury style.'
After a taste
of ‘staying worldly’ at Wings, I drove off in the Roller, leafing through my
book to find my next THIRDHOME experience. There are only 10,500 to choose
from. Decisions, decisions . . .
adventure in Argentina?