Cedric Reversade, founder of Unique Properties, holds the gilded keys to your heart's desire.
A tenacious travel advisor, demure mid-century butler, and gatekeeper to otherworldly delights, Cedric Reversade is the made-to-measure Renaissance man of the 21st century. Director and founder of Unique Properties, a private home rental service, Reversade holds the keys to over 120 sumptuous properties and classified destinations in 35 countries around the world. Far from your typical villa peddler, his portfolio is packed with priceless "best kept" travel secrets and insider addresses the world over. Reversade began developing his taste for the refined and his high-flying Rolodex while working as a European travel and lifestyle concierge for American Express. There, he noticed a burgeoning trend in private property rentals with customized fixings. He had found his calling. Seven years later, Reversade's Unique Properties is a private service network that thrives on exclusivity, discretion and trust. "To be able to propose the home that best satisfies a client's taste and needs, you need to know your client perfectly," explains Reversade, who has worked with his share of discerning customers. So, if you're hankering for a private midnight tour of the Basilica San Marco in Venice while vacationing in a nearby 17th century Medici palazzo or daily reflexology treatments followed by wine and conversation at the mythical Chateau Margaux, there's only one concierge to know. Let's hope Reversade knows you too.
What is your definition of luxury?
A tranquil beach in the Mediterranean with friends, a grill full of fresh fish and lots of wonderful wine.
If luxury were a object?
An Ipod with infinite space, or a CD with all of the best music ever recorded.
If luxury were a moment?
A night of Flamenco in the streets of Seville
What does your property quality test consist of?
For one, we never represent homes that were made for the rental market. You can feel, and smell the difference immediately. A house that was made for the market has a completely different atmosphere than one that is lived in and loved. Aside from that, there are so many things: the placement, atmosphere, decoration, personnel, and, most importantly the soul of the home. We spend time in each home and get to know it thoroughly. It is not a question of economic criteria, however; the home could actually be very modest as long as it reflects a certain level of distinction for its taste, charm and atmosphere.
What are some of your cult properties?
We have a sublime 18th century chateau in the Luberon. In the Argentario, near the Porto Santo Stefano around 90 minutes from Rome, we have a house situated on 300 hectares with one of the most extraordinary gardens in the Mediterranean. We also have an exceptional house in Formentor, Mallorca that's right on the water: well preserved, nestled in the pine tress with an outside salon that's on the same level as the transparent water, it's luxury incarnate.
House in Formentor (Mallorca)
Chateau "Les Ocres" dans le Lubéron
What part of the world are you most excited about developing?
We are looking a lot towards Vietnam at this moment. There are so many exceptional properties there with beautiful homes. South America is also incredibly desirable right now, especially Punta des Este, as well as Brazil and the areas of the country that are well preserved, idyllic and tranquil.
How do your clients choose their destinations?
Most people are looking to have a vacation experience that's coherent with their lifestyle. There is a big difference between each nationality's taste and criteria, however. For example, the Belgians and the British understand that a sublime chateau in Italy, like a Medici villa with historical prestige or with an amazing art collection, may not have all the modern comforts. But they are willing to make certain sacrifices in order to obtain that unique kind of "total luxury." Americans tend to prefer another kind of experience, and are more particular about the services that can be provided wherever they go. There are always exceptions, however, and we have a large percentage of Americans who adore staying in old exceptional villas with frescoes, etc.
How do you anticipate each of their travel trends?
In general, Americans follow quite closely the prestigious travel press such as Departures, Travel & Leisure and The New York Times. So in that sense, we can quickly anticipate a trend. We saw that in Morocco with the Amanjena, which followed with a wave of Americans traveling to the region. The British are different. Their history allows for a certain familiarity with Europe, Africa and India; there are fewer big discoveries for them to make. Many wealthy British, for example, are developing the areas of north Ibiza even though no one wanted to go there before.
Route De Ouarzazate, Km 12
+ 212 4 440 3353
Do you ever divulge the names of your clients to one another?
No, all transactions are performed with totally discretion. Both the names of the homeowners and our clients are kept completely confidential.
