Inspirato Review: Is The Experience as Magical as it Seems?

April 8, 2021
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Inspirato is a destination club founded in 2010 that offers two different memberships. The Club allows its members to rent one of their vacation houses for up to 60 days at a time. The Pass allows members to pick a vacation from an extensive list with no nightly fees (much like Netflix) or rent one of their vacation houses for up to 60 days. This allows people the opportunity to enjoy a nice vacation with or without having to worry about planning or paying for their stay.

However, due to Inspirato’s high monthly fee and the difficulty involved with booking the vacations you want, we recommend Airbnb Luxe instead. They offer an amazing array of properties strewn all across the globe and you won't have to pay a monthly fee just to get access to them. If you want to check it out, click on the button below.

#1 What Is Inspirato?

Inspirato is a destination club that offers luxury vacation subscription that includes:

  • Homes
  • Hotels
  • Personalized luxury service, and
  • Experiences.

With a platform full of diverse options of luxury vacations from which people can choose, it also seems to be one of the best ways to travel multiple times a year, even if the idea comes up as a last-minute plan. Founded in 2010 by Brad Handler, Inspirato’s headquarters are located in Denver, Colorado, USA.

What is Inspirato’s Business Model?

The company is pretty much charging their Inspirato Pass members for as many luxury vacations as they can fit in a year, so the question is obvious: how is this sustainable?

They manage this kind of business by using the extra space that doesn’t get booked in hotels and homes, just like Uber decided to use extra space in cars. By doing this, they manage to get discounts as high as 90% because a vacant hotel room is a loss for any hotel, and they would much rather have it occupied for less money than not at all.

But is it all too good to be true? In this Inspirato Review, we will be covering the things that they can offer you and comparing them with one of our personal favourites, Airbnb Luxe.

#2 What Do They Offer And How Much Does It Cost?

Inspirato offers two different subscription plans, Inspirato Club and Inspirato Pass:

Inspirato Club

The Inspirato Club membership offers specific destinations, accommodations, and dates from the full Inspirato collection of homes, hotels, and experiences (activities that can be booked during stay). They have weekly jaunts, which are discount offers and no long-term commitment (people are allowed to cancel their subscription at any time). All for $600 per month, plus the cost of nightly rates during the stay.

Inspirato Pass

The Inspirato Pass membership offers vacation packages from a list of thousands of trips —updated daily —in their homes, hotels, and experiences. For a monthly fee of $2,500 you’ll get:

  • An Inspirato Club membership (which means people also have access to all of Inspirato Club benefits in addition to those of Inspirato Pass).
  • No long-term commitment.
  • No nightly rates, taxes, or fees.

Experiences

Members can also book Experiences, which can be a variety of things:

  • Luxury Safaris
  • Luxury cruises,
  • Dinners in big cities, and
  • Different activities around the area you are in.

#3 What Is Included In The cost?

The answer to this question will depend on the type of membership a person has:

Club members are paying for:

  • The right to book any of these exclusive homes and experiences
  • Discounts, known as “jaunts”. 
  • However, this membership doesn’t exclude members from paying for nightly rates, meals, and activities they decide to take during the vacation they plan.

Pass memberships include:

  • Completely planned out vacations
  • Some activities are available in the Inspirato Pass experience section.
  • Access to the Club’s benefits, so they are also able to plan out custom vacations by paying night fees and the different activities they decide to have on their trip.

Both of these memberships allow you to cancel a reservation up to 72 hours before the booking is due, without any penalties; and it is important to note that even though Inspirato can arrange flights so that there won’t be any effort needed to book them, but those expenses are not included in the membership and must be paid for separately.

#4 How Does Inspirato Work?

Inspirato started as a destination club with several vacation houses around the world that members could book to make a vacation trip. This is still how the Inspirato Club membership works: members book a property out of Inspirato’s list and can spend up to 60 days there, based on availability. These vacations can be booked no later than 7 days before the trip is due, and as early as 365 days before. But members need to pay for accommodation and experiences.

Then in 2019, they launched their Inspirato Pass membership, which works pretty much like Netflix. It’s not about deciding to take a trip to Monaco and using the Inspirato Pass to do so, it’s more about scrolling through the options and finding something you like or want to try. Inspirato Pass will not allow members to plan out a full vacation (you need to use the Club membership for that), the idea is to do the complete opposite. Members should scroll through the options of fully planned vacations and find which of these appeal the most to them and their family.

