Friday, July 30, 2010

The Beauty of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Timeshare Resort

Article written by guest blogger: Joann Whetstine, Marketing Manager for RedWeek.com

I was lucky enough to spend my summer vacation this year at the beautiful Hilton Hawaiian Village resort on Oahu. We were celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary and invited the whole family to come along, so we had quite a large group of people. It was a wonderful trip and I have many things to share with you about how the Hilton Hawaiian Village is a premiere vacation destination.

The Resort Has Everything
The resort has everything you could ever want while staying at a Hawaii timeshare on a tropical island vacation. First of all, the resort is huge with 22 beautiful oceanfront acres to enjoy and 7 Hotel towers. We were in the Kalia Tower with a City/Mountain view facing east, beautiful for Sunrises! The room was very clean and the entire tower was beautifully decorated (even had a Starbucks in the lobby which my husband loved).

With 20 Restaurants, 90 stores for shopping and a full service spa, you’ll never need to leave the resort to have a wonderful vacation. And, if you are like my 6 year old, you’ll never tire of just going to the beach every day. It is quiet and secluded and you can rent an umbrella and lounge chairs if you like. Towels are provided by the resort with your wrist band that shows you are a hotel guest.

Activities Galore
Just strolling the resort itself is a great activity. Browsing the shops and looking at the beautiful décor and landscaping is quite a treat. My kids loved the koi ponds, penguins, turtles and flamingos. Planned activities include Lei making, Hula Lessons, Ukulele Lessons, Snorkeling Lessons and even Sarong tying. Many items are complementary except those with materials, like the flower leis, which require a nominal fee.

The American Express Tour Desk is located right on the property where you can book any number of island tours such as Pearl Harbor, Paradise Cove Luau or a complete tour of the island, up to the North Shore. You can also enjoy Catamaran sailing, Sunset Cruises, rent surfboards, kayaks, paddle boats, and more!

Try to Visit All 6 Pools
My 3 year old daughter really liked playing in the pools. There are so many, you’ll find it hard to swim in them all! Her favorite was the Super Pool, just in front of the beach. My 6 year old couldn’t wait to try the Paradise Pool (which we called the waterslide pool). One note to parents: your kids can’t go in without a flotation vest, water wings or an inflatable circle (with a seat), so, prepare to pack your own or pay to buy one there.

In a future post, I’ll go in to more detail about the Mandara Spa, how to get around the city without renting a car, fun for kids and tips for saving money on eating out when you are not cooking in your Oahu timeshare. Aloha!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

5 Tips on How to Use Your Timeshare Kitchen Effectively

You already know that one of the best perks of a timeshare vacation is the fully-equipped kitchen. What a joy to be able to fix economical snacks for constantly hungry kids; to have an easy, leisurely breakfast without having to dress and shower everyone and get them out the door just for a bite to eat; and to save money on dinner by avoiding expensive restaurants.

But, just how do you go about actually using your timeshare kitchen? There are logistics involved, and some simple tips on menu planning will help you. After all, your goal here is to minimize mom's time in the kitchen and at the same time offer filling and nutritious meals the entire family will enjoy.

LiLing Pang, of trekaroo.com, a web site with information on travel with kids, offers these tips:
  1. Decide how many meals and what snacks you'll be eating in at your timeshare. This will be based on your itinerary, including the activities, events, and sightseeing that your family will be doing. Since this is a vacation, of course you'll want to eat out once in awhile. If you have small children you might consider eating out at lunch - it's less expensive and your children will be less likely to be tired and cranky in the restaurant.

  2. Determine ahead of time exactly what equipment and appliances your timeshare kitchen has. For example: is there a gas grill available? How about sharp knives, measuring spoons and cups, a mixer? How large are the mixing bowls and pots and pans? Is there a slow-cooker or a roasting pan?

  3. Plan easy and familiar recipes. As Pang points out, "Children are notoriously conservative with their food when they are experiencing disruptions in other routines." It's also easier for mom to whiz through the cooking if the recipes are familiar. And remember to pack the recipes!

  4. If you'll be flying to your timeshare, you won't be able to pack the groceries. Instead, check if the resort offers the service of stocking your kitchen based on your list. Most timeshare resorts are close enough to local grocery stores (it's amazing how ubiquitous is Costco and Safeway) to make grocery shopping easy once you've arrived.

  5. Pang reminds us that despite #3 a vacation is a chance to enjoy new things. So do remember that if you are traveling to a place that has interesting local specialties, you might want to consider leaving space in the menu for fresh local produce or interesting treats you find along the way.
Armed with a step-by-step plan, your adventures with a timeshare kitchen can be just another fun, relaxing part of your vacation!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Daytona Beach Perfect for a Kid-FriendlyTimeshare Vacation


Daytona Beach, Florida, is a town along a sweeping beach beside the Atlantic Ocean. Known as "The world's most famous beach," due, of course, to its connection with NASCAR and the "Daytona 500" race, the beach itself is a wide expanse of beauty where the white sand is powdery soft and the splashing waves warm and inviting. A timeshare rental here will give your family a grand vacation any time of the year.

Daytona Beach is currently working to bring back the family-friendly atmosphere that once made this area so popular. In 2006 the city decided to sell to a developer land that once had delightful shops and a family activities center along a fun boardwalk.
The developer had plans to build a multimillion-dollar high-end redevelopment project designed to attract the wealthy.

However, when the real estate market bottomed out, the land development deal fell through. Enter Daytona Beach's new family-oriented Boardwalk with a new area of fun rides and attractions. You'll find rides here that every age family member will enjoy, including a Ferris wheel and a Tilt-O-Whirl. The Hurricane and the Slingshot are thrill rides that your teens will love. A roller coaster simulator ride is a new, fun way to ride spins, turns and drops. And the go-carts are a great attraction for your tweens. Plans for next year are to add a free-fall ride, as well as an alligator pond exhibit.

