Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Plan Your Fall Desert Escape to the Palm Springs Area

Fall is a perfect time to visit the Palm Springs area. Desert temperatures have dropped and are just right, the blue skies accentuate the lovely mountains, and there are so many outdoor activities to enjoy. Here are two resorts that are sure to make your stay even more pleasurable.

The Westin Mission Hills Villas

The Mission Hills Villas Resort, located in Rancho Mirage, is a favorite of many. It has a prime location: though it is away from the busier downtown section of Palm Springs, it's just a short drive. You'll still be able to quickly get to the many shopping and dining choices that the downtown area offers.

Just driving into this resort takes your breath away. The Spanish-Moorish architecture, lined by stately date palms gives you the feel that you really have escaped to a desert oasis. Your biggest decision is deciding how many of the numerous activities offered by the resort you can possibly squeeze into the week.

Accommodations

If you come with your family, book the one-bedroom villa. It's 880 sq. ft of spaciousness so no one gets in anyone's way. There's a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, breakfast bar, and living area with sofa bed. Also there's a great entertainment center with flat-screen TV, DVD player, and BoseWave AM/FM radio if you ever stay in the room long enough to enjoy it!

The resort also offers a 1440 sq. ft. lock-off villa. It's fun to book if you are having a friend or family get-together.  Everyone has their own private area, but there's also plenty of space to get together for dining and good times. Current one- to three-bedroom villa rentals at Westin Mission Hills are available for $107 - $429/night.

Activities

Golfing
Golf is one of the premier activities in the Palm Springs area, and one of the reasons to come to the area. There are over 100 courses throughout the area, but right outside the door of the villas are two world-class, 18-hole golf courses.  Have your morning coffee on the villa's patio and check out the competition on the course before heading out for 18 holes. Note: there's also a golf pro shop and lessons are available for a fee.

Swimming
The 16-foot waterslide is one of the main attractions for everyone.  You can pool-hop in the three outdoor pools, and play water volleyball and water basketball (that is, if you can ever drag yourself out of the pools' generously sized whirlpool spas)!

Tennis and Biking
The resort has lighted tennis courts and a tennis program, if you want to brush up on your game. Bicycle rentals are available to cycle around the beautiful property and on the numerous bike paths in the area.

Fitness Center 
Though it's hard to drag yourself away from the gorgeous weather and visual feast of the outdoors, there is a state-of-the-art fitness center on the property.

The Spa at Mission Hills
Treat yourself and slip away to the spa to partake of its desert-inspired treatments to revive body, skin, and spirit. After a rough (ha!) day of golf, revive with several of the soothing treatments at the spa!

What Travelers Say About Westin Mission Hills Villas

Review from RedWeek member susan506:
"We stayed here last Easter week. It was great!!! The units were gorgeous. We stayed in a 2 bed unit. Even though we have younger kids, they loved having their own "living room and kitchen" to watch movies in (we liked not having to listen to Scooby Doo...) The bathroom was huge, with a large Jacuzzi (big enough for my 6'6" husband), with a separate shower, toilet room, and double sinks, with, Westin robes. I liked the fireplace in the bedroom (and another in main living room) and the BBQ on the deck. Kitchen was also great. Laundry was a breeze with 2 washers and dryers (one set each side), as I don't like driving home with dirty laundry. Beds were super comfortable, with nice black out drapes. Excellent units. My first choice for the Palm Springs area."
See more rentals & reviews for the Westin Mission Hills Villas, or check out our next selection...

Marriott's Shadow Ridge

Another well-recommended resort is Marriott's Shadow Ridge in Palm Desert. The resort is surrounded by Southern California's most magnificent mountain ranges, lush golf courses, and sparkling lakes.  All provide a spectacular view from the villa balconies while watching the sun set into a warm desert evening.

