Choosing which type of travel experience you would like for your next holiday can be a fairly lengthy process, whether you are a couple, a group of friends, a family with children, or even a solo traveller. From budget hostels right through to luxurious hotels and resorts, the possibilities and options can seem almost endless. Choice is good of course, but with so much available, the decision can start to feel somewhat overwhelming!
If you and your family enjoy returning regularly to a particular favourite destination and have perhaps even considered purchasing a holiday home there or enjoy holidays in spacious high quality self-catering accommodation, then one option which could be perfect for you is buying timeshare. You may not know fully about the many benefits of a timeshare holiday though, even if you have heard of the concept before and understand it to a certain degree.
Instead of simply hearing from us about the significant benefits of choosing timeshare holidays, we decided it would be a great idea to share with you, our readers, thoughts from some timeshare owners themselves on what their experience has been.
The second interview for this series with timeshare owners was with David Peters a long-term points owner with Diamond Resorts who regularly stays at the Royal Tenerife Country Club based in Tenerife.
David kindly agreed to speak with us and answer the following questions while over on his holiday at the Royal Tenerife Country Club where he and his wife Mary have been taking holidays for almost 20 years.
Why did you choose to buy Timeshare?
It started with a telephone call that I received inviting me to go to a presentation back in 1996. I was working in the post office that my wife and I were running at the time and I asked her what she thought of the idea. She said we ought to go along to the presentation, as taking a holiday was something we had been discussing for a while, because at that time we had been building our business up, and hadn’t taken a vacation for nearly four years.
We went along to the presentation with GVC (Grand Vacation Club) and decided that the idea seemed quite presentable. However we were not 100% sure as to whether the product would suit us and during the lunch after the initial presentation, we were told about their two year trial product called Explorer that included a week’s vacation as an additional promotion.
As Explorer offered us the opportunity to try the product we decided to give it a whirl as we hadn’t had a vacation in four years, so the additional week’s vacation included helped to make up our minds. We took the vacation in Spain and had a wonderful week. Having had the time in between the presentation and the holiday to have a look through the details of the product, we decided to buy points as we felt the flexibility offered by points suited our holiday needs.
We started off with a certain amount of points, because we thought at least this way, we can guarantee ourselves some holidays. We knew that if we couldn’t manage a holiday one year, then we could bank them into the following year.
This was all within the original two year trial, but we used the monies we had paid for the trial product to put towards the purchase of the timeshare points. Somewhere around the year 2007 Diamond Resorts took over from GVC, and we’ve been taking holidays at the Santa Barbara Golf and Ocean Club and here at the Royal Tenerife Country Club since.
Over the years we have purchased more points and now we use the Country Club more ourselves, but both resorts are fantastic and Santa Barbara is ideal for children.
One of the main reasons really that we chose to buy timeshare was to make us take holidays, because when you’re building businesses you keep putting holidays to one side. We were taking a weekend away here or there, but weren’t taking proper holidays.
We also visit Wychnor Park Country Club.in Staffordshire regularly as this is where we initially became involved. This resort is part of Diamond’s portfolio, and is like our home base, so we can use the facilities there when we want. They have a swimming pool, nine-hole golf course and crazy golf, which is perfect for taking my grandchildren along to.
What is your most memorable Timeshare holiday and why?
I would really think that the one that gave me most satisfaction and most pleasure, was last August when it was my Birthday and I was able to have the whole family with me. We booked three separate apartments at Santa Barbara for a week. One for ourselves and our daughter’s daughter, one for my son and his wife and two children, and one for my daughter, her partner and three children.
We had an absolutely wonderful time having the whole family together. We spent a week with them, and then we stopped off for a further three weeks up here at the Country Club. It was lovely to be here in Tenerife with all of the family.
What do you think are the benefits of owning Timeshare?
Flexibility of how you vacation yourself. You’re not beholden to meal times. Whilst I appreciate that all-inclusive is good for the drinks if you have children, it does not offer the same level of comfort or flexibility. The cost of timeshare is cheaper when you compare it to all-inclusive. And you may not want to just eat and drink what is offered at an all-inclusive hotel or resort, but instead actually want to discover the area where you are holidaying.
It’s the flexibility and the space we get. Whilst we could choose a studio and use less points if it is just the two of us, we have the flexibility of a bigger apartment with the space, separate bedroom(s), a kitchen, as well as the lounge and two showers. If we have people coming to visit then we have the ability of choosing a two bedroom apartment.
