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What was your most surprising T/S vacation?

DaveNV

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As I've been planning my 2009 and 2010 vacations, I've found myself looking over and over at the same old places. They're safe and familiar, but don't offer me much I haven't already seen. So I've been wondering about how to shake myself out of a traveling rut.

And then it hit me that I should ask you: What was your most unexpected timeshare vacation experience? Did you find an amazing world of undiscovered country near a timeshare you didn't think would be all that much? Did you have a thoroughly AWFUL time at a resort where you thought you'd be in heaven? What were the little victories you've had, or the cataclysmic disasters? Pro or con - I'm curious to know what you did or saw that was completely unexpected on your trip. And most important, what lessons did you learn about choosing a perfect t/s to visit on future vacations?

Dave
 

ladycody

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My timeshare offers the ability for short notice getaways near home using 'bonus time' as opposed to my 'owned' time. I've gone to a few places simply because they were open and discovered that they had more to offer than I would have guessed. Eagle Crest in Redmond, OR has been a particularly nice discovery for us...and likely offerd the most unexpected enjoyment...although I'm not sure I could tell you why.

Then again...I'm not a hugely demanding soul and simply enjoy experiencing new places/things...so maybe I'm just easy to please.

I guess what I've discovered is that I believe most areas with a TS in them offer something that I'd find appealing...and while I might not plan my dream trips to obscure or unfamiliar (by my definition) locations...I'm fairly sure I'll be seeing alot more of what the world has to offer on last calls and instant exchanges when the opportunities present themselves rather than sticking to what I think I know or to the familiar (and often more in demand and hard to get) locations.
 

Mimi

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Our first Arizona vacation was memorable. DH was sure we would not like it, as our getaways usually include the sand and surf. Every so often, I would bring up the idea again, suggesting an exchange to the southwest desert would be a new and different experience for a change. Several years ago, while searching online with RCI, I was able to secure trades to Villa Mirage in Scotsdale and Los Abrigidos in Sedona during early October. My loving DH reluctantly agreed to the trip and we ended up having a great time. We went to the State Fair in Phoenix, played poker in the Indian casinos, enjoyed a balloon ride with champagne breakfast, attended the theatre, drank in the beauty of Sedona during sightseeing tours and hikes, shopped in quaint villages and enjoyed both casual and fine dining. Since our first trip, we have returned many times, both in the fall and spring. :wave:
 

Beaglemom3

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Great question & thread.


Suprised ? Make that stunned.

The Westin St. John.

Getting a 2 bedroom flexchange/short notice on II thanks to a sighting on TS4ms. I had never seen one of these, personally, and getting it & going was surreal.
Realizing the rarity, I bought one (resale, 'natch).
 
Last edited:

Cathyb

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Staying at The Village of St. James Club using SFX. First the unit was HUGE (3 floors), the view of the harbor, boats, etc. was gorgeous and the resort had everything from a casino, flourishing spa, waterfalls, restaurants. It had been a Rich and Famous spot in earlier years. The second surprise there was that driving was atrocious! No street signs and few street lights -- so we ended up taking cabs everywhere. In summary, a beautiful island!!! :D
 

dougp26364

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I really don't have the problem you have of wanting to go back to the same old places. Yes we revisit many places but, I'm always wanting to try at least 2 if not 3 or 4 new locations each year. I spend a fare amount of time online researching different area's and find all sorts of things that are of interest to me and my wife.

Probably the most surprising was our first trip to Singer Island, FL to Marriott's Ocean Pointe. The entire trip there my wife complained about how she HATED Florida. Less than one day after arriving and relaxing on the beach, she announced she wanted to own a week there. Now it's one of the locations we return to ever year.

Hilton Head Island was wonderful and we'll probably go back......eventually. We really enjoyed Lake Tahao and have made three trips there but, don't have a return planned in the near future (couple of years). New Orleans was great and I'd like to eventually make it back there. We were in Scottsdale thise past January and had a great time driving around the state of AZ. Eventually I'd like to stay in Sedona and maybe in the Rim Country as well. I'd love to visit Antelope Canyon when the sun's at the correct angle to light up that canyon. Another on my list of places to see is Santa Fe, NM. Maybe someday we'll go to Palm Desert just because. I'm also thinking Big Bear Lake, CA might ought to be on our list.

