When a ‘nice’ holiday simply isn’t good enough

When a ‘nice’ holiday simply isn’t good enough

In 2013 the Holiday Property Bond celebrated 30 years of providing wonderful holidays for its investors. And this year, as it happens, my husband John and I will chalk up 20 years as Bondholders. A “glass-half-empty” type could rue the fact that we missed out on a decade-plus of HPB holidays! But we have plenty to look back on – and all of it good.

We made our decision to invest in HPB after being very impressed by the high standard of accommodation we were shown at Buckland Court in the Cotswolds. I felt I could live in the apartment, not just spend a week there.

Many older sites – Buckland included – have interesting histories, as the Bond’s portfolio includes a baronial castle (St Brides Castle in Pembrokeshire), a Victorian former hotel (Tigh Mor Trossachs in Perthshire), two country manors (Kent’s Sibton Park and Duloe Manor in Cornwall), a château in France (Le Manoir du Hilguy in Brittany) and an Italian palazzo (Stigliano in Tuscany). All have been restored with great sensitivity which blends the past with present needs. New developments, meanwhile, reflect the character of their locality. It’s always a pleasure to arrive at somewhere new to us and see how this has been achieved.

Champagne country

Bond properties are great places to celebrate special occasions. With their combination of beautiful locations and well-equipped kitchens you can dine happily in your apartment or villa.

Some have on-site restaurants; or you can consult the copious information provided in the club rooms for local restaurants. Champagne glasses and an ice bucket are an integral part of the kitchen inventory at Le Mont de St Siméon, a restored farm site in the Île de France, just east of Paris and within a few miles of champagne country.

It is a tradition with us to celebrate my January birthday at Langton House in Dorset, a former (rather draconian) boys’ prep school. We love being able to walk along the south-west coast path from the site. It’s an ideal place for a winter break, and we are confident of returning to warmth and comfort after bracing outings.

Fascinating places

La Reserva de Biniorella, overlooking the small bay of Cala de Mar in south-west Majorca, is a popular family site. We made our first visit there in 2006, and were impressed by the location and the island. At the welcome meeting, provided daily for new arrivals, site manager Javier Ceballos said it was his job to see we had a ‘fantastic’ holiday. ‘Nice’ was not good enough. He was as good as his word – enough for us to break with our Langton House tradition, as we returned to Majorca for two weeks a couple of Januarys ago, to celebrate my birthday. No disrespect to Dorset; but it was nice to be somewhere a bit warmer for a change, and the almond blossom was spectacular!

A number of our holidays were chosen from the wide-ranging Tenancy brochure, which contains properties let through HPB but not owned by the Bond. Nikatsas Villas on the unspoilt north-east coast of Corfu was a particularly memorable choice. With its position within the olive groves, we got a true flavour of Greece and views of Albania from the pool terrace. Spring is the best time to see flowers and fireflies, which by night transform the olive groves into a sparkling fairyland.

Blore Hall in Derbyshire is our current UK favourite. It is a small site of 20 cottages and apartments, completely surrounded by the beautiful Peak District countryside and overlooking Ilam and Dovedale. We enjoy exchanging experiences with other residents at the twice-weekly dinners held in the medieval banqueting hall.

Endless potential

Bondholders are consulted periodically about their preferences for future locations. And we’re really looking forward to visiting two of HPB’s newest developments, El Pueblito de Alfaix in southern Spain and Merlewood in the Lake District. I’m sure they’ll both be very different, but the standard and attention to detail will be as excellent as at all the other Bond sites.

We have never regretted our decision to become Bondholders. We feel we haven’t even begun to exhaust the potential for memorable holidays.

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