When compared to other holidays we’ve had in the past, before we chose to buy timeshare, there is certainly a difference. For example we took a holiday at an all-inclusive hotel in Cyprus which was ok, but when you go to eat it feels too much like a canteen.
We prefer the flexibility and comfort with timeshare because you can either choose to go out to a local bar or restaurant, of which there are many close by to the Country Club, or you can decide to eat in your apartment, including out on your terrace.
Going back to an all-inclusive style holiday is not the choice I would make, because I’ve got enough choice here and around the world in fact. We’ve been over to America and all over Europe, because of the ability to use our points within the Diamond Vacation Club or via the exchange company . Also as a Platinum member which I am, I can choose my apartment three times a year, so I can know exactly where I’m going to be. I can’t do that very often in a hotel.
What are the drawbacks of owning Timeshare?
For us as points owners the only negative is if you wish to leave the system, you will lose the money you have spent to purchase the timeshare.
Having said this weighing up the whole experience over the period that we’ve had timeshare (which is over 20 years), if I work out what that’s cost us, I’ve certainly spent no more than I would have done visiting hotels. So instead I’ve had the same cost, but with all the benefits mentioned earlier.
We do have the option to leave the timeshare to our children in our wills, but right now we’re not willing it to them, because my son and his family has only just started to use it separately. The the option is there.
Are there any improvements you feel that could be made to the Timeshare product/experience in the future?
That’s a tough question as we’ve been very happy with the experience we’ve had over the years so far. Of course you can always ask for more, but if you start doing that then that could affect your maintenance fees. I think it would depend on where you’re visiting. Up here in the Country Club we like what we’ve got.
One thing that has changed negatively since we first started coming here though is the restaurant experience. Before where the reception area is, there was a wonderful restaurant, but now the restaurant is outside looking out at the car-park. So we choose to eat at the pool bar as it’s a better location. The food is ok there, but quite basic. When we want to eat at a restaurant now, we’ll often head off the resort but from here at the Country Club to the restaurants there is further to walk compared to Santa Barbara.
This is one aspect that Diamond could improve, as most of their restaurants within the resorts are franchised out. I’m not sure if it would be possible, but perhaps they could start making the restaurants their own, like in a hotel. Then if they were able to make enough profit from them then, this wouldn’t need to affect maintenance costs. To be able to do this, you would rely on your members using the restaurants so they would need to be good. If Diamond owned the restaurants within their resorts, then they could maintain the standards so that members choose to eat there.
What would be your top 5 tips for new owners?
- Go to the presentations! Find out what is new and being offered, take as long as you want to make your decision as it is important to know that the product is right for you, and offers are always available.
- Realise you’ve got a 14 days cooling off period, so do your homework, look at what you’ve got, consider your finances and remember it’s not just the initial purchase price you have to consider, but also the annual maintenance fees. Consider your costs and all eventualities. Depending on the circumstances, Diamond will be flexible and tolerant of individual’s needs if someone can’t continue with their contract.
- Be aware that just because you want a particular week, every other member may also want that same week and it is impossible for anyone to provide a particular week to everybody, so be realistic in your expectations and your holiday needs.
- As soon as you know what your holidays times are, make your booking 12 months in advance. The flexibility of when you can stay and which rooms you can choose depends on the amount of points you have purchased. So this is related to what you are buying at the beginning. Look at what you can afford and the number of points you can get within that affordability and whether those points will meet your needs.
- Research the local areas where you will be taking your holiday’s. Look at where you’re going to shop close by, research outside facilities, consider your culinary needs and find out what local restaurants there are.
- Make full use of the product and enjoy it as much as possible as it really is an excellent product if you do this!
Many thanks again to David for taking the time out of his holiday here in sunny Tenerife to stop and have a chat with us about his experiences as a long-term timeshare owner who enjoys staying at the Royal Tenerife Country Club.
Clearly, timeshare has worked very well for David and his family over the last two decades, and they enjoy this style of holidaying very much. Of course there are some downsides, like with anything, but in his opinion the benefits far outweigh the negatives!
We hope this has given you some valuable insight into why you should consider Timeshare and how it can be such a great option for those looking to enjoy their holidays with their partner, or with their families and friends. We will have another interview in the future, but in the meantime happy holidays from our team!