Monday, October 27, 2014

The Revival of Grand Palisades

Grand Palisades prior construction beginning anew.
After six years of dormancy, development of the timeshare resort Grand Palisades has resumed once more under Westport Capital Partners. Trouble for the resort began in 2009 when the recession was in full swing and the project's lead developer declared bankruptcy and fled the country, leaving thousands of investors furious and filing lawsuits while the resort itself laid unfinished and vacant behind a chain-link fence with a decidedly uncertain future. Grand Palisades had foreclosed for a hefty $150 million.

Westport Capital Developers has a history of acquiring and breathing new life into distressed and vacant properties and has very high hopes for Grand Palisades; Orlando is a consistently strong bet for development. The exact details and structure of the resort remain unclear - Westport is open to all possibilities and haven't decided whether the renewed Grand Palisades will be a fractional timeshare, straight condos or a combination of condos and a hotel.

One thing that is certain is that the project is receiving quite a bit of love and will take some time to get back up on its feet - Westport estimates that development could take up to eighteen months. Big things are planned for the property, and a spa, gym and restaurant are just some of the ideas brainstormed for Grand Palisades.

The revival of Grand Palisades isn't only a good thing for Orlando vacationers - it represents the renewed vigor of timeshares. Much like other "luxury" industries, the timeshare industry experienced its fair share of struggles during the recession, with many independent resorts closing their doors and even the big resort management companies working to turn a profit. Even so, many vacationers could see the value in timeshares and this popularity has been a boon to the timeshare industry - investors are willing to step up and take a chance on timeshares and there's no doubt that vacationers will be the ones to benefit.

Photo Credit: James Hobart, Macbeth Photography

Monday, October 20, 2014

Should You Consider Travel Insurance?

With Cabo just recovering from the hurricane that caused widespread damage and another crop of storms threatening tropical locations, many travelers are wondering if travel insurance is a worthwhile investment. Even if there is no looming natural disaster, travel insurance can be an excellent safeguard in the case of unforeseen circumstances or peace of mind at the very least.
However, it does come with a cost, and it's up to you to decide if insurance fits your needs.

Travel insurance is one of those things that varies quite a bit between companies; there's a plethora of different plans and add-ons that have the potential to cause confusion. On top of that, not all travel insurance providers or plans cover rentals from private owners. While RedWeek doesn't recommend any one provider in particular, many RedWeek members have had success with the services of Travel Guard and others swear by VacationGuard, both of whom offer protection for timeshare rentals. VacationGuard also offers a specialized plan for owners of timeshares as well. If you're looking into dealing with another company, be sure to check up front if they insure timeshare rentals from individual owners.

As mentioned, plans do vary but most "base level" insurance plans tend to cover the most common and large-scale risks, such as a medical emergency (sickness or accident), emergency evacuation, trip cancellation, trip interruption, visitor health insurance, repatriation, damaged or missing baggage/property, delayed baggage, missing a flight due to airline's schedule and travel delays due to weather. Occasionally, some providers might offer extra coverage for an additional fee for additions such as pre-existing condition coverage, accidental unit damage, cancellation due to job loss, coverage for sports with an element of risk and travel to high risk companies. Some providers also allow you to "build your own" plan, where you choose the protection you desire.

Of course, travel insurance does not come cheap. Like any insurance, the costs in the case of disaster will almost invariably far exceed the initial purchase price, but dropping a couple hundred dollars on the extra protection can deter travelers. If traveling during a high-risk time - such as hurricane season - a base plan can be invaluable. Otherwise, it becomes a much more personal consideration - is the peace of mind worth the extra cost? Have you had experience with travel insurance or a situation where it might have been invaluable? Share your story in the comments!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Christmas Timeshare Rentals are Going Fast!

Have you finalized your Christmas vacation plans yet? Okay, we know what you're thinking - it's not even Halloween yet! It's too early to be thinking about Christmas, right? Holiday travel, however, often requires months and even a year of forethought - resorts book up fast, and the week of Christmas is often very in demand. Luckily for you, enterprising owners are still renting out their Christmas weeks, but they are renting quickly. Whether you're planning a tropical vacation, a ski retreat or just looking to give your family the best present ever, we've compiled a list of dozens resorts with Christmas inventory left. 

If you see something you like, you'll want to contact the owner as soon as possible to lock in the rental. These weeks are notorious for renting mere days within posting.

All prices are in $USD for one full week.


Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa



Kaanapali Beach Club

South Carolina


Marriott's Newport Coast Villas



Grand Luxxe Nuevo Vallarta


Saint Martin/Sint Maarten

Oyster Bay Beach Resort

Please be aware: all availability and prices were verified on October 13th, 2014. All weeks are limited in quantity and will go very quickly!

