Timeshare Resorts Called To Support Troops

In the run up to Remembrance Day 2015, Give Us Time, a charity launched by Dr. Liam Fox MP, for the Armed Forces, is appealing to owners and managers of holiday homes, hotels and timeshares to donate accommodation to British military personnel and their families.

Since 2001, more than 458 British forces personnel have lost their lives in Afghanistan, more than 2,000 have experienced physical or psychological damage, and families across the country have seen their lives profoundly changed.
Recognising the impact an operational tour can have, Give Us Time takes one-week holidays donated by hosts and matches them with British soldiers in need of rest, rehabilitation and reconnection with their families.

In In 2015, Centre Parcs generously donated 25 holidays to military personnel and Club La Costa donated 40 holidays. The charity is hoping to increase its number of partners in the hospitality sector this year.

Karen Hay, Chief Executive, Give Us Time, says: “Remembrance Day, which falls on 8th November this year, is a timely reminder of the sacrifices military personnel have made and the impact serving in the military has had on their families. We are asking businesses in the hospitality sector to contribute to Give Us Time’s initiative. It is easy to donate spare capacity accommodation via our website.

“A simple holiday in a neutral environment, away from the responsibilities of day-to-day life, can have a transformative effect. The hosts that we currently work with can clearly see that they are making a real contribution to military personnel and their families, and it ties in with their Corporate Social Responsibility.”

Reverend Gary MW Keith CF comments: “Give Us Time holidays really do provide the time and space needed to spend good quality, family time together away from the high-pressure tempo of military life. Without them I couldn’t fulfill my role in the military and I suspect that is true for many.”

To find out more or donate a holiday, please visit http://www.giveustime.org.uk/welcome-timedonor/, https://www.facebook.com/GiveUsTime/ and follow us on Twitter @GiveUsTime

Diamond Resorts Purchase Gold Key Resorts

Diamond Resorts International has announced it has completed the acquisition of the vacation ownership business of Gold Key Resorts, adding five vacation ownership resorts in Virginia Beach, VA and one in the Outer Banks, NC.

The acquisition adds two new East Coast locations to Diamond Resorts, bringing its global portfolio to a total of 99 managed resorts.

David Palmer, president and chief executive officer, Diamond Resorts International, said, “We are pleased to have completed this acquisition, which expands our presence on the East Coast and brings to Diamond Resorts a large owner base. We are confident that we can further accelerate the profitable growth of the Gold Key business through synergies and innovation.

“We look forward to providing these new vacation destination choices to our members, owners and guests, providing them with more opportunities to Stay Vacationed, and helping them create memorable vacation experiences in Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks.”

Similar to the rest of Diamond Resorts’ North America and Caribbean business, virtually all of Gold Key Resorts’ sales are to customers in the United States and Canada and transacted in U.S. dollars.

This addition will enhance existing North American and Caribbean operations, which account for more than 90 per cent of Global VOI Sales.

Virginia Beach, an East Coast vacation hotspot, boasts the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, a three mile, 28-foot wide icon dating back to 1888, which has been named in the top “Best American Boardwalks” by USA Today Weekend, Discovery Channel, Southern Living and Coastal Living.

With proximity to the boardwalk, Gold Key’s properties offer easy access to all the entertainment and recreation offerings in Virginia Beach. The property in Kitty Hawk, NC was purchased in 2014 and is undergoing extensive improvements to reposition it as a world-class, all–season resort destination in the Outer Banks.

The Gold Key resorts are in the following locations:

  • Beach Quarters Resort in Virginia Beach, VA
  • Turtle Cay Resort in Virginia Beach, VA
  • Boardwalk Resort and Villas in Virginia Beach, VA
  • Ocean Beach Club Resort in Virginia Beach, VA
  • Oceanaire Resort in Virginia Beach, VA
  • Beachwoods in Kitty Hawk, NC

Calypso Cay Joins RCI Network

Exchange organisation, RCI, has signed an affiliation agreement to add Calypso Cay Vacation Villas at Calypso Cay Resorts to its network of approximately 4,500 affiliated resorts. Located in Kissimmee, Florida, the Caribbean-themed property is fashioned as a “personal tropical island getaway.”

“We’re delighted to welcome Calypso Cay Vacation Villas to our vacation exchange program,” said Gordon Gurnik, president of RCI. “This beautiful property, which further expands RCI subscribing members’ high-quality accommodation choices in central Florida, can be an excellent option for travelers looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of the real world, while also being minutes away from some of Florida’s most well-known attractions.”

