Interview: Poonam Dhawan-­-Leach, CEO of The Hideaways Club

Poonam Dhawan-LeachPoonam Dhawan-Leach, CEO of The Hideaways Club joined the Club in May 2011, bringing over 15 years of experience in travel and hospitality. Here she tells Elite Traveler how you can invest in The Hideaways Club, an award winning property fund, and enjoy a portfolio of luxury properties.

ET: Tell us about The Hideaways Club.

PD: We are an exclusive, luxury lifestyle member’s club that ultimately provides the benefits of an investment, without the inconvenience of second home ownership. The club was launched in 2007 with The Classic Collection – featuring 36 club members and ten properties around the Mediterranean.

Through our Classic Collection you can explore stunning four-to-five-bedroom villas and chalets such as the Villa Asmara in Bali set amongst emerald rice fields or Chalet Gingembre next to the ski slope in Nendaz, Switzerland. Although these properties are secluded enough to be considered hideaways, they are also within easy reach of the town centre and local attractions.

Following the success of The Classic Collection, The City Collection was launched in 2011. Created for travelers with an international lifestyle, our City Collection offers a wide selection of serviced apartments with a minimum of two bedrooms in prime locations of international cities such as New York, Paris and Istanbul.

It’s still early days for us, and The Hideaways Club’s portfolio continues to grow further with strategic alliances with other private holiday clubs. Our portfolio today is not wholly representative of where we’ll end up.

ET: Tell me what it means to invest in The Hideaways Club.

PD: Our proposition is a great investment if you enjoy travelling – or your business requires travelling.  We have created a club that offers ownership and lifestyle in a format that will work for our members. Rather than going around the world for business or leisure and staying in a hotel, you may look at it as a great investment in getting access to hundreds of exquisite properties, located in some of the world’s most desirable locations.

Membership is tiered – Premium, Lifestyle and Associate – offering varying financial entry costs, redeemable weeks and flexibility options to suit different lifestyle and travel needs. Members also pay an annual cost contribution that covers all aspects of property maintenance and a bespoke Concierge Service to take care of all your travel needs.

When investing through a luxury destination and lifestyle club you can have holiday homes for all seasons, without the inconvenience of maintaining them.

ET: Tell us about you and your background.


PD: I’m from New Delhi, India and joined The Hideaways Club in May 2011, initially as Chief Financial Officer and have since led and managed an ever increasing range of functions within the business.

Prior to The Hideaways Club, I’ve held various senior financial and commercial roles bringing over 15 years of experience in the travel and hospitality sectors. I worked as the Finance and Commercial Director at TUI Travel PLC’s Specialist Holidays Group, Commercial Director at Opodo Ltd. and Finance Director of UK and Ireland at Hilton Worldwide. I’ve led a number of strategic, value-generating initiatives, and I have considerable leadership and management experience with multi-site and multi-function teams.

ET: How do these funds work for the investors?

PD: The Hideaways Club is the key to a unique concept for discerning investors and travellers – a concept that combines investment in a diversified portfolio. There’s an initial three-year investment period, and we encourage members to invest past the three years to enjoy the benefits and services offered. Our respected members are successful individuals from the worlds of business, media, sport and fashion – all of whom expect high standards when it comes to their leisure time.

ET: What sort of feedback do you get from your happy clients?

PD: Our members have shared that they love the accessible locations and luxurious facilities of our idyllic hideaways and stylish city apartments. Most of all, they enjoy the feeling that they are home anywhere in the world that they go; because there are certain home-comforts that we offer in all of our properties. Yet, you can get a hotel-like feel because there is a personal Concierge present, preparing for your arrival.

There’s nothing better than coming home to a well-stocked fridge safe in the knowledge that all housekeeping has been taken care of. The Concierge also provides expert recommendations of the destination and more.

For us, personal touch is paramount. We know and understand our members and the service they want to receive. No request is too big or small for your Concierge, whether it’s booking you a coveted table at that much-talked-about restaurant, organizing a wine tasting at a famed vineyard or arranging for our chef to prepare a homemade dinner for you.

We are passionate about providing the highest quality of service and member experience every step of the way, which makes it a major investment on our side.

ET: What would be the best lifestyle investment at The Hideaways Club?

PD: It depends on what stage of life you’re at because we have multiple categories. Pre and post family couples like to have Lifestyle Classic and Premium City memberships. However, couples with young families prefer Premium Classic and Associate City memberships. Whether you use our services for business travel or leisure trips with your family, we will make your experience outstanding.