“Inspirato Pass works pretty much like Netflix”

Members with Inspirato Pass are also members of the Club, so even though they can have only one active reservation at a time with the Pass, they can have a second active reservation through the Club membership (which means they would have to pay for accommodations). To book a new trip with Pass, members must wait until they book out of their last vacation and the new trip can only be as soon as seven days after members booked out of their last trip. They are allowed however to subscribe to a second and even a third Inspirato Pass to have up to three active reservations.

#5 Is Inspirato good for Last Minute Vacations?

Inspirato tends to reduce the number of days members can spend at a place the closer they are to their arrival date. This means that any last-minute getaways they can book will usually be around two or three days long, but if members wish to do so, they can book extra days through the Club and pay for the nightly fee, based on availability.

#6 Sharing Privileges

The Pass subscription allows members to take a vacation with their family and/or friends, but either the member or their partner should be there for the booking. However, if a member wishes to do so, they may pay an additional $500 per month to get unlimited sharing privileges.

It is important to note that the number of people you can bring with you on a trip will depend on the place you are booking. Some homes will have room for two people, others will have room for six, and so on.

#7 What Are Inspirato’s Weaknesses?

Inspirato is offering a new kind of service with their pass subscription and it all sounds amazing. But their service is not perfect either, so we want to highlight a few mayor cons that we found:

You will have a $600 or $2,500 recurring cost

You will need to pay this fee every month even if you are not using the subscription. This means you will have to pay $7,200 to $30,000 a year to be a member of Inspirato and this is just the subscription fee. Remember that you will also have to pay for any nightly fees or activities that come up, which means these are not the final costs.

Members cannot have more than one active reservation

Unless you purchase a second or third membership, this will allow you one more active reservation each, but will also double or triple the monthly fee. People are using this platform, so a member might find a vacation that suits their needs perfectly while they already have an active reservation, and then not find it once they’ve booked out of their last reservation. These offers have high rotation and can get booked at any minute, so you might end up needing to call a travel agency to book exactly what you need.

For complex vacations, you’ll need a travel agency

Also, members who are looking for more complex vacations, visiting several places in one trip, usually stick to travel agencies to book hotels and tours. This is because these kinds of trips would need to be booked well in advance, and during that time members of the Inspirato Pass wouldn’t be able to use their memberships to their full extent.

Limited variety of properties

Even if they have a vast amount of locations, there are a few locations where they don’t have any homes, so they rely on partnerships with hotels. This means that the chances of finding an available place to stay might be tricky if you don’t book it months in advance when you have a particular place in mind where you want to take a vacation.

Limited availability

Especially as your travel dates approach, you might find that you can’t stay at a property for the number of days you were hoping for or on the dates you had planned. The closer your trip is, the more complicated it becomes to find whatever it is you need. So, in the end, you might end up needing to plan around Inspirato’s availability and offers instead of your convenience and preferences.

Furthermore, like most other online travel agencies, Inspirato can’t connect with loyalty programs.

#8 Inspirato vs. Airbnb Luxe

Inspirato is a very good option for people who have flexible work schedules and can plan out a vacation at short notice. But if you don't have that or simply don't travel enough to spend so much money on an Inspirato membership, then Airbnb Luxe could be the option for you and here's why:

Book as many trips as you want

With Airbnb Luxe you can book a place to stay anytime you want even if you already have other active reservations. With every home comes a trip designer that is there to plan every detail of your vacations and make sure everything is perfect. They are there to make sure you get everything you may want and although the cost of the things you ask for are not included in the price, Airbnb does not have a levy over it.

No recurring fees

With Airbnb Luxe you don’t have a subscription fee, you pay for what you get, however much that might add up to. If for any reason you don’t travel throughout the year, you don’t need to pay for anything at all, so you don’t lose any money.

Thousands of properties to choose from

Since they rent most of the houses they offer, they have around 2,000 homes worldwide from which to choose from. This means you’ll have a wide range of options and also a wide range of prices since the price will always depend on the property you choose from. You could get an apartment for $1,000 a night or a whole island for $1,000,000 for a week.

