Forget time-shares: Fractionals are the newly popular alternative for those who want a second home without the hassle of maintaining it. The key difference: With time-shares, you buy time on a property; with fractionals, you get equity. They’re more expensive—hundreds of thousands, as opposed to tens of thousands for a time-share—and exclusive. First introduced around 1996, fractionals have picked up steam—worldwide sales grew 40 percent last year to $513.3 million.
Three To Get Into: The ultrachic Isle de France Club on St. Barts is offering one-ninth shares ($250,000 to $660,000; 011-590-27-61-81) in several cottages, many overlooking Flamands Beach. At the slopeside Ritz-Carlton Club, Bachelor Gulch, a one-twelfth share in a two- or three-bedroom unit runs $200,000 to $500,000 (866-485-2400). Owners get three weeks a year—at least two in high season—plus a host of optional amenities, including a personal chef. And at the Residence Club at Red Mountain Spa, St. George, Utah, outdoorsy types split time between pampering spa treatments and rigorous outdoor pursuits like hiking and kayaking. A quarter share in a 1,750-square-foot villa starts at $99,000 (800-407-3002).