Guests staying at the Calypso Cay Vacation Villas have access to spacious and luxurious one-, two- and three-bedroom suites. For those traveling in larger groups, many of these villas can be linked to other one- or two-bedroom villas to allow for greater space and comfort. All accommodations feature large dining areas, full kitchens, entertainment centres and comfortably furnished living rooms ideal for relaxing after a long day of play.

Calypso Cay Vacation Villas feature many renovations designed to maximise guests’ fun, including a new pool deck and full-service pool bar, a sports court and a beach volleyball court. Adding to the resort’s tropical atmosphere is a beautiful picnic area with a patio, gas grills, colourful vegetation, background music and plenty of shade and seating areas to stretch out and relax.

A lushly-landscaped 18-hole miniature golf course, as well as a daily schedule of resort activities and events, can keep visitors active and happy. Located just seven miles away from popular local theme parks, guests can opt to make the short drive to their choice of exciting nearby attractions, and then return home to the peace and calm of their private villas.

“We’re thrilled to join RCI’s vacation exchange network,” said Steve Bradley, managing director of Calypso Cay Resorts. “Helping ensure that our club members receive the quality vacations they deserve is at the heart of everything we do. We’re excited that RCI shares that same mission and drive to deliver fantastic, flexible and memorable vacation options, and we look forward to continuing our partnership well into the future.”

Lake District Resorts To Focus On Australians

Breathtaking views from Latrigg near Keswick in the Lake District with Derwentwater lake in the far distance., Latrigg, Cumbria, England. Additional Credit: NWDA

Timeshare resorts in the Lake District with weeks available for rent should be targeting the Australian market as this makes up the largest number of visitor numbers to Cumbria.

This was one of the golden nuggets of information shared by expert speakers from VisitBritain, VisitEngland Delegates at this year’s Eden Tourism Summit.

Dozens of businesses gathered for the conference which took place this week at Appleby Manor Country House Hotel.

From 2010-2014 there were 151,000 visits to Cumbria from Australia, up 38 per cent from 110,000 from 2002-2006.

Australians spent a whopping £58 million in the county during that time.

Americans were the second largest group of visitors to Cumbria in that period.

Record numbers of tourists visited Eden last year, with business leaders optimistic about the outlook for 2016.

In 2014 the amount of tourists visiting the area was up 5 per cent to 4.5 million, with spend up 9 per cent to £267.7 million, accounting fro 4039 jobs, up 4 per cent on the previous year.

Richard Nicholls, head of research and forecasting at VisitBritain, shared the optimistic statistics.

He also shared some thoughts on how Eden businesses can capitalise on tourism in 2016 focusing on the importance of social media.

“We surveyed several countries and found that social media penetration in holiday decision making is growing. The Sterling has strengthened against most currencies apart from the US Dollar, and this is a challenge next year.”

Other speakers at the event included; councillor David Hymers MBE, Eden District Council’s economic development portfolio holder, Jessica Goodfellow and Sally Hemsley, joint Eden tourism manager, Patricia Yates, strategy and communications director at VisitBritain.

Jim Walker, chair of the Eden Tourism Network, chaired the event.

He said: “The Summit is industry driven and over the past three years has grown its reputation as the region’s most important event for tourism businesses to debate key issues affecting their industry and to network with operators from across the region.”

The Eden Tourism Network, co-ordinated by Eden District Council’s Tourism Team brings together a variety of Eden tourism businesses and organisations who meet on a quarterly basis at venues throughout Eden.

The Network is made up of 100 representatives from tourism businesses in Eden and provides an opportunity to share information and discuss the latest tourism developments and issues at both a local and national level.

Meetings include visiting speakers on topical issues and practical business presentations, enabling members to be informed and take away practical ideas for their own business.

For the first time in the event’s five year history, workshops took place in the afternoon to allow businesses to learn more from tourism experts.

Image courtesy of VisitBritain

CLC World Given Go-Ahead For Costa Del Sol Project

Plans to build 250 apartments at CLC World’s prestige California Beach Resort in southern Spain have been given the green light by the local authority.

The luxury project, costing around €70million, was unveiled at a meeting to which local press were invited and which was attended by the major of the coastal region Mijas Costa: Juan Carlos Maldonado, and councillor for development Andrés Ruiz.

Details were given by Salvador Díaz, director for development and construction at CLC World Resorts & Hotels. Once completed, he said the company would expect the annual number of holidaymakers to CLC Club La Costa World to rise from 90,000 to 120,000, bringing additional benefits to the local economy.