The resort is a perfect place for a golf vacation with friends. The two-bedroom 1250 sq. ft. villa provides ample space and privacy for two couples. Each villa has a spacious living and dining area, fully-equipped kitchen, and baths with oversized soaking tubs. One-bedroom villas and studio units are also available, if you don't require as much space. Current rentals at Marriott's Shadow Ridge are available from $63 - $321/night

Activities

Golfing
Not only can you play at Shadow Ridge's 18-hole, Nick Faldo-designed golf course, you can try out your swings and drives at several of the nearby courses:  Desert Springs Resort - 3.8. miles, Rancho Las Palmas - 4 miles, Desert Willow Golf Resort - 5 miles, and the absolutely fabulous, La Quinta Resort and Club - 12.3 miles. All have high ratings from the golf enthusiasts!

Tennis
There are 19 tennis courts on the property to ensure that guests will always have a court available. It's nice to take a break from golf and play on the well-maintained courts.

Swimming
What would Palm Springs be with out swimming pools? The more luxurious, the better! The pools at this resort are no exception. The delightful Chuckwalla Pool featuring an exciting water slide and water guns will make you feel like a kid again. But, it's also nice to be an adult so you can enjoy cocktails from the Chuckwalla Pool Bar as you sun and swim!

More Fun
For even more fun, the facility has two half-court basketball courts, a volleyball court, and fitness center with steam room and sauna. Biking, hiking, and horseback riding are all nearby, and great ways to see and experience the area.

Spa
Just next door to Shadow Ridge at the Marriott Desert Springs Resort is the Spa at Desert Springs. The 38,000 square-foot spa does not disappoint. It offers an extensive treatment menu that actually incorporates ancient healing methods and exotic treatments made from locally grown citrus and dates.


What Travelers Say About Marriott's Shadow Ridge

Review from RedWeek member terria24:
"We have been going to the Marriott Shadow Ridge as a family for over 10 years. We love it. Great location, more newer than some of the other resorts in Palm Desert, great kids center, nice pools, pool bar w/food, great Faldo course and restaurant. Plus, all the fitness you need in their fitness center. We own 3 weeks at the Marriott in Shadow Ridge and love when we get to use them."

See more rentals & reviews for Marriott's Shadow Ridge, or check out all resorts in the Palm Springs area, and be sure to let us know your favorites below!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Top 5 Things to Do in Napa, CA

When travelers dream about Napa it conjures up visions of grapes, rolling hills, vineyards, mild weather, and of course free flowing wine. There are many other things to do in Napa around the beautiful wineries. On your next trip stay in a Napa timeshare and explore the top 5 things to do in Napa, CA: 

1. Take a Stroll: Your tour guide will take you on a 90-minute journey through Napa's Native American roots to the Gold Rush, prohibition news and how Napa transformed into a winemakers paradise. Bring a camera and snap photos of the gorgeous architecture from Queen Anne style to Colonial Revival. Insider Tip: Children are free. Web: Napa Walking Tour. Location: 500 Main Street, Napa, CA.

2. Jump Aboard: Take a seat on the Napa Valley Wine Trolley and discover the breathtaking scenery during your tour. The trolley is a replica of the late 1890s San Francisco cable car. Your six-hour tour visits four wineries and the tour includes lunch and drinks prepared by a celebrity chef. Web: Napa Valley Wine Trolley. Location: 1436 Second Street, Suite 305, Napa, CA.

3. Wine Pair Foods: Napa is a culinary treat with food arriving straight from farm to table. The Oxbow Public Market is a great place to rest, eat, and enjoy food with wine in a community table style setting. Don't miss out on the riverfront patio. And be sure to snack on local cheeses, nuts, and chocolates. Insider Tip: There's a farmers' market on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. Web: Oxbow Public Market. Location: 644 1st St Napa, CA.

4. Go for a Drive: The 29-mile Silverado Trail along the Eastern edge of Napa beacons wine enthusiasts looking to taste wines off the beaten path where green vistas, rolling hills, and stunning vineyards greet travelers. Web: Silverado Trail. Location: 4500 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA.