Stretching about 200 yards right along the edge of the beach, the Boardwalk has several access areas to the beach itself. After the rides, get a snack at the Boardwalk of famous fries or the ever popular caramel popcorn - all the more delicious mixed with salt air - and take the kids down to play in the sand and jump in the waves. Do be aware that depending upon the time of day, Daytona Beach does allow vehicular traffic to drive right along the beach.

Daytona Beach timeshare rentals include a number of budget-friendly options. The popular Daytona SeaBreeze has been remodeled in a fun 50's décor and sits right on the beach. Another beachfront resort is the Dolphin Beach Club where timeshare rentals start as low as $57/night. At the beautiful Wyndham Ocean Walk (see photo at right) rentals start at just $56/night.

Top photo courtesy daytona-vacation-rental.com
Right photo courtesy redweek.com

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Explore Great Falls Park on your Washington, D.C., Timeshare Vacation


Did you think that Washington, D.C., was just a collection of monuments and museums? Think again. Great Falls Park is an 800-acre park within Washington, D.C.'s metropolitan area, just 15 miles from downtown. When you rent a timeshare here you'll have time to visit all of those wonderful monuments and museums, and also to get out into the beauty and grandeur of nature.

Great Falls Park is located along the Potomac River, and is administered by the National Park Service. After the last ice age, the ocean levels dropped forcing the Potomac River to carve deeper in its path to the sea, eroding hard bedrock and producing this spectacular waterfall and rapids section of the river. Here the river cascades into 20 foot waterfalls displaying the steepest fall line rapids of any eastern river.

You can view the falls from several observation areas, all easy walks from the Visitor Center. Overlook 2 and the Patowmack Canal Trail are wheelchair accessible. Follow the River Trail, beginning just downstream of the falls, and you will see spectacular views of the Mather Gorge. Above the Visitor Center you can follow the upper Canal Trail and view the head of the falls and the Aqueduct Dam.

Most of the park’s 800 acres are forested. Amazingly, so close to the city, here you can encounter a number of different kinds of wildlife. Over 100 different species of birds can be seen at Great Falls Park, as well as native animals such as deer, fox, squirrels and chipmunks.

So that you can enjoy the wildlife, and the variety of plants, some of them rare species, that are found in Great Falls Park, it offers a variety of activities including hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, bicycling and even horseback riding. And picnicking - it's a good thing you have a timeshare kitchen making it easy to pack your picnic lunch!

Your kids will delight in the Junior Ranger program which makes exploring Great Falls Park even more fun. For children 5 and up, age-specific booklets are provided. Children who complete the booklets earn a Junior Ranger Badge.

A two-day Junior Ranger day camp is offered each summer at Great Falls Park for children ages 8-11. Campers spend two days with Park Rangers exploring the park, taking hikes, participating in activities, and having fun.

Timeshare rentals are available in the Washington, D.C., area at Wyndham's Old Town Alexandria, in Alexandria, Virginia, where they start at just $100/night, and a metro station is right out front. Listed with a Fort Washington, Maryland, address, the new Wyndham Vacation Resorts at National Harbor is just a couple of blocks from the Potomac River waterfront, with rentals starting at $125/night.

Photo courtesy flickr.com

Monday, July 26, 2010

Crowds at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter No Problem for Timeshare Vacationers


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened June 18, 2010, at Universal Orlando. "If you're a Harry Potter fan, it's a dream come true," said one excited fan. After just 5 weeks the new park has seen almost a million and a half visitors. Which is why having a timeshare rental when you head there yourself is one of the smartest things you can do!

Those of you who are old hands at timeshare vacations already know what you newbies will learn quickly enough - it's great to have a place to stay that is not only budget-friendly, but also spacious, and gives you enough vacation time to enjoy activities without getting worn out.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is proving so popular that Universal is learning what crowd-control is all about. Its latest announcements are suggesting that you come in the afternoons after 3pm when the crowds have dissipated somewhat. Since you'll have a timeshare with lots of room for relaxing, you'll easily be able to follow that advice.

One reviewer said, "Obviously, crowds were going to be massive, and visitors should expect that. Frankly, I think Universal's done a wonderful job so far."

When you do find yourself in a long line, you'll see that Universal has planned even that to be a part of your Harry Potter experience. As you can imagine there is quite a wait to get onto the Forbidden Journey ride, the centerpiece of the theme park.

However, as this review explains, that's all part of the fun. "The queue line for this ride is almost as much fun as the ride itself! I know, hard to believe, but I really enjoyed the line. As you move from section to section of Hogwart's Castle, you see a different show with different effects and props. In fact, I liked that I was able to move slowly through the castle to appreciate all the shows and effects."

Robert Niles, publisher of ThemeParkInsider.com, a website devoted to theme-park news, said the reviews of Universal's handling of the crowds so far have been generally positive. "I think almost everyone understands that this is a hugely popular thing and there's going to be a lot of waiting involved," Niles said. "People are used to the fact that the really popular things are going to have lines."

With an Orlando timeshare, you'll have up to a week's time to enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Let the crowds mass at the gates at 7am - you can sleep in, enjoy a leisurely breakfast in your timeshare kitchen, take a swim in the resort's pool, and generally just ease yourself into your Harry Potter day!

Photo courtesy images.google.com

Friday, July 23, 2010

Take a Timeshare Vacation and Visit Unique Mackinac Island


Are you still trying to beat the summer heat? A great place to head for relief is Mackinac Island in northern Michigan, where summer temperatures are in the pleasant mid-70's. Mackinac Island (actually pronounced "Mak-in-aw") is located in Lake Huron at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac. Rent a timeshare in the area and enjoy a lovely summer family vacation that includes everything from ferry boats to horses.

Mackinac Island is a unique and fun place to take the family because motorized vehicles (except emergency vehicles) have been banned here since 1898. That means that besides on foot or bicycle, the only means of getting around is by real horsepower. There are horse-drawn taxis, horse-drawn trash collectors, and even horse-drawn UPS deliveries!


