Airstrips -- the latest in resort amenities
Jet in for a quick lunch, then be on your way.
NEW YORK (Fortune) -- There's a formula for the resort communities cropping up all over the country: golf courses designed by the likes of Tom Fazio or Jack Nicklaus; restaurants owned by celebrity chefs; on-site spas with everything from facials to deep-tissue massages.
But there is a new amenity starting to make an appearance in ultra high-end neighborhoods: airstrips. Yes, some developers are setting themselves apart by appealing to those who get around via private planes.
These kinds of travelers have been steadily growing over the years. According to statistics from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the number of non-commercial aircraft in the United States has increased almost 17 percent since 1995.
So if you¹d like to live someplace where taking off and landing is almost as convenient as maneuvering your car in and out of the driveway, here are three resorts worth flying out to.
Sunriver Resort - Sunriver, Oregon
If you¹re flying into Sunriver, expect to see a who's who of business and politics using the airstrip.
President George W. Bush and executives from Intel, Microsoft and Nike have cooled their jets here while attending meetings in the nearby lodge.
The private airport at Sunriver has a full-service fueling station, a no-landing-fee policy; it's a mere $8 charge to park your plane overnight. Community residents can keep their planes in the on-site hangars.
Besides the airstrip, the most notable resort amenity is a restaurant called The Meadows, a fine dining restaurant with such dishes as elk chops and sockeye salmon. Popular with residents, it's also a draw for out-of-towners who regularly fly in to eat lunch at one of the four resort restaurants and then fly right back out. Airport staffers call this group the "$100 hamburger crowd."
Other features at Sunriver: a new spa, hiking, biking, and rock climbing, and a nearby marina. The starting price for homes is $316,000 for a two bedroom, 976-square foot home and can reach $2 million for a seven bedroom, 10,000-square foot mansion. There is no fee to use the resort.
Ocean Reef Club - Key Largo, Florida
Ocean Reef doesn't allow just anyone to buy into the neighborhood - it's by invitation only. And membership has its privileges in this waterfront community.
The resort boasts its own coral reef, which makes for fabulous scuba diving. It's also a perfect spot for catching tarpon, bonefish, and redfish. For those who prefer to stay dry, two 18-hole golf courses designed by Bob Von Hagge and Bruce Devlin are challenging enough to require rounds and rounds of play before mastering the greens.
Ocean Reef also has its own 4,000 foot lighted landing strip. A combination of 12 take-offs or landings are allowed per day. Landing fees start at around $100, and overnight parking fees range between $400 and $500, depending on the size of the plane.
For those who don¹t have their own jet, Ocean Reef provides fractional owner programs through outside companies that allow members buy hours on a privately owned aircraft.
Housing prices at Ocean Reef start at $350,000 for a two-bedroom, 1,400-square foot condominium and can skyrocket to $13 million for a seven bedroom, 7,000-square foot waterfront palace.
There is a one-time $215,000 equity membership fee and about $5,500 in annual dues.
Pauma Valley Country Club - Pauma Valley, California
Forget freeway traffic and fly into Pauma Valley's 2,900-foot long private airstrip. This restored runway is now home to 20 hangars that allow aircraft owners to park for a monthly fee of $250. For those who would rather build their own hangar, they can rent the land for $75 a month. Only members and their sponsored guests can use this airport, which is a good jumping off point for vacations to Cabo San Lucas.
Pauma Valley is also home to a golf course previously ranked in Golf Digest's Top 100 courses list. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., this 18-hole playing field rests at the foot of Palomar Mountain, providing a visually appealing background.
For those who prefer other pursuits, there are books clubs, garden clubs, bridge clubs, and even a doggie playgroup where humans and pets get the opportunity to socialize.
To become a member, the country club has six different membership programs with one-time fees ranging from $2,000 to $19,000. Monthly dues, depending on the program you choose, start at under $350 to $695.