5. Enjoy a Concert: Catch a music show at the Uptown Theater where big names like Boz Scaggs, Merle Haggard, and Cyndi Lauper have played. The restored Art Deco theater showcases music and comedy events in a historical landmark building. Web: Uptown Theater. Location: 1350 3rd St Napa, CA.

Discover timeshares in Napa, CA.

Photo Credit: CopyStrands

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hawaii + Ko Olina Beach Club = Great Vacation!!

One of my favorite destinations is Hawaii's island of Oahu. There's something about getting off the plane at Honolulu's airport that triggers a mind/body reaction in me...something like this...Ahhh!  I immediately go into relaxation mode.

Whether we visit any of Hawaii's islands by ourselves, with family, or with friends, we always stay in resort where we can feel at home, kick back, spread out, have our morning coffee, maybe cook a meal, and relax in our own private oasis. We also want it located on the beach with incredible views. Don't you? The Ko Olina Beach Club is that resort! Here's some of our memorable moments.

Day 1

Ko Olina sits on the dramatic western shore of Oahu.  We rented a car at the airport (something I highly recommend doing in Hawaii), and drove a short 30 minutes to this island oasis on a secluded beach.  Our first impression was of a tropical Hawaiian paradise with shimmering lagoons, waterfalls, fountains and all the vibrant colors and sweet, floral scents of the island!


Since it was just the two of us this time, my husband and I had booked a one bedroom villa (two- and three-bedroom villas are also available).  The first thing I noticed was the stunning ocean view from the balcony!  The villa was attractively appointed with a fully equipped kitchen, separate living and dining areas, king size bed, and a bathroom with an oversized soaking tub and separate shower.

We quickly settled in and decided to explore the grounds of our new home, and find something to eat (food is always a main concern for us)!  Strolling through the resort grounds, we were pleasantly surprised by the oversized "Lagoon Pool," one of 3 outdoor pools on the property. This huge pool meanders through the property and provides a bird's eye view of the resort to swimmers as they float along.

The concierge encouraged us to take the beach path to one of the on-site restaurants, Longboards Bar & Grill. Not only does the path offer spectacular views of the beach and ocean, the restaurant does too. We started our late afternoon with a signature island cocktail and Hawaiian-style appetizers.  It was easy to forget the time in this picturesque setting, and soon we were watching the sun set in paradise. We couldn't bring ourselves to leave, so we stayed for a delicious dinner too!

Day 2


After leisurely enjoying morning coffee on our balcony, we were faced with so many choices of activities at the resort and nearby, it was difficult to decide. Should we golf, kayak, snorkel, or sail? Play tennis, hike, mountain bike, or surf? We took the easy choice and stayed at the resort. We start at the resort's window-enclosed fitness center. The views from the windows made exercising on the cardio-equipment and in the complimentary fitness class so much easier.

Next it's the breakfast buffet at Longboard's.  There's many delicious options to choose from. Then we're off to the beach to swim and sun, and enjoy the beauty of the area. On our way, I notice the onsite Market Place Store. We stock up on snacks and iced coffee from the Starbucks inside the store.  You don't have to go far to find the perfect Hawaiian souvenir...this store has a great selection. I couldn't help but buy several of them!

Day 3

In the evening, we booked a Sunset Sail from the gorgeous Ko Olina Marina. With the Waianae Mountains as a backdrop, and spinner dolphins frolicking in the waters around the boat, the colors of the sunset turned from orange to pink to red.  At nightfall, we enjoyed a sumptuous Hawaiian Style buffet and watched the lights twinkling from the shore. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day!

Day 4

My husband is an avid golfer, me not so much, but I do enjoy walking the beautiful courses and my game is getting better. Today we drive (did I mention there is complimentary parking for your car at the resort?) to the Ko Olina Golf Club only a mile a way. This 18-hole course is magnificent with multi-tiered greens and great water features. We definitely got our exercise for the day.

