With both attuned expats and locals on the ground, boutique hospitality company Oasis Collections is doing the necessary footwork to create a highly selective portfolio of attractive properties around South America. The Airbnb-like service evolved in 2009 as way of offering discerning travelers a plethora of luxurious digs, all safely approved by a like-minded team helmed by American entrepreneur Parker Stanberry. Oasis has since distinguished itself as more than simply a high-end rental resource. They have recently added a number of members-only clubhouses, modeled after places like Soho House or bars like Milk and Honey, which serve as private gathering places for guests and invite-only locals to mix.
These clubhouses provide a home away from home as well as an authentic, insider social experience for travelers who are unfamiliar with the city. "First and foremost, we are a hospitality company. I see this new insider social access as something we have layered in to improve our guests' experience, but I also see this as a way for us to become a more integral part of the living and breathing city," explains Stanberry. "To me, it is the opposite of a resort, it's a place where sophisticated travelers can access authentic local culture and a new platform for the local culture to thrive."
Oasis' pilot clubhouse opened in Buenos Aires in 2011, a city especially dear to Stanberry, who has lived there for more than six years. And, while Stanberry praises what the clubhouse offers its guests, he cites his experience living and going out in Buenos Aires as his inspiration. "If you're familiar with BA nightlife, you know that it's either restaurants or these clubs that are swarmed with teenagers that keep going till six in the morning. There is not a whole lot in the middle," explains Stanberry. "Unlike, New York and London, there aren't really lounge-y, adult places like Soho House in BA, or South America for that matter. The city kind of needed something like this, and it occurred to me, what a great tie-in it would be for Oasis and our guests."
The BA clubhouse is in the hip neighborhood of Palermo, and blends seamlessly into its surroundings. There are three guesthouses, as well as a pool, bar and lounge all contained within a renovated Argentinan villa, which he tells us they lucked into finding. Hidden by high, ivy-covered walls, the pool and outdoor bar have become a popular destination for Friday night DJ sets as well as for trendy, lazy weekend drinks.
"Our programs enrich the traveler's experience in a way that you couldn't have found on your own. For example, one of our most successful programs is our chef series, where once every two weeks we invite local chefs or one of our in-house chefs to create a tasting menu based around a theme or cuisine of their choice," says Stanberry. "In BA, closed-door restaurants have been popping up everywhere. They are usually hosted by talent amateurs or up-and-coming chefs, who invite a select list of diners into their home for a special meal. They have become very popular because of their exclusivity so it is often hard for tourists to get a reservation. We bring these chefs into our space to help them put their name out there and a new platform. And, by doing so we give our guests the chance to experience these emerging talents."
Other clubhouse programs include a rotating art gallery with exhibitions highlighting local artists alongside Oasis' own extensive collection. Celebrated with drinks and artist meet-and-greets, these exhibitions offer guests a chance to get an insider's glimpse into the city's rich contemporary art culture and be a part of significant art openings. This summer, they will host rock 'n' roll photographer Bob Gruen, who will exhibit exclusive prints and provide an artist talk.
Following the success of their BA clubhouse, Oasis has expanded into running pop-up locations at some of its more seasonal destinations, including Punta del Este, Uruguay and Cartagena, Colombia. Typically housed in one of the agency's larger properties, these locations play a slightly different role than the permanent clubhouse. "Generally, these seasonal destinations are only trafficked during one or two weeks within a year for vacations and holidays. We know that and wanted to create a way for our guests to experience the best part of these events," explains Stanberry. "Like our clubhouse, we want our guests to have their privacy, but in order to bring in a more party-like atmosphere we tend to collaborate with other companies on three or four large events. We open these up to locals we know will be in the area, so that our guests can join the celebration without battling the mobs."
Looking forward, Oasis has set its sights on creating even more permanent locations, focusing on the cities that could most benefit from a more relaxed scene. Although they haven't purchased any property yet, the company sees Sao Paulo and Rio as the top contenders.
Learn more about the clubhouse and Oasis' upcoming pop-up locations online, where you can also check out the properties available for rent in cities throughout South America.
Images courtesy of Oasis