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Buying a Unit in the Canadian Rockies

RIMike

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I am just back from an amazing trip to the Canadian Rockies...I would like input into what TS you would recommend me buying in this area? Either BC or Alberta....and why?

I stayed at one of the resorts at Fairmont Hot Springs and had a good time...but open to suggestions.
 

middleoforchid

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We usually stay at the Panorama area about half an hour away from the Fairmont Hot Springs but we toured the Fairmont resort and was quite impressed.We also enjoyed going to Radium hot springs area where there is a German styled village w/several good German restaurants.If you enjoyed staying at the Fairmont Hot Springs I've noticed there were a couple of resale units available on holidaygroup's website for a very reasonable price.:)
 

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I am just back from an amazing trip to the Canadian Rockies...I would like input into what TS you would recommend me buying in this area? Either BC or Alberta....and why?

I stayed at one of the resorts at Fairmont Hot Springs and had a good time...but open to suggestions.
In order to give a recommendation, we would need to know what time of the year you want to go. How much do you plan on using it for personal use vs. exchanging?
 

RIMike

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I already own two timeshares in Cancun that I trade. This one would be one that I would use at least most of the time. I like the idea of being able to see the Canadian Rockies at different times of the year with the exception of dead of winter. I live in Florida and think that it would just be too cold then to visit. I generally travel with a group of friend 4 to 6.
 
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djyamyam

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I already own two timeshares in Cancun that I trade. This one would be one that I would use at least most of the time. I life the idea of being able to see the Canadian Rockies at different times of the year with the exception of dead of winter. I live in Florida and think that it would just be too cold then to visit. I generally travel with a group of friend 4 to 6.
Summer is typically the most difficult time to get so I would consider buying a summer season week. Any other time of the year is quite easy to exchange into using any number of exchange companies (RCI, II, DAE) as it is considered offseason. They are often available as bonus weeks through DAE,RCI and II. Us locals know it's beautiful all year round.

Since you mentioned Fairmont, floating summer/gold season units come up quite rarely on the resale market. Whenever they have come up, I have seen them typically go for $10K-$12K range. Most are 2BR lockoff units. However, if you do like that area/resort, they usually bulkbank every year through II and summer units are always available. We have friends that exchange every summer into there through the bulkbank. II is your best bet to get into there. I'd check with Holiday Group as they get a reasonable amount of inventory of Fairmont. If you need a contact there, let me know.

Radium has a few resorts that only exchange via RCI. Radium is nice because of the mineral hot springs. Radium Valley Resort are 3 BR standalone units that are sold as fixed weeks. We just sold our summer week 27 unit. Again, summer weeks don't come up often because most owners buy to use. Most owners there are all local because they know the area and it doesn't get the "press" that Banff area does for all the foreigners. I'll see RVR either 1 year or two years out in RCI but you have to use a tiger trader to get it. There are a couple other newer TS like Bighorn but I don't know much about them.

Panarama is another location in that area worth considering. It's a huge growth area changes every year. You have two TS there, Destinations at Panarama and Club Intrawest Panarama. Do a search on CI to learn about their program. I believe that the other one are mostly fixed weeks. We have friends that own fixed summer weeks there. I have seen floating 1-52 weeks for sale but only 1BRs and rarely. All other weeks I have seen are fixed. Again summer units are rare and disappear quickly. They bulk bank with RCI. There's summer 2009 and 2010 weeks available currently in RCI.

Banff/ Canmore area is where you have the largest concentration of TSs. Banff only has the one TS actually in the park because building/development is the national park is highly regulated. Banff Rocky Mountain Resort is the resort. The vast majority of ownership are fixed weeks. There is a very small percentage of floating 1-52 units but most of those are 1BRs. If you look in Redweek, there are some summer units available there. A really good summer week deal pops up occasionally. DAE has a special relationship with BRMR so they always have quite a bit of availability, including summer weeks. Summer week requests usually require an ongoing request.

In Canmore you have a collection of TSs. The vast majority of them are floating units or point base. You'll want to do your due diligence on them. Some of the ones worth checking out are:

Elkhorn at the Lodges
Sunset Lodges
Grand Canadian Resort Club
Worldmark Canmore
Banffgate Mountain Lodge & Spa (Harvey Heights)
Banffgate Mountain Resort (Deadman's Flats)



There are a couple others but I wouldn't buy at those. I've checked pretty much every resort above other than Banffgate Mountain Resort but there a couple Tuggers that owner there that may chime in.