Day 5

If it's Tuesday, it must be Fia Fia Polynesian Dinner Show day! And it was, so we went. This award winning show offers a real taste of Polynesian culture, including dance, music, comedy and authentic Hawaiian/Polynesian cuisine. We had been to luaus before, but this was so different and so much better! My particular favorite was the very exciting Fire Dance. It's unbelievable! It has to take great skill to manage an intricate dance while holding lit torches. Meet on the Great Lawn of the resort at 4:30 p.m. for this special event.

Day 6

On our last day, we're once again glad we have a car. It's only 28 miles to the North Shore, and off we go to catch some awesome waves at one of the surfing mecca's of the world. Well, maybe we aren't going to catch them, but we will watch the surfers who do. Do the names Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline, and Waimea Bay ring a bell? These legendary beaches are the sites of world-class surfing competitions. It's a beautiful drive there, and after we get our fill of watching the surfers, we head to Hale'iwa, a classic surf town with many buildings from the early 1900's.

Dinner tonight is at Chuck's Steak and Seafood House, the other restaurant on the resort property, and a legend in its own right.  It's Chuck's flagship restaurant and it does not disappoint. The fresh fish and seafood is grilled to perfection. We end our night by "clinking our glasses" to a great vacation!

We definitely plan to come back to Ko Olina. We are always impressed by the great value of a timeshare vacation, and this resort lived up to our expectations. Joining RedWeek has enabled us to find the best vacation options.  Studio through three-bedroom timeshare rentals are available, starting at $136/night (as of posting date).

For more information try Hawaii's Official Tourism Site.

Aloha!

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The content of this article was submitted by Denise, an active traveler from San Diego, California.  Want to submit your own detailed resort review?  Post a comment below and we'll get you the details!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Top 5 Things to Do in New York, NY

In a city full of acronyms it's easy to get lost. SoHo: South of Houston Street. TriBeCa: Triangle Below Canal. NoLIta: North of Little Italy. DUMBO: Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. And you may know that this city never sleeps. Stay in a New York City timeshare (check out the Manhattan Club resort!) and discover the top 5 things to do in New York City: 

1. Walk the Line: Take a camera and walk the High Line. This above ground park follows an old elevated freight-train track line highlighted by landscaped architecture with wildflowers sprouting up through the tracks; a great way to see the city from above street level. Web: The High Line. Location: Multiple entry points in New York, here's a map.

2. Put Your Artist Cap On: A whimsical museum in the heart of the city is New Museum. Exhibitions here change every few months offering a unique art perspective. And speaking of museums don’t miss MOMA and the MOMA store. Web: New Museum and MOMA. Location: New Museum: 235 Bowery, New York, NY; MOMA: 11 West 53 Street, New York, NY.

3. Frolic on the Bridge: The Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Walk offers sweeping views of Brooklyn and Manhattan. The best views are on the Brooklyn side, once you walk across the bridge from the Manhattan side then take a water taxi back to the Manhattan side. At night the city lights up and sparkles, a romantic treat viewing from the Brooklyn side. Web: Brooklyn Bridge. Location: Pedestrian Walk can be accessed from City Hall on the Manhattan side of the East River, New York, NY.

4. Discover a Hidden Park: A fun, mostly unknown park in NYC that is relaxing and fun to check out is Teardrop Park. This park is a great place to relax and put your feet in the sand as you watch the kids play in the water on a hot day. Insider Tip: Look for the fun slide that travels over the top of a rock hill. Web: Tear Drop Park. Location: Between Warren Street and Murray Street, New York, NY.

5. Take a Snap Shot: Hop aboard a boat headed to Ellis Island. Insider Tip: This is the best photography shot you will get of the Statue of Liberty, it sure beats climbing the crowded stairs at the statue too! Then explore Ellis Island where the names of ancestors line the walls that look back toward the city and the site of  the former Twin Towers. Web: Statue Cruises and Ellis Island. Location: Catch the boats at Battery Park: Battery Pl, State Street and Whitehall Street, New York, NY.