This next year new places for us will be Newport Coast, CA, Honolulu, Hawaii, Breckenridge, CO and Boston, MA. We're also making a return trip on a 7 night W. Med cruise and, of course, our yearly trip to Singer Island, FL (W. Palm Beach). We just like to see new places generally mixed in with a few famaliar places. It keeps travel interesting for us.
 

Mimi39

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Our second exchange 10 years ago was to Kruger Park Lodge in South Africa -- wow, what an awesome experience; close to Kruger Nat'l Park, beautiful units on lovely grounds and a pond with hippos right on site (not a zoo, just real hippos in a real pond)! I'd say branch out, be adventurous and don't go back to the same places over and over! Since then we have had exchanges to Scotland, England, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Mexico, La Vegas, New Orleans, Orlando, San Francisco and Hawaii
 

lprstn

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A pleasant surprise for us was Virginia Beach... both me and DH hadn't been there in almost 20yrs and counted it out...however we loved it! Another place was Myrtle Beach .. we only started going there 2 years ago, and we had owned Wyndam there for 4 years! Wow were we ever impressed. Another place was ... Bently Brook, close to Canada and Six Flags and lots of other great things to do in the Winter and summer.
 

barndweller

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Our first timeshare exchange is still one we talk about fondly. It was an ordinary easy to get trade to Williamsburg at Greensprings Plantation in May. For us, coming from Calif. it was great. Flowers were in bloom, weather was perfect, no crowds and the unit was very nice. We had a fabulous week soaking up the history and enjoying the countryside in the area.

The one we won't ever do again is a popular resort in a popular location. Mayan Palace in Riviera Maya in February. Nice enough place and we did have a nice trip but we discovered that that sort of resort just doesn't do it for us. Different strokes, blah, blah, blah.

A pleasant surprise was a trip last year to Seattle & Victoria. Can't wait to go again. But the op has probably been there & done that!
 

Egret1986

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Our family has really loved the National Parks we've been to

Yosemite, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Zion, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon; such great natural beauty!!!!!!
 

shagnut

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My first exchange was to St George Utah. Back then I didn't have a computer and didn't research it al all. I thought it was going to be flat but boy was I in for a surprise. Oh my the beauty of mother nature. I will be going back there next Sept. Can't wait.

shaggy
 

Victoria

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Marble Canyon at Fairmont, British Columbia. We had five bedrooms and a large games room with a pool table. We could walk to the hot springs. We were right in the Canadian Rockies and a days drive to Banff and Lake Louise.

Point Arena California, in the middle of nowhere on the north coast if the state. Beautiful scenery, few grocery stores, very few people - what a great rest we had!
 

abbekit

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I think the most surprising thing for us is how much we enjoy timesharing. My dad bought three timeshare weeks and tried for years to get us to use them. We were too into staying in hotels and B&Bs, plus he didn't seem to offer very good trades into places we were interested in.

After he died we inherited one of his weeks (a lock-off unit). I found TUG, learned how to turn it into two weeks and how to maximize my RCI membership with really good trades.

Now we are addicted to staying in one place for an entire week in a condo home with kitchen facilities which enables us to travel more and at less expense. We've made 21 trades over the past nine years into great places such as Europe (7 times) Hawaii (5 times), and coming up next... Canada for two weeks.
 

WalnutBaron

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Okay, I admit it. It’s the middle of the night and in order to while the time away, I’m scrolling through TUG threads from 9 years ago. I can hear it now: “Hey, WalnutBaron, get a life!”

That said, I don’t think NWDave’s great question got NEARLY the number of responses it deserved, so I am bumping this thread forward into a new decade

So here’s my response: back in 2012, we exchanged into the La Ferriera in the tiny town of Loro Ciuffenna in Tuscany, Italy. Our room was thirty feet above a rushing mountain stream that lulled us to sleep each night. The room was large but rustic. The bed was so hard we found it literally unsleepable. But the place was so beautiful, the food that came with the required half board so good, the hospitality so warm and endearing, it became forever imprinted on our hearts.