In fact, Mackinac Island Festival of the Horse is an annual July event, "celebrating all things Equine on Mackinac." Plan next year's timeshare rental vacation to take advantage of this exciting festival where you'll see a saddle horse parade, a blessing of the horses, a breed show and a fun symposium all about the horse. The Mackinac Island Chamber of Commerce explains it this way: "The Island prefers to embrace our lack of motorized technology for two reasons, its keeps the Island quaint and beautiful, and we feel the horse is God's gift to mankind just like the old Arab proverb says."

If you're looking to escape the heat of the Dog Days of Summer, Mackinac Island has a couple of festivals in August, too. The 2010 Mackinac Island Music Festival will be held August 17-19. Local, statewide and nationally-acclaimed music artists showcase a variety of musical genres, including folk, bluegrass, classical, Broadway, jazz and country.

To give you a good excuse to indulge in decadent, creamy fudge, the 2010 Mackinac Island Fudge Festival will be held August 20-21. Festival events feature the culinary arts of Mackinac Island's 17 fudge shops, as well as various restaurant chefs and bartenders, all accompanied by musical and dance performances.

While visiting the island be sure to stop by the historic 19th century Grand Hotel. You may recognize it as the backdrop for the movie "Somewhere in Time," starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

Great timeshare rentals are available just an hour from Mackinac Island in both Bellaire and Boyne Falls, Michigan. The kids will especially enjoy the fact that the only way to get across to Mackinac Island is by passenger ferry boat. And, yes, you are allowed to bring your own bicycles.

Top photo courtesy derekgrasman.wordpress.com
Center photo courtesy michigantalknetwork.com

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Enjoy a Laguna Beach Timeshare Seaside Vacation


Laguna Beach, a seaside resort and artist community, is considered to have some of the most beautiful beaches in southern California. It's also known for its unique shops, restaurants, world famous art galleries, and art festivals. Rent a Laguna Beach timeshare and you'll soon be enjoying scenic beaches and some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world.

Tourists have been flocking to Laguna Beach for over 100 years to enjoy its picturesque beaches, rocky cliffs, and sandy coves. Southern California's foremost diving spots are here, as well as some of the best tide pools. Nature's colors seem more vibrant here and have drawn artists from around the world to make Laguna Beach a popular artist community.

Laguna Beach includes 7 miles of coastline with the distinction of having one f the greatest number of localized beaches of any city on the California coast, all of which are operated under the City of Laguna Beach Lifeguard Services. Northern beaches include Crescent Bay, Boat Canyon and Picnic Beach, and southern beaches include Bluebird Canyon, Moss Point, Victoria Beach and Treasure Island, among many others.

Be sure to head north of Laguna's Main Beach along the bluffs of Cliff Drive to Heisler Park. Complete with a pretty gazebo this area offers stunning views of Laguna's coastline.

The family will also enjoy Laguna's "Window to the Sea" in the heart of downtown Laguna Beach. This fun boardwalk area has a pathway to Heisler park, volleyball and basketball areas, picnic tables, a children's play area, and protected tide pools.

After an enjoyable sun and sea day, plan to attend an evening's performance at the Laguna Beach Playhouse. This premier professional theater has been going strong for over 90 years and offers a 5-play main stage season. Its award-winning children's theater is geared for children of elementary and middle school age and offers plays and musicals based on well-known, popular books and stories.

Timeshare rentals in Laguna Beach are not only luxurious but budget-friendly. For example, rentals at the Laguna Surf, an RCI Silver Crown resort, start at just $129/night. Each beautifully appointed unit includes a fireplace, a view balcony, and even its own gas barbecue grill. Perched on a bluff right above a mile-long beach, you'll have easy access to sand, surf, and spectacular sunsets.

Photo courtesy californiatraveldreams.com

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Explore Lake Mead from your Las Vegas Timeshare


Las Vegas is certainly the place for glitz and glamour, but are you aware that it is also a perfect place to get out and enjoy the great outdoors? Amazingly, located just a half hour from Las Vegas, is Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States. Rent a Las Vegas timeshare then head out of town a hop and a skip and you'll find yourself in a wonderful world of outdoor recreation.

Created by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, Lake Mead extends a whopping 112 miles behind the dam, and holds approximately 9.28 trillion gallons of water. Jagged mountain ranges surround the lake, offering a startlingly beautiful backdrop, especially at sunset.

The Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which actually includes three separate lakes, offers year-round recreational opportunities. Boating is the most popular, and with five marinas there are plenty of boats to rent. Grab a power boat to show off your water-skiing skills. Go kayaking, or you can take a boat exploring - you'll discover sandy coves and rocky cliffs, and even several islands, depending on the water level. You'll also find numerous opportunities for sunbathing and swimming.

Or why not rent a boat and go out fishing? You can catch fresh fish to take back and cook up in your timeshare for dinner. There's a smorgasbord of choices including largemouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, and bluegill. Here's a secret - Fishermen go for the big trout at Willow Beach, while Cottonwood Cove and Katherine offer great bass fishing.

Those of you who prefer exploring the desert will find the Lake Mead Recreation Area covered in great hiking trails where you'll come across amazing desert plants and animals that have adapted to survive in the extreme conditions of scarce water and high temperatures.

There are also great bike trails along scenic Northshore Road, Lakeshore Drive or the 35 mile-long River Mountains Loop Trail. Approved backcountry roads are marked with a yellow arrow sign with a number on it. Remember to carry plenty of water, cycle with a friend, and let someone know your itinerary.

This is beautiful, wild country and a wonderful experience for all ages. However, when it's time for more action, head back to your Las Vegas timeshare. There are many timeshare rentals available in Las Vegas, most at great budget prices. For example, the Wyndham Grand Desert starts at just $82/night, the luxurious HGVC at the Flamingo starts at $100/night, and Marriott's Grand Chateau starts at a budget-friendly $61/night.

