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Thomas LaTour will be bringing the “LaTour Touch” to the shared-ownership luxury resort market, using his 23 years as chairman and CEO of the guest pampering boutique chain Kimpton Hotels & Resorts to start up the San Francisco-based LaTour Signature Properties, a consulting and management firm for developers of small, ground-up, shared-ownership resorts at emerging ski, golf, oceanfront and urban locations. The firm will consult with developers on construction, amenities and the Kimpton Hotels signature, a five-star restaurant, and a staff trained in the LaTour way of management and customer service.

The first project LaTour is consulting on design, amenities and will operate is under construction in Olamar in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, selling one-eight interests ranging for units costing $1,000 per sf. Residences will range from $300,000 to $2 million in properties of 50 to 150 units in all of the developments

LaTour says he will bring the same guest services style he pushed at Kimpton, as he grew the chain from 11 to 40 properties, to the small shared-ownership projects in top resort locations.

GlobetSt.com talked to LaTour about the upside in scaled-down, five-star resorts in the fraction resort market.

GlobeSt.com: Why would you say your concept is a success?

LaTour: When you get above the mid- and large-sized projects, you end up with more mixed-use, use more land and to have more amenities it takes big brands, Ritz or Four Seasons. These (50- to 150-unit resorts) I’m doing are too small for the big guys. It’s a hole in the market that I can fill. Kimpton was a foundation experience and we’ll launch from that platform and other creative ideas.

GlobeSt.com: What’s the reception of potential buyers and your locations?

LaTour: We’re banking that second home buyers are tired of traditional fraction products, the large high-rises with a room on the beach and little amenities. Besides Mexico properties Rosarito and Ensenada , Los Cabos (Loreto) and Playa del Carmen, and the Dominican Republic and Caribbean, we’re looking at Deer Creek and Aspen, CO. The reason the fraction market is growing is the growing affluent (public). It’s clear people are getting wealthier and everyone wants a second home or vacation home. And we can give them all of the amenities in a small property instead of that room on the beach.

GlobeSt.com: You built a loyal customer base with Kimpton through focusing on design of properties and hands-on guest services, such as the welcome mat for pets. How do you transfer that from hotels to fractional ownership?

LaTour: We have five criteria for our properties. A strong culinary statement that has a star chef, a large wine statement and a large wine cellar (LaTour has his own 25 acre vineyard) where residents can have their own wine storage. Also, we include a wellness center with full spas and connecting residents to all of the other local activity programs (in the resort areas).

The fourth criteria is entertaining. In villa entertaining, you can have a popular chef (of the resort) come to the villa (to cook). And the fifth is we have a strong concierge program, a concierge program for life. An owner can use our concierge services even if not staying at the resort at the time. You’re sitting around with your buddies and you want to go to the Indy 500 or Augusta. How do you get tickets? Through any LaTour Signature concierge.

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