In the fast evolving private-club model of the American vacation industry—the one that’s veering from single focus to a you-can-have-it-all esthetic—few measure up to the 3,500-acre Preserve, half an hour from Providence, less than 90 minutes from Boston and under three hours from New York City.
There you can play the award-winning 18-hole par-3 golf course, fly-fish in stocked ponds, explore endless mountain biking and hiking trails, play tennis, horseback ride, zip-line, canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, practice archery and shoot firearms. But unique among the offerings is the club’s most inactive activity: the “Safari Tent Scotch & Cigar Tasting Experience.”
Located just below the main Hilltop Lodge is a large wooden platform with two luxury African bush camp-style safari tents, one cigar themed, the other Scottish and full of clan tartans. The platform also has outdoor furniture and firepits and is usually bookable for just a single private group two-hour experience for up to 16 people, including both tents.
The Preserve has partnered with the Islay Scotch distillery Laphroaig and Dominican cigar brand Cohiba for a cigar and single-malt menu, which includes five whiskies (10-year, 25-year, Select, Lore and Quarter Cask) and four stogies (Connecticut Toro, Red Dot Toro, Black Gigante and Royale Toro). Food options skew towards heavy appetizers, with charcuterie boards of cheese, meats and accompaniments.
The private experience can be booked almost any time (minimum spend $995), but for overnight resort guests, on Thursdays and Sundays, the tents operate like a cigar lounge, open to anyone who wants to drop in, with a la carte ordering and no minimum, so you can just enjoy a single cigar, with or without whisky, and snacks after a day of outdoor fun.
The Preserve’s wide range of residential ownership opportunities run from condos to luxury homes that run from $549,000 to $6 million to buy. While its overnight accommodations (starting at $500) welcome anyone seeking a quick escape vacation, be forewarned, it may be hard to leave without some newly acquired real estate.