Photo courtesy callvillebay.com

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ready to Rent a Timeshare? Use a Vacation Escrow Service

Ready to book that dream timeshare rental vacation? Don’t forget to use a vacation escrow service to ensure a secure and convenient timeshare rental transaction. Through First American Title Insurance, RedWeek.com members can transact rental agreements with other members, without security concerns that may be associated with private transactions. Just make sure you are making your travel plans at least one week in advance of your vacation.

How to Use the Escrow Service:
  1. Once the renter and rentee have an agreement on the price, both parties need to determine that they wish to use First American Title Insurance Co.'s vacation rental escrow service.

  2. The timeshare owner will complete the online Rental Agreement and Escrow Instructions.

  3. The renter will receive an e-mail from First American Title with a link to the agreement started by the owner. He then reviews and completes the application information submitting it to the title company.

  4. First American Title will contact both parties to collect a non-refundable escrow fee from each of them. AT this time, the renter pays 50% of the rental fee as a deposit if more than 60 days remain before check-in, or 100% of the rental fee if there are fewer than 60 days before check-in.

  5. 60 days prior to start of vacation, the renter will make the final 50% payment to First American Title, if that did not already occur upon opening of escrow.

  6. The owner will receive a check from First American Title approximately 11 days after the last day of the rental period, provided there have been no material disputes filed by the renter.
Costs for the Escrow Service (in $USD):
  • $100 for rental price of $0 - $1,000

  • $150 for rental price of $1,001 - $2,000

  • $200 for rental price of $2,001 +
The costs will be split 50/50 by the two parties, unless otherwise negotiated and Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, or checks are accepted as payment.

If you prefer to talk to someone via phone, you can reach the First American Title Insurance Transfer/Rental Department at: Phone: 866-639-9203 (toll-free from U.S. only); 702-792-6863 (outside U.S.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Timeshare Resale vs. Timeshare Developer: How to Buy?

Timeshare purchase methods have changed in the last 10 years. Whereas before, the only way to buy a timeshare was directly from the resort developer, there is now a timeshare resale marketplace to consider when getting ready to purchase a timeshare for your annual vacation needs. And, with information being available so readily on the internet, there are more opportunities than ever to do your own research and be sure you are getting the best timeshare purchase deal around.

Here’s how the two methods compare:

Timeshare Resale
  • No sales pressure
  • Time to conduct your own research online
  • Prices typically 35 - 50% lower
  • Opportunity to negotiate price further
  • Units the same as the developer offers
Yes, it can be tempting to purchase a timeshare while you are having a fantastic vacation and are enjoying the amenities of the resort that wants you to buy there. But, the buyer who is not impulsive can gain valuable, objective insights about the resort by learning about the experiences of owners through articles, online timeshare forums and resort ratings. If he checks pricing online as well, he may be surprised that he can save as much at 50% on a timeshare resale unit as well.

Timeshare from the Developer
  • Trust factor: buying from a recognized brand
  • Opportunity to purchase new construction
  • Incentives and perks
  • Financing available
There is an element of trust associated with buying directly from an established and respected brand in which you have confidence such as Marriott Vacation Club, Hilton Grand Vacations Club and Disney Vacation Club. Some developers even offer perks and amenities that come with the resort if you buy it brand new. And, the earlier you buy, the more choices you have in terms of the week you want and its location at the resort (ie. With our without a view).

Perks can include rewards and points programs that are not transferable if the timeshare owner chooses to sell at a later date.

Financing options are available much easier, though you could certainly ask a timeshare owner if they are willing to finance the deal in order to make the sale. And, just because you are talking to a developer does not mean that you can’t attempt to negotiate the price. If they want the sale as much as you want the property, you could get a better deal.

No matter where or how you choose to purchase a timeshare, make sure you buy a resort that you love to insure that you get the most value and enjoyment from your vacation ownership.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes Timeshares Final Phase Opening

This summer Marriott Vacation Club announced the final phase opening of Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Located in the exclusive Grande Dunes master-planned community, amidst stately southern homes and along the blue Atlantic Ocean with miles of pristine beaches, this extraordinary resort is "the perfect blend of luxurious accommodations."

The new phase offers 75 additional two-bedroom, two-bathroom villas and brings this popular timeshare resort to completion. Adding onto the resort's existing 286 two-bedroom villas, the new villas bring the resort to a total of 361 villas, each with approximately 1,100 square feet of living space.

Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes welcomes owners and guests with "a taste of southern living at its best." Each luxurious villa includes a fully-equipped kitchen with granite countertops, spacious living and dining areas, multiple televisions and DVD player, washer/dryer and a private balcony with sweeping ocean and garden views. Two-bedroom villas can accommodate up to eight guests.

"We are excited to open the final phase of villas at this fabulous resort, offering more luxurious accommodations for more families to enjoy in beautiful Myrtle Beach," said Michael Reilly, general manager of Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes.

Owners and guests can enjoy a variety of resort amenities for all ages, including:
  • Three outdoor pools, a children's pool, a slide pool and four whirlpool spas
  • One indoor pool, a children's indoor pool and indoor whirlpool spa
  • The MarketPlace convenience store and grille
  • Fire pit and putting green
  • Children's three-story tree house play area
  • Bocce ball and shuffle board courts
  • Sports court including basketball and volleyball
  • Expansive beachfront with private beach walkway
If you are thinking of purchasing a timeshare resale at this resort, consider what some members of redweek.com have said in reviews about Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes:
"We have vacationed to many parts of the world - Marriott OceanWatch is THE BEST!!! OF THE BEST !!! NOTHING COMES CLOSE!"
"Marriott's OceanWatch is absolutely 5-Star, First Class. We cannot recommend it enough."
"The facilities are top notch and maintained to as high a standard as you could ask for. The location makes it very convenient for visiting the attractions at Myrtle Beach. It is a great place for a family vacation."
Rent a timeshare here for as low as $114/night, and experience this luxury resort yourself!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Aulani Disney Timeshare Resort Scheduled to Open Fall 2011

Disney has just begun offering sales of its brand new premier family resort on the island of Oahu. The Aulani - A Disney Resort and Spa in Ko' Olina is scheduled to open in the fall of 2011.

