Collective Retreats, a
company attempting to disrupt the traditional hotel model with an "asset light-experience heavy"
brand of portable luxury resorts, is aiming for a major expansion with a new
round of investment that includes backing from one of the leaders in the
evolution of modern luxury.
The company announced Wednesday
that Simon Turner, former president of global development for Starwood Hotels and
Resorts Worldwide, known for its innovation with brands like W, is joining the
company as an investor and advisor.
Collective Retreats also said
it has closed a new round of $10 million in funding, four times the $2.5
million investment it used to launch its first five resorts.
"This is a major
expansion of the brand and really a fantastic growth moment," said
Collective Retreats founder and CEO Peter Mack, who also used to be at
Turner said the brand, which
was unveiled earlier this year after a soft launch of resorts in Vail,
Yellowstone and New York's Hudson Valley, "is shaping the future of the
experiential travel industry, as today's travelers are craving new, authentic
experiences that are closely connected to and enriched by their destination."
The "resorts" are
luxury camps that offer all the amenities and services of a luxury hotel, from
1,500-thread-count sheets to in-room massages, personal concierges and gourmet
They are portable, so they
can be placed on the side of a mountain, in the middle of a vineyard or even
inside special venues like museums, to offer that true sense of place that
today's luxury travelers crave. They can also be shuttered or moved during
off-seasons, making them much lighter assets than buildings.
Activities are tied to that
sense of place, such as horseback riding in Vail, fly fishing in Montana and
apple picking in the Hudson Valley.
The company is preparing to
open its fourth and fifth resorts in the Texas Hill Country and California's Sonoma County.
While its current camps are tented, Mack
earlier this year said they were exploring tree houses and Airstream trailers as
well as pop-up resorts in places like museums.
And with the new funding and
Turner's help, Mack said, Collective Retreats will begin working on a major
expansion that will likely include modular-style retreats -- "no buildings"
-- in urban areas. The company is also looking into international
opportunities, which could include a surf camp, Mack said.
What makes Collective
Retreats unique from many glamping experiences and mom-and-pop resorts, Turner
said, is the high level of professionalism and traditional luxury hotel
experience the team brings to resorts that are operating in remote areas.
"I think the thing that impressed me the
most was the ability of the company to
make it look easy," he said of his visit to Collective Retreat's
resort on an organic farm in the Hudson Valley. "So whether in middle of a
national park or on a farm, you need the operating skill set to be able to pull
it off. Because when things go wrong, the ability of the management team to
react and service recover is really critical."