Monday, January 31, 2011

Timeshare Vacation in Puerto Rico – Part 1

It's Winter, it's Cold, and so what do you think of a sun-splashed, warm winter getaway to the Caribbean? Head to Puerto Rico. No passport, no currency conversions, and no translations. So taking a timeshare rental vacation here is almost a no-brainer!

Puerto Rico is known for great beaches, exciting nightlife, the "golf capital of the Caribbean," and world-class snorkeling and scuba diving. But wait - there's more! Kathleen Squires, a travel writer for Budget-Travel magazine has posted "20 Best-Kept Secrets of San Juan, Puerto Rico" in the December 2010/January 2011 online issue. We've culled out some of her more interesting ones, and will post them in a 2-part series.
  1. An iconic bank's secret stash. The 11-story art deco Banco Popular skyscraper has been a popular landmark in Old San Juan for 70 years, but few visitors know of the museum on its 3rd floor. The Sala de Exhibiciones Rafael Carrión Pacheco showcases island-centric exhibits, such as an exploration of area coffee plantations and a 38-foot scale model of the old city.

  2. A picturesque resting place. San Juan's most exclusive stretch of coastline isn't part of some fancy resort—it's the Cementerio Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis, a nearly 200-year-old burial ground tucked between the ruins of the El Morro fortress and the Atlantic Ocean. A peach-colored chapel stands among hundreds of elaborate tombs, where prominent islanders are interred such as singer Gilberto Monroig, and actor José Ferrer (uncle of George Clooney).

  3. Where the jukebox still reigns. Closet-size Café Celeste is often overshadowed by the famous Nuyorican Café across the street, but the scene inside this Old San Juan hole-in-the-wall is no less worthy. Along with a handful of other timeworn joints, it makes up "the jukebox walk," a circuit of laid-back bars where the vellonera, where a jukebox filled with salsa and mambo is the draw.

  4. A bygone vacation village. The Condado district, (see photo) four miles east of Old San Juan, is now synonymous with condo towers and trendy shops, but it began as a sleepy, turn-of-the-century beach community where the city's wealthiest families kept grand, Spanish-style second homes. A few of the historic buildings remain, and have been repurposed. to new purpose: One houses the restaurant Ajili Mojili, where travelers can taste traditional Puerto Rican dishes in an old-fashioned setting.

  5. A high-flying show. On weekends, while sightseers throng El Morro, the 16th-century citadel at the northwest tip of Old San Juan, residents take to the lawn in front of the fort to unfurl an impressive array of kites. The real spectacle is on Sundays, when families come from inland to launch their elaborate fliers, made from old fabrics and papier-mâché.
(Source referenced from Budget-Travel.com. Photo credit mawilson from virtualtourist.com)

Timeshare Vacation in Puerto Rico – Part 2

Friday, January 28, 2011

Island Links Resort Hilton Head Island

If you're looking for a perfect winter getaway, look no further than the Island Links Resort on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. Hilton Head Island features 12 miles of beachfront on the Atlantic Ocean, and the Island Links Resort takes advantage of this popular destination to give you the opportunity for a wonderful timeshare rental vacation.

The Island Links Resort offers spacious two-and three-bedroom condominium-villas complete with air-conditioning and private Jacuzzi hot tub, and feature golf course views. You can relax at the resort's on-site clubhouse and pool, or take advantage of golf facilities, tennis courts, and the beach, just minutes away. Priority tee times are available at the many nearby golf courses, and you are also invited to use the adjacent fitness and spa facilities.

"Island Links offers a quiet balance of rejuvenation that will leave plenty of time to visit one of the resort's three pools, explore miles of island-wide bike and nature trails connected to the resort, fishing, or gazing out at the resort's beautiful lagoon."

Reviewers have said this about Island Links Resort:
  • "The grounds were superb (located in the pine trees) and the facilities were very well kept."

  • "This was a nice resort with friendly staff, and we would gladly return. The pools at this resort were great, with excellent water quality."

  • "The resort was convenient to the island's extensive cycling path system."

  • "The shuttle to the beach was easy and we enjoyed the facilities at the Westin."
"Hilton Head Island has 12 miles of pristine sugar-sand beaches, 24 championship golf courses, tennis, biking, and kayaking, as well as world-class dining and shopping.

This barrier island offers an unusual number of cultural opportunities including Broadway-quality plays at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, the 120-member full chorus of the Hilton Head Choral Society, the highly-rated Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, and the Main Street Youth Theater. It also hosts the Heritage Golf Classic, a stop on the PGA Tour.

Island Links Resort currently has timeshare rental listings on redweek.com ranging from $186-$257/n, and timeshare resale postings from $1,250-$10,500.

(Photo credit - diamondresorts.com)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vacation Ownership in Mexico

Mexico is one of the most popular destinations for timeshare vacationers from the U.S. Not surprising, with its 6,000 miles of beautiful coastline, and warm winter weather. Perspective Magazine's Susan Knox investigated the Mexico-timeshare vacation connection and following are excerpts from her online article.

“When you look at shared ownership in Mexico, the marketplace is very competitive, therefore we’re seeing developers building incredibly high-quality resorts,” said Marcos Agostini, vice president for Latin America, resort sales and service, Interval International.

As the economy starts to improve, so does the number of timeshare vactioners to Mexico. Mark Carney, sales and marketing director for Cancun-based Royal Resorts, said “Our occupancy has been higher in the past three months than it was in the previous year.”