We loved just walking down the gravel driveway into the village. We felt like we were walking back at least 70 years, but it could have been 200. We would get our morning coffee at the little cafe, where the barista was a 60-something year old lady with a bright smile and a warm “buon giorno”. Then we’d walk to the local bakery shop and get our calories just by breathing in the heady aroma of yeast and chocolate and dusted sugar and everything delicious. We would marvel to see the town begin to wake up at around 9 am (and I say “around” 9 am because there is no such thing as precise opening or closing time in central Italy—leave that to those Milanese, who are way too much like the Germans for most Italians!) and see the shopkeepers sweeping off their little front porches into their shops as they’ve done for hundreds of years.

The whole trip that year to Rome, Tuscany, and Milan was enchanting. But Loro Ciuffenna was a highlight we will always remember.
 

Free2Roam

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I've never been a cold weather fan and always travel south a few times each winter just to get a break from the cold. But a last minute discounted exchange to Lake Placid Club Lodges last March taught me that - under the right circumstances - I really CAN appreciate and actually enjoy freezing cold temps and snow everywhere! I will admit that I was coerced into taking this trip by my guy who loves to travel almost as much as I do. This was a new experience for both of us.

The view from our unit was Mirror Lake, frozen solid and covered with snow. We watched people dog sledding across the lake (while we sat in front of the fireplace.) I was amazed to see locals out with no jackets in 20 degree temps while I was bundled in layers and STILL cold! And although it was March, there were still Christmas decorations everywhere! We enjoyed driving thru the mountains, watching in amazement as people hiked, despite ice everywhere! We also drove up to Canada and spent a day exploring Montreal.

We are looking out for great last minute deals so we can make that long drive again in the next few months. We've even talked about taking a trip to Niagara Falls to see if we can catch it frozen. I've been told it's an awesome sight!
 

DaveNV

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This is so weird. I had completely forgotten I'd asked this, so long ago. Thanks, WalnutBaron, for bringing it back to life. (Nice to see a few names I remember from back then. CathyB was a great Tug friend. She was having health issues several years ago, and I'm afraid we may have lost her. Cathy, if you see this, I hope you're well.)

I think this was posted before RCI split weeks trading into TPUs, and my experience was that I kept seeing the same exchange weeks presented. There has been a lot of water under my timeshare traveling bridge since then (at least 20 timeshare vacations, most of which were for two weeks, so would be in two different resorts.) I wonder how I can answer my own question?

I think my greatest surprise was exchanging a very basic low-cost timeshare studio in Waikiki I owned then for the Manhattan Club in New York City in 2011. While the MC itself didn't impress me much, (our unit was run down, had peeling wallpaper, and needed to be refurbished), the location was amazing, and gave us probably our most exciting timeshare vacation to date. Three Broadway shows, several harbor cruises, Statue of Liberty, many museums, the Ground Zero Memorial, Central Park, and on and on. It was a remarkable week I would love to do over again. We packed too much in, trying not to miss anything. Next time we'll take it slower. Maybe. ;)

Greatest disappointment was probably Orange Lake River Island. I had expected a lot more bang for the buck. Instead, I got a basic hotel kind of place with a lazy river. There was no "soul" to the place. The gouging prices they charged for every little thing kind of cheapened the experience. It was nice seeing Disney that week, but I don't think if I went back to Orlando that I'd stay there again. This was before Holiday Inn took things over, so maybe it's different now.

Most memorable vacation: I love to visit Hawaii, and have been there about ten times since this thread was started. So that's a favorite location, for sure. But I have to say staying at Wyndham's Old Town Alexandria resort has been one of the most memorable stays. Resort was very comfortable, location is perfect, easy access to everything in the DC Metro area, and a great jumping-off point for exploring the city. We enjoyed staying there so much the first time, we went back two years later to repeat the experience. It was just as nice the second time.

So what has been your experience? I'm still interested to know what others think.

Dave
 

klpca

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Okay, I admit it. It’s the middle of the night and in order to while the time away, I’m scrolling through TUG threads from 9 years ago. I can hear it now: “Hey, WalnutBaron, get a life!”