The bulk of Christmas and holiday weeks have already been posted, but owners are adding new inventory every day, and so there's still a chance of seeing more rentals pop up. If you're on the hunt for a specific week, be sure to sign up for RedWeek posting alerts by visiting the resort page you're looking at, and then selecting "receive posting alerts" in the upper right corner of the page!

Friday, October 10, 2014

October Resort Spotlight - Smugglers' Notch Resort

Vacationing in fall brings to mind brilliant autumn leaves, hikes in the crisp air with loved ones and sipping apple cider while snuggled up in front of the fireplace. If this is your idea of a perfect October vacation, then this month's Resort Spotlight will be right up your alley! With a picturesque location
and plenty of activities both onsite and in the area to satisfy the entire family, a trip to Smugglers' Notch Resort will be the best autumn trip yet!

Smugglers' Notch Resort is located in its namesake of Smugglers' Notch, Vermont. While the resort is often touted as a ski destination, the sheer beauty of Smugglers' Notch in the fall should not be overlooked. Tucked away in the Green Mountains, the resort boasts a beautiful view of the surrounding peaks as well as blazing fall foliage in these autumn months. Five separate "communities" make up the resort, each with a handful of studio to four-bedroom units. The particular room layouts are all given names to reflect the natural surroundings, such as Evergreen, Owls and Sycamores. 

Mountains and forests make for an amazing backdrop!

Each and every unit is designed to immerse guests in the alpine spirit of Smugglers' Notch. Units are outfitted with red wooden furniture and draped with classic prints. Rooms are equipped with the necessities as well as extra touches to make the stay even more comfortable, such as sizable decks and even sunrooms in certain unit layouts. The majority of units also include a fireplace - perfect to help add to that cozy fall vibe!

Warm colors, woods and stone speak "autumn".
Smugglers' Notch Resort is renowned for offering incredible amounts of activities and entertainment right onsite. Kids especially have plenty of options to keep busy - arts and crafts are scheduled routinely, there's a video game room packed with electronic fun and the family favorite FunZone (packed with bounce houses, slides and table games) lets kids burn off some extra energy. Dining options are diverse with nine separate restaurants and lounges serving everything from casual ice cream cones to fine dining by candlelight. If the fall air is a tad too chilly for swimming, consider dropping by the heated indoor pool for a dip or relaxing in one of many hot tubs.

Kids won't know where to start at the FunZone!
With the mountains nearby, there's no shortage of outdoor activities perfectly suited to fall vacationing. Hiking and biking among the breathtaking foliage are popular choices, and horseback riding and gold are less than ten miles away. Nearby Jeffersonville and Cambridge offer fantastic shopping opportunities with art galleries, homemade crafts and antiques while historic Stowe is packed with history, fine dining and specialty shops.

Fall is an absolutely gorgeous time in Vermont!
Smugglers' Notch Resort isn't the most popular resort on RedWeek, but it does boast a healthy number of postings throughout the year, as well as quite a few prime rental weeks in the coming months. If you're on the hunt for a fall destination that embraces that warm and cozy "lodge-y" feel, you can't go wrong with Smugglers' Notch Resort!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Resort Progress in the Wake of Hurricane Odile

On the night of September 15th, Hurricane Odile slammed the Baja California peninsula, wreaking havoc on the entire southern half of the peninsula. Cabo San Lucas - a traditional vacation hotspot - was caught right in the trajectory of the storm. While the hurricane has long passed and the dust has settled, Cabo is still caught in a frenzy to pick up the pieces and get business running as usual. Progress has been remarkable, but still some resorts are undergoing maintenance. If a vacation in Cabo is on your calendar, be sure to get the scoop on how your resort is faring.

Resorts sustaining significant damage

The following resorts are reported to have suffered significant damage and will require extensive repair before reopening their doors to guests.

Resorts sustaining moderate damage

The following resorts are reported to have suffered moderate damage. A fair amount of repair is still needed, and reopening dates are still awhile off. 

Resorts sustaining minor damage

The following resorts are reported to have suffered minor damage. Resorts are mostly intact, but cosmetic or small-scale repairs are needed. Most plan to open within the month.

Of course, some resorts have managed to escape the worst of the storm and are already up and running; among them, Villa del Arco Beach Resort & Spa, Villa del Palmar Cabo San Lucas and WorldMark Coral Baja. Additionally, most major airlines have dubbed the area safe to fly to and will also be accepting bookings on October 8th.

RedWeek is continuing to update our resort pages as we obtain new information, but if you don't see your resort listed, we highly encourage you to contact the resort directly. Many are more than willing to let you know the current status, as well as eager to help make your vacation enjoyable.

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