Interview With John Blanco of Afini – Asia’s First Luxury Destination Club

Interview With John Blanco of Afini - Asia’s First Luxury Destination Club 4

LM: Why did you decide to launch Afini in Asia?
JB: Our primary motivation in creating Afini was initially a personal one, which was to find a better way to travel for my family and friends to impeccable, private spaces that are conducive to time well spent in stunning destinations and where planning and coordination are meticulously executed, all at an exceptional value.

Upon thoroughly researching existing luxury travel providers, it was clear there was an opportunity to provide a solution for high-end travellers who enjoy travelling in small groups be it with family or friends – a characteristic quite prevalent in this region of the world.

Furthermore, we chose Singapore because it is both a geographical and economic hub for the region with a government that has created a start-up friendly environment and solid infrastructure contributing to efficiency.

LM: You have over 20 years in the hotel industry, did that experience come in handy when you started Afini?
JB: Through my experience, I have learned that the key ingredients of a consistent world-class product are strong foundational service culture, clear procedures and guidelines, continuous training and the careful selection of genuine, empowered individuals with a solid aptitude for caring, anticipatory service.

Interview With John Blanco of Afini - Asia’s First Luxury Destination Club 5

LM: Can you give us a few examples of the personalised services which Afini can provide for their members?
JB: Be it deep sea fishing in Thailand, taking a cruise in Hong Kong or having dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant, our Lifestyle Consultants and Destinations Concierges will be on hand to assist with making all the necessary arrangements and an on-site concierge will be available should guests require last-minute changes.

Interview With John Blanco of Afini - Asia’s First Luxury Destination Club 6

In Niseko, the destination concierge has our favourite shiatsu massage therapist and sushi chef on a direct dial for you, or you may let the on-call driver bring you to Hirafu for Hokkaido’s seafood hotspot. Members will also receive six complimentary passes for unrestricted access to Niseko Village Resort.

LM: Do you think affluent travellers in Asia ready for a Luxury Destination Club like Afini?
JB: Affluent travellers are spoiled for choice but there is no solution out there currently that ticks as many of their travel boxes as Afini does.


LM: How do you select or vet the residences and hotels and deem them suitable to belong to Afini’s portfolio?
JB: Each and every Afini residence goes through a meticulous vetting process and only the finest properties are selected, our operations team then goes in and brings in our high Afini standards and touches. In addition, uncompromising service delivery is provided by our destination service teams, setting the ideal stage where our members’ lasting memories will be crafted.

LM: Do you personally check each property out yourself?
JB: I do indeed. It is essential for me to ensure that every home is of exceptional design and quality as well as ideally located. This goes the same for our amazing staff, whom we select from the very best in their fields.


LM: So far, which property or destinations appear to be the most popular?
JB: Niseko has been a hit due to the ski season and healthy snowfall while Sydney draws rave reviews due to our residence design and location, steps away from the Opera House. Our Sri Lanka home in Galle Fort also leaves a lasting impression on members who visit.

To enjoy Afini, members pay a one-time initiation, an annual renewal fee and then discounted nightly rates, with no limits on the number of days travelled. To commemorate its launch, Afini is offering a limited number of founder memberships at a reduced initiation fee.

Afini – Where and how

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Interview with John Blanco, CEO of Afini by Ong Chin Huat

Editorial Team

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