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I like Sunterra Resorts...

Spence

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...their name may not be recognized as readily as Fairfield, Marriott, Hilton or Hyatt... but a biased review finds their resorts clean, comfortable, spacious, well decorated and, particularly in the US and Europe, well located...

While Sunterra's billing and computer services are rudimentary, their online payment system is coming along. Their reservation system is a signifcant facility not available to many owners of other resort/point systems, in addition to making reservations, you can add a guest's name online (no fees required) and immeadiately receive a new 'confirmation' by email. Hopefully you will soon be able to cancel reservations online.

Although I am universally unimpressed with the use of points for maintenance fees, air miles, airfares, cruises, casino stays, etc. with any points system, I believe that Sunterra's points program is particularly useful in providing flexibility in varying the season, unit size, resort location and duration of stay.... YES!!!... you can get 'change back' from your annual allotment, with the ability to save from prior year (if done by published deadlines) and borrow from next year.

A major/important features that is seldom considered, unlike the major exchange companies, Sunterra does not object to, nor do they thwart, the rental of weeks (including non-home-resort weeks) by the points owners.... it'd be nice if the owners were able to rent points/transfer those points among themselves....

Elite/VIP benefits are available if your have enough points, whether you got them retail or resale.

I would like to hear what others may think about the company, the product and/or the use of the Club Sunterra system...

Spence :)
 

timeos2

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Overall they are Ok

I am not as enthusiastic about Sunterra as I am Fairfield. But it is a good system. They have a few excellent resorts and many OK. I've yet to run into a total dog in the Sunterra system (but there are a few I've avoided and they may qualify). Their fees are reasonable but the inability to get the same answer twice regarding any resale is troubling. I don't like that the II membership is a crippled one. FF gives you a full RCI membership. The continuous push to buy more and different styles of club memebership is troubling as well.

Overall they rank 3rd out of my three points memberships with FF a run away #1. But any points are better than weeks so they still are one of my keepers.
 

Spence

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What Sunterra affiliated/associated resorts have you been to?

Club Mougins, Cannes, France
Carlton Court, London, Great Britain (RCI exchange(can't afford the SunOptions!))
Powhatan Plantation Resort, Williamsburg, VA
Greensprings Plantation Resort, Williamsburg, VA
Royal Dunes, Hilton Head Island, SC
Cypress Pointe, Orlando, FL
Cypress Pointe Grandevillas, Orlando, FL
Polynesian Isles, Orlando, FL (RCI exchange)
Flamingo Beach Resort, St Maarten
Royal Palm Beach Resort, St Maarten
Carambola Beach Resort, St Croix, USVI (no longer a Sunterra resort)
Sedona Summit, Sedona, AZ (RCI exchange, first timeshare stay, ever)
Sedona Springs, Sedona, AZ (visited only)
Villas of Sedona, Sedona, AZ (visited only)
Ridge Pointe, Lake Tahoe, NV
Harbor Lights, San Diego, CA (no longer a Sunterra resort)
Marina Inn, Oceanside, CA (Sunterra Pacific/Vacation Internationale)
Vallarta Torre, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (Sunterra Pacific/Vacation Internationale)
Valley Isle, Maui, HI (Sunterra Pacific/Vacation Internationale)
EVR Ka'anapali, Maui, HI (owner promo stay)
 
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timeos2

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Sunterra Resorts visited

Powhatan Plantation Resort, Williamsburg, VA
Greensprings Plantation Resort, Williamsburg, VA
Royal Dunes, Hilton Head Island, SC
Cypress Pointe, Orlando, FL
Cypress Pointe Grandevillas, Orlando, FL
Sedona Summit, Sedona, AZ
Greensprings Plantation, Williamsburg, VA
San Luis Bay Inn, Avila, CA
Polynesian Isles, Orlando, FL
Plantation at Falls Creek, Branson. MO
 

KforKitty

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I'm happy :D from the European perspective.

Sunterra resorts I've visited are:

Pine Lake
Wychnor Park
Kenmore Club
Woodford Bridge CC
Alpen Club Schliersee
Alpine Club Schladming
Vilar do Golf
Greensprings Plantation
Polynesian Isles

and have an week booked at the new associate resort in Cyprus for October 06.

Kitty
 

Bill4728

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John Chase said:
Their fees are reasonable but the inability to get the same answer twice regarding any resale is troubling. I don't like that the II membership is a crippled one.
Sunterra seem to be getting their stuff together. But they have a long history of problems. Including ongoing problems with the european operation.

