29 May 2012

It's HPB darling....

I've just come back from a week's holiday in Lanzarote, staying at the HPB Santa Rosa resort, and I thought I would share with you my experience of travelling HPB style. 

Until a few years ago, I'd never heard of a Holiday Property Bond. I'm not a financial expert, and I am not FSA regulated, but this is how it works as I understand it.

You basically invest in a life assurance bond with HPB and this gives you a financial interest in a portfolio of villas, cottages and apartments across Europe. Your investment gives you a certain number of points a year (depending on how much you invest), meaning you can go on holiday as many times a year as you like, until your points run out.

The next year, you get your points back, and you can start holidaying all over again. Some properties cost more points than others, and certain times of the year cost more points than others. But if you invest a good amount of money in your bond initially, and you are clever with when and where you go, you can enjoy lovely holidays a couple of times a year. And, if you want to take your money out, you can, and if you die, the money is gifted to your relatives (jolly!).
The view from our balcony at Santa Rosa in Lanzarote. The HPB terrace is in the foreground.
So, with HPB, you get an alternative to a fixed timeshare. Instead of going to the same place, year on year, you can go to a range of places with a range of accommodation types. In fact, they apparently have over 1,000 properties! The only costs, after your initial investment, are your flights, a small maintenance charge and of course your drinking money! 

And, although it means that you get a fairly cheap holiday, the accommodation certainly is not cheap. To date, I've only been to two and I've been impressed with both.

Before we went to Lanzarote, we looked at the reviews on Trip Advisor of the Santa Rosa resort. Quite a few of them mentioned that the HPB apartment and pool were much nicer than the non HPB accommodation which is situated on the same site. So much so that the phrase of the holiday became "it's not HPB darling" to describe a second rate experience or person.

One of the beaches in Costa Teguise, Lanzarote, a few minutes walk from the HPB site
Our poolside area could not be accessed by the not "HPB darling" people, which made us feel most superior! On the first day, there was a Paella cookery demonstration and we all had Paella and sangria by the pool whilst sneering at the "other" people over the fence! And every now and then, we would pop over to their side, just because we could!

When I booked the room, I was told how many steps there were to my front door, the size of my balcony and also whether I had twin or a double bed. The self catering apartments had every single utensil you could possibly require - more than in my house! There was even a wine cooler, for my El Grifo Malvasia Colleccion wine that I drank while in Lanzarote. Amazing attention to detail, and very HPB.

Oh, and did I mention about the free wifi?
The HPB St Brides property with its sweeping driveway
I've also been to a property near St Davids in Wales called HPB St Brides. We went for a family Christmas and it was lovely to stay in 99 acres of parkland, by a castle which you reached via a long, sweeping driveway, flanked with spectacular views of the sea.

As you can see, I'm a bit of a fan! I've just booked Turunc in Turkey for October, which also looks lovely so I'll let you know how I get on.

Please note. I do not work for HPB and I am not FSA regulated. Therefore, if you are interested to invest in HPB, I would suggest you visit their website or ring them to talk it all through, as I am sure there are a range of exclusions such as minimum investment etc they would have to go through with you: http://www.hpb.co.uk/howitworks/

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