Timeshare points are a great way to fill the months between the summer holidays and Santa season, so why not use your points towards an October mini-break? Here are five very different getaways to escape to before winter sets in.
Summer may have ended in the UK but Marbella’s blue sky autumns and local festivals make it a great choice for a short break or a low season week.
Why go? It’s a bit too breezy for some, but Tarifa, west of Gibraltar is astoundingly beautiful, so hire a car at Malaga airport and head weast, past Marbella, to marvel at its Caribbean style beaches and bright turquoise ocean. If the two hour drive to Tarifa’s too far, head for the hills instead and have a look around Ronda. It’s a dramatically picturesque place, with its famous gorge and split-into-two town.
Home to one of Spain’s most famous bullrings and much loved by Ernest Hemingway, Ronda oozes history, character and gourmet surprises. One of its not-so-well kept secrets is its famous Michelin starred restaurant, Tragabuches – it might be pricey but you’ll be eating at one of Spain’s most revered restaurants.
Ronda is an easy drive from Marbella, and the scenery is just stunning, so it’s worth taking a day away from the beach, to explore the town in full.
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 windsailing capitals of the world, and the Atlantic can get choppy!) Then, head north along the Costa de la Luz until you reach Jerez, the sherry capital of Europe. Samplin at least a small glass here is a must – Jerez is sherry’s original spiritual home.
Not far from here you’ll find one of Spain’s most exclusive fractional resorts, Arcos Gardens Golf Club & Country Estate in Arcos de la Frontera. This beautiful inland golf resort is deservedly part of the Registry Collection’s luxurious international resort portfolio and there is more information at www.registrycollection.com and the resort’s website www.arcosgardens.com
Some of the best timeshare accommodations in Marbella include Club La Costa’s beautiful flagship resort close to Fuengirola, which overlooks the Mediterranean, or closer to Marbella town itself is Alanda www.alandaclubmarbella.com in Elviria. Timeshare specialists Silverpoint www.silverpoint.com also offer options in the Malaga/Marbella area.
The Algarve is traditionally a bit quieter than the Costa del Sol and in some ways autumn is one of its most beautiful seasons. This is when the coast’s golf courses come in to their own and although the evenings cool down, there’s plenty of sunshine and blue skies during the day.
Why go? To recharge your batteries before winter sets in Club La Costa www.clublacosta.com and Petchey Leisure www.petcheyleisure.com both offers resorts and golf-based holidays in the Algarve, and with numerous flights to Faro from UK airports, it’s an easy escape to get to. If you’re renting a car, don’t miss Vilamoura’s smart but relaxed harbour, with plenty of waterside cafés, restaurants and mini and mega yachts. Tip: the Chinese restaurant at the very end of the Marina is excellent!
Golfers can take to the fairways at Hilton Grand Vacation Club’s Hilton Vilamoura Resort & Spa. The resort is set in 40,000 m2 of very pretty 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’ll be kept entertained and will love the adventure park! www.higvc.co.uk
Why go? If you’ve done the beach holiday this summer and are more in the mood for a city break then you can’t go wrong in the City of Love. Those who can escape Paris in August but they return for the start of school and work in early September, and autumn is one of the city’s most beautiful seasons. It’s also the perfect Eurostar city break for anyone who’s not that keen on flying, with frequent trains running direct from St. Pancras International.
After you’ve visited the main sites, and strolled down the Rive Gauche, there are plenty of side streets and “undiscovered” quartiers to explore. Yes, do the Left Bank and the tourist hotspots, but then head over to the lovely Marais quarter if there’s still time. 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.
Shared ownership 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
Why go? For the food, Cornish champagne, beaches that rival the best in France – and cheese, of course! Not to mention Cornwall’s celebrity chef restaurants – Rick Stein has three in the area and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, at Watergate Bay, is legendary.
Adults and children will love a trip to The Eden Project, Cornwall’s iconic and completely fascinating eco-biosphere attraction. 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 stay on the sidelines than attempt to emulate Torvill and Dean.
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. www.hustyns.com www.trenython.co.uk
Why go? Let’s face it, the Guinness factory is a big draw for most tourists, but 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 fashions, luxury gifts and beauty all share the same elegant roof.
Not that long ago, Dublin was better known for its pubs than its Michelin-calibre restaurants but in the last few years the city really has been giving London a run for its money on the food front. Some fantastically creative Irish chefs now dominate the foodie scene and have contributed to making Dublin a food destination offering exciting, contemporary, eclectic menus as well as quintessentially Irish fare. Finally, if you’re a good book with a good coffee lover, and love live music, Dublin’s an absolute treat.
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 minute 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