When it’s time to get away, where do you go? GoTimeshare reveals seven heavenly hideaways to escape to, from Cornish shores to sun-kissed Cape Town
Since the mid-seventies, when the world’s two leading exchange organisations, RCI and Interval International were founded, the number of vacation exchange possibilities available around the world has literally escalated. Whether it’s a week at an equestrian centre in Italy, at a beach resort in Goa, or a long weekend in Scotland, the choices on offer have never been better. Shared ownership is a cost effective way to holiday but it has become more than that – it’s a holiday solution that has become a lifestyle for millions of owners worldwide who appreciate the flexibility and value for money that shared ownership provides.
To find out what’s on offer, where, there are thousands of destination resorts to browse on RCI www.rci.com and Interval International www.intervalworld.com. And if you’re new to timeshare, why not start at the top with a “try before you buy” membership? The De Vere Group’s Flexible 5 Year Holiday Plan, or Club La Costa’s trial membership are two smart ways to take a first dip into the holiday exchange pool.
The big hotel brands – Marriott, Wyndham, Four Seasons and Hilton among them – run successful vacation ownership programmes. At home in the UK, Gleneagles’ exclusive Seasonal Ownership programme has led the way with its high end, luxury lodge, golf and spa “best-of-Scotland” offering in Perthshire.
De Vere Hotels, Resorts & Venues is also part of the Alternative Hotel Group which is home to nine of Britain’s best known brands including Liberty of London, Malmaison and Hotel Du Vin, Village Hotels, Greens Health and Fitness, G&J Greenall Distillery, Searcy of London and MWB Business Exchange, and the group also offers an innovative golf membership plan through its De Vere Club – members can play at home and away at sixteen courses at eleven scenic locations in Scotland and England.
Hustyns Hotel & Spa, Wadebridge, Cornwall
Club La Costa Resorts & Hotels
This private 90-acre resort comes with an indoor pool, spa, champagne jazz bar and destination restaurant, making it one of Club La Costa’s most sought-after UK retreats. Hustyns is a contemporary boutique hotel with private lodges tucked away down a country lane just minutes from Wadebridge near Bodmin.
Prior to its acquisition by CLC, Hustyns was something of an A-list retreat; past celebrity guests include Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Moore and the hotel retains an air of relaxed exclusivity, set in breathtaking Cornish scenery.
Why go? The ultimate deluxe battery recharger, Hustyns’ mix of modern style in a rural setting will appeal to both couples and families who want to get away from it all. Royal holiday spot Rock, and Padstow (aka “Padstein” and made famous by celebrity chef Rick Stein) are close by, but there’s lots to do onsite, too.
Facilities: Restaurant (much of the produce comes straight from the hotel’s own organic vegetable garden), brasserie, bar, swimming pool, spa, sauna and steam room, a fitness suite, running track, tennis court, croquet and children’s activity area. 24-hour concierge service.
Star attraction: The Eden Project, a 20-minute drive away, is an absolute must-see. Eco-domes house a plethora of plants and fauna from all over the world; this month it transforms into a festive, glittering ice skating rink, with wine, fondue and lashings of Christmas spirit.
Burgundy Estate, Tygerberg Hill, Cape Town
Part of the RCI portfolio
Great views and fine wines set the scene at Burgundy Estate on the sun-kissed slopes of the Western Cape, near Cape Town. Once the residence of sir De Villers Graaf, the estate is far from the maddening crowds yet not far from Cape Town’s myriad of attractions, and the coast.
Why go: For the exceptional tranquillity and scenery – and all the wine-tasting opportunities in this vine-centric part of the world.
Facilities: The Estate also has recreational parks, cycle & jogging paths, a Clubhouse, Pro Shop and a Pub and Restaurant all on site for guests’ use.
Star attraction: ‘The fairest Cape in all the world’ as described by Sir Francis Drake in 1580, has one of the world’s most beautiful settings, the majestic Table Mountain. Known as the Mother City, Cape Town is a vibrant, colourful city, reflecting the essence of its nature and character in the slogan, ‘One City, Many Cultures’. Cosmopolitan, bistros, cafes, coffee shops, galleries and bookshops dot the city by the sea. Don’t miss the Waterfront, the beaches at Clifton and Camps Bay, Constantia and its world famous wine route, False Bay, Simons Town and Cape Point.
More info: www.RCI.com
Grangefield Oasis Club, near Marbella, Costa del Sol, Spain
Savour the flavour of southern Spain at this traditional Andalucian resort close to the beach and a few minutes by car from Marbella’s charming old town and the much-photographed cobbled streets near Plaza de los Naranjos.
Its on-site restaurant, La Hacienda, has just been renovated and stays open all day from the first café con leche for breakfast to after-dinner cocktails.
Why go? Perched above the Costa del Sol’s famous 160-kilometre long coastline, this family-friendly, relaxed and low key resort is midway between Malaga and Marbella, making it an ideally placed base to stay.
Facilities: Outdoor and indoor pools, sauna, Jacuzzis, tennis court, restaurants and bars. Supermarkets near by. Xanada Spa Health Club onsite.
Star attraction: Golf and the chic boutiques of Marbella and Puerto Banus are all close by, but tempting though it is to stay put and soak up the sun, a night out in the “casco antiguo” (old quarter) in Marbella, with its eclectic restaurants, wine bars and one-off shops, is a great way to spend an evening. After dinner, finish with churros (crisp doughnuts hot from the fryer) and a late night coffee in Orange Tree Square (Plaza de los Naranjos) against the backdrop of the main church’s chiming midnight bells.
