"Like you, each of us personally considered the many vacation options available today, including other destination clubs," wrote Havens' Co-Founders Alexander Cole and Dejan Bucevski. "Instead, we simply felt we could do it better ourselves."
Led by the Harvard graduates Cole and Bucevski, the pair's accomplishments were dizzying. Cole had held prestigious positions at both JP Morgan in New York and Nomura Securities. Bucevski's resume included distinguished tenures at World Bank and Fleet Financial Group amongst others. The executive team also included Michele Smith who held a Masters degree from Columbia, giving the young club a potent combination of business acumen during the crucial launch phase.
As Cole and Bucevski stated, they believed they could make their destination club better than the rest. Founded in 2003, the duo began forming the model that the club would use before seeking investors in early 2004. Wanting to keep the club as a more intimate and boutique club, Havens limited their membership to 400 members, claiming that other larger clubs were forced to "compromise on their promises of anytime, anywhere travel and personal service due to their swelling membership." The club officially began accepting members in November of 2004.
With a launch portfolio including Scotland, Pinehurst, and Telluride, the club managed to generate some interest and ultimately acquire about 40 members, but the highly competitive space and a lack of any truly unique benefits led the club to struggle.
In March of 2007, BelleHavens, an equity destination club that began selling memberships just three months prior to Havens made an offer to Havens' club members. Darin Gilson, BelleHavens' Founder stated that while much of the offer was based on the fact he wanted to continue the growth of his own club, another factor played into his decision. Not wanting consumers to confuse his club with the struggling Havens, BelleHavens took in about 25 Havens' members. These members could elect to upgrade to full equity members at BelleHavens or stay on as non-equity members. Very graciously BelleHavens, offered non-equity members the opportunity to redeem their membership after three years on a three in, one out policy with no more than one redemption per quarter.
The Havens' website simply stated "In spring of 2007, Havens successfully completed a merger of substantially all of the company's assets and liabilities with an industry leader in the destination club segment. As such, the club has ceased accepting applications for membership."
During this time, it was learned that Havens owned virtually nothing.
Less than a year with their new club, the collective members of Havens and BelleHavens along with leading equity club Crescendo Residences were acquired by luxury travel leader Abercrombie & Kent for their new venture Abercrombie & Kent Residence Club. The vast majority of all the club's members elected to continue their travel experience with the new club and A&K has established themselves as one of the leading clubs in the destination club industry.
To learn more about Havens, please visit the club's quick links found to the right. To learn more about Abercrombie & Kent Residence Club, please feel free to request a complimentary copy of our Destination Club Guide.
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