Like Suites? Consider a timeshare.

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Steven Schwartz, Apr 16, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    First of all, I decided to post something since I'm surprised at how little activity there has been on this site - one post all of yesterday in this thread!

    Okay, back to the point. We go through hoops to get the elite status that will give us a chance of snagging a suite in a hotel we are visiting. We purchased a few timeshares 8+ years ago for a few reasons, but a big one was the knowledge that every trip we took to them would mean a bedroom and a living room. Having a kitchen also meant saving some money (and not overeating!) for breakfast.

    We just got back from a week at the Westin Kierland Villas - adjacent to the Kierland Resort in Scottsdale and to its Troon golf course. The facility is simply beautiful and the suites are gorgeous and comfortable with a nice kitchen and a wonderful bathroom. The staff is helpful and friendly. You have full access to the hotel and if you don't feel like walking over or driving, simply ask for the shuttle to take you there or to the nearby Kierland Commons shopping area for stores and restaurants.

    Rooms are bookable on the Starwood site with either Cash or Points but if you are willing to go for the full week, you can do MUCH better at sites like eBay or Redweek.com.

    At this stage of life, we will be selling two of the timeshares as we begin the process of buying a second home in Florida - just keeping Kierland since we love it so much. I'm not suggesting anyone buy a timeshare and certainly not that they purchase from a developer rather than the aftermarket. But you can have comfort and luxury at wonderful resorts for a fraction of what you would pay for a comparable hotel. The word timeshare turns many people off but with the big name chains, there is excellence and reliability and it's worth considering.
     
  2. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The "Tax Man" cometh?;)
     
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  3. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    Aren't you always better off just buying weeks on redbook or ebay or maybe TUG? Even when you buy a timeshare resale, you have to pay annual maintenance fees and are liable for special assessments. These things are almost always run for the benefit of the management company.
     
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  4. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    That's exactly what I was suggesting - renting a week on the secondary market. Most people think you either own or don't but the fact is they can often be rented at very attractive prices.
     
  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    You also have to want to be somewhere for a full week and on the specific dates the timeshares turn over to get the best prices. Bad news for me.
     
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  6. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    I think this is a worthwhile suggestion, and can be a bargain at times even if you rent timeshare units through the chains' own regular reservations systems. Several years ago I got an amazing deal on a 1-bedroom unit at the Westin Ka'anapali Villas on Maui, for example. It was a TravelZoo offer that was booked through the the official SPG website for the villas. I paid substantially less than the cost of a regular room at the Westin hotel next door, and got all the benefits of the larger unit, including washer/dryer, etc.

    I've rented Disney Vacation Club (timeshare) units directly from an owner in the past. This represents a HUGE savings over renting the units directly from Disney. The only minor downside is no daily maid service. However, these days I'd be particularly nervous about renting timeshare units on eBay. There are too many con artists lurking there and I personally know of people who have been ripped off.

    With the Disney Vacation Club properties it's easy and safe to rent through David's Vacation Club Rentals. He matches owners who have excess points with renters who want to rent those points and acts as a broker between them. It's reassuring because the middleman system eliminates both the owner's and renter's risk (that's why the broker gets a fee -- he guarantees both parties will get what they've agreed to). I've used the service myself and it's great. Not sure if anyone is doing this with any of the other points-based timeshare programs, but it's a brilliant idea.
     
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  7. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    Depends on the program. Disney Vacation Club, for example, does not work on a weekly system. It's a points system and it's possible to use points for just one night if you want. And owners do not have a specific week, so they can book a reservation at any time there is availability.

    Edited to clarify language for anyone reading in future. :)
     
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  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    But the discussion here is for non-owners, isn't it?
     
  9. Global Explat
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    Global Explat Silver Member

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    Really agree with your concept here. Just returned from a great week at a timeshare resort on the beach in Marbella (Marriott).

    I've been really focused on getting top status with hotels to get a suite and breakfast for family vacations. But I've only occasionally been able to get good value from it for my circumstances. I have four children. Normally we have to book two rooms in a hotel (and try to get one of them as a suite), and the kids really aren't interested in a complicated breakfast, so paying full price for a hotel breakfast hurts.... The best program for this setup is Hyatt, but there are few suitable properties in this part of the world (Europe), and pretty much no resort-style properties. SPG has a few but no guarantees on useful benefits. I have top status with both, but don't think I'll work too hard to earn it again this next year.

    The timeshare resort in Spain was great- all we needed. Not as many restaurants as we've experienced at resorts in Caribbean for example, but being able to sit out at a table on the deck for a family breakfast we've prepared ourselves works much better...

    Thanks for the heads up on redweek.com.. will take a look at that for future reservations....
     
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  10. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Presumably if an owner's access is flexible for length of stay, then they'd be able to resell with similar flexibility. At that point, the inventory would be much less distressed and thus most likely less of a "deal" though.

    At the end of the day, there are people who this makes sense for, and people that it does not. I can't imagine staying in one location for a full vacation week. Perhaps for an off-season ski trip or similar I could make it work.

    I can see where for others with different travel patterns it would be a great deal, though.
     
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  11. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    Right, but that means owners (in DVC, at least) can rent out a one-night booking, any time of year that there is availability, at any DVC resort, to a non-owner. In practical terms, David's Vacation Club Rentals generally only handles rentals of 2-3 nights minimum, but you are not stuck with a week minimum, or only renting a specific week of the year.
     