Where are people dying to spend their holidays this summer?
What people want most today is to find a place that is serene and far from the crowds. Portugal is a wonderful example; there are marvelous beaches and well-preserved areas around the country. People are also exploring the areas in Morocco outside of Marrakech, such as Tangiers and Asilha. The Aeolian Islands and the Kenyan coast, like Lamu, are also very desirable.
What are some of the up and coming vacation destinations?
South America is truly becoming more and more in demand, including Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru.
What are some of the current recreational trends?
If you can consider it recreation, or a hobby, the number one right now is well-being. Taking care of the body and providing a perfect atmosphere for total relaxation is what concerns people most. Whether it's reflexology, acupuncture, massage, or Thalasso treatments administered by specialists either in the house or nearby, the number one priority is definitely well-being.
How have travel trends changed since you first started in this business?
It used to be that people would spend an entire month in one place. Now they travel several times a year for shorter periods of time for variety; for example one week in Morocco in April, one week in Tuscany in October, two weeks during the summer in Greece.
What are some of your preferred destinations?
San Domenico Palace in Taorima, Italy, because it's a palace that perpetuates the impeccable services that were fashionable in the 1950s. It's an old monastery with incredible grounds and every activity is sublime: evening dinners on the terrace watching the sunset or reading a book on a swing chair in the gardens.
San Domenico Palace Hotel
P.zza San Domenico, 5
+39 0942 61 31 11
In Naples, I stay at Albergo del Purgatorio, one of the country's most beautiful historic palaces, and the headquarters of an association called Locus Solus that we've created to preserve and promote the work of young artists from the region. Members and friends of the association can stay in the palace. It's like a private club.
Albergo del Purgatorio
La Pension Seguso in Venice. The furniture in each room and the atmosphere is a romantic throwback to the traditional Italian pensiones of yesteryear. Madame Seguso, the hotel owner, speaks almost every language and is wonderfully accommodating.
La Pensione Seguso
30123 Venezia (VE)
+39 041 5222340
La Residenza Napoleone in Rome is situated in the 16th century Palazzo Ruspoli in the center of the city. It's a divine palace that dominates all of Rome and has three private suites, each one more luxurious than the next,
56 Largo Goldoni
+39 347 733 7098
La Mirande, in Avignon is a gorgeous hotel particulier that belongs to a private German family with an impeccable taste for luxury. Enjoy the traditional hot chocolate and delicious Crepes Suzettes in the mansion's sumptuous gardens.
4 place de la Mirande
+33 (0) 4 90 85 93 93
Where are you heading for vacation this summer?
I'm going to Camargue and then a friend has invited me to sail to Croatia in a Sangermani, an incredibly beautiful old Italian sailboat made of wood.
What is your idea of the perfect holiday setting?
I would have to say a Mediterranean location, village or port, in Italy, Greece or Morocco with friends and fabulously simple food and wine.
What's your preferred method of traveling?
I'd love to travel by train or by car, to stop and go along the way, whether to eat at a wonderful restaurant, go for a stroll, especially throughout the Mediterranean.
What are your essential travel items?
I always have two to three essential Flamenco and Bolero CDs such as Fernanda y Bermarda de Utreta, and an Antonio Machin compilation. Bizarrely, I always have a blue-marine jacket with me, and lots of white shirts made in Naples by Mr. Piccolo, one of the best in the city. And well before they became trendy, I have always packed Bayona espadrilles. I also pack a special fragrance called No.88. It's not bespoke, but it's by a fragrance house that makes only three scents. I also like to bring along a special delicacy that I've recently discovered if I'm visiting someone, such as the fresh jam from Marcolini in Paris.
89 Rue de Seine
+ 33 1 44 07 39 07
60 rue Gambetta,
St Jean de Luz
+33 (0) 5 59 51 96 41
Via Chiaia 41
+ 39 081 41 18 24
Raza y compas by Fernanda y Bernarda de Utrera
Buy it online : www.amazon.com
Grandes exitos by Antonio Machin
Buy it online : www.amazon.com