Carolina: Cruising Past 70: 3 European Countries, a Family Reunion, and 3 Months in Mexico Using Timeshares

Thursday, October 11, 2018

3 European Countries, a Family Reunion, and 3 Months in Mexico Using Timeshares

Sedona Summit by Diamond Resorts

Timeshares don’t really get a positive nod from a lot of travelers. It is a major investment, there are high maintenance fees, and you are limited to their inventory and availability. But we own sixteen weeks of timeshares. Are we fools? What made us “invest heavily” in this traveling lifestyle?

First, there are four kinds of ownership:
1.    Single Property-limited to only one property
2.    Single Country-limited to all the properties of the specific timeshare in a country.
3.    Single Region-limited to all the properties of the specific timeshare in a region
4.    Global-limited to all the properties of the specific timeshare in the world

Royal Sea Cliff by Wyndham, our home resort

We own twelve weeks in El Cid Vacations Club, all-inclusive. Mexico is my husband’s favorite destination so this is #2 for us. We also own four weeks (split between Club Wyndham and Diamond Resorts International) as #4. Together with these two's respective affiliations with Interval International and RCI, respectively, theoretically we can go to any destination in the world. For example, here are four links to some of the resorts we have used using our timeshare ownerships:  1) Balkan Jewel Resort, Razlog, Bulgaria, 2) Palazzo Catalani, Soriano Nel Cimino, Italy, 3) Le Club Mougins, Mougins, France, and 4) Royal Club of Benal Beach, Malaga, Spain, 5)  Cabo Azul, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, 6) Ventus by El Cid, Cancun, Mexico, and 7) El Cid Marina, Mazatlan, Mexico

We bought El Cid as a way of being able to stay in Mexico longer. You see, Bill would love to retire there. I would rather be in the US so we compromised on a primary home in Phoenix at a resort lifestyle community. Our second home can now be at any of El Cid’s seven properties in Mexico (4 in Mazatlan, 2 in Cancun and 1 Cozumel).

sunset at La Ceiba Cozumel by El /Cid
This membership came with an all-inclusive feature, a bonus for reaching platinum level (at least 12 weeks). The total cost of ownership redounds to a rate of $75 daily or $2250 monthly for the three months we are there. This includes lodging, food, beverage, and utilities. Yes, it is better than paying for twelve months of insurance, taxes, maintenance, and utilities, paying for country club memberships, cooking every meal and maintaining a bar. It may not be an asset but then again, we are no longer at the investing age. We just want to have fun and we have other properties and funds to pass on to our kids.

We stumbled upon El Cid through Wyndham which, together with Diamond, were the first ones we bought. These two assure us of four weeks of travel elsewhere from our two homes.

swim-up bar at Cabo Azul, San Jose del Cabo, by Diamond Resorts
This year, we are basically using Diamond to travel in Europe for a month, beginning Oct. 1. The first week, we will be at the Holiday Club Schloesslhof in Tirol, Austria. From there we will explore Innsbruck, about 45 minutes away and Salzburg, two hours away. On the second week, we will stay at Mondi-Holiday Hotel Oberstaufen in Oberstaufen, Germany. Munich, Zurich, and Lichtenstein are each only two hours away. It is a great base. On the third week, we chose Royal Regency in Vincennes, France. Paris is only 25 minutes away, Versailles, 50 minutes, and Normandy. Before Austria, we will visit friends who own B&Bs in Ljubljana and Bled, Slovenia. After Paris, we go to Brussels Belgium to complete our month.

And then when we come back, after three weeks of rest, we are joining my daughters and grandchildren in our annual family reunion of thirteen in Palm Springs using our Club Wyndham points. After another three weeks of rest, we fly to Mazatlan, using our El Cid points, catch their New Year’s Eve Party and enjoy an all-inclusive vacation until March 31.

Ventus infinity pool and hot tub at Riviera Maya by El Cid

The Wyndham and Diamond ownerships are more expensive. They are not a 20-year lease like El Cid is, but a perpetual ownership which we can pass on to our children and our children’s children even when have passed on. But there are intangibles that timeshare ownerships give the weary traveler. The resorts always have kitchens so we usually prepare our own breakfasts and most dinners and have lunch out every day we are touring to taste local food. Also, they are resorts which have amenities from the basics like fitness centers, pools, and hot tubs to those with golf courses, tennis courts, beachfront, chapels, restaurants, etc.

That is the value we are getting from our timeshare ownerships these next six months. And then the cycle repeats for 2019-20. We are comfortable with these arrangements. 
They are the most convenient ways to have vacations since we are now cruising past 70. 


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