Discover timeshares in New York City.

Photo Credit: CopyStrands

Monday, October 14, 2013

Traveling to San Diego? Three Resort Options in Nearby Carlsbad

The San Diego area is one of my family's favorite places to vacation. The great thing about the area is that there are so many beautiful beach cities to explore. One of our personal favorites is Carlsbad. Just about 20 minutes north of San Diego, this quaint, little village is home to Legoland, my son's favorite, and
the spectacular Carlsbad Flower Fields, my favorite. Visit in the spring to view the vivid colors of fifty acres of giant Ranunculus in full bloom. Carlsbad is also close to favorite attractions like the Temecula Wine Country and San Diego Zoo's Safari Park.

Carlsbad boasts some of the best beaches in San Diego County. On my last visit, I noticed that the beaches were looking even more beautiful!  They were recently widened and refreshed by the addition of 140,000 cubic yards of high, quality sand. All thanks to efforts by a regional project to preserve its coastlines.

Where to stay? I've chosen three popular Carlsbad resorts to help you make a decision.  I've stayed at all three. They are family-friendly and provide all that you'll need for your "home away from home." All offer one and two-bedroom condos with private balcony and/or patio, fully equipped kitchens, living rooms,
and many amenities.  I've listed what I think are the top three highlights of each resort.

Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort

1. Location:
If your family is like my family, we always want to stay right on the beach, or as close as possible. Carlsbad Inn fills the bill. We could just step out the door of our condo onto a beautiful beach. It made it really easy to transport all the beach paraphernalia that we usually lug with us! And, just think... if you forget anything, you only have to walk a few steps back to the condo to get it!
Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort - steps from the beach

2. Walking Distance to the Village of Carlsbad:
Something to consider if you vacation without a car, or have a car, but want to save gas and get in some exercise too, the Village of Carlsbad is only a short walk away. It offers shopping, dining, and outdoor activities ranging from hot air balloon rides to water sports. I like to shop! The last time we stayed at the Inn, I did a lot of my Christmas shopping in many of the unique, locally owned shops. Friendly owners were more than willing to guide me to just the right gift!

3. Special Activities for Guests:
The resort often sponsors activities, special events, and excursions for guests to enjoy.  There's no better way to observe the surrounding country than by horseback! We took advantage of  a "Buck Up Ride," arranged by the resort. We loved the trail ride through the scenic coastal valleys of Lake Calaveras. Had we
not stayed at the resort, we probably wouldn't have known about it, and it truly was a highlight of our stay!

One and two bedroom by-owner rentals at Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort currently start at just $121/night USD.

Grand Pacific Palisades Resort

1. Location:
Grand Pacific Palisades sits on a ridge overlooking the Carlsbad Flower Fields and offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Our stay here was influenced by the fact that the resort is right next door to Legoland and its Sea Life Aquarium. As we were celebrating my son's birthday, we let him choose the spot.  It was an awesome experience for the whole family!
Grand Pacific Palisades and the spring flower fields!

2. Fitness Activities:
The resort's Olympic-sized pool is great for swimming laps and staying in shape on vacation. As is the resort's fully equipped fitness center with its three Jacuzzis. My husband and I had no excuse for not keeping up our fitness routines! The Children's Water Park provided hours of fun for our son.

3. On Site Restaurant:
We don't always feel like cooking in the condo (Hey, we're on vacation right?), but if we're worn out from all our activities, we don't want to drive too far to eat. No problem at Grand Pacific Palisades! There's a Karl Strauss Brewery Restaurant on the property serving great food and many types of beer.  Did you know that San Diego County has moved into first place in the micro brewery "competition"?

One, two, and three bedroom by-owner rentals at Grand Pacific Palisades currently start at $128/night USD.


