The dream takes shape

The dream takes shape

10 years on the Bond was growing, and fast; but then rapid overexpansion has been the death-knell of many a business. Was the Bond expanding too quickly? We certainly didn’t think so; and fortunately there were plenty of investors out there prepared to put their nervousness aside and climb aboard.

In 1993 Keith Morgan and wife Pat were considering future holiday options. “We were looking at timeshare,” Keith, a former electrical engineer, recalls, “and we saw an advertisement for the Holiday Property Bond. They were holding a presentation in Exeter, where we live. We went along, saw the portfolio of properties, and liked what we saw. My grandfather had left us some money, so we invested. It was a bit of a leap of faith – but the entry-level investment wasn’t huge… We’ve topped up three of four times since, however.”

Keith and Pat, a retired wages clerk with South-West Water, took their first Bond holiday at Rocha Brava on Portugal’s Algarve – then as now a shared site. “It was absolutely fantastic,” says Pat. “The setting was and is outstanding; and the holiday development as a whole was first-class. But, dare I say, the HPB properties and ‘public’ areas were just that little bit more first-class than the others?”

The Morgans’ second Bond holiday, to Tigh Mor Trossachs in Perthshire – then newly opened – proved that the Portuguese experience was no fluke.

Since then Pat and Keith – plus various permutations of Morgans – have made full use of the Bond. “We’ve been to most sites,” says Keith, “many more than once. Overseas, our favourite location is La Reserva de Biniorella in Majorca – in fact we’re going again in July to mark my 70th birthday; but our favourite foreign site is El Balcón de Santa Ana on the beautiful island of La Gomera, because it has everything – magnificent gardens, a superb restaurant and a well stocked on-site mini market. The facilities and pools are most welcoming. All the apartments are spacious and well appointed and have magnificent views of the gardens and the sea beyond. Although it is one of HPB’s larger sites, we have found on our visits it is amazingly quiet and peaceful, and a location that provides a very relaxed atmosphere.”

UK favourites include Lodge Yard in Askrigg, nestling in the Yorkshire Dales; Merlewood in the southern Lake District (“three times: twice before the site was fully opened, and once since – a real family gathering”); and Henllys in Anglesey, “for three reasons: the location, the views, and the facilities,” says Keith, “particularly the golf. Our son Colin, son-in-law Mike and I are keen on ‘a good walk, spoiled’, and to have a Championship-standard course on site like that – well, it’s irresistible isn’t it? In fact we were there again towards the end of April.”

It is perhaps easier to name the sites the Morgans haven’t visited. Barnham Broom in Norfolk has yet to welcome Keith and Pat – perhaps surprisingly, given not one but two Championship-level golf courses to its name; Lower Knapp Farm in Devon is, says Keith, “too close to home” (though he helps out at the site’s Open Days); and they have still to visit Encosta Cabo Girão in Madeira, Coreggia in Puglia, Le Manoir du Hilguy in Brittany, Le Mont de St Siméon in Île de France or Santa Rosa in Lanzarote. Any particular reason?

"None whatsoever", Pat insists. “It’s just a question of timing, really – having some time available when there’s property availability to match!”

“That’s one of the things we love about the Bond,” avers Keith. “The different sizes, ages and shapes, of sites and of properties, means that there’s something for everyone and no two Bond holidays are exactly the same. But there's always something tempting in the portfolio. And we’re booked to go to Lanzarote early in 2015.”

Flexibility and variety are all very well, but what the Morgans value most is the Bond’s standards – of accommodation, furnishings, facilities, service – and safety. “We have four grandchildren,” says Pat. “Colin’s two boys, Christopher, 19, and Benjamin, 17; and our daughter Helen’s twins Eloïse and Connor, 17. They all grew up with the Bond; to be able to take them on holiday with us, as babies, toddlers, young children, and know that they were going to be safe and looked after, was worth so much. It meant we could all relax and enjoy ourselves.”

The future, says Keith, is all positive. “Try as I might – and I am trying – I can’t think of a bad word to say about HPB. It’s been a real boon for us, and our family, and remains so. The children and grandchildren don’t use it as much as they did – but they will; and it means much to Pat and I that we have such a great asset to pass on. What’s it worth? Not much; but its value is incalculable.”

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