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Peter De Savary: The King Of Clubs

Property magnate and international entrepreneur Peter de Savary might be known for his big, glitzy buys (Skibo Castle or Lands End might ring a bell) but he’s far from content to rest on his laurels. For our premier London issue, we talked with Peter about his business strategy, his view of the state of the market and what Brexit means for the UK and the world. 

Peter is not at all worried about Brexit. For the past few years, the market has been strengthening and we’ve had significant activity, Peter says. Investors were happy to keep paying more. Brexit threw a wrench into the machinery. The negative—even hysterical—language amplified by the media is far from helpful, Peter says. He says Richard Branson’s recent demands for a second referendum are ridiculous. That kind of doom and gloom is driving down demand, Peter says.   

But Peter is confident common sense will prevail and demand for British hospitality will return. Eventually there will be an acceleration in activity and the upward trend will continue, Peter predicts. That’s one thing you notice about Peter: the man is irrepressibly sunny.

There is a compelling counterbalance to negative Brexit news, Peter says (shown here with actress Michelle Rodriguez). He points out that the pound is down, which makes holidays more affordable. Britain is an attractive place to spend holidays and more fundamentally, people’s habits don’t change, Peter says. People like the UK, people like service, and they like luxury, like he provides in his world-class golf resorts.  

Peter’s career was built on creating some of the most exclusive private clubs and resorts in the world—The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle, Stapleford Park, and Cherokee Plantation, the world's most exclusive club that has only 25 members, and literally the only people allowed to step foot on the property are members and members' guests.  A few years ago, the joining fee was a cool $1M.  

Each of his properties, Peter tells Bisnow, was chosen for its uniqueness. He likes properties that aren’t comparable or ordinary—and he enjoys discovering them wasted and unrecognized and then turning them into something beautiful and valuable. There are two reasons for this.The first is pricing: If you have nothing to compare an asset to, you have flexibility in your pricing. Second, he enjoys giving customers things to appreciate and enjoy. 

Adventure is a word he uses often. He seeks it out. Loves it. “I’m an investor in the creative and in lost causes,” he says. He had a near-death experience and he lives like it.   On a New Year's Day, Peter, his three young kids, pregnant wife and nanny boarded a private plane to St. Barts. A combination of technical problems and pilot error caused the plane to go into a wing stall, and the plane plummeted into the sea from 1,000 feet in the air.  "It was like hitting cement," he says.  His family survived with various traumas and injuries, but the pilot unfortunately lost his life.  The experience has made him appreciate every day and every hour, he says.

He tells Bisnow that 98% of the time, when he wakes up in the morning he’s wide awake, alert, enthusiastic and already thinking about something exciting. The above photo and below are taken at his Mount Cinnamon resort in Grenada - a place that looks pretty easy to wake up in! 

“I’m always looking for my next adventure,” he says. He wants to make a difference, and above all wants to create. “I am not a day-to-day manager,” he says. “I’m a day-to-day creator.”

He says if he doesn’t feel excited it’s because he’s screwed something up and doesn’t yet know how to fix it or because he’s come to the end of a love affair with a project and the adventure is over.“I’m always looking for opportunities,” he says. “And seizing them.” 

Related Topics: Brexit, Peter de Savary, Skibo Castle