Royal has six beachfront resorts in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Another positive indicator for Royal: “Our sales were higher this September than they were the previous September by about 15%.” “There is a feeling that we’re out of the recession – many Americans who have kept their jobs and hadn’t been spending too much money say, okay, you know what, let’s go on vacation now. So, there’s pent-up demand,” Carney adds.

What makes Mexico different, writes Knox, is that in contrast to some other regions around the world, many of the resort developers are Mexican or have strong local ties. California-based Welk Resorts, which opened its first resort in Mexico in December 2009, is an example of a U.S. developer employing nationals. “We’ve got a leadership team in Mexico that is made up almost entirely of locals,” said Welk Resorts President Jon Fredricks.

Despite recent challenges, Mexico is still going strong and Owen Perry, a partner in The Villa Group, a leading privately owned Mexican real estate company with timeshare developments, sees great opportunity for Mexico’s future. “I think it’s more a confidence thing right now that the recovery is underway – once people trust that it is here to stay, they’ll start spending more,” said Perry.

Hallmarks of Mexican timeshare ownership include attentive service and a wealth of high-end finishes. Fredricks said that in general, resorts in Mexico, particularly in Los Cabos, are high quality and “benchmark well against the better products in the United States.” Welk Resorts has a luxurious 7-acre property perched high on the cliffs of Cabo San Lucas.

Both the east and west coasts of Mexico are booming. All the major tourist markets, including Cancun, Cabo and Puerto Vallarta, are expanding. For example, developers in Puerto Vallarta have recently extended into Riviera Nayarit, which has one of the most beautiful beaches in the area. For a winter getaway you can't beat a vacation to Mexico. Take a look at the many budget-friendly Mexico timeshare rentals available now at luxury resorts in beautiful Mexico.

(Photo shown is Royal Islander, Cancun, Mexico)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

RedWeek.com Top 25 Timeshare Rental Resorts Announced

Vacationers want sun, sun, and more sun according to the RedWeek.com list of top 25 timeshare rental resorts. Florida, the Caribbean, and Hawaii continue to be preferred vacation destinations of RedWeek.com users, taking 21 of the top 25 slots.

While there has been some movement on the list since last year, Disney’s Beach Club Villas holds the number one spot for the third year running, and Disney’s BoardWalk Villas reclaims its spot at number two after dropping to number five last year. Both of these resorts are located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, which is just outside of Orlando.

"Brand names like Marriott and Disney dominate the top 25 list because they offer quality accommodations,” said RedWeek.com President Maurice Aubrey. “This speaks volumes about what our users want: quality vacations at affordable prices.”

Other resorts that have consistently been in the top ten over the past three years are: Harborside Resort at Atlantis in Bahamas, The Manhattan Club in New York, and Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club in Hawaii. Each of these resorts boasts a 4.5 rating by RedWeek.com users.
  1. Disney's Beach Club Villas – Lake Buena Vista, Florida

  2. Disney's BoardWalk Villas – Lake Buena Vista, Florida

  3. Harborside Resort at Atlantis – Paradise Island, Bahamas

  4. The Manhattan Club – New York City, New York

  5. Marriott's Maui Ocean Club – Lahaina, Hawaii

  6. Costa Linda Beach Resort – Oranjestad, Aruba

  7. HGVC at Hilton Hawaiian Village – Honolulu, Hawaii

  8. Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge – Lake Buena Vista, Florida

  9. Disney's Old Key West Resort – Lake Buena Vista, Florida

  10. Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club – Kapolei, Hawaii

  11. Marriott's Aruba Ocean Club – Palm Beach, Aruba

  12. The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas – Lahaina, Hawaii

  13. Marriott's Aruba Surf Club – Palm Beach, Aruba

  14. Marriott's Newport Coast Villas – Newport Coast, California

  15. The Royal Sands – Cancun, Mexico

  16. Marriott's Waiohai Beach Club – Koloa, Hawaii

  17. Playa Linda Beach Resort – Palm Beach, Aruba

  18. Marriott's Grande Ocean – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

  19. Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort: West Village – Kissimmee, Florida

  20. Marriott's Ocean Pointe – Palm Beach Shores, Florida

  21. Kaanapali Beach Club – Lahaina, Hawaii

  22. The Westin St. John - Virgin Grand Villas – St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

  23. Aruba Beach Club – Oranjestad, Aruba

  24. Sheraton Vistana Resort – Orlando, Florida

  25. The Galleon Resort - Key West, Florida
The RedWeek.com Top 25 ranking was determined by the e-mail alert preferences of the site's more than 1.5 million registered users. These rankings reflect the preferences of RedWeek.com users; individual experiences with these resorts may differ from those reflected in these results. None of the resorts listed above are affiliated with RedWeek.com. All traveler ratings and reviews are available on RedWeek.com.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hyatt Timeshare Resorts Introduce “Toy Box”

Family timeshare vacations are a joy, a bonding time, and a way of creating memories for a lifetime. They can also be a challenge. Hyatt has announced a solution - the Hyatt Resort Toy Box.

To keep your children entertained, Hyatt has partnered with the Toy Tips Research Institute - an independent group that provides unbiased research reviews and toy report cards - to select an assortment of toys and games that are easy to use, fun and educational for young guests to enjoy while they are visiting Hyatt resorts.

