Exclusive club that brings together great directors, explorers, high-level athletes, artists and starred chefs
Published on 24 October 2016
When the pressing obligations of time and place become too imposing, it is tempting to want to escape and recharge but also in a stimulating, interesting, personally engaging sort of way – anywhere, somewhere. Enter the Somewhere Club, which brings together a tailored combination of directors, explorers, scientists, high-level sportsmen, artists and chefs for a made-to-measure travel adventure. Given the diverse hotel destinations within Oetker Collection, local hotels and Somewhere Club have begun teaming up to offer guests some of these extraordinary experiences, so that each destination offers specific activities that express a special sense of place, and are an invitation to live one’s wildest, most adventurous dreams.
Alongside specialists who have made their passion their profession, swim with whales, fly with birds, witness a volcanic eruption, go to the South Pole, and ski alongside world champions... Somewhere Club consists of a network of 35 specialists, each ready for the next adventure. Stéphane Brunner, who co-founded the venture with Pierre Malherbe describes: “Around a unique destination, we put together people with certain skills who do not usually work together – for example, a sportsman and an explorer who share the same love of nature. Or, a world champion free diver, a writer, and an expedition leader. We made the specific choice not to be a travel agency, but working instead exclusively around the human factor. We are like travel designers. We take care of the specific experience and the participation of the personalities of the expedition.”
An atypical proposition, indeed, and the inspiration behind Somewhere Club is as equally unexpected. “The origin was in fact the television show called Ushuaïa Nature hosted by Nicolas Hulot which broadcast on TF1 for 25 years,” explains Brunner. “It was enormously successful, as he led viewers around the planet on different explorations and discovery adventures. When it stopped in 2008, and Nicolas Hulot entered politics, we were sad to see it end. We wondered what would become of the directors, the explorers, and the scientists who were part of this show? We came up with the idea of allowing private clients to live the same experience as the presenter in Ushuaïa Nature. We got in contact with its participants and everyone was happy to regroup around this unusual project. And we met others with common values who had something to share of their experiences around the world.”
Each destination welcomes specific activities that express the special sense of place. Jean-Pierre Soutric, Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing Oetker Collection describes this gem of an opportunity for guests. “It’s an exceptional opportunity to offer to all the people who come to the hotels to experience adventures with important specialists, meet great champions in all types of categories and to experience what they would not be able to experience otherwise.” This past winter at L’Apogée Courchevel, ski excursions were organised with a double Olympic medal winner. Other adventures in view could be to meet large fish in free-diving expedition in the blue waters of St Barths, venture out kite surfing with a world champion on the shores of Fregate Island Private, or fly with wild birds in a unique apparatus led by Christian Moullec while at Château Saint-Martin & Spa, in Provence. For any guest, anywhere, it is an opportunity for an atypical experience not to be forgotten. Stéphane Brunner explains the very natural association between Oetker Collection and Somewhere Club: “What brought us together is a common vision. From our side, the voyage is centred on the human, the rich personalities. When I met CEO Franck Marrenbach, he expressed a certain vision of hospitality, which is centred on the human, on quality, and the desire to mark each establishment with a personal element. It made total sense. A personalised encounter for each establishment also becomes a transmission of skills and passion.”
Behind Somewhere Club is a philosophy of open perspectives and a sense of liberty. Stéphane Brunner elaborates: “Freedom has many dimensions. What I discovered on a trip around the world was the capacity to throw away the watch and have a different sense of time than what society imposes. We find ourselves with human beings. And break away from consuming, always looking for something, where time doesn’t have a thickness to it. This freedom could not be without a quality human connection. This is what is attractive. To spend time with each personality for, in the end, a sense of freedom comes in connection with time and human beings.”
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