Carlsbad Seapointe Resort

1. Location:
Carlsbad Seapointe Resort overlooks some of the most beautiful beaches in the area. The spectacular ocean vistas and sunset views from our condo balcony provided the perfect ending to our perfect days. The resort is also a short drive to all the area attractions. Secure underground parking is available for your car.

2. Ocean Pearl Spa:
I stayed at Carlsbad Seapointe on girls' weekend. One of the selling points for my friends and me was the fabulous Ocean Pearl Spa. Carlsbad Seapointe offers a free shuttle to the spa located nearby. I enjoyed the Pearl's luxurious signature massage with warm, herbal scented oil. Facials and pedicures followed. It was a
perfect start to our girls' weekend!
Carlsbad Seapointe - perfect place to end your day.

3.Tennis and Golf:
Of the three, the resort was the only one to have tennis courts. This was another plus for us as we all play tennis. The lighted courts let us continue some competitive games even after the sun went down. Not a tennis player? No problem.  The world-famous Torrey Pines Golf Course is only minutes away, and there are many other beautiful courses in the area.

One and two-bedroom condo rentals at Carlsbad Seapointe currently available from $200/night USD.


Whatever you decide, you won't be disappointed in your Carlsbad stay. All of these resorts exemplify the great value of a timeshare vacation.

Try these web sites for more information about the area:
Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce
San Diego's North County Coastal Communities
By-Owner Timeshare Rentals in Carlsbad

Happy vacationing!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Top 5 Things to Do in Orlando, FL

Orlando is best known for famed Walt Disney World. But there is more to do in Orlando than play at the crowded parks. Discover these top 5 fun attractions outside the Disney parks and travel like a true local. Stay in an Orlando area timeshare and explore the top 5 things to do in Orlando, FL:

1. Jump In: Did you know that Orlando calls itself the "wakeboarding capital of the world?" Well, then it's no surprise that you can head over to the Orlando Watersports Complex and wakeboard around at 17 miles per hour. Instructors are on hand to help coach you through the waves. And keep an eye out for the sports' locals as they expertly navigate the slides and ramps. Web: Orlando Sports Complex. Location: 8615 Florida Rock Road Orlando, FL.

2. Fly In: Just a short trip from Disney World is the Fantasy of Flight museum. Head over and discover World War II bombers, flying boats, and famous American, British, Japanese and German fighters. Enjoy a realistic B-17 raid over Germany or take a ride in a hot air balloon or biplane. It's endless fun for the whole family. Web: Fantasty of Flight. Location: 1400 Broadway Blvd SE, Polk City, FL.

3. Walk In: Explore the most comprehensive collection in the world of Tiffany glass, jewelry, and ceramics at the Morse Museum. You will also discover a reflective glass mosaic chapel that was created for the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. On your way out, stop off at the museum shop and purchase a piece of Tiffany to take home with you. Web: The Morse Museum. Location: 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL.

4. Float In: Hop in a pontoon boat and float through Lake Osceola. Look at the beautiful homes and gardens that surround the lake from Spanish colonial-style mansions to gorgeous azalea gardens. Guides share tidbits on celebrity history and don't be surprised if you find a local on your boat as this attraction is popular with those born and raised in the Sunshine State. Web: Scenic Boat Tour. Location: 312 East Morse Blvd., Winter Park, FL.

5. Stop In: A short drive from Orlando you can shop in a one-of-a-kind antique barn packed with 19th-century quilts, wooden model ships, and a plethora of home decor finds. Insider Tip: Don't miss the dealers who set up tables out back because you never know what you will discover shopping like a local in Orlando. Web: Renningers Twin Markets. Location: 20651 Highway 441, Mount Dora, FL.

Discover timeshares in Orlando and the Greater Orlando area (including popular Kissimmee)!