Filled with an assortment of age-appropriate toys and games for children age toddler to tween, the Hyatt Resort Toy Box has everything you'll need to make a family-friendly vacation. Toys are carefully chosen based on age, educational value, and special circumstances.

Parents will appreciate that each toy features a "scorecard" that combines Toy Tips researchers' observation of enjoyment and development skills. Each researcher uses an original survey written by psychologists so results are accurate, independent and academic. The total score is weighted and calculated into an A through C- rating scale and Toy Tips only reports on toys with these ratings.

Upon arrival at a participating Hyatt resort in U.S. and Caribbean, families can review a Toy Box book which lists 24 toys available for check-out during their stay. From LEGO® to Tonka trucks to board games, toys are available for four different age groups, including toddler, preschool, school age, and tween, as well as a whole category for families of all ages.

Before being checked out by the next guest each toy is thoroughly inspected for any broken pieces and then cleaned with a non-toxic cleaner. Created and manufactured by Toy Tips it is an all-natural non-toxic toy cleaner formulated just for toys and not made with chemicals.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, is a leading global hospitality company with a proud heritage of making guests feel more than welcome. As a Hyatt official put it, thousands of members of the Hyatt family in 45 countries strive to make a difference in the lives of the guests they encounter every day by providing authentic hospitality, which is why the Toy Box is a perfect fit. Hyatt Vacation Ownership, Inc., a Hyatt Hotels Corporation subsidiary, develops and operates vacation ownership properties under the Hyatt Vacation Club® brand.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monarch Grand Vacations for Sale

Monarch Grand Vacations is a points-based program launched 12 years ago by Pacific Monarch Resorts, Inc. All Pacific Monarch resorts are developed to the highest quality standards and, as such, are designated with the 5-star rating by Interval International.

RedWeek members have listed Monarch Grand Vacations for sale in a variety of resorts. Here are three to take a look at:

  1. Palm Canyon Resort and Spa
    If a warm winter getaway is appealing to you right now, the Palm Canyon Resort and Spa in Palm Canyon, CA, is just the place. This magnificent resort features timeshare villas with kitchens, decks, spa tubs, and designer furniture. Amenities include an adult lounge and game room, a children's game room, a weight training room, a sauna, and an air-conditioned combination indoor basketball and sport court facility. The resort's swimming pool and sundeck encircle a 20-foot-high rockscape complete with palm trees, waterslides, waterfalls, underground walkways, and a spa.
    A reviewer has this to say: “Great Resort and good location. Rooms are very nice and the pool and water slide are great for kids of any age. Great place to vacation.”
    RedWeekTimeshare Resales
    • 4 timeshare resale postings $500 - $14,000
    • points/credits from $2.25/ea

  2. Monarch Grand Vacations - Cancun Resort
    Monarch Grand Vacations - Cancun Resort is actually in Las Vegas. Here you can enjoy a "Cancun" vacation without leaving the country. Located on the south end of the Strip, all units at this fun resort feature a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom(s), king bed in the master bedroom, fully equipped kitchen, and air conditioning. Kids and adults alike have fun at the resort's large pools with a towering Mayan Pyramid with cascading waterfall and four enormous waterslides. The resort also offers a fitness center, adult owners' lounge, children's game room, daily shuttle service to the Strip, and Wireless Internet.
    A reviewer says this: “Overall a great and memorable vacation. The staff was courteous and agreeable at all times. We found the shuttle service an absolute god send - never took the car down to the strip.....thanks for a great stay.”
    RedWeek Timeshare Resales
    • 2 timeshare resale postings $1,200 - $1,650
    • points/credits from $2.25/ea

  3. The Tahoe Seasons Resort
    The Tahoe Seasons Resort in South Lake Tahoe, CA, is situated in one of the most stunning beautiful mountain areas in the country. It's nestled in the pine trees just across the street from Heavenly Ski Resort and less than a mile from the shores of Lake Tahoe. This resort has a heated outdoor swimming pool, spa, tennis court, shuffle board courts, game room, gift and sundry shop, on-site activities desk, ski and golf storage, and a seasonal ski shop. The casinos at Stateline, NV, are just minutes away.
    A reviewer had this to say: “This is a wonderful resort! It has a lovely pool and the condos are spacious with a huge jacuzzi tub in all units. The desk people are very friendly and helpful. Heavenly ski hills are right there, just across the street where you can hike in summer and ski in winter!”
    RedWeek Timeshare Resales
    • 3 timeshare resale postings $0 - $10
    • points/credits from $0.00/ea

Friday, January 21, 2011

Timeshare Resellers Included on BBB List of Top Scams

The Better Business Bureau has released its list of the top 10 scams and rip-offs of 2010. Job hunters and those struggling to make money and get out of debt were common targets of fraudsters, hackers and deceptive businesses in this tough economy.

“With the economy still on the mend, scammers had a field day targeting struggling families who were looking for work and trying to make ends meet,” said BBB President/CEO Matthew Fehling. “While some of the most popular scams - identity theft and lottery and sweepstakes scams, for example - are perpetual problems that have always plagued consumers, some new additions to the list are signs of our tough economic times, such as job-hunter scams and debt relief and settlement services.”

One of the top scams that made the BBB's list is Timeshare Resellers. Complaints to the BBB about the timeshare industry, including deceptive resellers, increased by over 40 percent according to 2010 estimates. Timeshare owners who are desperate to get rid of their costly vacation property are being targeted by companies that claim they have an eager buyer. The company tells the seller they just have to pay up to several thousand dollars to cover fees. After paying the fees, the seller never hears from the company again.

Although the BBB cited timeshare resellers in their list of worst scammers, the Better Business Bureau has given RedWeek.com an A+ rating. “RedWeek.com has earned an A+ rating - BBB's highest rating,” reports Niki Horace, BBB’s vice president of marketing and public relations. “We encourage consumers searching for timeshares or a timeshare company to conduct thorough research by visiting www.bbb.org where you can make informed decisions on ethical companies based on their BBB rating.”

By becoming a BBB Accredited Business in 2006, Redweek.com chose to be thoroughly evaluated by the BBB and agreed to abide by its Code of Business Practices. The Code is built on the BBB Standards for Trust; eight principals that summarize important elements of creating and maintaining trust in business.

BBB is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Do you Know the Disney Vacation Club Resale Requirements?

It's always a good thing to keep up to date on the various rules and regulations associated with your timeshare ownership or vacation club membership. The online Wall Street Journal "Timeshare Information" department recently addressed the question "What is Disney Vacation Club's Right of First Refusal?"

The following article, posted by the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, is an easy-to-understand explanation of an important aspect of Disney Vacation Club membership.

Disney Vacation Development, Inc has the first right to purchase any Disney Vacation Club (DVC) real estate interest that is sold on the secondary market. Basically, what this means is that every resale contract must be submitted to Disney for review prior to closing. If DVC feels the purchase price is below market, they have the right to assume the position of the Buyer in the contract and purchase the ownership from the Seller at the contracted price.

When Disney exercises their right of first refusal (ROFR), the original Buyer is released from the contract to purchase. The Seller continues on with the closing as before, only now they are deeding the interest back to Disney. The terms of the sale remain the same, except that a third-party closing agent is no longer used- as Disney handles the new deeding process internally.

The purpose of DVC's Right of First Refusal process is to help control and maintain the value of their timeshare properties. All aspects of a sale are considered by DVD including, but not limited to: sales price, number of vacation points, dues reimbursements, and closing cost distribution. While the ROFR process can be frustrating to a buyer, the end result can be positive for all owners- as consistent decisions for ROFR help to maintain a more consistent resale market for owners. During the recent challenging economic period, Disney has become far less aggressive in assuming contracts. A possible result of this inactivity is the decline in resale prices over the past year.

If you are the buyer, and DVC exercises their right of first refusal and replaces you in the transaction, any funds you have deposited into escrow should be promptly refunded in full. You can then make another offer to purchase a DVC resale.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Star Wars, Legoland and a Carlsbad Timeshare Vacation

What do Star Wars, Legoland and your Carlsbad timeshare vacation all have in common? Carlsbad, California, is a beautiful coastal town about 35 miles north of San Diego. In addition to having many timeshare rentals available, it is also the home of Legoland California.

Legoland California will be the first Legoland theme park to launch a Star Wars Miniland area. The Star Wars Miniland, which will have models of favorite Star Wars scenes constructed entirely of Legos, is set to open March 31, 2011.

Eight famous Star Wars scenes will be built in a 1:20 scale, using more than 1.5 million Legos. The scenes will encompass the stories told in all six Star Wars movies and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated TV series and are arranged chronologically. The models are up to 6 feet tall, and some of them will be built to move or perform other actions when theme park visitors press buttons at the exhibit.

Legoland California also promises life-size models of Chewbacca, R2D2 and Darth Vader for family photo ops.

If this sounds like the perfect family vacation, take a look at these three timeshare resorts close by Legoland park, and make your reservations now:
  1. The Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort has timeshare rentals starting at just $71/n. This lovely resort also offers tours to Ensanada, Mexico, and the J.Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
    A reviewer says this: I've stayed here MANY times. It's my favorite resort in the summer. We Love it here!
  2. At the Carlsbad Seapoint Resort you can get a timeshare rental for as low as $86/n. Situated on a majestic bluff, this resort overlooks one of the few undeveloped stretches of beach in San Diego's North County.
    A reviewer says this: We love this resort, the morning and sunset view of the ocean is awesome. The resort landscape is perfect and the staff is so willing to make your stay the best. We look forward to our stay each time.
  3. The Grand Pacific Palisades Resort has timeshare rentals that start at only $121/n. This is where you can get views of Carlsbad's magnificent Flower Fields, in bloom from mid-March through early May. You can also get discounts on admission to Legoland, which is just across the street.
    A reviewer says this: Great location with charm of Carlsbad and great access to greater San Diego area. Wonderful for families. Would go again in a flash.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Questions about Timeshare Inheritance

The Wall Street Journal recently posted an interesting article with some food for thought for all timeshare owners. "Should Your Children Go Through Probate to Inherit a Timeshare?"

The author said, "This is a question I am often asked via my brokerage from clients who have attended a postcard company seminar and perhaps been misinformed. In my opinion, the best answer I've seen to this type of question came from a Florida probate attorney named Long H. Duong, who has a legal firm in Gainesville, Florida."

Duong suggests that the real question is whether or not the person who will be inheriting the timeshare intends to use the timeshare or sell it at a reasonable profit. If they stand to receive very little benefit from the timeshare and it’s the only real asset of the estate, it might not be worth it.

