Netflix, ClassPass, FabFitFun—subscription-based offerings have already shaken up numerous industries by giving consumers access to curated groupings of items or experiences they might not be able to afford individually. Now, Brent Handler, the founder and CEO of Denver-based, 8.5-year-old Inspirato, hopes to do the same for luxury lodging with Inspirato Pass. Unlike Inspirato’s traditional memberships, which have lower annual dues but require members to pay additional nightly fees to stay at the company’s portfolio of properties across the globe, Inspirato Pass gives the buyer and their significant other unlimited free nights at more than 60,000 residences and hotels for $2,500 a month.
“I really love the simplicity of no nightly rates,” says Handler, who’s been developing the pass concept for four years. “It’s easier to join, easier to use, and there’s less commitment.” (Inspirato Pass requires buyers to sign on for a minimum of six months.) The secret to being able to offer passholders trips like, say, six nights in a three-bedroom poolside villa with resort access in Maui, Hawaii (estimated value: $14,656), lies in the high-end lodging industry’s reluctance to advertise discounted rates. “All luxury offerings have the same problem,” Handler says. “Part of the time, they get great high rates, but much of the time, they sit empty.” Because Inspirato Pass’ nightly rates are opaque, Handler says, resorts and hotels in particular are more willing to partner with Inspirato, offering them lower rates behind the scenes to fill their otherwise vacant rooms.
As with Inspirato’s traditional memberships, all bookings include an on-site concierge service and daily housekeeping. Passholders also have access to Inspirato’s vacation advisers, who can answer questions about specific properties and destinations and help with trip-planning. Inspirato Pass’ easy-to-use online platform—filter by check-in date, destination, and vacation “style” (beach, mountain, lifestyle, or metropolitan?)—shows how many travelers each property accommodates, and as long as one of the passholders is present, he or she can bring up to that many guests for no additional fees. Plus, spots on Inspirato’s exclusive “experiences” are up for grabs too: A Siene river cruise (estimated value: $13,575) includes on-board food offerings, while a helicopter tour and wine tasting are built into a New Zealand adventure (estimated value: $26,900).
The catch? For the $2,500 per month subscription, you can only have one active reservation at a time, meaning you can’t book both a Thanksgiving getaway in Aspen and a spring break trip to Europe; you have to wait to snag that Amalfi Coast suite until after you check out of your five-bedroom, $7.2 million lodge in November. (For $5,000 per month, you can hold two reservations; $7,500 gets you three.)
If that stipulation pushes Inspirato Pass out of reach for your family, well, Handler has a solution to that, too, and it relates to another popular concept: the sharing economy. For $500 more a month (or $1,000 at the two-reservation tier, or $1,500 at three), passholders can add unlimited sharing privileges, meaning anyone on their approved list can book and visit properties, with or without the primary passholders.
“We’ve already seen groups go in and instead of buying a ski condo in Vail, they purchase a pass with unlimited sharing for $3,000 a month,” Handler says. “People could easily spend a lot more on interest and maintenance for a vacation home. With the Inspirato Pass, they can travel more times of the year and go to more places.” Other candidates could include businesses that frequently send employees to America’s most expensive cities: The Beekman, ranked the number one hotel in New York City by Business Insider in 2018, participates, as does San Francisco’s boutique Hotel Drisco.
If you’re intrigued, you’re certainly not alone: Handler says that on Monday, when the pass officially launched (the company did beta testing in Colorado and the Bay Area), Inspirato received a record-high number of pageviews on its website and 1,600 inquiries. And even if the price tag is too high, it’s free to dream—as we did to come up with the below list of six Inspirato Pass trips we might choose in our first six months as members.
With such short notice, a long weekend staycation with our bestie is all we can fit into our schedule; luckily, there’s a 320-square-foot room with a king bed and a large, private outdoor terrace available at the Halcyon in Cherry Creek from Thursday, August 8, through Tuesday, August 13. Forward our calls to the rooftop pool.
We’ve always wanted to go to Napa Valley during harvest, but peak tourist lodging prices mean we’ve only visited during the offseason. This year, we’ll correct that on a getaway with our favorite couple friends to one of Carneros Resort and Spa’s two-bedroom, 3.5-bath homes, available for two nights starting Sunday, September 22.
Time to take this party international on Inspirato’s all-inclusive Bordeaux river cruise (estimated value: $9,500). Between October 6 and 13, we’ll sail three waterways, visit three UNESCO World Heritage sites, and embark on off-boat adventures, like a bike ride along the Route de La Corniche Fleurie.
For Thanksgiving, we’re bringing the whole (extended) family on a weeklong vacation to 7,440-square-foot Gold Hill (estimated value: $9,405), a standalone home in Telluride’s Mountain Village. Fingers crossed there’s enough snow to utilize the two transferable ski passes that are included; if not, we’ll work off the turkey we cooked in the gourmet chef’s kitchen on the in-home Peloton bike.
We don’t think we’ll have trouble convincing 13 of our closest friends to meet us in Los Cabos, Mexico, from December 16 to 21 (estimated value: $21,830)—not once we show them seven-bedroom Casa Cresta’s private infinity-edge pool, outdoor dining area and fireplace, and ocean-view master suites. Even if that doesn’t sway them, the two golf carts and beach access via Club Fundadores should.
Normally, a work trip to Chicago in mid-January would be reason for panic—but the ability to book a 960-square-foot Club Suite at the five-star Langham soothes us, as does the inclusion of one free fitness class each day; three complimentary garment pressings for our suitcase-wrinkled button-ups; and access to the Langham Club, the hotel’s private penthouse retreat.