Steamboat Springs Hot Springs

Photo courtesy of the Colorado Tourism Office

Every ski town seems to have its own appeal. It’s easy to get to, or it’s isolated and exclusive.  It’s snowboarder heaven, or it’s snowboard-free. It a great place for beginners, or  it’s dominated by advanced-level runs and black diamond-lovers don’t have to navigate around skiers like me.

Steamboat Springs in northwestern Colorado is known as an exceptionally family-friendly town. It’s known for lots of programs for children, kids-only lifts, and play areas and parks designed with juveniles in mind.  But,  the area has a unique natural feature with special appeal for adults: mystical natural hot springs where skiers, snowboarders, and hikers can relax and soak away tired muscles and aches and pains.  Click here for a look at these therapeutic wonders and a gorgeous new vacation home listing in Steamboat Springs:

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When I say “old Hawaii,” I mean places where locals have lived for decades.  These are not the new flashy high-rises in Kaka’ako, but rather buildings like this one that rose from the ground in 1969.  The Regency at Kahala is a tall, 20-plus-story slice of Hawaii.

There are four units per floor … a one-bedroom, two two-bedrooms, and a three-bedroom unit.  There are minor differences in square footage in the same floor plan due to some units having enclosed their patios (and you know how I feel about that!).

Sunday, I braved sheets of rain to walk over to a quadruple open house that featured two one-bedroom units and one example each of two- and three-bedroom units.  My favorites were the one-bedroom and the three-bedroom units, which mostly came down to view.  These two face the water, though on Sunday they all faced the rain.

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It’s no surprise that Hawaii captures the imagination of people dreaming of a getaway. Tropical breezes, the deep blue Pacific, technicolor sunsets, and lush greenery set the stage for a dream vacation or the ultimate home away from home.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio International have announced the winners of the HGTV Ultimate House Hunt, a month-long online contest held on HGTV.com each year.

The contest highlights exceptional homes from across the globe in eight exciting categories: Waterfront Homes, Master Retreats, International Homes, Living Large in Small Spaces, Bringing The Outside In, Kids’ Spaces, Classic Living and Making an Entrance. All featured homes are represented by members of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio International. Consumers vote for their favorite, and a winner is chosen at the end.

This year, Hawaii cleaned up, winning honors in three categories as well as the overall winner. Massachusetts homes won in two categories, as did Florida homes and the International award winner is located in Lugano, Switzerland.

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The vacation home market is estimated to be at $100 billion worldwide. In New Orleans at NAREE this month, I gathered five top vacation home experts, including Bill Furlong of HomeAway, Jackie Doak of Dart Enterprises Ltd., the developer ofCamana Bay on Grand Cayman Island, Hunter Harman, Broker/Owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida, Tina Necrason of Montage Hotels & Resorts, and Tyler Niess of Crescent Communities.

Learn from the experts on what is hot in the vacation home market, and see the whole panel discussion from the National Association of Real Estate Editors 50th conference, after the jump!

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Soap star Sean Kanan asked Dallas designer Kathy Fielder to create a vibrant, personalized space.

Soap star Sean Kanan asked Dallas designer Kathy Fielder to create a vibrant, personalized space.

When you envision the interiors of your second home, you might gravitate toward relaxing color schemes and open spaces with comfortable furniture. It should be a space for relaxing and letting go. A space for enjoyment, not practicality.

Not everyone has the talent to create that kind of space, nor the time. That’s why Sean Kanan, a renowned daytime TV star, enlisted Dallas-based veteran designer Kathy Fielder to create the perfect environment for his vacation home in Palm Springs.

“The combinations that Kathy put together echo my taste,” Kanan said. “She utilized a combination of  bold patterns with solids all within a neutral palette that I love.”

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But how do you achieve that look without succumbing to design ennui? We asked Kathy for a few tips on designing the perfect spaces for your vacation home.

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I was sitting in Craig Martin’s office up at Windsong Ranch — if you haven’t seen or experienced the amazing Windsong Ranch in Prosper, then you don’t know  North Texas real estate greatness —  and he was telling me about this amazing ranch in the Hill Country just north of Fredericksburg.

Boot Ranch I asked? I love the place!

Yes, he said. We are buying it!

But I was sworn to secrecy until the deal was closed. Closed, signed and sealed it is: Terra Verder Group LLC, the devloper of Windsong Ranch, has indeed purchased the 2,000 acre Boot Ranch north of Fredericksburg. Terra Verde and financial partner Wheelock Street Capital bought the luxury vacation home golf course community from Lehman Brothers.

Boot Ranch, the brainchild of Texas golfing great Hal Sutton, opened in 2006 just in time for the Great Recession. Like so many of its brethren, Boot fell into foreclosure. But during the four years that Lehman Brothers operated it, the community slowly, steadily kept the momentum moving forward. In fact, Boot Ranch may well become a poster child success story for how a vacation home community survives a downturn.

“The previous developer opened the project at the wrong time in the market,” said Terra Verde founder Craig Martin. “Our plan is to complete the development.We like Boot Ranch because of its proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Midland-Odessa – within a 4-hour drive.”

Read more about this amazing acquisition on CandysDirt.com!

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Sometimes we want to get away, but the thought of travel is just too much. Packing up everything, getting the kids ready, and climbing in the car or in a plane for hours is enough to keep us at home, ensconced in air conditioning and watching the latest releases on Netflix.

But what if you could enjoy a lake house that was just 15 minutes from downtown Fort Worth? What if there was a property big enough to host you and your extended family without feeling cramped and uncomfortable? What if you could enjoy all the best things about lake living without the drive?

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We’ve found just the thing! Go check out this hip pocket listing from Williams Trew over on CandysDirt.com, as it is the absolute perfect spot for a low-key family Fourth of July getaway that feels private.

 

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Photo: Carriage Properties

Maybe it’s the frothiness of the One Percent, or maybe the drop in oil prices just hasn’t sunk in. But people are buying vacation homes more than ever, the buyers are younger, and the vacation properties are further from the primary home. We know this from a terrific Austin-based company called HomeAway. The vacation rental guru celebrates its 10th anniversary this month. Because HomeAway has more than one million listings, they’ve seen it all! They have witnessed vacation rental owners take what was seemingly a “cottage industry” and become micro-entrepreneurs, turning their second homes into significant profit-drivers, funding college tuition, future retirement homes and family vacations. The vacation home market is good for business!

To celebrate, they reviewed a decade’s worth of data to compile a list of five trends driving meaningful change in the vacation rental ownership industry. Yeah I know, most people would open a bottle of bubbly, but the HomeAway folks really like pulling data, which they have plenty of. here are five key insights of the current vacation home market: (more…)