Timeshare. Just saying the word evokes an image of a smarmy salesperson who’s going to try to get you to buy part of a hotel building that you can stay at for the rest of your life, and pay yearly dues for that privilege. I’ve actively avoided staying at any timeshare during our trips because I didn’t want the uncomfortable dance to avoid the sales pitch. Full disclosure: we own a part of Disney Vacation Club, a Disney timeshare. It’s one of the least sleazy and most respectable ones out there. If you go for a tour, there’s no high-pressure sales pitch.
However, that’s not how many timeshare presentations go. I’ve read horror stories about the high-pressure sales pitches and efforts to wear you down mentally so you’ll be willing to buy anything just to get out of there. Going to one of these “tours” of the timeshare is often part of the deal when you book a stay at one of these resorts for a highly reduced price. It was for this reason that I avoided staying at timeshare resorts, even if I was paying “full price” for the room or booking with points. I’ve come to realize that was a mistake.
During our trip to the Southwest, we stayed at two different timeshare resorts. I did this because the first one was in the perfect location (and available with points) and the second one had a fantastic price and amenities we’d need. The first resort was the Hyatt Residence Club Sedona, Piñon Pointe.
Using Hyatt points, I booked a studio room. It wasn’t much bigger than a typical hotel room and they crammed as much as they could into that space. The room was part of a two-bedroom lockout unit, so the layout was a bit different from a typical hotel room and the lack of a desk or a table (besides a cocktail table) made eating or working on a computer difficult. If you’ve never heard about lockout rooms, they are connecting rooms that can be sold together as a larger two-bedroom unit or separately as a studio and one-bedroom unit. These rooms are typical in timeshares, as they give the resort the opportunity to adjust room inventory as needed.
The Hyatt Residence Club was in the perfect location in Sedona, within walking distance to the main area of town and provided wonderful views due to its location on top of a hill.
When we were in Las Vegas, we stayed at the Hilton Grand Vacations on Paradise (Convention Center).
I booked a studio room with a really good rate I found on the Hilton website. During check-in, I asked if there were any available upgrades to a one-bedroom unit. For an extra $35 a night, we had a newly remodeled room with a full kitchen, living room, bathroom with a soaking tub and walk-in shower, washer/dryer and a huge king size bed.
Why, all of a sudden, do we like staying at timeshare resorts? I think it’s because they have many of the things we like in hotels and the things that are missing are the stuff we don’t care about. We like the larger rooms, added in-room amenities and a generally quieter atmosphere. Some of the things missing, like on-site restaurants or room service, are not things we typically use so that doesn’t bother us. As paying guests we received daily housekeeping services at both locations, different from the occasional freshen up service provided to owners at the resort.
My biggest fear, the sales pitch, never happened. At both resorts, we were invited to talk to a representative for our “welcome package.” During this short exchange, we were invited to a presentation about the resort in exchange for some bonus perk. Hilton also threw in 500 Honors points just for going to talk to the person at the desk. These were no pressure invites but we were under no obligation to go. We declined both offers because we said that we had limited time and wanted to spend as much time visiting each city and that was the end of the timeshare part of each stay.
Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m not going to start searching out timeshare resorts for our stays ;-). However, if there’s one with a great price or in the perfect location, I’ll give it a really good look instead of passing over it because of the fear of getting the high-pressure sales pitch while staying there.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary