Timeshare points are a great way to bridge the gap between goodbye summer and hello ski season, so we’ve come up with five favourite escapes for the perfect getaway before winter sets in…
The UK might still be sunny but it’s no match for Marbella’s blue sky autumns – and Andalusia’s colourful local festivals make it a great choice for a long weekend or a low season week.
Once you’ve spent a day in Marbella, head to Tarifa, west of Gibraltar to walk barefoot along its Caribbean style beaches kissed by the bright blue Atlantic. If the two hour drive to Tarifa feels a bit far, you could head for the hills and have a look around Ronda instead.
Home to one of Spain’s most famous bullrings and much loved by Ernest Hemingway, Ronda is packed history, character and plenty of local gourmet surprises. If you do have time, stop off in Tarifa and soak up the blow-your-cares-away strong sea breezes (it’s one of the kite surfing capitals of the world) Then, head north along the Costa de la Luz until you reach Jerez, the sherry capital of Europe. Sampling at least a small glass of the wooden barrelled liquor here is a must because Jerez is sherry’s original spiritual home.
Autumn is when the Algarve’s golf courses come in to their own and although the evenings start to cool down a little, there’s plenty of sunshine and blue skies during the day.
Don’t miss a visit to where the smart set play: Vilamoura has a smart but relaxed harbour, with a nice choice of waterside cafés, restaurants and mini and mega yachts. If you’re in the mood for Chinese food, the restaurant at the very end of the marina is excellent.
Get into the swing of things at Hilton Grand Vacation Club’s Hilton Vilamoura Resort & Spa. The resort is set in 40,000 m2 of rolling Algarve scenery between the Pinhal and Old course golf clubs. A golf centre, beautiful spa with zen gardens, pools, waterfalls, amazing adventure park for children, excellent onsite dining and good nightlife are just some of the many attractions here, and it’s a great choice for a stay-at-the-resort holiday especially if you have young children who need to be entertained – they’ll love the adventure park! www.higvc.co.uk
Autumn is one of the city’s most beautiful seasons. It’s also the perfect Eurostar city break if you’d rather let the train take the strain, as frequent trains run direct from St. Pancras International to the City of Love.
After you’ve visited the main sites, and strolled down the Rive Gauche, do the Left Bank and the tourist hotspots, and then head over to the lovely Marais quarter – a local favourite. This artistic and architecturally rich neighbourhood is packed with interesting shops – you’ll find up-and-coming designer boutiques, quirky bookshops and loads of delicious boulangeries and brasseries and it has a very authentic, non-touristy feel.
Timeshare and fractional city apartments in capitals like London, Paris and New York are still relatively rare – because of the cost of space – but one of the best residences is the conveniently located Multiresidence de l’Elysee, Interval International’s chic and central Paris resort. It’s like having your very own pad in Paris (in a six-storey building on the Rive Gauche by the River Seine, no less!) You couldn’t ask for a better location, as it’s close to the Champs-Elysees, between the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde. www.intervalworld.com
Let’s face it, Cornwall’s beaches are some of the most scenic in the world, and as for the food…where to begin? Cornish seafood, local champagne, clotted cream and all those local cheese. Not to mention Cornwall’s celebrity chef restaurants – Rick Stein has three in the area and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, at Watergate Bay, is something of a legend, with diners travelling miles for a meal there.
One of the region’s most famous landmarks has to be The Eden Project, Cornwall’s iconic and completely fascinating eco-biosphere attraction. Set aside a generous afternoon to visit because it has to be seen to be believed. There’s a café, gift shop, and huge “biodomes” where you can wander through different climates and learn about Mediterranean or tropical plants and fruit trees. In summer, the Eden Sessions take the stage – they’re one of the UK’s best loved music festivals. In winter there’s more magic again as The Eden Project’s ice skating rink transforms into a festive winter wonderland with wine and fondue for those who’d rather watch the artistic choreography from the sidelines.
Club La Costa has two properties in Cornwall: its Hustyns resort is a contemporary boutique hotel-style destination set in idyllic countryside just outside Wadebridge. The other hotel, Trenython Manor near Fowey (pronounced “foy”) is just minutes from the charming fishing harbour with its chocolate shops, bookstores and cosy pubs. http://www.hustyns.com/ www.trenython.co.uk
It’s one of those cities everyone loves – the warm welcome, the beautiful buildings, the cosy shops and cafes….and let’s face it, the Guinness factory is a big draw for most tourists.
There’s so much to see in and around Dublin’s fair city that the best plan it to buy a day ticket and hop on the Dublin City Sightseeing Tour bus. Treat yourself to an eagle-eye tour of the city amid autumn’s falling leaves (but wrap up warmly if you’re on the top deck!) Dublin can rival any European city when it comes to striking architecturs – its cultural attractions are legendary, with Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral being two of the stand outs. It’s actually a very walkable place if you’re not in a rush, and you’ll find plenty of coffee shop style bookstores and cosy pubs to linger in along the way.
Dublin also has a famous Zoo – the third oldest in Europe. Beautiful Phoenix Park is also a wonderful place to walk and take in the fresh Dublin air – it happens to be one of the largest city parks in any major capital.
Time to hit the shops? Step back in time in Brown Thomas, Dublin’s famous department store dating back to 1849 where Irish and international designer fashion, luxury gifts and beauty all share the same elegant space.
The Fitzpatrick Hotel Holiday Homes are the place to stay if you’re looking for a base that offers peace and quiet within a short drive of Dublin.
Twenty minutes from the centre, this RCI-affiliated resort is in Killiney, close to the local pebbly beach where Bono, Eddie Irvine and Van Morrisson all have homes. Fitzpatrick Hotel Holiday Homes are Gold Crown resort apartments right next to Fitzpatrick Castle, which has been converted into a hotel and rooms offer views of the breathtaking Wicklow Mountains. For more information on The Fitzpatrick Hotel Holiday Homes, visit www.rci.com