Just the sound of a Hawaii vacation evokes a family dream vacation come true! And the name Disney adds a "magical" element to this tropical paradise. Hawaii plus Disney - equals the ultimate in family vacations. And the magic hour has arrived to make this dream a reality with this newest Oahu timeshare.

“We are thrilled to give families joining Disney Vacation Club a new resort option in one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world,” said Disney Vacation Club President Jim Lewis. “Once Aulani opens, families will be able to immerse themselves in the culture of Hawaii while knowing that they will get the quality vacation experience only Disney can deliver.”

Located on the western Wai`anae Coast of Oahu in the Ko' Olina area Aulani is in a quiet, secluded spot of the island, yet just a 30-minute drive to Waikiki. An ocean-front resort, Aulani is being built on 21 acres next to a blue lagoon and a dazzling white sand beach.

When all phases are competed, Aulani will include 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas and 360 traditional hotel rooms upon its completion. Other family-friendly resort amenities are scheduled to include an 18,000 sq. ft. family-oriented spa, two restaurants, a wedding lawn, a kids’ club, a conference center and a pool area complete with a feature pool, wading pool, tube slides, sunset-facing hot tubs and a snorkel lagoon.

Of course, sprinkled all through Aulani will be the Disney magic. For example, enchanting entertainment will be offered by the many mischievous menehunes (mythical Hawaiian elf-like creatures). Watch for them - some might be hidden and some will be in full view! And Mickey and the gang might even be teaching the kids how to hula.

See other Disney timeshares available now.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tourist Attractions Near Your Gatlinburg Timeshare

Gatlinburg, sitting as the gateway to the most visited National Park in America, the Great Smokies National Park, is a plethora of surprises. From the Space Needle to Hillbilly Golf, from the haunted Mysterious Mansion to the largest collection of Hollywood Star Cars - you won't believe this place for great tourist attractions. Rent a timeshare here, and after exploring a truly lovely National Park, hitch up your britches and head into Gatlinburg for a look around.

First of all you'll want to see the Gatlinburg Space Needle. This one is a 407-foot tall observation tower with an outdoor observation level that gives visitors an astounding 360-degree view of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. At the base of the tower is the Arcadia Family Fun Center, a 25,000 sq. ft. two-story playground.

The Gatlinburg Sky Lift has gorgeous views in spades. You'll have an exhilarating ride up to an overlook at an elevation of 1800 feet. On a clear day you'll see ridge after beautiful blue ridge as the Smoky Mountains seem to go on forever. The view at night is just as exciting as Gatlinburg spreads out in glittering lighted splendor.

When it' time to let loose, play some Hillbilly Golf. Leave it to Gatlinburg to offer a different kind of golf than you've ever experienced before. Just to get to this course you have to head to the hills, and ride up a 300-ft incline. For great family fun there are two 18-hole miniature golf courses from which to choose. Each one offers mountaineer hazards, from rocky walls to stills. Can you get the golf ball through the hole in the outhouse?

Hillbilly Golf a little tame for the teens? Send them to the Mysterious Mansion. This classic, turn of the century, haunted house is guaranteed to give them thrills and chills. There are all manner of frightening things that go bump in the night, including secret passageways, rooms with no exits, a dark, damp dungeon, and plenty of scary ghouls and ghosts. It is highly recommended that no one visits this haunted house alone.

A visit to Star Cars Museum (see photo) will make you think you're actually in Hollywood. For 50 years this museum has been collecting the best of Hollywood's movie and TV cars. For example, how about seeing the 1981 DeLorean time machine that was driven by Michael J. Fox in "Back to the Future"? The teens will enjoy the Batmobile that was part of "Batman Returns." And for the little ones there's the Flintmobile from Universal's 1994 movie "The Flintstones." The museum's most recent acquisition is Michael Jackson's 1985 Mercedes-Benz 500, purchased at the November, 2009, Hard Rock Café auction of Jackson's life memorabilia.

Ready for your vacation to Gatlinburg? See all Gatlinburg timeshare rentals and resales.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Water Safety at your Timeshare Resort

When your family is vacationing in a timeshare rental, no matter the time of year odds are that the resort has swimming pools. Well, that's half the fun of staying at a resort, especially for your kids. And many of the resorts have waterpark features or are near waterpark theme parks. Dr. Steven Dowshing, chief medical editor of kidshealth.org, offers these tips for keeping your children safe while still letting them enjoy playing in the water.

First and foremost, make sure your children learn to swim as early in their lives as you can possibly manage it.
  • Swimming Pools
    Remember that pools are made of concrete, which is rough, hard, and can certainly cause injury. Teach your children that they can jump off the sides of the pool, but the only place they can dive is off a diving board. Also point out to them the numbers that are painted on the sides of the pool to indicate depth, and give them instruction on which numbers they are allowed to play by, based on their age, size and swimming abilities.
    If the pool is posted with a "No Lifeguard on Duty" sign, make sure an adult who knows how to swim is with the children at all times. Do not allow the children to push or jump on others, which could cause accidental injury. Flotation toys are just that - toys - fun to play with, but don't fall into a false sense of security that they can save a life. Make sure your kids do not chew gum or eat while in the pool as they could easily choke.

  • Water Parks
    Check out what each attraction is like before allowing your children to participate. Make sure your children wear life jackets if they don't know how to swim or are not strong swimmers. Read all of the signs for each attraction, making sure that your child is tall enough, old enough, and doesn't have any of the medical conditions that are listed. Questions? Ask a lifeguard or attendant.
    Instruct your children to always go to down a waterslide face up and feet first, and to allow the person ahead of them to pass a safe point before getting on the ride. If a lifeguard is on duty, remind your children to listen to the instructions. And caution your kids that because it's slippery they are not to run from ride to ride.
Following these simple but important tips you'll ensure that the safety of your family, while having lots of great times in the water, is of paramount importance, and your timeshare vacation will be the highlight it's meant to be.