So that's a pretty exhaustive list of TS in the areas you've described. There's a few others but that should give you an idea of what's available. Buy a summer week since you can always get something any other time of the year. My recommendation would be to buy Banff/Canmore only because you're flying in. Calgary is the closest major centre. You're just over an hour to Canmore from there. You can make day trips (albeit long ones) to Radium area, etc. Make sure you do come other than summer. Skiing here in winter as amazing. You've got Sunshine and Lake Louise ski hills. Fernie has amazing powder sking comparable to Utah. If you've nver gone ski-dooing then you'll love that. Rockies in the winter is something you'll learn to love.
 
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RIMike

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Do you know if the Fairmont Company which owns a lot of these timeshares also has an internal exchange program? Like I learned that Banff Mountain Resort is also owned by the Fairmont Company....

While I liked Fairmont Hot Springs, I think being closer to Calgary has advantages travel wise. Also do you know that if you get a one bedroom, is there a possbility of upgrading for a two bedroom sometimes?
 
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Victoria

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We love that area! We own a one bedroom, and got a
Two bedroom at Banff Rocky Mountain, Grand Canadian, Mountainside, Panorama, and Canmore Chalets
Three bedroom at Radium Valley
Five bedroom at Marble Canyon
The last one is very unique and a fun place to go with a group! We usually go in the fall as things are quieter then, and the weather is usually very good. WE have visited most of them, and like to try a new one sometimes.
 

CatLovers

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We are long-time owners (since 1999) of two 1-bedroom weeks at Panorama Resort in BC (one presently in the process of being sold). These are high summer weeks and TIGER TRADERS with RCI. It sounds like you would like to use your new week, but keep in mind that a July-August week in the Canadian Rockies is very valuable - both from a usage/rental perspective as well as a TIGER trader (with RCI at least). If I was you, I would definitely only look at buying only a July-August week at any resort, just because it will hold its value. The others, as another poster pointed out, you can easily get thru trades or last call inventory. You'll be able to buy one in other months easily enough, but selling it later will be a real hassle.

Also, as a vast general statement, MFs at Canadian resorts, particularly the smaller ones, tend to be relatively cheaper than at American resorts.

If you have any questions specifically about the Panorama resort, feel free to drop me a PM.
 

pianodinosaur

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We recently had the pleasure of staying at Club Intrawest in Whistler in August 2008. We would not hesitate to go back or recommend Club Intrawest to a friend. I have also submitted a review.
 

djyamyam

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Do you know if the Fairmont Company which owns a lot of these timeshares also has an internal exchange program? Like I learned that Banff Mountain Resort is also owned by the Fairmont Company....

While I liked Fairmont Hot Springs, I think being closer to Calgary has advantages travel wise. Also do you know that if you get a one bedroom, is there a possbility of upgrading for a two bedroom sometimes?
I believe they do have some sort of internal program. It's been a couple years since I checked into it. If you call the member services area, you can get some good info. I don't know about upgrading at Fairmont. There are some owners here that may chime in. Otherwise give the member services a call.
 

barto

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Do you know if the Fairmont Company which owns a lot of these timeshares also has an internal exchange program? Like I learned that Banff Mountain Resort is also owned by the Fairmont Company....

*snip*
My understanding is that Fairmont has taken over *management* of Banff Rocky Mountain Resort and an Ontario one, but doesn't *own* them, for what that's worth.

There's supposed to be some kind of internal exchange thing, but if you own at Banff Rocky Mtn Resort, they give you a link that is essentially a front-end to the Dial-an-Exchange system to search for availability, so nothing too exciting (although it's cheaper to book that way rather than direct with DAE).

As a BRMR owner, I'm still learning about what the Fairmont deal means, what kind of things are available, etc. Maybe some Fairmont owners can speak to such things better...? (he said hopefully!) :D

Bart
 

Canuck

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As an owner at Fairmont I'm embarrassed to say I don't know a whole lot about internal trading. We have never stayed at our own time share....shame on us. However, we own Summer months that we trade and for "warm" destinations over Spring with II. We have yet to be disappointed with a trade, II has always come through for us. We've pulled, Maui, St. Maartin, Australia, Palm Springs, Mexico (several times), Newport Coast. All the resorts we've stayed in have been excellent!

