Travel Notes blog
Discover the world’s most desirable private members’ clubs with ONDA
by Max Lane
10 min read

Discover the world’s most desirable private members’ clubs with ONDA

Discover the world’s most desirable private members’ clubs with ONDA
Have you ever found yourself in one of the world’s great cities and wished you had somewhere to go that felt like a home from home? We have the perfect solution.

We’re delighted to be launching a new collaboration with ONDA, whose network of the world’s most desirable private members' clubs spans over 88 destinations, including London, Milan, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Mykonos, Lisbon, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Doha and Mumbai.

Wherever members of ONDA find themselves in the world, they always know they have a home from home nearby. They’re greeted like old friends and can meet like-minded people. If they have work to catch up on, they can do so in undisturbed comfort. And, when it’s time to relax, they can retreat into a private, discreet and sophisticated ambience, far from the madding crowds outside, to enjoy a drink, lunch or dinner.

As part of our collaboration, ONDA is inviting anyone who books a Thinking Traveller villa between 20.5.24 and 30.9.24 (for travel in 2024) to discover their world of private members’ clubs with a complimentary, 90-day membership.

How it works

  • Book one of our soulful villas in Sicily, Puglia, Greece or Corsica between 20.5.24 and 30.9.24 for travel in 2024

  • When your booking is confirmed, you’ll receive an email with a link to a dedicated Thinking Traveller members’ page on ONDA’s website

  • If you’d like to take advantage of ONDA’s offer of a complimentary, 90-day membership, click on the link, fill in the required information, and choose which type of membership you’d like (Essential or Explorer).

  • Once your application is approved, ONDA will contact you to guide you through the first steps of your complimentary membership

Terms and Conditions

  • This offer is valid only for new bookings made between 20.5.24 and 30.9.24 for travel in 2024

  • By joining ONDA on a free 90-day trial membership, you agree to accept all of ONDA’s membership terms and conditions

  • The 90-day trial period starts on the day your membership is approved by ONDA

  • ONDA will send an automated email to you 5 days before the end of the 90-day period, informing you that your membership is about to expire and offering you the chance to join one of their membership schemes.

To find out more about the inspiration behind ONDA, head below to read our interview with the company’s co-founder and CEO, Luca Del Bono.

To celebrate our new collaboration with ONDA, we spoke to its co-founder and CEO, Luca Del Bono, to find out more about his love of travel, his inspiring environmental work, and his long-held belief that conviviality, making connections, and fostering a sense of togetherness are key to human wellbeing.


1. Starting at the start: you were born to Anglo-Italian parents on Lipari in the Aeolian Islands. What are your fondest memories of life growing up in such a captivating place? And how do you think your mixed heritage and your island upbringing has formed your outlook on life?

I was indeed born on the island of Lipari, northeast of Sicily. The freedom that I enjoyed in my upbringing was wonderful. I had the good fortune of growing up in a hotel on the sea, meeting travellers from all over the world in the 70s and 80s. During this time, I encountered the extraordinary tale of Jules Verne's “Journey to the Centre of the Earth.” In this story, the explorers emerge from a volcano – my beloved Stromboli! This experience instilled in me a deep belief that the Aeolian Islands were the centre of the world, drawing people to discover our hidden wonders and I, as their local cicerone (guide), would proudly show them around.

I was also fortunate to frequently visit England from a very early age, which vastly expanded my worldview. In particular, I would stay with my grandmother in Winchester, an idyllic English city, also filled with legends, such as the tale of King Arthur. However, some of my fondest memories are deeply intertwined with the Aeolian archipelago's natural beauty and vibrant community. From carefree days spent exploring the volcanic coastline to playing Sicilian card games with the fishermen in Marina Corta’s piazza, or listening to musicians at the hotel’s piano bar, each experience filled me with joy and wonder. As a kid fascinated by magic, you can imagine that watching cocktails being made by talented barmen felt like witnessing spells being cast before my eyes! Lipari provided countless such moments of magic and connection for me.


Photo above: the view of Lipari Town with its ancient citadel seen from our villa, Posidonia

2. What emotions do you feel when you return to Lipari? And what’s the first thing you do?

Returning to Lipari always evokes a profound sense of nostalgia. It comes just like a wave in the sea, washing over me with a sense of belonging. It's a moment of reflection, a chance to express my appreciation for this place. And the first thing I do? I simply pause, take it all in, and say grazie.

3. As someone who knows the Aeolian Islands inside-out, what three unmissable things would you recommend for visitors on a first trip there?

First and foremost, I would highly recommend adventuring up Stromboli. It is an absolute must. It's an opportunity to connect with the raw power of the volcano and experience the exhilarating feeling of standing at the centre of the earth.