But another concern with sunterra, is that they don't seem to be proud of their own name! Most TS companies proudly names all their resorts with the company name, Sunterra hides behind the Embassy name at several of their resorts. WHY?
 

Spence

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Bill4728 said:
But another concern with sunterra, is that they don't seem to be proud of their own name! Most TS companies proudly names all their resorts with the company name, Sunterra hides behind the Embassy name at several of their resorts. WHY?
Sunterra has had some sort of relationship with EVR for a while. When I visited EVR Maui in 1980, the salesmen in the lobby were selling Club Sunterra. What kind of 'stake' Sunterra had or has in EVR, I don't know. EVR are now in Club Sunterra and present owners can convert. I would not say that Sunterra is hiding behind the name EVR, EVR has some brand recognition that Sunterra may not have.
 

girard

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Polynesian Isles
Cypress Pointe
Cypress Pointe Grandvillas
Greensprings
Plantation at Fall Creek
Desert Paradise

I really like the resorts also. My only complaint is the difficulty in transferring ownership. I think a lot more people would be interested in Sunterra if they were easier to work with. Now that we finally have our resale points, I'm really going to enjoy using them! I like being able to search online and like the 59 day window with reduced points and the ability to book shorter stays.
 

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Carolinian said:
For a contary view, at least as to their points program, see www.vogas.org and www.sunterrafied.co.uk
Contrary opinions are certainly welcome but you seem to bring this up as often as you bash RCI Points, except here I don't believe you have any personal knowledge.

These problems in the links you keep providing seem to stem from some sales practices/promises from a sub-contract group in Scotland back 5-7 years ago. These promises seem to be no different from many spiels today of last minute/half-price/availability. If everything was available last minute for half-price, how would a system ever sustain itself. I believe that 'these people' were taken in by a lot of salesman half-truths and hard line sales tactics, but they should have known better and should have said no.

Kitty, in her post above, seems to have no problems with Sunterra Europe. She probably plans at the maximum windows like everyone should and has little expectation of getting that 3BR Costa del Sol in the summer for half price points at the last minute.

Other European points of view are welcome.
 
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pedro47

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Sunterra's resorts visited
Greensprings Plantation
Powhatan Plantation
Royal Dunes
Hilton Head Island Links
Cypress Pointe
Cypress Pointe Grand Villas
Embassy Vacation Resort Grand Beach
Polynesian Isles

I like Sunterra Resorts, plus sides one club fee to exchange into their resorts
and their points system is easy to learn.

Negative sides: accounting (posting of maint/club fees very slow).
 

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The Sunterra Compensation Group site ( www.vogas.org ) is sponsored by the Timeshare Consumers Association, which covers all of the UK, and indeed Europe, not just Scotland.

Another interesting post on the future of Sunterra in Europe is at www.timesharetalk.co.uk posted on the ''Concerns'' subforum under the ''Sunterra'' forum by Mavo, one of the moderators and entitled ''Is this the future of Sunterra?'' I do not seem to be able to post a link to it, but it is quite interesting. Mavo is a Sunterra owner, and takes a different perspective than the Scottish Action Group Against Sunterra or the Timeshare Consumers Association.

Incidentally there used to be another interesting site from a disgruntled English Sunterra member that was at www.sunterror.co.uk but Sunterra finally compensated him for his grievance and part of the deal was that he take the site down.


Spence said:
Contrary opinions are certainly welcome but you seem to bring this up as often as you bash RCI Points, except here I don't believe you have any personal knowledge.

These problems in the links you keep providing seem to stem from some sales practices/promises from a sub-contract group in Scotland back 5-7 years ago. These promises seem to be no different from many spiels today of last minute/half-price/availability. If everything was available last minute for half-price, how would a system ever sustain itself. I believe that 'these people' were taken in by a lot of salesman half-truths and hard line sales tactics, but they should have known better and should have said no.

Kitty, in her post above, seems to have no problems with Sunterra Europe. She probably plans at the maximum windows like everyone should and has little expectation of getting that 3BR Costa del Sol in the summer for half price points at the last minute.

Other European points of view are welcome.
 
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KforKitty

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I am well aware of the history of Sunterra (GVC) in Europe and the small number of well publicized disgruntled members. But as in all things you can't please all of the people all of the time and whatever timeshare system you quote there will be some members who feel they are losing out. The Scottish Caledonian franchise was certainly misrepresenting the points product selling very low number of points with unrealistic expectations of what these could be used for but as Spence has said this is water under the bridge now and Caledonia quite rightly no longer exist. However that's not to say that all such franchises were a scam or that the management at Sunterra supported the selling of its product in this way. Indeed, I initially brought points through a different franchisee and I was well aware of what my small number of points purchased could be used for.