That said, I don’t think NWDave’s great question got NEARLY the number of responses it deserved, so I am bumping this thread forward into a new decade

So here’s my response: back in 2012, we exchanged into the La Ferriera in the tiny town of Loro Ciuffenna in Tuscany, Italy. Our room was thirty feet above a rushing mountain stream that lulled us to sleep each night. The room was large but rustic. The bed was so hard we found it literally unsleepable. But the place was so beautiful, the food that came with the required half board so good, the hospitality so warm and endearing, it became forever imprinted on our hearts.

We loved just walking down the gravel driveway into the village. We felt like we were walking back at least 70 years, but it could have been 200. We would get our morning coffee at the little cafe, where the barista was a 60-something year old lady with a bright smile and a warm “buon giorno”. Then we’d walk to the local bakery shop and get our calories just by breathing in the heady aroma of yeast and chocolate and dusted sugar and everything delicious. We would marvel to see the town begin to wake up at around 9 am (and I say “around” 9 am because there is no such thing as precise opening or closing time in central Italy—leave that to those Milanese, who are way too much like the Germans for most Italians!) and see the shopkeepers sweeping off their little front porches into their shops as they’ve done for hundreds of years.

The whole trip that year to Rome, Tuscany, and Milan was enchanting. But Loro Ciuffenna was a highlight we will always remember.
I've booked there a few times, then e-plussed out. I think I should just book it and stick with it next time. It sounds like a wonderful stay.

And I agree - thanks for bring this thread back. It's a great topic.
 

Luanne

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I loved Molokai. Only one timeshare property on the island. While I loved it there the rest of the family wasn't as enthralled. I loved the wildness and the beauty of much of the island (Kalaupapa is one of the most beautiful spots I've ever seen). But there's not much on the island, in fact less than when we went. We had to do a lot of driving, and many of the beaches are not terribly "user friendly". That said, I'd go back, but probably never will.
 

wilma

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Okay, I admit it. It’s the middle of the night and in order to while the time away, I’m scrolling through TUG threads from 9 years ago. I can hear it now: “Hey, WalnutBaron, get a life!”

That said, I don’t think NWDave’s great question got NEARLY the number of responses it deserved, so I am bumping this thread forward into a new decade

So here’s my response: back in 2012, we exchanged into the La Ferriera in the tiny town of Loro Ciuffenna in Tuscany, Italy. Our room was thirty feet above a rushing mountain stream that lulled us to sleep each night. The room was large but rustic. The bed was so hard we found it literally unsleepable. But the place was so beautiful, the food that came with the required half board so good, the hospitality so warm and endearing, it became forever imprinted on our hearts.

We loved just walking down the gravel driveway into the village. We felt like we were walking back at least 70 years, but it could have been 200. We would get our morning coffee at the little cafe, where the barista was a 60-something year old lady with a bright smile and a warm “buon giorno”. Then we’d walk to the local bakery shop and get our calories just by breathing in the heady aroma of yeast and chocolate and dusted sugar and everything delicious. We would marvel to see the town begin to wake up at around 9 am (and I say “around” 9 am because there is no such thing as precise opening or closing time in central Italy—leave that to those Milanese, who are way too much like the Germans for most Italians!) and see the shopkeepers sweeping off their little front porches into their shops as they’ve done for hundreds of years.

The whole trip that year to Rome, Tuscany, and Milan was enchanting. But Loro Ciuffenna was a highlight we will always remember.
We had a similar experience at La Ferriera when we visited in may of 2017- it was the highlight of our trip to italy. It’s not a fancy place and the beds could have been better but the place and the neighboring town were so incredibly charming. They have a mandatory half board, the breakfast was ok but the dinners were really great. You also got to know all the guests staying at the resort after dining with them each night. We love la ferriera and would love to go back.
 