(Photo of Notchville Water Park near the Smugglers Notch Timeshare Resort)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rent a Timeshare for a Better Vacation

In a recent press release, the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) asked this question: "Tired of Eating Pizza on a Hotel Bed?" with this answer: "Rent a Timeshare for a Better Vacation." Timeshare rental vacations can be a dream come true for budget-minded families, retirees, and even honeymooners just starting out.

Instead of a cramped hotel room, with one or two beds scrunched together, where you perch to eat your almost cold pizza, you could be spending your vacation in spacious accommodations that include separate bedrooms, a living room, a dining area WITH a dining room table and chairs, and a fully-equipped kitchen. And all of this for often up to 50% less than the hotel room would be. On top of all of that, your timeshare rental will be attached to a resort where the resort's amenities - which often include swimming pools, hot tubs, waterpark features, tennis, arcade game rooms, and numerous other activities - are included in your one low rental price.

The ARDA press release stated that according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers research on the state of the timeshare industry in 2009, nearly half of timeshare purchasers rented first. And, among the six million-plus timeshare owners, they still enjoy an 85 percent satisfaction rate. “Timeshare owners place value on having the space to truly rejuvenate – a benefit that comes with a timeshare vacation,” said Howard Nusbaum, ARDA president. "And, because of the pre-paid nature of the product, timeshare owners continue to travel despite historic lows in traditional hotel occupancy. For 2009, the timeshare industry reported an occupancy rating of nearly 80 percent."

If you've been considering the purchase of a timeshare, renting first is the way to experience what every timeshare owner experiences, without the financial commitment. You can rent a timeshare in a specific resort that you're interested in, at a specific destination, or even to try out different types of timeshare villas. You'll know then if timeshare ownership is for you, or perhaps you'll discover that the freedom of budget timeshare rental is the way for you to go.

Brian Rogers, president of the forum site, Timeshare Users Group, stated, “We frequently encourage travelers to explore this vacation experience because renting provides the perfect “try before you buy” solution.”

ARDA points out that there are many ways for vacationers to ensure the right timeshare rental to meet their travel needs. Rentals can be found at aggregated sites, and in the press release ARDA recommended RedWeek.com as one such site. RedWeek is the largest on-line marketplace where timeshare owners list their timeshares for rent, and where consumers looking for bargain vacation accommodations can find great deals.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Hike Diamond Head on Your Oahu Timeshare Vacation

Diamond Head on Oahu in Hawaii is probably the most famous volcano crater on earth. We've all seen its image, on postcards, in travel magazines, and many a movie. Because it is so iconic, it can become just a part of the scenery. So, when you rent an Oahu timeshare, that's a good time to investigate Diamond Head further.

Rather than a crater, Diamond Head is actually part of a complex of cinder cones, vents, and their associated eruption flows from the Ko'olau Volcano, but that took place long after the volcano had formed and then gone dormant. Known as the Honolulu Volcanic series, these eruption events also created other well-known Oahu landmarks such as Punchbowl Crater and Hanauma Bay.

The ancient Hawaiians called it "Leʻah" meaning "head of the tuna." It became "Diamond Head" in the 1800's when British sailors thought calcite crystals embedded in the rock were sparkling diamonds. The interior of the cone was the home to Fort Ruger, the first United States military reservation on Hawaii. Currently the interior contains an FAA operations facility.

Today, besides its being the definitive image of Hawaii, Diamond Head also offers a great opportunity for visitors to get close to the land by hiking to the rim of the cone, and from there seeing Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, southern Oahu, and the Pacific Ocean all spread out in a glorious 360-degree panoramic view.

The hike is approximately 1.1 miles, can take up to two hours round-trip, and is not considered difficult. However, hikers are warned that the path is uneven and mostly unpaved. There are also large numbers of stairs to climb, and a 200-foot tunnel to walk through for which you will need to bring a flashlight. A final, narrow, spiral staircase takes you up onto a coastal artillery platform that was built in 1908. Along the winding trail are numerous benches, so you'll be able to stop and rest as often as necessary.

The hiking trail opens at 6:30 am, and the earlier you get started on your hike the better, since the tropic sun gets very warm very quickly. Be sure to take plenty of water with you. Once you are at the cone's rim, the cooling Pacific breezes are a wonderful reward.

Guided hiking tours by trained nature guides are available. You'll learn about Diamond Head's fascinating volcanic creation, Hawaiian history, and modern-day military uses of what is also known as the "Gibraltar of the Pacific." At the end of your hike the tour company will give you a "I Climbed Diamond Head" certificate suitable for framing.

Hiking Diamond Head is not only a fun accomplishment, but a once-in-a-lifetime adventure on your Hawaii timeshare vacation.

(Photo provided by oahuoceanactivities.com)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Timeshare Rentals Next to Theme Parks

It's summer, and that means "Theme Park Season" is in full swing! All across the country theme parks of all kinds, sizes, and, well - themes - open their doors and offer summer fun for the entire family. So saddle up, rent a timeshare, and hit the road for these great theme parks.

For the younger ones in your family, the Sesame Street Safari of Fun is the newest addition to Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa Bay, Florida. Rent an Orlando timeshare and in just over an hour your kids can be climbing Elmo's Tree House, Flying through the desert with Grover, and splashing in Bert and Ernie's watering hole.

A Williamsburg timeshare in Virginia, will get you close to Busch Gardens Europe (see photo). This park, themed around the history and culture of old-world Europe, has several new attractions for the 2010 season. The "Europe in the Air" (formerly Corkscrew Hill) simulator ride is a journey around some of Europe's most famous landmarks. "Ramp Jam" is a new skateboard show, and "IllumiNights" is a park-wide fireworks and pyrotechnic show.

