Photo by Marc Millman
We all know the New York City summer routine. Escape to the beach. Any beach. But how? Where? And what will it cost?
If you’ve frequented the Fire Island, Hamptons, or Jersey Shore summer scene, chances are you stumbled upon a share house with 10-19 other visitors. You’re likely confined to bunk bed or other constrained living quarters. You may do some pool lounging in the day and hit a few clubs at night. And it costs a small fortune. But let’s suppose you could spend the weekend like a jetsetter, dine at five star restaurants, receive VIP treatment at every venue and live like you are among the “New Rich”, as coined by famed author of The 4 Hour Work Week, Timothy Ferris. And all for less than the price of an average weekend in the City. Would that interest you?
Along comes Weekend Passport, the professional’s ticket to luxury travel at a discount. It’s weekend escape, group occasions, and romantic getaways… a lifestyle choice.
For those Fire Island junkies who are In-the-know when it comes to who runs what houses and the local scene, you’ve heard of Joshua “KOFI” Schure and his company Weekend Passport. It is a membership service to vacation at an array of off-hotel luxury properties, from the Hamptons to Colombia, targeting eclectic activities and interests.
Traditional summer shares are popular for City dwellers. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it involves two or more people selecting a set of weekends to stay in a communal house at one location. The typical commitment is four weekends, or a “quarter share”. For years, Mr. Schure, a 10-year real estate veteran, offered this model to his client base. The limitations of this model, however, became immediately apparent.
“Over the years, I noticed that a significant portion of both returning and prospective clients were hesitant on committing to four or more summer weekends. People were either immersed in a season of wedding commitments, or simply wanted the budget they appropriated toward summer vacationing to consist of more than one destination. The masses became intrigued with variety, which was a major trend shift from one shore’s location and allure being more desirable than another.”
Mr. Schure also started receiving requests for single weekend corporate and private events. Traditional hotels simply could not offer the accommodations, amenities, and flexibility that these events required. According to Mr. Schure, “In these and any other economic times, working professionals deserve more than a 150 SF room with a bed and a toilet…which on Fire Island and the Hamptons would be considered a ‘suite’!”
The model had to be adapted. Mr. Schure took it upon himself to adapt it. The new model had to cater to the needs of all vacationers, regardless of whether they were single, married, in relationships, had families, or even were empty nesters.
In 2009, Mr. Schure targeted certain markets, looking to the Hamptons and the Jersey Shore to expand and diversify summer share vacationsand gave his clients “the choice”to customize and package their weekends anywhere and for any period of time. And so Weekend Passport was born.
Today, Weekend Passport operates over 10 properties. Its market share and buzz is growing. Mr. Schure’s business partner, Alexander Tuttle, who he met while in the same NYU masters program, facilitated the transition of Weekend Passport’s market expansion. Mr. Tuttle is an attorney and a partner at a renowned construction law firm in Midtown Manhattan. Mr. Schure told us, “Among many things, Alex makes sure we operate within all the guidelines and mainstays of the communities in which we have properties. Being accepted within, and being a positive part of where our properties reside are as important to us as servicing our own clientele.”
Weekend Passport’s staff includes managers who identify with each age demographic of its vacationers. A younger group will enjoy the fruits of a manager plugged into the social circle. A family of four will know exactly where to enjoy a cocktail by the sunset overlooking the bay. Through its array of amenities, Weekend Passport delivers a full weekend’s worth of unique itinerary and house perks at an attractive all-inclusive price.
This season, Skinny Water is sponsoring Weekend Passport, which will be one of the many perks offered by Weekend Passport. “I’m extremely excited to have Skinny Water as our main sponsor of the 2011 season. In having a brand that focuses on health, wellness, and meeting the needs of the calorie-conscious, we’ll have an incredible amenity to offer to our clientele, and it will further personify the lifestyle brand that Weekend Passport is building. I can’t think of a more important or pleasant resource for the summer vacationer than to have their thirst quenched on those hot beach days, or an aid in recovering from long nights. The fact there are sport, crave control and other great tasting flavors which have zero calories, zero sugar, zero sodium and zero preservatives and have all the vitamins, electrolytes, and anti-oxidants you find customers searching for in a beverage, leads me to believe there will be more ‘drinking’ this summer season.”
Weekend Passport focuses on delivering a lifestyle we all want, but assume we can’t have. Weekend Passport ensures that you can. Mr. Schure has been to just under 100 weddings of people who met in one of his summer properties over the course of his operations. While he’ll never consider himself a matchmaker, the concept brings a smile to the bachelor’s face. This fall he intends to further expand and begin operations in the Miami Beach and Central American markets, showcasing “extraordinary properties with an amazing itinerary for all types of groups and occasions,” giving all us Northeasterners a chance to live our summers through the winter.
Given their great track record, portfolio, and pricing, if you happen to be scrapping for last minute summer vacation plans for whatever the occasion may be, we suggest you visit Weekend Passport’s website, apply for free to become a member, and turn your summer dreams into reality.
Weekend Passport is currently located on Ocean Beach Fire Island