Icc5

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For us it was many years ago we decided to go to Arizona and decided on Bison Ranch by Worldmark.
As we were about 5 miles away we saw lots of smoke and just thought there must be a factory nearby.
As we got closer we found out it was a fire but we're told it was a distance away and we didn't need to worry about it. We checked in and the kids (young at the time) thought it was a really neat resort with old time stores and bison right there on site.
The next morning we smelled lots of smoke so my wife decided to talk to the office. They told us not to worry and a second fire had started. About an hour later the fire department was banging on our door and told us we had twenty minutes to evacuate. Well, me repacked and got out. We headed out to Flagstaff where we were booked for the next week. I can't remember what resort but they let us check-in after they heard our story. They treated us really well and really helped us out.
It was an experience all of us will never forget . It turned out the two fires became one right behind Bison. The fire department foamed Bison and saved it but all the cabins behind it were lost. The bison were freed to run from the fire. We will one day return.
Bart
 

DeniseM

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DaveNW - Just wanted to let you know that CathyB is OK, although her husband passed away, as you may remember. She has sold some of their timeshares.
 

klpca

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DaveNW - Just wanted to let you know that CathyB is OK, although her husband passed away, as you may remember. She has sold some of their timeshares.
I had wondered about her as well. Pass along our best wishes if you are in contact with her.
 

DaveNV

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DaveNW - Just wanted to let you know that CathyB is OK, although her husband passed away, as you may remember. She has sold some of their timeshares.
Oh, that is good to hear. Thanks for the update. I knew her husband had passed, and it wasn't long after that she sort of backed away from timesharing. If you communicate with her, please send her my warmest regards. I hope she's doing okay.

Dave
 

rboesl

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First let me say I live in the Buffalo, NY area and I can tell you from personal experience that Niagara Falls in the winter is simply amazing and different every year.

Our most surprising T/S vacation was actually our first. We had purchased a week at Tahiti Village in Vegas the previous May based on a tour of the site. Our first T/S stay was our first exchange into the RIU Palace on Aruba in February to celebrate our birthdays (wife & I were both born in Feb). My wife fell in love with "The RIU" but I wasn't sold. No kitchen (it was AI) and no laundry (in room or on site). We tried finding a coin-op laundry the staff told us about but it was out of business. After that lost search we went to downtown Oranjestad and stopped at a small kiosk looking for tickets to a dinner cruise. The person pointed us to a T/S presentation at Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort because the gift would be tickets to a dinner cruise. While talking to the sales person we mentioned our laundry situation. His response was: "Even if you don't buy with us today we'll help you out. After the tour we'll arrange a cab to take you to the RIU to get your laundry. You can do your laundry here in the model unit. Then we'll get you a cab back to the RIU."

Well we took the tour. Liked the facilities. And wanted to buy, but we wanted a winter week. Which they wanted a premium for. After about 30 minutes of negotiating we agreed to buy week 5 at a price we felt was reasonable (much less than the original offer). To celebrate the purchase they popped open a bottle of champaign and made a toast: "To what will probably be the most expensive washer & dryer you will ever buy!" After polishing off the champaign they did arrange for the cabs and we got our laundry done.

We still own that week at Divi Village and have returned to Aruba several times. Still love it and really enjoy getting away from Buffalo winter weather for a week.
 

WinniWoman

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I've never been a cold weather fan and always travel south a few times each winter just to get a break from the cold. But a last minute discounted exchange to Lake Placid Club Lodges last March taught me that - under the right circumstances - I really CAN appreciate and actually enjoy freezing cold temps and snow everywhere! I will admit that I was coerced into taking this trip by my guy who loves to travel almost as much as I do. This was a new experience for both of us.

The view from our unit was Mirror Lake, frozen solid and covered with snow. We watched people dog sledding across the lake (while we sat in front of the fireplace.) I was amazed to see locals out with no jackets in 20 degree temps while I was bundled in layers and STILL cold! And although it was March, there were still Christmas decorations everywhere! We enjoyed driving thru the mountains, watching in amazement as people hiked, despite ice everywhere! We also drove up to Canada and spent a day exploring Montreal.

We are looking out for great last minute deals so we can make that long drive again in the next few months. We've even talked about taking a trip to Niagara Falls to see if we can catch it frozen. I've been told it's an awesome sight!

This reminds me of when my husband and I decided to spend a winter week at Smuggs (the resort we own summer and fall/spring weeks at). We are in no way winter people, but we had such a wonderful time. We went dog sledding, we did a horse drawn sleigh, snowmobiling through the Notch at night and took a ski lift up Sterling Mountain for a candlelight gourmet dinner in the cabin on top and then snow shoe-ed down the mountain in the moonlight. All things we had never done before.

This, and enjoying swimming in the outdoor heated pool with the snow falling down above us. Loved it all.
 
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