Next, exploring the wilderness of Lipari. Discovering hidden gems like the Cave di Caolino, the pumice mountains, and secluded beaches tucked away in enchanting enclaves. And last but not least, don't miss the chance to visit the Archaeological Museum. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage of the islands.


Photo above: all set for an al fresco lunch at our villa Antika on Panarea

4. What one dish most evokes nostalgia for the Aeolian Islands in you?

I love so many Aeolian dishes, among them, one in particular; fusilli all’Eoliana. It tastes like home with its simple yet flavourful ingredients of tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, and basil. Another one I love is linguine con gamberetti di nassa (a type of prawn), or the swordfish involtini, just too many to mention… as I’m getting hungry thinking of the exquisite tastes!

5. In 2015, you co-founded the Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund with the aim of safeguarding the archipelago’s ecological and environmental treasures and promoting sustainable practices. What changes have you seen over these last 9 years and how do you see the future of the Aeolian Islands as a tourist destination? What’s next in terms of environmental projects?

Yes, the changes I have witnessed over these years are quite significant, particularly in the region’s approach to conservation and sustainability. There has been a notable shift towards greater environmental consciousness among locals, leading to initiatives such as the establishment of marine protected areas, plastic-free campaigns, educational programs, and improved waste management practices, demonstrating the positive impact of our endeavours.

Now Ben Goldsmith, with whom I co-founded the Aeolian Islands Preservation Foundation, has taken it into its next evolution stage, with the Sicily Environment Fund (SEF) becoming an Italian entity that continues to champion environmental causes in the region.

Looking ahead, I believe that SEF will continue to spearhead environmental projects to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Aeolian Islands. Through collective efforts and ongoing initiatives, my hope is that the islands will serve as an inspiration for future generations, showcasing the importance of environmental stewardship and conservation in preserving our natural heritage. And of course, the involvement of Rossella and Huw Beaugié (the founders of The Thinking Traveller) is reinforcing my confidence in a very bright future. So, I would say, watch this space!

6. While studying at Oxford, you founded a club for overseas students, and several of your business ventures, from the South Kensington Club to ONDA, promote and foster the creation of enduring human connections. Where does this passion for community, conviviality and hospitality come from?

Growing up in a hotel environment and witnessing my parents' sensibility for hospitality initially sparked my desire to foster connections among people with shared values, within welcoming spaces. Then, as a teenager, a line from a book - Omne Solum Forti Patria Est (every land is a homeland for the courageous) - inspired in me the belief that we should all feel at home and proud wherever we are in the world. This conviction later led me to create my first society ‘club’ in Oxford with fellow students from around the world. As members they pledged to welcome one another in their homes and local cultures. I then moved to London in my early 20s and started frequenting members clubs. Eventually working in this fascinating world in my mid 20s led me to set up my own members clubs and lifestyle-related ventures. So for me, the joy of being able to offer people extraordinary experiences is second to none and fills my heart every time.

7. Tell us a little more about ONDA, the philosophy behind it, and why ONDA and The Thinking Traveller have begun this new partnership?

I founded ONDA with the ambition of bringing people with a shared passion together, in private environments that can serve as their base camps. Much like modern-day explorers, setting off on their mission while cultivating authentic interactions and supporting one another on their journeys.

It’s a highly curated private network, and we offer access to coveted members' clubs, creative workspaces, and exceptional experiences across 75 cities and destinations, spanning five continents. And the collection is constantly growing…

It all goes back to that profound line, Omne Solum Forti Patria Est; I wish to provide a ‘home away from home’ around the world.

We share a similar ethos with The Thinking Traveller that led us to create a program that will benefit our respective communities.


Photo above: the Graeco-Roman theatre at Taormina with its views of Mount Etna

You’re obviously a keen traveller who’s seen a lot of the world, so here are a couple of questions about travel:

8. What travel experience has meant the most to you?

Every travel experience holds its own impact, making it difficult to rank one above the other. But, several journeys have had a profound influence on me: exploring Havana, and its vibrant culture during the cigar festival; venturing to Lake Baikal in Siberia, particularly the island of Olkhon, offered a special glimpse into the Buryats, a remarkable tribe that practices shamanism. That, coincidentally, led me to the Mexican jungle…but that’s a story for another time! The Sahara really inspired me when visiting the desert for a solar eclipse. Our world is filled with incredible places that left me with a deeper connection to our human experience, from South Africa all the way to South America's nature.

9. If you were to suddenly find yourself with a two-week window for a spontaneous trip, where would you go and what would you do?

I would go to Sicily. And what would I do? Well, let’s ask The Thinking Traveller!