Stay in an Anaheim timeshare rental where you can see Disneyland Resort's newest "World of Color" show in California Adventure. This nighttime entertainment has more than 1200 fountains and includes laser, lights and fire. High definition projections on mist screens are similar to the ones used in Fantasmic! at Walt Disney World in Florida.

There are no less than three Sea World parks in the country. A San Diego timeshare rental, San Antonio timeshare or Orlando timeshare will get you to one of them. See exciting shows with seals, walruses and orca whales, as well as exhibits of all kinds of marine life. Sea World Orlando also has wild roller coasters, as well as two sister parks: Discovery Cove where you have the opportunity for the unique experience of swimming with dolphins, and Aquatica, Sea World's one-of-a-kind waterpark.

Speaking of waterparks, the largest one in America is Noah's Ark, in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. There are plenty of budget friendly Wisconsin timeshares available here for rent, and you'll need all of the timeshare vacation days you can get to see all of this park's 49 water rides, including the Black Anaconda and Time Warp, 2 giant pools, 2 endless rivers, and 4 children's water play areas. And that's not to mention other attractions such as the 4-D Drive-in Theater.

And for the ultimate summer experience of theme parks, check out SkyCoaster at Fun Spot USA in Kissimmee, Florida, for an extreme adrenalin rush. Not really a "coaster," this ride is more like a free-fall sky dive as it sends riders soaring through the air at speeds approaching 80 mph from a 300-foot high tower. See Kissimmee timeshares.

(Photo provided by buschgardens.com)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Top 3 Luaus near Your Oahu Timeshare

When you rent a Hawaii timeshare for your family's vacation, a must-do is attending a luau. We all know that fabulous Polynesian food, and exciting Polynesian entertainment, is what a luau is all about, but what are its roots?

In ancient Hawaii the traditional feast was known as an 'aha 'aini, and marked special occasions. The feast was eaten on the floor, on lauhala mats, with a beautiful, spreading, centerpiece made of ti leaves, ferns and native flowers. Bowls filled with poi, a staple of the Hawaiian diet made from pounded taro root, and platters of meat and fish, were set out, along with vegetables and fruits such as roasted sweet potatoes and fresh mangos.

The history of the luau, as described at hawaii-luau.com, tells this tale: The royal luaus tended to be big. One of the largest ever was hosted by Kamehameha III in 1847. The list of foods prepared included 271 hogs, 482 large calabashes of poi, 3,125 salt fish, 1,820 fresh fish, 2,245 coconuts, 4,000 taro plants among numerous other delicacies.

The favorite dish at these feasts is what gave the luau its current name. Young and tender leaves of the taro plant were combined with chicken, baked in coconut milk and called luau. Today, the name of that favorite dish has become the modern name of this favorite feast.

Every Hawaiian island offers luaus for your enjoyment. On Oahu, 3 favorites that are near your Oahu timeshare are:
  1. Germaine's Luau has been around for almost 35 years (see photo), and is considered one of the best bargains. It's been described as "fun and high energy," with exciting, energetic performances of the dancers, drummers and torch performers. Located on Barber's Point, this luau takes place along the ocean's edge, under swaying palms. Delicious food combined with a non-stop, action-packed show, is what makes this luau so popular.

  2. Paradise Cove Luau is situated on the stunningly beautiful beachfront grounds of the Ko Olina Resort, and is a little more expensive, but you can research discounts online. This luau actually goes all afternoon with many entertaining activities in which you can participate, including lei making, spear throwing, outrigger-canoe rides, and the hukilau (fish net pulling). You'll also enjoy the shower of flowers.

  3. The Polynesian Cultural Center's Ali'i Luau has been named Hawaii's most authentic luau by the prestigious Kahili Awards. From the flower lei greeting to the traditional Hawaiian food to the captivating entertainment, this luau experience is sure to be a favorite. And the best thing? You can check their web site for recipes of many of your favorite luau dishes, to enjoy again in your timeshare kitchen!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

10 Tips to Keep Your Home Safe While on Your Timeshare Vacation

When you are planning your timeshare rental vacation the entire family will be excited and ready to head out. If you also take the time to plan how to keep your home safe while you're gone, you'll have a much more relaxed and enjoyable time, knowing you don't have to worry about things back home. Here are some tips:
  1. Don't let mail and newspapers pile up. Have a neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers every day, or suspend delivery while you're gone.

  2. Put lights, and a radio or your TV, on timers. Stagger the timing of when lights go on and off in various parts of the house; have the TV or a radio on in the evenings, timed to go off when you would normally go to bed.

  3. If possible, keep a car in the driveway. An empty driveway for days on end is a dead give-away that you're not home. Put your second car there, or perhaps ask a neighbor to park one of their cars in your driveway.

  4. Don't leave valuables, such as jewelry, in your home. Take them to a friend or family member for safe-keeping. If you don't have someone with whom to leave them, put them in inconspicuous containers such a kotex box, a soup can, or even in your refrigerator's crisper under the lettuce.

  5. Depending on where you live, notify your local police department that you'll be out of town, and ask for a "watch order" on your house, available in many towns and suburbs. Make sure to let the police know of any neighbors who will be picking up mail, watering plants or taking care of your pets.

  6. In this day and age you'll want to be careful announcing your absence on Facebook and Twitter. This also goes for messages on answering machines and voice mails.

  7. Be sure to leave an itinerary and contact information with a neighbor. Giving the same information to friends and family members is fine, but your neighbor will be the first one to know if something has happened at your home.

  8. Make sure all windows and doors have secure, solid locks and double-check that they're all locked when you leave. Also trim hedges and bushes in front of the windows.

  9. If you plan to have no one entering your house, notify your alarm company that you'll be gone and give them your contact information.

  10. Have a house-sitter move in. There are bonded professionals, or you can ask friends or family members. The safest way of making sure your house looks lived in is to have someone actually living there.