Like I have said I am a happy member and as well as using my points directly with Sunterra, I have also been able to get some decent exchanges though II for example:

Club Monte Anfi, 1 bedroom, Gran Canaria
Alanda Club Marbella, 3 bedroom, Spain
Alpenclub Maria Alm, 2 bedroom, Austria
Disney Boardwalk Villas, 1 bedroom, FL
and a forthcoming exchange to Lawrence Welk Resort, 2 bedroom, CA

I'm not saying the Sunterra system is perfect but what I am saying is that it can get you some very good resorts in a wide range of destinations with a little forethought and planning.

Kitty
 

Carolinian

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Again, the Sunterra Compensation Group, sponsored by the TImeshare Consumers Association has a much bigger target than just Scotland, and even the Scottish group is targeting existing Sunterra sales operations outside Scotland.

The Mavo post on Timesharetalk referenced above should interest anyone who is in Sunterra. Mavo is a UK Sunterra member, and Timesharetalk moderator, whose research indicates that there seems to be a pattern afoot with Sunterra, at least in Europe, of selling off their owned properties and substituting leased inventory. Mavo projects some rather dire long term implications for Sunterra owners. It is an issue that Sunterra owners should probably take a look at, whether you agree or disagree.
 

KforKitty

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I would say an interesting but purely speculative article by 'Mavo'. I've read many a post by this author on the Sunterra Members Yahoo group and feel his thoughts carry as much weight as any other member's views there but no more.

Kitty
 

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Another concern I would have with Sunterra is its overbearing management style, trying to keep total control of a resort.

A case in point is Sunterra's Powhatan Plantation, which has been discussed at length on these boards. I also have heard complaints from a friend who owns there. This resort is essentially sold out, but Sunterra keeps a hammerlock on control of it, rather than turning it over to the members as it should. Members are shut out from having any say in the running of the resort. They have not even run it very well, standards having fallen substantially, although apparently that has been improving somewhat recently due to all of the complaints.

Powhatan is an example of how with Sunterra, your HOA is likely to be a developer dictatorship rather than a homeowner democracy. No thanks!
 

fnewman

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DRI Platinum member: Diamond US Collection, Cypress Point I, Powhatan Plantation, San Luis Obispo.
The ones I can recall right now....

Cypress Pointe I
Polynesian Isle
Powhatan Plantation
Sea Mountain
Marquis Villas
Desert Paradise
Plantation at Fall Creek
Sedona Summit
Daytona Beach Regency

In addition, we have used our SunOPtions for numerous II exchanges. WE have never had a bad experience at a Sunterra Resort. True, some may be better than others, but overall consistently good.

Is the system perfect? Certainly not. However, having read the posts here on TUG for several years now, I have yet to come across one that is !!
 

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I feel that I did not get the best deal with Sunterra. I am sure smarter people than myself have done much better in other places. That being said, I do not have to worry about how poorly I have done compared to others. I just enjoy what I have.
 

MULTIZ321

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ROYAL HOLIDAY CLUB RHC (POINTS)
Harbor Lights, San Diego

Spence,

Do you know if Harbor Lights is still a timeshare and if so, are they affiliated with a particular exchange company?


Thanks
Richard
 

pedro47

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Harbour Lights in California is not affilated with Sunterra.
 
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Spence

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pedro47 said:
Harbour Lights in California is not affilated with Sunterra.
that's what I indicated in post #3 above


Sunterra Corporation Sells the 59-room Harbour Lights Resort in San Diego, California, to American Property Management for Approximately $8.65 million

Press Release: Insignia/ESG Hotel Partners
September 11, 2001
LOS ANGELES, CA -- Sunterra Corporation has sold the 59-room Harbour Lights Resort in San Diego, California, to American Property Management in a transaction valued at approximately $8.65 million.

The Harbour Lights Resort opened in 2000 and is located in Downtown San Diego’s historic Gas Lamp Quarter, capturing a significant share of the area’s leisure demand while still appealing to convention attendees. The Downtown San Diego hotel market has shown significantimprovement in performance over the past several years as the city continues to diversify its economy. With the emergence of the new convention center and new baseball field, the outlook is very positive for the Downtown area.

Insignia/ESG Hotel Partners was Sunterra Corporation’s exclusive representative in this sale. Harry Pflueger and Richard Carlson, managing directors in Insignia/ESG Hotel Partners’ Newport Beach office, oversaw the marketing and disposition of the asset.