Here are a few points Duong says to consider:
  1. Timeshares can be hard to sell unless they are the cream of the crop.

  2. As with any other probate case, despite what a Last Will might say, you do not own it until you go through probate.

  3. If the timeshare management company asks you to simply quit claim deed the interest back to them (and be relieved of the costs), you should know that you cannot deed any interest that you do not yet own (see #2).

  4. Furthermore, you have NO obligation to deal with the timeshare. Yes, you will lose it, but no, you don’t have to continue to pay the maintenance fees if you have been willed it and don’t want to deal with it.
The legal process to decline an inheritance varies in each state, reports Duong, so if this issue comes up make sure you consult with an attorney. If you need a comparative market analysis to use as a valuation for the timeshare property, a respected brokerage specializing in timeshares should be able to provide you with that document either at no cost, or for a very small fee of no more than $50, says Duong.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Orlando Timeshare Scam Shut Down

Thursday Orlando authorities shut down a telemarketing company that was allegedly posing as a timeshare sales brokering service. Victims of the timeshare scam say they paid the company to sell their timeshare and received nothing in return.

So far, four people have been arrested and there could be more as they expect that all employees will most likely be charged.

It is estimate that the number of victims in this crime could be thousands and reach from across the U.S. and Canada.

Authorities involved were the Orlando police, code enforcement officers as well as the Division of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

According to police spokeswoman Sgt. Barbara Jones, the business, which operated under such names as: Resort Services Group, Resort Time Share INC and Resort Sales Group, would offer to help with timeshare resales, and once the money was taken, provide no sales assistance in return.

It is unclear how long the suspected scammers had been operating at their Downtown Orlando location. Police were alerted to the illegal activity by a Crimeline tip and had been investigating the company since December 2010.

The suspects arrested were Kurt Neyworth, 32, Andrew Nance, 28, and Eric Isaksen and Catherine Keller, both 34. Police said the four face charges of employing unlicensed sales people, telephone or communications soliciting without a license and a third, licensing-related charge. All three charges are third-degree felonies.

Police state that their investigation is ongoing, but, during yesterdays bust on Magnolia Avenue, authorities seized cars, cash, computer equipment and documents (some of which were hidden in the attic). The company bank account was also secured and a UPS drop box was seized.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

RCI Timeshare Exchange Adds ILOA Family Life Resort

RCI, the global leader in vacation exchange and one of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands has announced in a press release that it has a new affiliation with ILOA Family Life Resort.

Located in the region of Barra de São Miguel, Brazil, just 20 minutes from the capital city of Maceio, ILOA Family Life is a vacation resort that, when completed, will offer residential and hotel units as well as a variety of on-site recreational facilities.

In addition to a restaurant and conference facilities, the resort will feature a playground, climbing tree, climbing wall, water park, spa, teen’s club, ballroom, children’s room, two soccer fields, four tennis courts and a sand court.

“ILOA Family Life is a varied and flexible development that will allow owners to enjoy wonderful vacations in the popular tourist region of Barra de São Miguel,” said Alejandro Moreno, Business Development Director, RCI Brazil. “It is a pleasure to welcome a project of this size to our network.”

Construction on the ILOA Family Life Resort began in 2010 and is reported to be proceeding at an accelerated pace. Structural and masonry work has an estimated completion date of February 2011, which is ahead of schedule. The grand opening is planned for November 2012.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

RedWeek.com Timeshare Marketplace Celebrates Eighth Birthday

PhotobucketHappy birthday to us! It was eight years ago that RedWeek.com — now the largest online timeshare marketplace— was introduced. The brainchild of Classmates.com Founder Randy Conrads, RedWeek.com offers an online marketplace that connects travelers and the timeshare community.

RedWeek.com caters to web-savvy travelers and timeshare owners alike. For rates much lower than renting directly from the resort, travelers can find amazing deals on condo-style accommodations which are perfect for budget-conscious families looking to vacation. For timeshare owners, RedWeek.com offers an online portal in which they can post their timeshare for rent, sale, or exchange.
“I have been very successful in renting multiple weeks on RedWeek for several years now and continue to refer others to the site,” said RedWeek.com member Glenn Douglas. “I have rented my timeshares at Sheraton Vistana Resort and Marriott’s Grande Vista in Orlando, and Marriott’s Frenchman's Cove in St. Thomas.”
All transactions on RedWeek are solely between the timeshare owner and their renter/buyer, which means no middlemen, no commissions, and no hidden fees. RedWeek.com is one of the most reputable second-market timeshare websites, as evidenced by their A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

Want to wish us a happy birthday? Please celebrate with us and leave your comments below.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

3 Events that Could Inspire Your 2011 Travel Plans

If you are still in the planning stages of deciding where to go for your 2011 vacation this year, we’d like to share 3 big events that could help you decide. Whether you use a timeshare exchange or rental, you should consider these 3 destinations before you get your vacation plans locked in:
  1. Royal Wedding, London
    The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April will draw visitors to London from all over the world, says Ann Mack, director of trendspotting at JWT. This is an opportunity to rent a timeshare in England or do a timeshare exchange. Also remember you can even stay in a Paris timeshare and still join the wedding festivities - Eurostar can get you to London in just over 2 hours.