I do know that Fairmont owns several other properties, Hawaii, Belize and a few others....again I'm not up to speed. Sorry! There is "internal" trading but "again" I don't know how well it works. I can say that their reservation staff is very helpful and I'm sure if you contact them they can fill you in.

Not sure this helps, but I thought I would give my 2 cents.......

It is a lovely area and the outdoor activities are endless!
 

RandRseeker

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Just a further note to buying on the west side of the Rockies (Fairmont, Panorama, Radium), Delta Airlines will begin flying into the Canadian Rockies airport in Cranbrook (YXC) this December and is within 90 minutes drive of all these resorts. If you are into skiing or golfing, you couldn't find a better location.
 

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I have owned a vacation home in Radium Valley for about 15 years
the unit i have is a full house and sleeps up to 8 -12
we love it however as our children are now in middle school we can not seem to take a family vacation in the fall
in fact we loved the resort so much my parents have bought a permanent
home on site and have lived there year for 9 years

[Non-compliant info. removed.-DeniseM Moderator]
 
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bizaro86

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If you can't get a trade into the area, one site I've rented a private home from successfully in the past (in Panorama) was www.highcountryproperties.com

It was reasonably priced, and everything was great. All their units have private barbeques, which is a big plus for me.

Michael

(Not affiliated in any way, just a customer)
 

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Sunset Resorts is an upstart, independent company that is completing a major condo project in the heart of Canmore. They are highly unusual in their approach to the business--very service oriented historically and very innovative in their design of "timeshare".

Check out their website, get in touch with the sales department (without fear, they are not slimy) and see what they are currently offering. If they offer you something in their first (older) building, simply ask what reciprocal privileges are guaranteed with the new building. I don't know the answer to that.

Of course, you should go see it first, but this might be worth pursuing.

http://www.canmore.sunsetresorts.com/

Click on images to see their new building.
 

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Hi, I am a owner at Marble Canyon in Fairmont hotsprings ,You should check them out .Good if you have big family 4 & 5 bedroom units . Pool table short walk to hot pools ,lots of golf courses .Great place
 

barto

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Sunset Resorts is an upstart, independent company that is completing a major condo project in the heart of Canmore. They are highly unusual in their approach to the business--very service oriented historically and very innovative in their design of "timeshare".

Check out their website, get in touch with the sales department (without fear, they are not slimy) and see what they are currently offering. If they offer you something in their first (older) building, simply ask what reciprocal privileges are guaranteed with the new building. I don't know the answer to that.

Of course, you should go see it first, but this might be worth pursuing.

http://www.canmore.sunsetresorts.com/

Click on images to see their new building.
Sorry about the late (!) post here, but I'm catching up on a year's worth of missed posts... :D

We bought into Sunset Resorts about 6 months ago and booked our first week to go over New Year's (summer was already fully booked). This being our 6th timeshare (sheesh) the appeal here was not only that it was located in Canmore, closest to us driving from Edmonton, but that they had a system where if you don't use your week, you don't pay! Plus the sliding scale of fees depending on if you book a 1/2/3-bedroom unit ($400/$600/$800) was appealing.

However, with the recent downturn in the economy, I guess they've been surprised to see a lot of their owners not using their weeks this year, which means much lower revenues for them. They had a letter & e-mail recently asking people to pre-pay for 2 weeks of holidays. This was to avoid a 'cash call', so we'll see how that goes. Not sure if the new building is actually finished and ready for accommodations, though.

We did stop in once to see if we could get in to see a suite (which are mostly 2-bedroom units, I found out later), but the check-in guy at the former Day's Inn (I think) said they didn't have an empty room to show, so we just walked around in the main floor guests area to see the hot tub & such.

I was also a little disappointed that they didn't have a better deal for 'Bonus Days' like at Banff Rocky Mtn Resort and Banff Gate Mtn Resort (we own at both). At the latter two, you can stay (subject to availability) for under $100/night, or have a 'friends & family' rate of $125/night or so.

Sunset will give you 25% off the rack rate, which is quite a bit more.

Ah well - we're looking forward to checking it out in Dec/Jan!

Bart
 

RIMike

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Follow up from my original post

I attempted to purchase as Banff Rocky Mountain Resort, but that transcation fell through. I finally purchased at Banff Gate Mountain Resort and have already booked (two units-my 2009 and 2010 units for next summer. They let me do that because the deal took so long to close that all the vacation weeks I had available were gone by the time I had title to the deed. So far, while I have not been there, they have been very good to work with, even through the difficulty in closing the transaction. I can not wait to go back next July...my next trip is in a week and I am going to Glacier, Washington to hike the Northern Cascades National Park and it should be outstanding as well.