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  12. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    To each his own. Our week in Scottsdale included visits to the Heard Museum, the Cactus Desert, The Musical Instrument Museum (amazing), and other things. In addition, we drove to the Grand Canyon on Wednesday, stopped in Sedona for a few hours, spent the night outside the Grand Canyon and toured it the next morning. The week flew by.

    And BTW, did the Marriott in Marbella a few years ago. Day trips to Ronda, the Alhambra and Gibralter. That was quite a week too.

    I'm not suggesting that a week in the same destination is for everyone. But we all have different types of vacations - some we like to tour our hearts out and sometimes, relaxing for a week in a beautiful resort is pretty damn good! Just wanted to present another alternative that works for many people and that might not be an intuitive choice - but may make sense. And you can't compare the comfort and luxury!

    Then again, some timeshares are pretty poor. But in my experience, stick to Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt and maybe Hilton and you have a good chance of getting something special. And to another poster's point, I have rented out weeks over the years through eBay and I know the renters were very happy with what they got!

    Oh - and with the timeshare market the way it is, you may often have to spend more to rent for a week than to buy it outright! I owned at the Manhattan Club years ago and the owners can't give their weeks away![/quote]
     
  13. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    I like the idea of timeshares, but it really depends on the location.

    Hawaii timeshare for a week? Sounds like a great idea - especially if the price is right secondary. A week is a good amount of time there, given how far you need to travel. Having the space is nice as the primary purpose is to relax on the beach and enjoy the local sights.

    Vegas timeshare for a week? Nah.. given how cheap room rates are, how cheap food can be, it rarely seems worth it to have a timeshare.

    Ski vacations for a week? Tempting.. especially if you have kids and want to go to Vail every year. But without kids, it doesn't make a ton of sense to me, as skiing for a whole week is quite a lot.. 3 or 4 days seems to be the max i'd want to go on.

    Steve- thanks for starting up this thread.. it has gotten way too quiet here...
     
  14. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Indeed. We all have our own styles as well as amount of time available, and this is a fantastic option for those who desire to stay put for a bit longer or can base and do day trips.
     
  15. Surface Interval
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    Surface Interval Silver Member

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    A similar type of property to consider is not a timeshare, rather a house or apartment. These can be found at various sites such as Homeaway, VBRO, and others. I've have very good luck with these. Often you can find a place for less than a week. I stayed at a nice 3 bedroom flat in Florence Italy the summer before last for 3 nights - an incredible value considering we were able to cook, had a washer/dryer, and the kids each got their own room.
     
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  16. boondr

    boondr Gold Member

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    VRBO has been very good to me.
     
  17. mtlfire

    mtlfire Gold Member

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    I agree. I own 227 points with DVC. I enjoy the flexibility, sometimes only using it for 3 day weekends in a studio. Other times a 1 bedroom, and last fall a 2 bedroom at Aulani in Hawaii.

    Would never go with a fixed week concept though.
     
  18. bonnerbl
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    bonnerbl Gold Member

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    We have used VRBO as well as Air B and B. excellent results with both. Am partial to Air because of the chance to stay with a "local". Have done it many many times in Provence, and inParis, Barcelona, Bogota, Lima, Cartegena, Medellin. Highly recommended.
     
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  19. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    I've been very intrigued and tempted by sites like that, but I've also read some real horror stories about fake listings and major rip-offs (like people show up and the place doesn't exist, or doesn't belong to the person who collected the money). Does that worry you at all?

    If it was a small amount of money involved, I guess I'd be more willing to take a flyer on it, but when you're sending hundreds or even thousands of dollars to a total stranger, it's kinda scary.
     
  20. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Same concerns I have. We have used VRBO twice to rent big houses in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware in order to have a big family vacation. I guess I felt if it didn't work out, we'd be pissed but only have a 3-4 hour drive home.

    When we rented a home in Tuscany, we did it through a vendor that friends had used and been very happy with (ParkerVillas.com) - and we had a ball in a wonderful, well-located home. But you're right - it is a bit of a crap shoot!
     
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  21. Surface Interval
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    Surface Interval Silver Member

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    Always a concern, so the word is: Research. Look for a place that has a real history - lots of good reviews, listed for a significant time, etc. You can often convince the owner to take a modest deposit with the balance due when you show up. Some will take credit cards if pressed - but ask that you pay the fees (2% or so). The better listing sites offer insurance to cover nightmare scenarios. Some may call it a crap shoot; I would add if that is the case, then the dice are loaded heavily in your favor - if you do your homework.:)
     
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  22. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    Thanks! That's all useful info.
     
  23. flightnurse

    flightnurse Silver Member

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    As someone who had a timeshare, I never found it easy to trade weeks, however, was able to rent it out when the Buick Open was playing in Scottsdale. I just think it is easier to use my points from my CC's to get the place I want.
     
  24. rosiew

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    Timeshares are good for large families who want spacious rooms and amenities within the resort. Timeshares are not for most people. Many families have made the mistake of purchasing a timeshare based on misrepresentations told by their sales rep. These lies are usually uncover after the rescission period. Therefore, The owner is stuck with expensive annual timeshare fees and a purchase that they can’t get rid of.
     

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