Photo Credit: Scenic Boat Tours

Monday, October 07, 2013

Occidental Grand Aruba Resort Has it All

Occidental Grand Aruba, Palm Beach
The Occidental Grand Aruba's perfect location on Aruba's famed Palm Beach, brings all that Aruba has to offer into one priceless setting. You don't even need to leave the resort to enjoy all the island has to offer. Everything you need for an exceptional vacation is right here. Heavenly, sun-kissed days, picture perfect beaches, sparkling clear, ocean, friendly people, and countless activities to fill your every vacation need. Just as Aruba has "something for everyone," so does the Occidental Grand Aruba!

I've vacationed with my family at other "all-inclusive" resorts, but this one really puts the "all" into all-inclusive. Here's some of the highlights of what we experienced on our vacation.

All Inclusive Features


1. Dining
If your family is like our family...you love to eat! That was no problem at Occidental. You'll get a taste of the world's food at Occidental Grand Aruba's SIX all-inclusive restaurants. There's an international buffet on the main floor, and Italian, traditional Mexican, Pan Asian, Caribbean Fusion restaurants throughout the resort. Our personal favorite... Zen!  Zen features a fresh sushi bar, and private dining in relaxing "Tatami style." Add a premium sake, and it's great place to "get your Zen on" at the end of a lively day!

2. Open Bars and Entertainment
There are four individual bars and one disco with bar to satisfy your thirst, and nightly shows and entertainment around the resort. And though not inclusive, a casino is on the premises and open nightly. My husband and I used the resort's babysitting service for our two boys, then checked out the lively disco, and tried a few bets at the casino. We didn't win, but we had fun losing!

3. In-Room Dining
One morning we wanted a few more minutes of sleep and didn't feel like heading to a restaurant.  We had a continental breakfast delivered to our room before heading out for the day! (Delivery is from 7- 11 a.m.)

Even with all the fabulous food, you don't have to worry about gaining a pound, as you are sure to work it off with all the activities the resort offers.

Activities (some all-inclusive, some require an additional fee)
1. Pool and Private Beach
A unit bedroom at Occidental Grand Aruba, decor varies
You might want to spend all your time relaxing by the free-form pool with two whirlpools or sifting through the powdery, white sand as you laze under your Palapa on your private beach, but our family prefers a little more action.

2. Diving and Snorkeling
Aruba offers the perfect environment to use your diving and snorkeling skills. Its sparkling, clear water offers visibility up to 90 feet and a mild year round climate allows you to dive anytime ...even at night! Not only do the waters abound with colorful tropical fish, coral reefs, and exotic marine life, Aruba is also the "Wreck Diving Capital" of the Caribbean. Twenty dive sites and eleven diver-friendly wrecks await you! Doesn't matter if you are not experienced. Occidental Grand Aruba has professional instructors, clinics and certification.

If you are a beginner, you might want to test the waters by snorkeling.  We took advantage of the resort's snorkeling instruction and it really improved our confidence in the water.

3. Kids Club
Our two boys loved the resort's supervised Kids Club for ages 4-12. Let's face it, family vacations are great, but once in a while it's nice to have a little adult time. The boys enjoyed the water activities, games, and crafts all under the supervision of trained staff members. Mom and Dad (that's us!) hit the fitness room and then enjoyed a luxurious couple's massage!

4. Kayaking
The family all came together after their separate activities for a family Kayaking adventure in the calm, clear waters of the hotel beach. We spotted fish and birds while enjoying the beautiful scenery, and our relaxing afternoon.

5. Tennis
The resort has two tennis courts available at no charge. On more than one occasion we got up early and headed out to the courts with our two "ball boys," and were always able to get on a court for a couple of sets of tennis.

Though not inclusive, other amazing activities including sailing, deep-sea fishing, water skiing, golf, horsebackriding, aquatic motor bikes, and parasailing are offered at the resort or nearby.

One final note, this wonderful vacation with all that it had to offer, would have cost us so much more had we stayed in a traditional hotel. Using our timeshare week saved us between 50-60%. For a family of four, that really means a lot!

Browse rentals & resales at Occidental Grand Aruba Resort

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The content of this article was submitted by Denise, an active traveler from San Diego, California.  Want to submit your own detailed resort review?  Post a comment below and we'll get you the details!”

