With HPB the ski’s the limit

With HPB the ski’s the limit

Helen and her partner Peter Cousins have been holidaying at Viehhofen, the Bond’s small chalet complex in Saalbach Hinterglemm in the heart of the Austrian Alps, every January for the past six years. “The snow is reliable, the skiing is superb, and the infrastructure is modern and well integrated,” says Peter. “Bus transport to the pistes every 10 minutes, heated ski lifts, helpful staff… everything works – and it’s all there to ensure that skiers have the best possible time.”

“Austria’s good value, too,” adds Helen. “And being able to stay in one of the Bond’s beautiful chalets – rent-free, with just the not-for-profit User Charge to consider – makes good value even better!”

Helen invested in the Bond towards the end of the 1980s. “I owned a flat at the time – but, then as now, there was a property slump on; nobody was buying or selling anything. I saw an ad for HPB, and decided that the money I’d put aside for a putative property purchase would be just as well spent on some nice holidays! I’ve never regretted it…”

Back then, holidays involved children: two boys and two girls. They’re all grown up now, but “Nick, my eldest son, regularly visits Barnham Broom, HPB’s Norfolk home, with his friends”, Helen says. “They’re all golf-mad, and with not one but two Championship-level courses to choose from – closest thing to heaven! The girls have been to Austria with us – and would happily stay there all the time; but university gets in the way.”

Other Bond holidays have taken the couple – with and without the children – to locations as diverse as Tigh Mor Trossachs in Perthshire; Duloe Manor in Cornwall; St Brides Castle in Pembrokeshire; the Ivy House, the Bond-owned hotel in Cumbria; Stigliano in Tuscany; Encosta Cabo Girão in Madeira; La Reserva de Biniorella in Majorca; Rocha Brava in Portugal’s Algarve; and El Pueblito de Alfaix in southern Spain, one of HPB’s more recent developments.

Their favourite site, however, is El Balcón de Santa Ana in La Gomera, the second smallest of the Canary Islands. “We love the remoteness of it,” says Peter, “and the lack of tourism. It’s instantly relaxing: the views are breathtaking, the grounds magnificent, the climate glorious and there are loads of lovely walks to enjoy.”

“We’re very active people,” adds Helen. “As well as skiing – obviously – we play golf (yes, we frequent Barnham Broom, too), tennis, we like walking… we’re ‘do-ers’, rather than ‘sitters’. But the Bond offers plenty of opportunity for both!”

For the future, the couple, both now retired, hope to visit more UK sites. “We’ve done a few,” says Peter, “but there are plenty more yet. Blore Hall in the Peak District, for instance. Buckland Court in the Cotswolds looks tempting…”

“The choice is diverse,” concludes Helen.

“But the excellence is standard.”

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