Much wider availability

Having a wider range of properties to choose from also means that you will have more availability to go wherever you want, whenever you want to. Granted, some homes may be booked, but it’s much easier to find whatever it is you need even if it’s last minute.

#9 Inspirato Trip Examples vs Airbnb Luxe Trip Examples

Much like Inspirato, Airbnb Luxe offers a variety of homes where you can stay, here’s a list of destinations you might want to check out in both Inspirato and Airbnb Luxe:

Athens, Greece – Inspirato vs. Airbnb Luxe

Here, Inspirato has partnerships with two hotels where they offer a variety of suites. Airbnb Luxe, on the other hand, offers seven different homes to choose from for your stay.

Inspirato: Hotel Grande Bretagne

The hotel is located near Syntagma Square, and the National Garden and a only a short walk from the Acropolis.

Airbnb: Villa Take Off

This villa is located 40km away from the city of Athens and costs $672 per night.

Papagayo, Costa Rica – Inspirato vs. Airbnb Luxe

In this location, Inspirato has partnerships with one hotel where they offer a variety of suites and two homes. Airbnb Luxe, on the other hand, offers eighteen different homes to choose from for your stay.

Inspirato: Venado Nueve

This is a tree house styled home with an infinity edge pool that is immersed in the jungle.

Airbnb: Casa Caiman

This home is built with local wood, natural sandstone, and walls of glass that embody a modern and tropical style.

Waikiki, Oahu – Inspirato vs. Airbnb Luxe

In this place, Inspirato has partnerships with two hotels where they offer a variety of suites. Airbnb Luxe, on the other hand, offers one home for your stay.

Inspirato: Espacio The Jewel of Waikiki

Located at the heart of Waikiki this is a luxury residential-style full-floor suite inside Waikiki Beach’s best hotel.

Airbnb: Espacio Waikiki Penthouse

In this appartment, guests will be within walking distance from many places like Waikiki beach.

#10 Pre-planned Vacations

Airbnb Luxe doesn’t offer pre-planned vacations, but you don’t need to plan the trip yourself either, every trip with Airbnb Luxe is tailored to your particular needs and expectations. But if you are an Inspirato Pass member, here’s a list of pre-planned vacations you might find:

Trips to Stay in Los Cabos, Mexico

Members could go to Montage Los Cabos from February 6th to February 13th. This trip is for four guests and they would be staying at an Inspirato home. Or they could go to Punta Ballena Resort from February 19th to February 22nd. This trip is for eight guests.

Trips to stay in Turks and Caicos, British West Indies

Members could go to The Somerset on Grace Bay from February 3rd to February 6th. This trip is for four guests and they would be staying at an Inspirato home. Or they could go from February 19th to February 22nd. This trip is for four guests And they would also be staying in a different Inspirato home.

Trips to stay in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico

Members could go to Dorado Beach from February 20th to February 23rd. This trip is for three guests and they would be staying at a hotel. Or they could go from February 12st to February 24th. This trip is for eight guests And they would be staying at an Inspirato home.

#11 Experiences

Even though Airbnb offers experiences, Airbnb Luxe doesn’t. What they do have a personal travel designer who can book them for you. Still, you should keep in mind that most activities are not included in Inspirato's membership. Here’s a list of different experiences that you could add to your vacation with Inspirato:

Inspirato Only Safari Experience – Nairobi, Kenya

This experience lasts 8 nights, from September 26th until October 4th and it is for two guests.

Resident Dinner Experience – Lower Manhattan, New York

This experience is on February 12th in the Financial District, and it is for up to twelve people.

Brush Creek Ranch: Queen Full Lodge Room Experience – Saratoga, Wyoming

This experience lasts 3 nights, from April 8th until April 15th and it is for two adults.

#12 Is Inspirato for you?

Inspirato is for people with a flexible schedule: freelancers with homeschooled children or no children at all are the kind of members that manage to get the most out of their subscriptions. That being said, you don’t necessarily need to fit into that description; as long as you can arrange your time however you like, that should be enough.

Also, it is good for group vacations. That way you can share expenses and have great company in these huge homes. And even though you might get more out of this if you don’t have kids that is only because their schedules might be more difficult to work with, not because they don’t offer kids activities.

