30 Jan Luxurious Magazine meets with former British No.1 tennis champion, Tim Henman who serves up the latest on The Hideaways Club, luxury travel destinations, fine wines, Wimbledon Championships and why he’s enjoying his retirement so much?
LM: So Tim, please tell our Luxurious Magazine readers a little about The Hideaways Club and its offer?
TH: The Hideaways Club is a brilliant alternative to buying a house abroad. It’s a shared ownership club where members invest in, and holiday in, beautiful homes from a portfolio of properties owned by the Club in fantastic locations around the world. You can then enjoy holidays in these luxury homes through membership of a destination and lifestyle club. Lower capital investment is required for membership of The Hideaways Club compared with buying a second home and you’ll never be bored with the same location as you’ve got the flexibility of staying in a variety of beautifully furnished homes, each with a different character and ambience.
Membership comes without any of the hassle of property maintenance or finding a reliable key holder and is also supported by a great concierge service that will help organise your holiday, eg sorting out ski hire and lessons, transfers, or booking babysitting or sight-seeing tours. When our children were small the concierge would organise things like cots, car seats and they even stocked the fridge with our favourite foods.
LM: Why did the Hideaways Club appeal to you? Is it a sound investment programme?
TH: When I stopped playing professional tennis, my wife Lucy and I were considering buying a home abroad in either Tuscany or the south of France. We love skiing and also thought about buying a chalet, but we weren’t going to buy several properties. A friend introduced me to The Hideaways Club and we realised membership of the club was the answer as it provides access to a wide variety of beautiful properties around the world, plus potential investment growth. I also like the fact that my investment is spread across different markets. If in several years time you decide to exit the Club, then you can sell your stake to an incoming Member approved by the Club.
LM: The Hideaways Club has a portfolio of properties that come under either the ‘Classic Collection’ or the ‘City Collection’. Tell us more about these two particular funds that members can choose from?
TH: The Classic Collection offers a choice of 40 stunning villas and chalets owned by The Hideaways Club all across the world, including France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Mauritius, South Africa and South East Asia. Members can also stay in a further 200 luxury destinations through reciprocal agreements with other clubs. An alliance with HotelSwaps provides access to an even wider collection of luxury hotels and residences around the world.
Classic Collection properties are great if you are travelling with friends and family, as we have, as the homes typically sleep 8-10 guests.
The City Collection offers 11 city centre apartments in some of the world’s most iconic cities, such as New York, Prague, Berlin, Istanbul and Bangkok, with a further choice of 39 destinations available through reciprocal agreements. These apartments typically sleep 4-6 guests.
LM: Explain how to become a Hideaways Club Member? What’s the entry level?
TH: There are different entry points for Hideaways Club membership depending on when and where you want to travel and your budget. If you love city breaks, then the City Collection might suit you best, with investment starting at £69,500. If you want to enjoy holidays in a range of different destinations including rural hideaways, tropical beach villas or luxurious ski chalets in some of the best resorts, then Classic Collection would be ideal, with investment starting at £88,000.
LM: What’s your favourite luxurious travel destination and why?
TH: Two years ago I stayed at The Hideaways Club property in Ko Samui in Thailand for New Year. It is an amazing villa which surpassed our expectations and we had incredible staff looking after us. We went with another family and we all enjoyed the Thai food, the great beaches and the weather. It was great to get away from the UK winter for a while.
LM: Where’s next on your travel destination bucket list?
TH: I’d love to go to South Africa for some winter sun. There’s no time difference to the UK which is a bonus and there’s lots to see and do, with some excellent wines to try too. I’d also like to go to Bali as I’ve never been there.
LM: What luxury item could you not live without?
TH: Wine! I really enjoy sharing good wines with friends. I’ve always been a wine fan and I especially like red wine from Saint-Julien in the Médoc region of Bordeaux. I discovered wine through my parents, from holidays in Portugal in my childhood. There was often a bottle of rosé on the table to try.
LM: When did you start collecting wines?
TH: I’ve been building my wine collection for about seven or eight years, since I stopped playing professional tennis and some bottles have been laid down for the long term.
LM: Which is your favourite type of luxury holiday? Beach Villa retreat? City escape? or Skiing on the slopes?
TH: We especially love beach holidays. My wife Lucy and our three daughters really enjoy the sun.
A close second to this would be a ski holiday. For insurance reasons I couldn’t ski while I was a professional player and skiing is something we really enjoy as a family, so we always have an annual skiing holiday with The Hideaways Club. So far, we have stayed in the club’s chalets in Chamonix, Nendaz and Morzine. Chalet Lumiere in Morzine is our favourite and we’ve been there six times.
LM: Wimbledon Championships remains a very special place for any tennis player lucky enough to grace its courts. Can you share with our Luxurious Magazine readers your top three highlights as a tennis player during your playing career at the prestigious Wimbledon Championships?
TH: My first match on Centre Court was very memorable. It was against Yevgeny Kafelnikov and I beat him 7-5 in the fifth set.
In 1997 I was lucky enough to play on the middle Sunday at Wimbledon against the Dutch player Paul Haarhuis, who I beat 14-12 in the fifth set. Tennis fans had been queuing for tickets overnight and it was an amazing atmosphere.
I also have great memories of my match against Roger Federer on Centre Court in 2001 where I won in four sets. This was an achievement I am particularly proud of, knowing what a great player Roger is.
LM: You seem to be really enjoying your retirement from tennis. What’s your secret?
TH: I’m lucky that I enjoy everything I’ve been involved in since I retired from professional tennis. I still play tennis and commentate at Wimbledon, where I am also on the board. I also work with Jaguar and Rolex, giving coaching clinics for example and I have worked with HSBC and Robinson’s for 20 years. I’ve been a member and ambassador of The Hideaways Club since 2009.
Fortunately I still have time to play golf and spend time with my family.
LM: As an Ambassador for The Hideaways Club tell our Luxurious Magazine readers why they should visit a Hideaways Club property?
TH: It’s such a great model. Members are not restricted to one property as you would be if you bought a holiday home. Instead you have access to a wide variety of homes, whether you are into skiing or city breaks or beach holidays. It ticks all the boxes in terms of investment and choice.
LM: What exciting future plans for The Hideaways Club can you share with our Luxurious Magazine readers?
TH: Well it’s great that the Hideaways Club is continuing to add extremely desirable properties to its portfolio, all worth more than £1.2 million, with the aim of owning a total of 100 homes across the globe in the Classic Collection and 100 in the City Collection, which means even more choice of destination for the Members. For example, The Club has just acquired Kentroma House in Corfu, which is a fantastic villa overlooking the sea which has been totally redesigned and refurbished, which I’m looking forward to visiting some time soon.