Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Timeshare and Share Alike: Our Introduction to Timeshare Living

My husband and I just returned from our first timeshare vacation in beautiful Gatlinburg in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. We vacationed with two other couples due to the generosity of one couple who traded their two bedroom timeshare for a three bedroom unit so that there was enough room for all of us. Although we don't own a timeshare, I've been intrigued with them for some time now so I was anxious to actually vacation in one.

Gatlinburg Town Square

We stayed at Gatlinburg Town Square, a Summer Bay Resort, with check-in just down the street at Gatlinburg Town Village. Within minutes, we each had a room key to call our own and we were off to the free underground parking. The thought of getting luggage, two duffle bags, a laundry basket, and various other bags up to our fifth floor unit was daunting, we were pleased to see many luggage carts conveniently parked close to the elevators. On a side note, we would not have needed to bring as much clothing as we did because there is a laundry room for guests. I didn't check out the prices, but it was conveniently located and empty.

Functional Layout

The pictures we had seen of Gatlinburg Town Square didn't do it justice. Our unit had a small, but very functional kitchen on the left as you walked in the front door. It was very clean and updated with nice cabinets and marble countertops and breakfast bar. On the other side of the bar, a dining table seated six. The spiral staircase separated the dining area from the living room with its comfortable barrel chairs, sofa and coffee table. There was a 32" flat screen television and the stone fireplace was built all the way up to the vaulted ceiling. The second floor bedroom overlooked the living room, but was large enough to afford plenty of privacy. A large master bedroom on the main level, as well as a secondary bedroom, completed the setup. The master and upstairs bedrooms had ensuite bathrooms; the secondary bedroom had its own bathroom that was able to be accessed from the living room, but also had a door to close it off to create a private suite.

Beautiful Grounds and Great Amenities

The grounds are very beautiful and nicely landscaped. The property backs up to a spring fed creek, serenading those fortunate enough to have a nearby balcony. The outdoor pool, hot tub, and a patio are also near the creek. Families with children will appreciate the small playground. There was also an indoor pool. While our unit didn't have a creek view, we thoroughly enjoyed our view of the mountains. The elevators have glass fronts so that you get a good view of the beautiful water feature at the front of the complex. The units are accessed via outside walkways, but all are covered. Strolling the walkways is a pleasant experience and can make for a good workout if you utilize the stairs, but there is a workout room as well.

Practical Advantages of Timeshares

We ate most of our meals at restaurants, but staying in a timeshare would make it easy to cook some meals there and save some money that might be better spent on attractions and souvenirs, although it's hard to resist the abundance of barbeque, Mexican food, hamburgers, foot long corndogs, fudge and ice cream. You could easily eat two meals in and one special meal out each day to stretch the budget. Families with children might enjoy being able to put the kids down for a nap and not be stuck all together in a hotel room.

Where We Go From Here

Our friends can't get enough of Gatlinburg and the Smokies so they have two timeshare weeks there every year. My husband and I, on the other hand, didn't take many vacations when the kids were growing up (translation: none) so we're exploring these days to find a forever spot that we want to visit annually. Last year we visited Mackinac Island and this year was Gatlinburg. Next year we may go to the Grand Canyon or Cape Cod. The destinations are endless. While I'm intrigued by timeshare ownership, at this point in our lives we will probably rent a timeshare through RedWeek.com and take advantage of the great benefits of timeshare vacationing. Let the planning begin!

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Leslie Winey is a RedWeek user, and freelance writer who lives in Indiana and works full time on the side. She enjoys writing web content, devotionals, and editing her company's newsletter. Her latest project is an inspirational novel. 

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