50 Great US Travel Ideas
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
What We Found: On RedWeek.com we saw many listing for Hacienda del Mar, a palatial, all-timeshare RCI property. Rentals started at $96 a night, but averaged around $200 a night. Resales started at $897 for a studio and $3,000 for a one-bedroom.
Reality Check: Through the resort’s Web site, we found studio rates for $280 a night; new sales start at $20,950 for a studio (52-624/145-6122; haciendadelmar.com.mx).
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Why: There are plentiful property options and—given South Carolina’s moderate climate—a lot of good seasons for either using or trading a timeshare.
What We Found: Marriott’s Grande Ocean Resort for $171 a night based on a week, or as little as $4,500 for a resale. Another family-friendly temptation: Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, where a one-bedroom resale was $1,700 on RedWeek.com.
Reality Check: We found regular rooms at the Grande Ocean Resort for about $300 a night. A new Marriott Vacation Club timeshare runs from $7,800 to $85,000, according to its Web site (800-845-5279; marriott.com or marriott-timeshare.com). A Disney timeshare averages about $17,000 for ownership, according to its Web site (866-240-3817; dvc.disney.go.com).
Why: Not just for B&Bers anymore, the Green Mountain state has both skier- and family-friendly options.
What We Found: With guided hikes, a kids’ program, and four waterslides to boot, Smugglers’ Notch Resort is very popular with families, as we saw on RedWeek.com. A two-bedroom unit was renting for as little for $136 a night. Likewise, we also saw resale for the über-family-oriented Trapp Family Lodge for $4,000, or $171 a night for weeklong rentals in May 2008.
Reality Check: Smuggler’s Notch sells new units, depending on size and number of weeks, for anywhere from $12,000 to $90,000. Trapp Family Lodge offers its own new timeshares for $8,000 to $14,000 but also offers its own, competitively priced resales, with tags typically under $5,000. Regular rooms we priced started at $281 a night.
Park City, Utah
Why: Western mountain spots are hot for—no surprise—ski season, but if you’re open to other seasons, there are great deals in Utah.
What We Found: The Canyons Grand Summit Hotel for as low as $145 a night, based on one week during summer; high season could near $800 a night, even on the secondary market. Nearby, the Miner’s Club at the Canyons was $150 per night for a four-night stay, or $9,900 for a resale.
Reality Check: New ownership at the Grand Summit starts at $64,000, according to its Web site; nights in a single room at the resort start at about $199 in the off-season. The Miner’s Club starts at $235 during low season, $872 in high season; membership in the resort’s Raintree Vacation Club ranges from $13,000 to $45,000.
Why: You get brand-name options in Aruba, and you’re out of the hurricane zone, so there are fewer seasonal worries.
What We Found: On RedWeek.com we found a one-bedroom rental in late July at Marriott’s Aruba Ocean Club Rental for $136 a night, and a one-bedroom resale for $12,500. At the neighboring Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club, you could get a studio for $100 a night for a last-minute trip in late April, or a two-bedroom resale for $17,000.
New York City
Why: It may not fit the image of the stereotypical timeshare, but the Big Apple is a wildly popular trade among timesharers.
What We Found: The Manhattan Club is a hot, all-timeshare property near Columbus Circle that features hotel-like perks such as concierge, gym, and business center. On RedWeek.com we found nightly rates starting at $171 and resales starting at $4,500.
Reality Check: New ownership starts at $13,000. Manhattan Club’s Web site offers four-night packages starting at a competitive $239 a night per couple—if you participate in a presentation.
Why: Hawaii is a timeshare classic, of course—as long as you don’t mind the airfare to get there.
What We Found: On RedWeek.com we found a last-minute deal in a two-bedroom unit at the Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort on the Big Island for $71 a night; most rentals were in the $150 range. You could also buy as a resale (for even-numbered years only) for $3,599.
Reality Check: Booking a regular room at the resort starts at about $215 a night; buying a new Wyndham timeshare ranges from $18,000 to $26,000.
Why: This one may seem surprising at first, but makes sense when you look at a map. North of San Diego, Carlsbad is on the beach and is spitting distance from several family magnets: Legoland, the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and, less than an hour north, Disneyland.
What We Found: Family-friendly doesn’t have to be downscale. On RedWeek.com we found a last-minute studio rental at the Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara for $129 a night; otherwise, rentals ranged from just under $200 to several hundred per night. A resale was asking $9,999.
Reality Check: A room at the Aviara resort starts at about $400 a night; ownership in its Residence Club, depending on size and season, ranges from $19,900 to $74,900.
Why: Las Vegas is an evergreen trade for timeshare lovers.
What We Found: Hilton Grand Vacation Clubs has three properties right on or just off the Strip. We found an HGVC resale at the Las Vegas Hilton for $5,000 on RedWeek.com, and $3,100 on eBay for the Flamingo. You can even whoop it up for as little as $136 a night by renting at the Flamingo.
Reality Check: No doubt, there seems to be a bottomless pit of low rates in Vegas: through Hilton’s Web site we found rooms at the HGVC for as low as $119 a night. A new unit at the new HGVC on the Las Vegas Strip sells from $12,000 to $50,000; the Las Vegas Hilton and Flamingo no longer have new units, according to HGVC.
Key West, Florida
Why: There are surprisingly wide options in Key West, from big brands to small independents-and the secondary market isn’t just full of hurricane season properties, either.
What We Found: In Old Town, we found The Banyan Resort, a restored old home with more of a B&B vibe than your typical timeshare property. On RedWeek.com a rental was going for $214 night, based on seven nights, and a resale was being offered for $3,800. In these cases, the rental seems a better bet, since both fall during hurricane season. A resale of a week during winter months was going for $18,500.
Reality Check: A regular one-bedroom rental starts at $235; the resort is sold out of new timeshares, but it also sells its own resales, ranging very competitively from about $5,000 to $18,000, depending on the season (866-371-9222; thebanyanresort.com).