The Timeshare Resale Accountability Act has recently been passed by the Florida legislature. The new law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2012, applies to any sales that occur by any Florida timeshare advertiser and all calls into Florida by out-of-state advertisers. Key statutes in the law requires signed contracts before a client’s credit card may be charged, a timeframe for any client to cancel services for a full refund, and sales people may be sanctioned and held liable without the ability to move to another company to avoid prosecution. Shady companies beware.
Archive for April, 2012
The Villas at Tree Tops has received the RCI President’s Club Award. The prestigious award was given for being one of RCI’s top performing affiliates. According to Andy Worthington, President and CEO of Bushkill Group Inc., owners of the resort, in spite of significant weather events last year, no snow this winter and an economy that is still in recovery, they have seen measurable increases in vacation ownership sales in the last several months and have been outperforming sales year over year for the last three years. The President’s Club Award is presented annually to properties around the world and recognizes resorts for growing their business and for the company’s shared commitment with RCI for the transformation of the vacation experience. Located in the Pocono Mountains, the Villas at Tree Tops benefits from an easy drive to the New York and New Jersey metropolitan market and offers affordability and a comprehensive list of amenities and regional attractions.
The Spanish government has passed the European Timeshare Directive into national law. Passed by most European countries in 2011, this law compels all Spanish timeshare companies to be in compliance. Spain is the most popular timeshare market in Europe and is where almost half of all European owners have chosen to buy. Among other initiatives, the Spanish timeshare directive standardizes the following: a 14-day cooling off period (a rescission period for the timeshare buyer), a ban on deposits, contracts of more than one year are within the legislation, contracts must be provided in the language of the purchaser, and detailed information of the product must be provided. While these initiatives cannot be changed by individual member countries, the governments of each country can add to the directive for guidelines regarding their country.
Federal charges filed against “boiler room” owners – Three men from Florida have been accused of illegally amassing a total of $3.3 million from over 2,000 US and Canada timeshare owners and are facing federal charges of conspiracy and fraud. Owners of International Resorts Solutions LLC, according to court papers, hired telemarketers to collect marketing and sales services fees from timeshare property owners for a duration of seven months, from July 2009 to February 2010. Federal officials have said that services were never provided. Operating under the name International Resort Solutions LLC in Palm Beach County, the company was allegedly set up to cater as a service to sell or rent out timeshares and set up four “boiler rooms” in Palm Beach County as a high-pressure marketing operation that only acquires finances without fulfilling the necessary services. Telemarketers obtained advanced fees from timeshare property owners throughout the US and Canada for alleged closing costs. In addition, the telemarketers also gave false promises to owners, saying that their timeshare properties had sure buyers.
The Westgate Park City was recently named the “Best Timeshare Unit in North America” by Perspective Magazine. Winners were decided through a combination of online voting and decisions from a panel of four industry experts. Westgate Park City, located in Park City, Utah is a ski-in/ski-out and features the Westgate Grill, a full-service marketplace, indoor/outdoor pool, sauna and steam rooms, kids’ club, game room, fitness center, and the world-class Serenity Spa. In-room amenities include a full kitchen, whirlpool tub, television, steam room, and fireplace.
Six BH Hotels in Colombia have joined the Interval International affiliation of resorts. The six condo-hotels within the BH Hotels brand include a mix of urban and beach properties situated in the cities of Bogota, Medellin, and Santa Marta. BH Hotels is one of the leading hotel brands in the country and is known for properties in highly sought-after locations, such as Bogotá, the El Poblabo neighborhood of Medellin, and the El Rodadero district in the resort town of Santa Marta. Each hotel resort offers quality accommodations and personal service with easy access to the vibrant city centers, financial and business districts, high-end retail stores and shopping malls, gourmet restaurants and cafes, and parks. Four hotels are in Bogota, and one is El Poblado in Medellin, which is probably the most fashionable hotel in the BH brand. The sixth BH Hotel is the Hotel La Sierra located in Santa Marta across from the popular Rodadero Beach on the Atlantic coast.
Group of Seven Cottages has joined the RCI network of affiliated resorts. Located in Bancroft, Ontario, the Group of Seven Cottages is a lakefront cottage community that was inspired by renowned Canadian artists who captured the natural beauty of the area on canvas. Built along the shoreline of Baptiste Lake, each fully-equipped, two-story cottage offers breathtaking views, open-concept interiors and three or four generously proportioned bedrooms. The 12.5-acre property offers swimming, kayaking, canoeing and fishing in the summer, while winter provides guests with opportunities for skating and cross-country skiing.
Signature Life Hotels has launched fractional ownership opportunities in Africa. In what is being hailed as the biggest private tourist investment launch since the 2010 World Cup, South Africa’s leading independent hospitality group, Signature Life Hotels is offering private investors the chance to buy a stake in three of its prime resort developments. Investors have a choice of hotel rooms, penthouses, and villas at the Jozini Tiger Estate in northern Natal, the Likweti Conference and Hotel in Mpumalanga, and the Fun Club Mauritius in the island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Purchase options include outright sectional title ownership, fractional ownership and a variety of vacation allocation timeshare style options. Prices start as low as $3,300 for a week-a-year up to $328,000 for a whole ownership.
The Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, New York is now being managed by Urgo Hotels. Urgo Hotels, a major operator, developer and owner of upscale and luxury hotels, recently announced that it has signed a long-term management agreement to operate the Whiteface Lodge Resort and Homeowner’s Association. The resort brings to more than 30 hotels operated or owned by Urgo Hotels. Whiteface Lodge is an award-winning resort that offers 94 one-to-four bedroom suites along with a private residence club. The property features a 5,800 square-foot spa with six treatment rooms and a fully-equipped fitness center. The resort is ranked among the top US spa hotels by Conde Nast Traveller and also has been recognized for excellence by Travel+Leisure and Wine Spectator. Trip Advisor also recommends the resort, which includes an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, ice skating rink, 54-seat movie theater, bowling lanes, tennis courts, snowshoe/cross country trails and a private beach and canoe club. The resort complex also has fractional and full-ownership units.
Timbers Resort has now added the Dancing Bear Aspen Fractional Development to its growing list of resorts. Dancing Bear is a high end ski-in and ski-out residences resort that will be included in the exclusive Timbers Resorts Residence Club portfolio. Among other Timbers Resorts exclusive properties, are the Esperanza Resort Residences in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; the Rocks Luxury Residence Club in Scottsdale, Arizona; the Castello di Casole in Tuscany, Italy; the Preserve at Botany Bay on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands; One Steamboat Place Residences, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado; the Orchard at The Carneros Inn of Napa, California; and the Sebastian in Vail, Colorado.