Friday, October 04, 2013

Top 5 Things to Do in Boston, MA

Columbus Day is an official Massachusetts state holiday celebrating the day that Christopher Columbus arrived in America (on October 12, 1492). And Boston locals sure know how to honor Columbus Day. In mid-October the city celebrates with a parade, festivals, and sports events. It's also one of the top shopping weekends as stores put on spectacular sales. Boston is a perfect place to visit and discover gorgeous New England fall foliage while you get a jump on your holiday shopping. Stay in a Boston timeshare and discover the top 5 things to do in Boston, MA:

1. Discover Columbus Day: The three-day weekend on the second week in October features a parade with marching bands, military units, vintage autos, and floats. Web: Boston Columbus Day. Locations: In odd-numbered years the parade marches through the North End. In even-numbered years the parade marches through East Boston.

2. Go on a Foliage Tour: Take your camera and enjoy a golden treat. The New England fall foliage is the star on this tour. Warm oranges and bright golds will fill your photos with earthy tones and leave you with fantastic fall visuals to take home and show your friends. Web: Fall Foliage Tour. Location: Pick up locations at various hotels around the city.

3. Visit the Cranberry Harvest: Cranberry harvesting takes place mid-September through early November. Visitors enjoy demonstrations of the cranberry harvest, cooking demos, and paddleboat rides on scenic Tihonet Pond. It's great fun for the whole family. Web: Cranberry Festival. Location: 158 Wareham, MA.

4. Pack a Picnic: Head over to Christopher Columbus Park and enjoy a day of fun overlooking Boston Harbor (the site of the famed Boston Tea Party…“throw the tea into the sea!”). Local performers and family activities include fun for the whole family. Web: Boston Harbor. Location: Atlantic Ave & Richmond St., Boston, MA.

5. Catch a Pro Game: Boston loves its sports events, you know their saying: “Boston Strong.” Watch the Bruins shoot the puck around at TD Garden or see the New England Patriots score a touchdown at Gillette Stadium. A great way to feel Boston pride, especially on Columbus Day weekend. Web: Boston BruinsNew England Patriots. Locations: Boston Bruins: 100 Legends Way, Boston, MA; New England Patriots: 1 Patriot Pl, Foxboro, MA.

Discover timeshares in Boston, MA.

Photo Credit: City of Boston

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Many Resort Weeks Still Available for Thanksgiving 2013... Procrastinators Rejoice!

So, people are starting to ask you what your plans for Thanksgiving are, right? If you're already putting finishing touches on the menu, this post is not for you. If you're like the rest of us, it's all still a little TBD (procrastinator favorite acronym for To Be Determined), but the idea of escaping to somewhere fun has a definite appeal.

The procrastinator's #1 headache is that many popular resorts sell out of their holiday weeks well in advance. Lucky for you, many of the timeshare owners (planners) who gobbled up those prime weeks had a change of plans and are now making them available to you. And, as always, their prices are far below the resorts own rack rates.

Remember, most timeshare units have full kitchens... and usually restaurants as well. So, bake your pies, or go out to eat. Why not pick a meeting spot for several family members to share the same home-away-from-home? Or, skip the family celebrations altogether and go somewhere you want to go for a change. You'll thank yourself later...

Timeshare rentals still available over Thanksgiving: 

(prices in $USD for a full week, unless otherwise noted)
Sheraton Vistana Resort, Orlando

Florida

Four Seasons Aviara, Carlsbad

California

Hawaii

Colorado

Mexico

South Carolina

More Notable Destinations

*TIP* When searching for Thanksgiving weeks on RedWeek's advanced search, search for the location you're interested in, with availability between Week 47 and Week 47, 2013.  

Please be aware: prices & availability were verified as of October 2, 2013 - these are limited in quantity and may go quickly.

If you do end up going somewhere fabulous, make sure to tell us about it on our Facebook page.  Thanks!