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Vacation in a Luxurious Home Instead of a Hotel

Aired May 16, 2003 - 11:51   ET


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Speaking of getting around and getting about, vacationers and business travelers don't have to stay in a hotel if they're only planning on being someplace for just a few nights. Luxury homes and apartments are now available in many locations for short-term rentals. And we hear they have all the amenities.
For more on this travel trend our guest this morning is Mitch Willey. He's founder and president of Time & Place Homes.

Good to see you, Mitch. How are you?

MITCH WILLEY, TIME & PLACE HOMES: Good morning, Leon. Thanks.

HARRIS: This is something that struck me as rather strange. I can't imagine that very many people -- well, I -- well, I guess maybe it's because it's a world I would never live in. People are renting out their luxury homes to let strangers come in there and stay?

WILLEY: Absolutely. It's a new trend that we're seeing.

Actually, Leon, I think people are getting tired, a bit bored with hotels, even luxury hotels. So they're looking for something different, something unique, but something very private. And yet they don't want to forego the services of a five-star hotel. So what we've combined is both. That's why we call it Time & Place Homes, your private hotel.

HARRIS: All right. So what kind of places are we talking about here and where are they?

WILLEY: Well, we have properties in Paris; Palm Springs, California; Naples, Florida; and Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.

HARRIS: Now are these famous people's homes or just anonymous just filthy rich people?

WILLEY: You know, we do have some celebrity properties. But these are -- what makes them special, we think, is they all have a wild factor. They don't have to be particularly large, necessarily, nor terribly expensive. They're very affordable. Because the other trend we're seeing is that people, even at the highest levels, want great value.

For instance, in Paris -- this might surprise you, but you could get a great Paris apartment with Time & Place with your own driver, a terrace that can seat 10 for dinner, $270 a night.


WILLEY: With a driver, private concierge and all the services of a luxury hotel.

HARRIS: Two-hundred and seventy U.S., (UNINTELLIGIBLE), what are you talking here -- $270 U.S.?

WILLEY: ...$270 or approximately $270 euros as well.

HARRIS: That's incredible. That's absolutely -- now, is it that -- just that way over in Europe or can you find that kind of deal here in the states as well?

WILLEY: Well, in the United States we have -- they're not apartments, they're homes and they tend to be larger homes. But they're also a good value, Leon.

What we're finding now is that people are gathering together. There's a lot of emphasis on families coming together for reunions, friends gathering for golf weekends and outings.

So, for instance, you could rent one of the estates in Palm Springs, a five-bedroom estate -- the Papa John Phillips home, for instance -- with a fabulous pool and spa. And if you compare that to three couples renting a suite, suites in a nice hotel, it's actually less expensive than the private home.

HARRIS: So what would be the best -- if you had to pick a place to tell folks about and advertise and entice them this morning, what would be the No. 1 spot to try to get into here in the states that would be the best bargain, the best wow factor you could find.

WILLEY: In the United States?


WILLEY: Yes. Probably Palm Springs today.


WILLEY: We have 10 homes there and you can have a variety, from a three-bedroom mid-century home to an 8,000 square foot estate on the 18th-hole golf course in Palm Desert.

HARRIS: Oh my God. All right. Let me see if I can get the 401(k) cranked up and get a shot at that.

You know what? I'm worried about -- I'm wondering about, you know, if I happen to be the person who owns that home and you're constantly renting it out -- is there -- I mean, what's the risk to me if I'm owning a home there and I turn it over to this program and, you know, I come and find my place either trashed or emptied?

WILLEY: Fair question, and every right to be skeptical as a homeowner. Frankly, that's why I started the company because I'm a homeowner who had rented their homes.

But it's all about quality control and it's making sure that we pick our staff locally very carefully. The other thing that happens, quite frankly, is we have a concierge in every location. They get to know the tenant. And if you -- you won't violate that relationship with the concierge because they become your friend. And that's why these people are listing their homes with us. They are well taken care of, and they know that they can be secure in that.

HARRIS: All right. And this all includes trash pickup?

WILLEY: Oh, absolutely.

HARRIS: Bed turning, laundry, all that stuff too?

WILLEY: Oh, of course. Daily maid service, if you like it. Catered dinners, baby-sitting, golf packages. You could go to a different golf course every day, Leon, if you wanted...

HARRIS: All right.

WILLEY: ... and we'd arrange it.

HARRIS: You sold me. You sold me. Now I got to go sell some stock to try and check this out.

Thanks, Mitch Willey, Time & Place Homes. Very interesting idea. Good luck with it.

WILLEY: Thanks so much.


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