  2. 150th Year - Civil War Commemoration
    2011 marks the 150th year of the start of the Civil War. “There will be a lot more reenactments, and the national parks will be doing more,” said Robert Reid, U.S. travel editor for Lonely Planet. Many timeshare rentals are available near most major Civil War attractions and memorials. See CivilWar.org for a list of events throughout the year.

  3. September 11 Memorial, New York
    And although it might be hard to believe, the 10th anniversary of 9/11 comes up in September 2011. “It will be huge, with the opening of the memorial there,” Reid predicts. The National September 11 Memorial consists of two sunken pools covering the footprints of the Twin Towers, into which the country’s largest manmade waterfalls flow. The edges of the pools are inscribed with the names of the 2,980 victims of the attacks. You can still find many timeshare rentals available in Manhattan, so make your plans now.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wyndham Vacation Ownership Announces Affiliation Smugglers' Notch

Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO), the world's largest vacation ownership company and a member of the Wyndham Worldwide family of companies has announced it has entered into an exclusive sales and marketing agreement with Smugglers' Notch Management Company, Ltd.

WVO is expected to become the exclusive sales and marketing agent for the sale of vacation ownership interests at Smugglers' Notch Vermont® Resort. Through this arrangement it is anticipated that all unsold interests will become part of the company's flexible, club-based CLUBWYNDHAM® Access product.

"This is another significant step in executing our fee-for-service timeshare sales model while bringing a truly premier destination into our world-class portfolio of resorts," said Franz Hanning, president and chief executive officer, Wyndham Vacation Ownership.

"Smugglers' Notch has a proud history of providing family-friendly vacations which aligns with our business model of providing memorable vacation experiences for families. The affiliation with Smugglers' Notch facilitates our expansion in New England and is a win-win for two great brands."

The property is also expected to operate as a WVO affiliated resort within CLUB WYNDHAM Plus®, the company's points-based internal exchange program that allows owners to vacation at more than 70 resorts and enjoy other vacation options and access to special travel opportunities such as cruises and guided tours.

It is anticipated that Wyndham's timeshare owners can begin vacationing at Smugglers' Notch Vermont® Resort in the second quarter of 2011.

"Wyndham's selection of Smugglers' Notch as one of their affiliated properties underscores the benefits associated with ownership at Smugglers', known for our dedication to great customer service and innovative children's and family programs," said Bill Stritzler, Smugglers' Notch owner and managing director. "We believe the relationship between Wyndham Vacation Ownership and Smugglers' Notch Resort will enhance the overall opportunities for both brands."

Consistently mentioned by major newspapers and ski magazines as a top-rated destination for skiing and family programs, Smugglers' Notch resort is located in the Green Mountains of Vermont and features mountainside condominiums ranging from studios to five-bedroom homes, clustered around a Village core.

Smugglers' Notch Resort is a year-round family vacation destination featuring outdoor and indoor activities. During summertime, the Resort offers eight pools and four waterslides, children's all-day programs, guided hiking, and numerous activities for all ages. Winter fun features skiing and snowboarding for all abilities on 78 trails and 1,000 acres of terrain on three mountains. New this season is a zipline canopy tour provided in partnership with ArborTrek Canopy Adventures.

The Resort's extensive family programs have been recognized by SKI Magazine, the Family Travel Forum, FamilyFun Magazine, and Conde Nast Traveler magazine, among others. The Resort is the only vacation property in Vermont to be designated an Environmental Leader.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Viva Wyndham Maya Completes Renovation of Kid's Club

The Viva Wyndham Maya Resort has announced the completion of its Kid's Club renovation. The remodel underscores the all-inclusive resort company's commitment to providing a true family-friendly vacation experience.

The renovation of the Kid's Club includes fresh exterior paint, signage, a fenced outdoor play area and a private pool for the kids. The interior features new decor, boy and girl kid-friendly bathrooms, a linear kitchen, new equipment including a 50 inch flat screen television and DVD player, and brightly colored furniture including tables and chairs, and lockers. Additionally, a sleeping area has been built and includes individual beds with a maximum height of three feet.

The Viva Wyndham Maya Resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, also features "Family Rooms," two connecting rooms that offers more space for families. Kids 12 years and younger are permitted to stay in the connecting room, which allows parents to be next to their children and still enjoy some privacy. Additionally, the Family Rooms now feature Wii and Xbox games included in the all-inclusive price.

The Viva Wyndham's Kid's Club offers supervised activities programs for kids ages 4 through 12 with a host of age appropriate activities including drawing and painting, windsurfing, mini tournaments, kayaking, volleyball, sandcastle building, board games, pool games, talent shows, puzzles, video games, and face painting.

"The Viva Wyndham Kid's Club is now open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. so that kids can have fun and make new friends and parents can get an added break," said a Wyndham public relations official.

The Viva Wyndham Maya Resort, known for its endless array of exciting activities for families and groups, features four restaurants offering a tempting array of cuisines in a variety of spectacular settings. You can also enjoy unlimited non-motorized sports such as sailing, fishing, windsailing and snorkeling, or learn new sports with free group lessons on diving, tennis, trapeze, windsurfing, kayaking and sailing. Or rejuvenate at the exclusive, full-service, Renova Spa.

