LEADING HOTELS LAUNCHES DESTINATION CLUB

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Leading Hotels, a collection of luxury properties, will partner with Cendant Corp. to sell membership starting June 15 in 'The Leading Residences of the World,' a group of about 20 properties world-wide. Destination clubs, unlike timeshares, require a one-time deposit plus annual dues to give members access to a variety of homes -- so they can ski one winter vacation and hit the beach the next.

Membership in Leading's club will start at a one-time payment of $325,000, plus annual dues of $15,000 -- but unlike some other competitors, there will be no usage fee per night or stay. The deposit will be 80% refundable (some competitors are 100%) but will be backed by an insurance policy (many other clubs don't refund the money until new members buy in).

Leading plans to have 40 properties by the end of the year, with a lot of the homes in or near some of the top hotels that it represents. To start, for instance, it'll have a private home on the grounds of the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, and suites in Paris' Hotel Lancaster.