 

Work on phase one is planned to start in 2016 and Mr Díaz estimated that as construction work gets under way it will create jobs for between 300 and 500 people. Upon finish, CLC World’s workforce servicing its guests is expected to increase from the current 1,300 to 1,600.

The 250 new apartments will be built on a 25,000m2 area, with 3,000m2 dedicated to commercial outlets. Another 15,000m2, opposite the sea, will be developed as a green zone featuring Mediterranean gardens, lakes and waterfalls. The plans also include an improved access from the resort to the main coastal highway.

 

Mijas councillor Andrés Ruiz said: “Thanks to CLC World we can look forward to the creation of more jobs for the people in our municipality and a wonderful contribution to the environment with the creation of the green zone.”

Mayor Maldonado said: I am delighted to see the confidence in our area that CLC World has in committing itself to this project, as well as its determination to play a part in our area’s well-being. In the future, other businesses will want to come to our area and CLC World is a symbol to them and a model of a successful business that has succeeded in bringing excellence here.”

Mr Díaz concluded: “This project takes us a step up in the excellent standards of quality already offered in Mijas Costa. It is no surprise that we should choose to carry out a project of this magnitude here as we have full confidence in the Costa del Sol and its tourism potential.”

Celebrity Chef Visits CLC World Resort

Fans of TV and radio cookery shows will recognise celebrity chef Cyrus Todiwala, who recently took time out from the kitchen to enjoy a holiday with friends at CLC Club La Costa World resort on the Costa del Sol.

A regular contributor on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, he is author of several renowned cookery books such as The Incredible Spice Men, linked to a prime time BBC TV series of the same name which saw both him and Scottish Chef Tony Singh spice up some favourite British dishes.

Having been extremely busy with his TV and radio shows, as well as writing, teaching and running his successful restaurants with wife Pervin, Cyrus decided to swap the heat of the kitchen for some late summer warmth on the Costa del Sol.

Members of CLC World for the past 15 years, the Todiwalas arrived for their break with friends and were keen to seek out restaurants serving typical Spanish food. Their own world-renowned and award winning restaurant Café Spice Namasté is celebrating 20 years.

As well as running the family restaurant empire, Cyrus’s commitments include charity fundraising with involvement in a forthcoming dinner in aid of breast cancer; education and training initiatives for young people; and a deep interest in the environment and sustainability.

Food fit for a Queen

Awarded an MBE for services to skills development and training and an OBE for his contribution to the hospitality industry, this super busy chef also cooked for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations!

The Todawalas trip to the Costa del Sol was being followed by another visit to a CLC World resort, this time CLC Duchally in Scotland to coincide with Cyrus attending the Master Chefs of Great Britain annual lunch and AGM in Edinburgh. He said: “We enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and it’s the perfect place to base ourselves for the Master Chefs event.”

CLC World is a TATOC affiliate.

DAE Lunches Set To Continue

Holiday exchange company DAE (Dial An Exchange) is celebrating a year of success with its innovative VIP lunches.

The lunches, which were launched in October 2014, are an exciting way of bringing together committee members and resort owners/managers from different resorts. The aim of the lunches is to enable sharing of ideas, build new relationships and develop a network of helpful contacts, all in a relaxed and informal setting.

Over the past year the events have been held around the U.K. including in the Lake District, Scotland, Birmingham, Reading and Exeter.

DAE managing director Europe, Oliver Green, said: “The lunches have proved a great success. It can only be good for the industry if we can bring members, resort owners and managers together. The lunches are a great way of sharing and learning from each other, and they are going from strength to strength.”

Mahindra Holidays Aims To Rejuvenate Holiday Club

Mahindra Holidays has started to set out its plans for the rejuvenation of TATOC platinum affiliate Holiday Club Resorts (HCR) after raising its stake in the company to 88 per cent earlier this year.

According to The Economic Times of India, Mahindra Holidays – the hospitality arm of Mahindra Group – has developed a turnaround strategy for the Finland-based timeshare operator, which has resorts in Finland (24), Sweden (two) and Spain (six).

Mahindra Holidays originally acquired an 18.8 per cent stake in HCR last year, and recently raised it to 88 per  cent, taking its total investment in HCR to Rs 350 crore.

Arun Nanda, chairman of Mahindra Holidays, said the company plans to pare the debt by consolidation of HCR’s assets and infusion of equity, according to the Economic Times report.

He told the paper that the company would be taking “aggressive steps” to sell older inventory and reduce the debt. Other assets including shopping malls and a golf courses would potentially be sold to raise liquidity, and Mahindra Holidays would also invest more money to  “acquire more land and partly to reduce debt”.