“This was an especially challenging transaction,” commented Pflueger. “The Harbour Lights opened last year as a timeshare property, but due to the timing of Sunterra Corporation’s fiscal restructuring, the property was able to be sold as a hotel without any timeshare encumbrances. The absence of historical financial performance made financing this acquisition a real challenge for prospective purchasers.” American Property Management, recently relocated from Albuquerque to San Diego, intends to position the property as an upscale boutique hotel. American Property owns another full-service hotel in Downtown San Diego as well.

The Harbour Lights Resort is one of over 20 assets for which Insignia/ESG Hotel Partners has been acting as Sunterra Corporation’s exclusive broker. As part of its ongoing reorganization, Sunterra has designated these non-strategic assets for disposition. Cash proceeds from the sales will be used to support the firm’s reorganization, the repayment of debt and will allow Sunterra to invest in its core properties, operations, systems and product development. Other California assets from this portfolio include a 390-acre land parcel in Napa County and unsold timeshare inventory in the South Lake Tahoe resort area, both of which were marketed by Insignia/ESG Hotel Partners and closed in early September.

Insignia/ESG Hotel Partners is a leading full-service real estate group focused exclusively on the hospitality industry. Insignia/ESG Hotel Partners is part of Insignia/ESG Capital Advisors Group, which focuses on investment sales and debt financing for major properties of all types. Insignia/ESG is a subsidiary of Insignia Financial Group, Inc., a publicly traded real estate company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol IFS.
 
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Spence

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Just received in the mail
SunGlances At a Glance Membership Information Guide
It didn't talk about anything I didn't already know but did spell out a little difference between deeded owners (fixed/float/UDI) and Club Sunterra Vacations Trust (CSV) and lists the 19 resorts in the Trust.

Doesn't address the sale of your property.
 

Spence

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Looks like Fairfield has it now

MULTIZ321 said:
Spence,
Do you know if Harbor Lights is still a timeshare and if so, are they affiliated with a particular exchange company?
Thanks
Richard
Jul 29, 05
COMING FULL CIRCLE
Filed under: IN BRIEF — street @ 12:05 am

Week of July 29- August 4

Back in 2000 Sunterra opened the 7-story Harbour Lights Resort in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego. Unfortunately, that was about the same time that Sunterra suffered its “fiscal restructuring” (read bankruptcy), and the resort was sold– without encumbrances– to American Property Management in a transaction valued at approximately $8.65 million.

The resort has been operated as an upscale boutique hotel named Prava Hotel for several years. Now we have it back in the timeshare world. The hotel has been sold to Fairfield Resorts, (for around $14 million according to reports), and renamed Fairfield San Diego at Harbour Lights.

Following renovations, it will be a 56-unit timeshare resort, featuring all studio deluxe suites and a single one-bedroom unit. All suites will be fully furnished with living area and kitchenette. Resort amenities include an exercise room, spa with sauna, steam room and massage, guest laundry facilities and valet parking. Renovations are scheduled to begin in October, with an expected resort opening in February 2006.

Welcome back to the family, Harbour Lights.
\
3 Responses to “COMING FULL CIRCLE”

1. TS-Scoop Says:
July 29th, 2005 at 4:53 am

Fairfield San Diego: Did anyone else find it interesting that Fairfield listed the new Fairfield San Diego at Harbour Lights as its second resort in California but first to open, with the new Fairfield Oceanside breaking ground in September as its first California property. What happened to Fairfield Harbortown Point Marina Resort & Club which was a pre Fairfield organization resort (no longer Fairfield in name of resort) and Fairfield Anaheim at Dolphins Cove Resort? Was there also a special reason they reverted to Harbour Lights name in San Diego?
2. street Says:
July 29th, 2005 at 12:45 pm

It was a little boo-boo on Fairfield’s part– call it a typo. They’re probably a little embarrassed by that, so we won’t be too hard on them for it. :) So, Fairfield sorta kinda has 3 resorts in California now, counting Ventura, Dolphins Cove’s very limited inventory (mostly it’s a Trendwest resort now) and the Prava, and will have 4 when Oceanside comes on board (but only 2 will be in active sales).
3. TS-Scoop Says:
July 29th, 2005 at 6:30 pm

How did Fairfield Anaheim at Dolphins Cove Resort become more a Worldmark property than a Fairfield property. Being only 600 weeks were sold Worldmark the remainder of the resort was sold as Fairfield or Jim Watkins property?

 
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