Viva Wyndham Resorts features all-inclusive properties throughout the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Mexico. Viva Wyndham Resorts' multilingual staff, tropical settings, extensive amenities and thorough entertainment line-up ensures guests a truly customized all-inclusive experience. Viva Wyndham Resorts is also known for it's green programs that strive to protect the resorts' surrounding environments and cultures.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

New York City Tops U.S. Travel Destinations

New York City tops the list of U.S. travel destinations, reported Reuters, a global news agency. Despite the recession, and fears of bedbugs, Reuters said, New York City attracted a record 48.7 million visitors in 2010, making it the biggest tourist destination in the U.S for the second year in a row.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the number of visitors marked a 6.8 percent increase over the 45.6 million people who visited in 2009, which was the first year since 1990 that the Big Apple surpassed Orlando, Florida, in attracting the most tourists.

According to Bloomberg, the city should meet his administration's goal - set in 2007 - to attract 50 million visitors annually by 2012.

Of 2010's visitors, 39 million were American and 9.7 million from abroad. Both numbers broke previous records.

The hospitality industry added 6,600 jobs in 2010. July was particularly notable, with 323,200 people working in hospitality jobs across all industry sub-sectors.

George Fertitta, the CEO of NYC&Company, said that although New York is still visited by fewer people than Paris and London, those cities lag behind New York in occupancy rates and hotel rates. "That makes a visit to New York more valuable than it would be in Paris and London," he said.

New York City's Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Robert Steel, attributed the local tourism industry's strong performance to enhanced efforts to market the city both domestically and abroad. NYC&Company operates 18 offices to market city tourism in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

In the same report Reuters stated that NYC room rates rose to an average of $330 last year, an 8.9 percent increase over 2009. This is a significant number if you are a budget-minded vacationer. Compare the average hotel room rate with timeshare rentals in the middle of New York City.

For example, at the InterContinental New York Barclay you can rent a timeshare for just $200/night that sleeps 4, and that gives you a separate bedroom, living area, dining area, and kitchenette.

You can rent a timeshare at the famed The Hilton Club New York for just $214/night that sleeps 5. And at the elegant Manhattan Club timeshare rentals start at just $145/night.

In addition, all of these New York timeshare rentals are in the middle of the action and close to must see New York attractions such as Times Square, Central Park and Rockefeller Center (see photo).

With budget timeshare rentals it's easy to become a NYC statistic - and join the close to 50 million people who will visit New York City in 2011.

(Photo credit - rockefellercenter.com)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

7 Food Festivals Near Your Florida Timeshare

As if the lure of warm temperatures, soft sand beaches, and crystal blue waters isn't enough to get you packing for a winter timeshare rental vacation in Florida, the Sunshine State has just released its list of Food Festivals that will be taking place during the first three months of 2011. They're happening all over the state and great timeshare rentals are available in each place.
  1. Key West: 6th Annual Florida Keys Seafood Festival
    The festival's purpose (see photo) is to raise money for the fishing industry, to showcase the great local seafood harvested by the commercial fishermen of the Keys, to provide scholarships to college-bound children of commercial fishermen, and to celebrate the community. January 15, 2011.

  2. Vero Beach: Indian River Nautical Seafood Festival
    Includes 400 Nautical and Marine Vendors, Boats, Boat Auction, Seafood, Music Fest. Antique Boat Show and Competition. Workshops and Demonstrations. Original Nautical and Marine Art and Arts and Crafts. January 15-16, 2011.

  3. Naples: Naples Winter Wine Festival
    This food festival brings many of the world's finest vintners and chefs together with wine collectors and philanthropists for a three-day gala. Benefits at-risk and underprivileged children. January 28-30, 2011.

  4. Palm Beach and Miami: Simply Italian
    Commemorating the ninth year of the best Italian wine trade tasting event, the Simply Italian – Great Wines US Tour, has assembled Italy's most prestigious wineries under one roof. This spectacular showcase highlights producers from various Italian regions including Tuscany, Piedmont, Sicily, Marches, and Veneto. February 1, 2 2011.

  5. Fort Lauderdale: 4th Annual American Fine Wine Competition Gala Dinner
    The dinner benefits the Diabetes Research Institute. The night's festivities include a Sparkling Reception, a silent and live auction and a sit down, four course gourmet dinner. Six hundred of the finest wines from around the USA will be poured throughout the night, and bottles signed by the winemakers will be part of the silent auction. February 12, 2011.

  6. Orlando: The Festival of Chocolate
    Attendees will receive yummy tastings and sales of gourmet chocolate. The festival includes a "Kids-4-Chocolate" creative workshop with chocolate crafts; demonstrations by award-winning pastry chefs; and an educational chocolate museum. March 5-6, 2011.

  7. Coral Gables: St. Patrick's Day Celebration
    Enjoy great Irish Food: corn beef and cabbage, authentic Irish soda bread; Irish Crafts: a created by high quality vendors; Fun For The Kids: clowns, face painting, playground, giant slide, rock climbing; Irish entertainment: Celtic dancers, Irish singers, bagpipe band and more. March 12, 2011.
As you can see, there's a beach and a food festival to meet everyone's taste, and you'll be able to find many great Florida timeshare rentals made to order on RedWeek.com.

(Photo credit - floridakeystreasures.com)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Six New England Playgrounds on a Timeshare Budget

Renting a timeshare for a New England vacation is a great way to tour on a budget. Having a timeshare rental provides an affordable base for visiting the varied beauty of the region.