#13 Inspirato User Reviews

Inspirato has already sold it's memberships to a lot of people, who have a lot of different opinions. So if you are still asking yourself if Inspirato would be a good fit for you and your family, then you should probably check on a few of these reviews:

“We love both options. We use the Family Membership for our big vacations planned in advance, and Pass for spur-of-the-moment trips. Plus I love gifting trips on Pass!” — Lynn P | Inspirato

“I don't know how we can ever vacation any other way than Inspirato! The properties are amazing, but what sets Inspirato apart is the service—from the pre-trip planning and support to the onsite concierge and the housekeeping staff, everything and everyone consistently exceeds our expectations. The Inspirato team literally takes all the work and stress out of vacationing so we can focus on just the vacation. It can't get more perfect than that!” — Eyal Iffergan| Luxury Fractional Guide

“Inspirato’s thoughtfulness and consideration were at a whole other level… I loved the traditional welcome amenity waiting for us at Casa Ola when we arrived hungry from having had an early morning breakfast and then eating almost nothing more until we arrived at the residence around 3:00. There was a beautiful spread of chips, guacamole, salsa, and some fabulous ceviche. Oh, and even some delicious-looking cookies… It was a perfect amount of food to tide us over until dinner later that evening at Flora Farms. These heavy snacks were accompanied by a pitcher of margaritas and Hibiscus Tea (Agua de Jamaica).” — Brian|Luxury Pass Review

“Inspirato really redefined luxury travelling. Everything is magnificent and their services set them apart! The house is fully stocked with things you don't normally find in a luxury VRBO house such as a full supply of Starbucks coffee and Illy espresso pods. The laundry room has supplies that can last you a month! The concierges we had in all locations have been so wonderful. Our Newport Beach one even put together a surprise bday party with only days of notice! Now that's above and beyond.” — Christine Z.|Yelp

“Once I joined Inspirato, I quickly found out that the majority of the trips I was interested in pursuing were no longer available. It seemed that options were constantly disappearing, yet very little if anything was being added to replace the selection. In order not to completely lose money, I started to book the only remaining feasible options that worked for me, though none I was very interested in, only not to lose money & feel like I was at least getting a tiny bit of value perusing the “left-over scraps” to choose from. I realize now that I won’t be able to take advantage of and use my Pass as I hoped to… Inspirato is still not prepared to deliver.” — Susanna|Luxury Pass Review

“Becoming a member of Inspirato might well be the best decision I've made in years. With a little patience and flexibility, you can experience the best Pass membership has to offer. I'm almost a year in and I've been fortunate enough to go on several “once in a lifetime” trips. The customer service from the care team is the icing on the cake. They take care of all the time-consuming, minor details. You don't have to do anything besides show up for your trip and relax.” — Izanami N.|Yelp

“The house is amazing. We usually take two families with us; the house is so large there is plenty of room for everyone. The screened-in porch with a heated pool is fabulous, Kiawah is a great place to visit—even in the winter!” — Gina W.|Inspirato

“I joined Inspirato in 2016 with a group of YPO friends and quickly realized that as my friends in Texas would say, “Big Hat, No Cattle”. Booked my first trip to the Turks and it was a disaster. They gave me a credit but I couldn’t find anything else to book. So long as you plan a year in advance, you may find something to book on your continent of choice. Spoke to my rep and cancelled my membership and, like a cheap gym membership, they couldn’t find any record of me cancelling. Save yourself the money and book on AIRBNB.” — John Baudhuin|Luxury Fractional Guide

Synthesizing this Inspirato Review

So the question is: should you consider getting an Inspirato membership? And if so, which one should you get?

If you have a flexible enough schedule and earn enough money for your monthly fee plus any other activity or rental that might come along, then Inspirato is for you. But whether you get a Club or a Pass membership will depend greatly on your preferences and finances. If you would rather plan out your vacations, even if you have to pay for nightly fees and activities, get a Club membership. But if you would rather just choose from a list of already planned out vacations and not worry about nightly fees unless you actively decide to do it the old way, get a Pass subscription.

However, if you or your children have a busy schedule, don't like travelling too often, or simply don't want the recurring cost of Inspirato's membership. We strongly recommend you try Airbnb Luxe instead, they have amazing properties around the world and it would be a great fit if you only have the chance to travel once a year or once every couple of years. If you want to check it out, click on the link below.

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