Monday, July 05, 2010

BBB Tips to Protect Yourself from Becoming a Victim of Timeshare Fraud

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently weighed in on the growing concern within the timeshare industry regarding the burgeoning number of timeshare scams. The BBB has been the most prominent watchdog of the marketplace for over 90 years. Its vision is, simply put, for "an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other."

The BBB accredits and monitors thousands of businesses, holding them to the BBB Standards for Trust, a comprehensive set of best practices for how businesses should treat the public in a fair and honest manner. While the BBB does not have legal and policing powers, it works closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, providing them with valuable information on potential frauds.

"Many times we are the first organization to know about a developing scam," pointed out a BBB spokesperson. "When a scam develops in one part of the country, the news travels quickly between BBBs in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, who in turn alert the local authorities and public."

The following are tips provided by the BBB on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of timeshare fraud:

Use a Business You can Trust - Make sure the timeshare reseller you use is a BBB Accredited Business or at the very least has a good rating with the BBB. You can check out a business’s BBB Reliability Report at www.bbb.org.

Confirm Licensing Requirements - Some timeshare resellers will use fake addresses or PO boxes in order to mislead timeshare owners. Confirm where the company is located and in what states it does business. Ask if the company's salespeople are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. If so, verify this with the state licensing board.

Be Wary of Upfront Fees - Many complainants to BBB were burned by companies charging an advance "appraisal" fee for services or were told that they just had to pay closing costs and the timeshare would be taken off their hands. Consider opting for a company that offers to sell for a fee only after the timeshare is sold.

Don’t Fall for the Hard Sell or an Offer that Sounds Too Good to Be True - Don’t agree to anything over the phone but instead ask the salesperson to send you written materials; take the time to think it over and don’t be pressured. Unscrupulous timeshare resellers may claim that your property is in demand and they can sell it immediately; unfortunately, these promises are often empty.

RedWeek.com is an on-line timeshare marketplace where timeshare resales are listed for sale by the owners. RedWeek carries the coveted A+ rating from the BBB.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Google gives Timeshare Owners a New Way to Search for Airfare Online

All the buzz in the current news is the announcement by Google that they are entering the travel search market by purchasing ITA software. This means that when you are planning your next timeshare rental vacation, you will have yet another easy way to check out airfare options on the internet.

ITA was created in the mid-1990s at MIT, and today has roughly 500 employees. The company provides software that organizes flight information like fares and flight times, and is a major source of information about airfares to the aviation industry, used by airlines, travel agents and other sites including Hotwire, Kayak, Orbitz and Microsoft's Bing.

A consortium of rivals including Microsoft, Kayak, Expedia, and Travelport attempted to buy ITA earlier this year, as they all rely on its data and wanted to keep the company out of Google’s hands. ITA was reportedly holding out for $1 billion, but Google secured the original $700 million price.

Business pundits say the this move could help Google compete more effectively in this area with its main Microsoft-run competitor, Bing. Travel search is especially important since Google says almost half of all airline tickets are sold online.

“ITA’s very talented team has created an impressive product to organize flight information,” said Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google.“Their technology opens exciting possibilities for us to create new ways for users to more easily find flight information online, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to Google.”

What, really, is the big deal to timeshare vacation consumers? Travel Technology News explains it this way: Right now Bing Travel, a feature that Microsoft often touts in ads, provides detailed travel information and air fare data for air travel searches. A Bing query such as “fly from St. Louis to Boston” includes a chart showing how the cost for such a trip is likely to fluctuate over time, and compares the current prices for the flight on various travel sites. The same kind of information will now also be available to you via Google's user-friendly site.

Hot Summer Weather – Take a Canada Timeshare Vacation

Now that sweltering humidity and stifling heat are covering much of the U.S.'s favorite east coast vacation areas - Orlando, Miami, Washington, D.C. - and the popular vacation destinations of the southwest deserts - Arizona, Las Vegas, Palm Springs - where to go? Why not head north and visit Canada - where it's cool to be cool and great to feel cool!

If you've never been to Canada, you might be surprised at the pristine natural beauty of our northern neighbor. Rent an Alberta timeshare and visit Banff National Park, Canada's oldest, and most popular, national park, established in 1885. The stark beauty of the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains will take your breath away. Only an hour and half drive west of Calgary, this 2,560 sq. mile park of mountainous terrain is covered in dense forests, spreading alpine meadows, crystal clear lakes, and even has numerous glaciers and ice fields.

You can rent a Banff timeshare, the main commercial center in Banff National Park. Banff is home to numerous cultural institutions, including the Whyte Museum, the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum, and the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, the site of a natural hot springs and an underground cavern.

Another town next to Banff National Park, is Canmore. When you rent a Canmore timeshare you can enjoy the popular Canmore Folk Music Festival is held annually on Heritage Day, a holiday that recognizes and celebrates the varied cultural heritage of Canadians. The 33rd Canmore Folk Music Festival will be held July 31 through August 2, 2010. It actually kicks off on Friday evening, July 30, with a free street dance, and culminates Monday morning, August 2, with a free pancake breakfast, complete with jamming musicians.

Wherever you rent your Canada timeshare, you don't want to miss must-see Lake Louise (see photo), located just 30 miles west of Banff. The stunning vision of this clear mountain lake perfectly reflecting the surrounding snowcapped mountain peaks is breathtaking, and will have you talking about it for years to come. While there be sure to take in the grandeur of the historic Chateau Lake Louise.

From Lake Louise follow the Icefield Highway north as it winds its way toward Jasper National Park. Along the way you'll be able to see the Columbia Icefields and the Athabasca Glacier, both visible from the highway.

And since you've been saving money on meals by using your timeshare kitchen, you can splurge and enjoy a taste of the Chateau's dining options which range from a gourmet sandwich at the Chateau Deli to fine dining at the four star Fairview Dining Room Restaurant. Kids 5 and under eat free, and some items are 50% off for kids under 12.

(Photo from discoverlakelouise.com)