More info: www.petcheyleisure.com
The County Hotel, Bath
A stroll away from Bath’s cultural attractions, this new Seasons boutique hotel has 22 exquisite en-suite bedrooms in a rare green belt setting with wonderful views over a cricket ground (which also doubles as Bath’s rugby ground in season) and Bath Abbey in the distance.
Not surprisingly, The County has won numerous awards in the past and the service matches the elegant, contemporary boutique look here where four poster beds and a real feeling of exclusivity and privacy pervades. Parking is not an issue as the hotel has its own private parking area, making it an idea city escape to drive to, with plenty of local attractions to explore within a half hour to an hour’s drive.
Why go: Bath is a world heritage city, arguably one of the most beautiful in the UK – so where better to stay than at this new flagship Seasons boutique hotel?
Facilities: Comfort is a priority and weekend touches like in-room breakfasts with the daily papers make it all the more homely.
Star attraction: The location – the breathing space and green views the hotel offers within this vibrant, historic city are rare.
Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort & Spa, St. Lucia
Part of the Interval International portfolio
The style is a Mediterranean village, the setting is the dramatically beautiful island of St. Lucia and the result is a stunning resort where luxury knows no bounds. Nestling amid colourful, flower-filled gardens against a backdrop of lush greenery, sand and sea, is a selection of private villas, many with their own pool.
Labrelotte Bay is well known for its white sands and tranquil cobalt blue waters, while the gardens, with waterfalls and sparkling pools, provide a peaceful setting, washed by Caribbean breezes.
There are over 1,500 feet of sandy beaches at Windjammer Landing, with a full water sports program plus five swimming pools (two for children included) plus an outdoor Jacuzzi.
Why go? Relaxation is the name of the game here. Resort amenities include continuous shuttle service to the shopping “village” where guests can enjoy five restaurants, three bars, several boutiques, a mini-market and the full-service Serenity Spa, as well as a fitness center, flood-lit tennis courts and conference facilities. Parents can escape for a night out thanks to the nanny service, and there are a number of sightseeing tours around the island available to guests who want to explore the rest of St. Lucia’s delights.
Facilities: Beach, tennis, swimming pools, a playground area, water sports, variety of dining areas including bar/cocktail lounge. There are boat marina/launching facilities, sailing, waterskiing, scuba diving, a day spa, live entertainment, a gym, sauna, whirlpool spa/hot tubs, convenience store, Golf, raquetball and riding all close by.
Star attraction: One of the highlights is the cuisine, at both the beachfront and hillside restaurants at the resort. There’s Caribbean cuisine, Asian specialities and international menus. Start the night off with a long, cool cocktail, work your way through the menu and make sure you don’t miss the weekly Caribbean party. It’s a sumptuous affair and a chance to sample local delicacies accompanied by St. Lucian bands and entertainers – fire eating and limbo dancing are just part of the evening’s entertainment.
Golden Sands Resort & Spa, Malta
Part of the Resort Properties International Portfolio
Affiliation: Radisson Blu SAS Hotels & Resorts
Part of the luxury vacation ownership resort portfolio offered by Resort Properties International, this 300-unit hotel in Malta is one of the most prestigious places to stay on the island. The landscape is breathtaking – stunning clifftop views and easy access to local towns and attractions make this location in northern Malta a particularly sought-after resort and it has a very “private owners club” feel.
Why go? If the name Golden Sands Resort & Spa sounds familiar it could be because of its famous visitors. Past guests include Queen Elizabeth and Tony Blair and the five-star resort amenities on offer are superb: they include fine à la carte dining, water sports, dive centre, tennis courts and horse-riding.
The scenery is all rolling hills, open valleys and honey toned limestone buildings that glow as the sun sets and lazy days and vibrant nights are very much part of the easy going Maltese lifestyle.
Facilities: Golden Sands has a full service spa, indoor and outdoor lagoon pools, restaurants, bars and a fully-serviced private beach.
Star attraction: It has to be the penthouse – 234 square metres of opulence and luxury that come with simply stunning views, with flat screen satellite TVs in the master and extra bedrooms.
Parc Soleil Suites, Orlando, Florida
By Hilton Grand Vacations
Hilton’s newest family resort in Orlando is set in 52 acres of lush grounds off Palm Parkway right in the heart of the area’s main attractions, making it a magnet for both children and adults. There are 94 championship golf courses, but it’s the world-famous visitor hotspots that are the reason most people visit.
Why go? Parc Soleil Suites are an ideal base to stay while visiting Walt Disney World®, Universal Orlando®, SeaWorld® Orlando, Aquatica® – all are within easy reach, yet guests can enjoy the serenity of the lush hotel setting and Hilton’s high standards of accommodation and service. Excellent airport access, too, as it’s just 15 minutes away. The views from the hotel are fabulous, including the Orlando skyline, theme park fireworks and extensive resort grounds.
Facilities: One and two-bedroom suites include spacious balconies, large living and dining areas, fully-equipped kitchens, master suites, flat screen cable TV, DVD player and washer & dryer, large swimming pool, whirlpool spa, 52 amazing acres of flourishing landscaping including a walking/jogging path with tennis courts, exercise facilities, playground, and supervised recreation programs for all ages. Shuttles available to nearby theme parks.
Star attraction: Not to be missed: a trip to The Kennedy Space Center®
More info: www.HGVC.Hilton.com/Orlando