New England offers the best skiing and hiking in the northeast – from beginner to most challenging and everything in between. Its coastline is instantly recognizable from the famous rugged Maine coast to the protected white sand beaches and dunes of Cape Cod.

Here are New England six destination playgrounds with fun for the entire family:
  1. In Massachusetts, Boston is a magnet for history and museum buffs, and offers a pleasing mixture of old and new from the heritage of Beacon Hill to the new and bold architecture ideas on the waterfront. Walk the Boston Public Gardens and the Freedom Trail stopping to soak up the atmosphere of Quincy Market for refreshment, before embracing the poignant holocaust memorial. No cars needed just a good pair of walking shoes.

  2. 60 miles south of Boston is Cape Cod with its miles of unbroken white sand beaches and bike trails. Cape Cod burst at its seams during the summer with most families renting for a week or two, but its magic is year round and an ideal getaway destination for the fall and spring. Come visit the whales in season and watch the largest mammals on earth perform for you – cameras and sunscreen obligatory.

  3. Newport, Rhode Island, was once the playground of the wealthy who left a legacy of mansions and gardens now open to the public for viewing. The Newport waterfront is a dazzling array of alleys and side streets filled with shops and galleries and the atmosphere of its sailing past. Take a cruise in the harbor and spot a 12-meter preparing for recovery of the America’s Cup or learn how the British destroyed the town but not its spirit.

  4. Northern New England boasts deep clear lakes and tall peaks for hiking and skiing. Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest body of water in the New Hampshire Lakes Region and timeshare vacationers enjoy the excellent water related activities during the day and the fine restaurant life in the surrounding villages at night. Short easy walks in the foothills of the White Mountains invite travelers to explore and experience breathtaking views of the lake from different vantage points.

  5. North Conway is one of the gateways into New Hampshire’s majestic White Mountain National Forest and is full of resorts catering for summer, fall and winter visitors. Here is your base for great hiking and superb skiing, and family fun such as Storyland and Santa’s Village for the young. The area is famous for its fall foliage color and scenic drives but book your rental lodging early to avoid disappointment and missing nature’s fiery show.

  6. Vermont is famous for its rural landscape and farms, and skiing destinations. It’s no accident Maria Von Trapp of Sound of Music Von Trapp family fame, settled in Stowe. Nestled between two mountain ranges in Northern Vermont, Stowe reminded Maria of her alpine homeland. Stowe, along with Smuggler’s Notch, provides family mountain activities throughout summer and winter with festivals and special events such as antique car shows and ice carving. And then in the spring when the sap runs, maple sugaring begins and all are welcome to see the liquid gold produced.
This is just a sample of new England destinations. To discover more about these and other places to visit check out this New England Vacations Guide and download your free destination reports.

This piece was submitted by our friends at New England Vacations Guide.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Ritz-Carlton Destination Club Introduces 10th Location

The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club introduces its 10th club location in one of the country’s most sought-after ski destinations, Vail, Colorado. The Ritz-Carlton Club, Vail is now welcoming members to the newest club property, at the base of Vail Mountain in LionsHead Village and neighboring the banks of Gore Creek.

Featuring Vail’s traditional Bavarian-style architecture hailing from ski resorts in Europe, The Ritz-Carlton Club, Vail offers beautifully appointed two-, three- and four-bedroom Club residences.

“The Ritz-Carlton Club, Vail is a spectacular addition to the brand’s two existing Colorado mountain resorts in Bachelor Gulch and Aspen Highlands,” said Peter J. Watzka, executive vice president and chief operating officer for The Ritz-Carlton Development Company, Inc., an affiliate of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. “Our Members have shared with us their desire to be in this exceptional location, and we are excited to bring it to them.”

"Co-located with The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail, this spectacular property will afford members all the comforts of a vacation home coupled with the legendary, personalized services and amenities of The Ritz-Carlton," stated Watzka.

Such luxuries include a dedicated concierge staff, including a ski valet and ski nanny; a fitness facility with a movement studio; Ritz-Carlton spa services and treatment rooms; Ritz Kids program; a great room with a fireplace and bar; a library; an outdoor heated pool and whirlpool spa; a fire pit and a heated underground garage with valet parking.

With an annual average of 350 inches of powder, more than 5,200 skiable acres, expansive back bowls and 15 miles of recreation paths, Vail has something for every member of the family including tubing, ski biking and ice skating.

The new Ritz-Carlton Club, Vail is located within walking distance to the world famous shopping and dining of LionsHead including the Arrabelle at Vail Square, and will eventually become part of the proposed pedestrian village named Ever Vail, the largest green and LEED-certified, multi-use resort project in the country.

The Ritz-Carlton Club, Vail residences will incorporate spacious floor plans ranging from approximately 1,300 to 2,874 square feet. Club residences provide magnificent views of Vail Mountain, fully-equipped kitchens with the finest appliances and marble-slab counters, beautifully-appointed room finishes inspired by a contemporary interpretation of Alpine-style architecture, fireplaces, coffered ceilings, hardwood flooring in living areas, high-speed Internet and twice-daily housekeeping.

Combining exclusive membership options for luxury travel for members and their families around the world with the legendary services of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club offers an inspirational vacation lifestyle tailored to each member’s needs and expectations. The Club was awarded Robb Report’s “Best of the Best” distinction in 2009.

(Photo credit - ritz-carlton.com)