After consolidating assets, Nanda said the company would look at further acquisitions in Europe.

Cameron House Hotel Sold Again

The five-star Cameron House Hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond has changed hands for the second time in just a year.

The award-winning resort has been sold by QHotels to the American investment firm that owns the Belfry golf course near Birmingham.

QHotels had only purchased the hotel from the De Vere group last November.

It is understood KSL Capital Partners has paid between £70 million and £80 million for the 132-room property, which has two courses, a spa and 184 timeshare lodges.

Cameron House, which comprises a golf club, spa and a Michelin-starred Martin Wishart restaurant, was once a regular haunt for the Scottish national football side, and has played host to many celebrity weddings.

KSL had been seen as a likely bidder for Cameron House and De Vere’s other golf venues when they went on the market last year.

It was also one of the unsuccessful bidders for Gleneagles when it came on the market for around £150million earlier this year.

Sharetime will keep readers updated when more information about the seasonal ownership lodges at Cameron House has been released.

RCI Welcomes 3 Maldives Resorts To Network

RCI has announced the addition of three properties in the Maldives to its exchange network through an affiliation with AAA Hotels & Resorts.

The affiliation adds a new destination to the RCI exchange network, offering members access to high-quality resorts in the famous tropical destination known for its beaches, blue lagoons and extensive reefs.

Pali Badwal, managing director, RCI India, said: “Maldives is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with its emerald green islands surrounded by miles of shimmering turquoise water, and members can now travel there through RCI. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with AAA Hotels & Resorts.”

Ahmed Hamza, deputy managing director of AAA Hotels & Resorts, said: “It is with immense pleasure that we commence our partnership with RCI. We believe that AAA Hotels & Resorts and RCI can together bring synergy that will enhance the services we offer our customers.

“I’m sure AAA Hotels & Resorts and RCI will deliver our promise to our customer: a great experience for future travels.”

AAA Hotels & Resorts is a pioneer in tourism and the hospitality industry with unparalleled and impeccable service. The three resorts now affiliated with RCI are:

  • Medhufushi Island Resort – A four-star resort located at Meemu Atoll, south of Male, with 120 villas
  • Filitheyo Island Resort – A four-star resort located at Faafu Atoll, south of Male, with 125 villas
  • Bathala Island Resort – A four-star resort located at Alif Alif Atoll, south of Male, with 46 villas

Macdonald Resorts Achieve RCI Gold Crown Status

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts has been awarded the highest accolade by RCI, a  leading provider of holiday exchange services after feedback from more than 1,100 domestic and international guests who are also RCI members.

RCI has awarded its RCI Gold Crown quality rating for 2016 to eight Macdonald Resorts which host RCI guests across Europe.

The RCI Gold Crown award is given to resorts which meet exacting standards in areas such as housekeeping, maintenance, hospitality and check-in/check-out procedures, as well as satisfying an evaluation of resort facilities, amenities and services.

All RCI members are invited to complete a comment card on return from a stay in an RCI-affiliated resort and their scores are used as the basis for the RCI resort quality ratings.

On the award Simon Jackson, CEO of Macdonald Resorts, said: “We constantly strive to offer the best resort experiences available anywhere in the world and the fact that so many guests clearly recognise and appreciate our efforts is tremendously welcome news.

“It’s a resounding endorsement of the high standards of service our people deliver every day.”

RCI Gold Crown is the highest of the three RCI awards and it is the first time Macdonald Hotels & Resorts has gained the RCI Gold Crown award across eight of its nine resorts, with Lochanhully achieving the RCI Silver Crown award.

Simon Jackson continues: “We are proud that no matter where guests stay, across our portfolio in Spain, England, Wales or Scotland, they always enjoy the warmest welcome, great food and the attention with which the Macdonald brand has become synonymous.”

RCI has more than 40 years’ experience of running timeshare resorts and has a community of 3.8 million timeshare owner members who access more than 4,500 resorts in over 100 countries through RCI’s Weeks and Points exchange programmes.

Dimitris Manikis, VP, Business Development, RCI Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “Delivering a quality holiday experience to our members lies at the heart of our core purpose and promise. It means everything to RCI to know that our members can be assured of a consistency of quality in the resorts we send them to and for that reason we applaud and congratulate Macdonald Resorts for investing in meeting and exceeding the expectations of our members, as is evident from the feedback we have received.”

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts is privately owned and has been offering guests fine hospitality options for 25 years. It operates over 40 hotels across the UK and has resorts in the UK, Spain and Portugal.

All Macdonald Resorts are TATOC members and three have achieved TATOC Resort Accreditation.