RIMike
 

ricoba

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We recently had the pleasure of staying at Club Intrawest in Whistler in August 2008. We would not hesitate to go back or recommend Club Intrawest to a friend. I have also submitted a review.
You are correct, Whistler is quite beautiful. But it is in the Coast Range and not in the Rocky Mountains. :eek:
 

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Sunset also owns property in the Dominican Republic. I used to own there. They violated our agreement by attempting to charge levies in excess of the amounts and escalation rates within the contact they signed with us. After that I dumped the TS.

I personally wouldn't deal with them given how many other options are available out there.

Sorry about the late (!) post here, but I'm catching up on a year's worth of missed posts... :D

We bought into Sunset Resorts about 6 months ago and booked our first week to go over New Year's (summer was already fully booked). This being our 6th timeshare (sheesh) the appeal here was not only that it was located in Canmore, closest to us driving from Edmonton, but that they had a system where if you don't use your week, you don't pay! Plus the sliding scale of fees depending on if you book a 1/2/3-bedroom unit ($400/$600/$800) was appealing.

However, with the recent downturn in the economy, I guess they've been surprised to see a lot of their owners not using their weeks this year, which means much lower revenues for them. They had a letter & e-mail recently asking people to pre-pay for 2 weeks of holidays. This was to avoid a 'cash call', so we'll see how that goes. Not sure if the new building is actually finished and ready for accommodations, though.

We did stop in once to see if we could get in to see a suite (which are mostly 2-bedroom units, I found out later), but the check-in guy at the former Day's Inn (I think) said they didn't have an empty room to show, so we just walked around in the main floor guests area to see the hot tub & such.

I was also a little disappointed that they didn't have a better deal for 'Bonus Days' like at Banff Rocky Mtn Resort and Banff Gate Mtn Resort (we own at both). At the latter two, you can stay (subject to availability) for under $100/night, or have a 'friends & family' rate of $125/night or so.

Sunset will give you 25% off the rack rate, which is quite a bit more.

Ah well - we're looking forward to checking it out in Dec/Jan!

Bart
 

barto

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Sunset also owns property in the Dominican Republic. I used to own there. They violated our agreement by attempting to charge levies in excess of the amounts and escalation rates within the contact they signed with us. After that I dumped the TS.

I personally wouldn't deal with them given how many other options are available out there.
Thanks for the info - will be wary, but at least our financial exposure looks limited at this point. We're booked into Sunset Canmore for New Year's and will try for a summer week for 2010 & see how that goes. Otherwise I *believe* (!) that we're off the hook financially beyond those two weeks, but if it goes well, we'll have another place to stay in Canmore.

Bart
 

barto

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Thanks for the info - will be wary, but at least our financial exposure looks limited at this point. We're booked into Sunset Canmore for New Year's and will try for a summer week for 2010 & see how that goes. Otherwise I *believe* (!) that we're off the hook financially beyond those two weeks, but if it goes well, we'll have another place to stay in Canmore.

Bart
Just loooove quoting myself... :D

We did our week-long stay over New Year's at Sunset Resorts. The new building still isn't open, but 'coming soon', and it looks pretty close.

Still no signs of any financial irregularities, and I like the "don't use, don't pay" policy, although that does seem like it could be trouble if they hit a longer patch of people deciding not to use their weeks.

So far we own at Banff Rocky Mountain Resort (ski week and August week), Banff Gate Mountain Resort and now Sunset Resorts. We've stayed at Chateau Canmore (now apparently managed by the same people managing BGMR) and Banff Gate Mountain Lodge & Spas (at Harvie Heights, apparently in receivership at the moment).

RIMike, if you're still out there, I think you'll enjoy dealing with the people at BGMR - Mike Speiss has been particularly good to us and a real pleasure. Some of them have been there a long time now (Andrea, Mike, and Steffen) so it's nice to have continuity like that.

Good luck and hope you enjoy your purchase!

Bart
 

hellolani

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Just bookmarking

Apologies in advance if this is not the best way of going about things! I'm just replying in this thread so I can find it again.

I'm in the market (but not in a rush) for a strong Canadian trader as I live in Vancouver but I'm most interested in low MFs and getting to Mexico. I'm hoping to refer to all the recommendations in this thread for further research. Thanks to everyone for the great discussion.
 
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