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P L AY | E AT | S H O P | R E L AX | E X P LO R E
Egypt Hidden Hurghada
COVER LINES THIN BOLD COVER LINES ADVENTURE IN LIGHT THE EASTBOLD MED COVER LINES FIESTA IN BOOK BOLD PORTUGAL
Two RCI Extra Holidays In Egypt For Only $329!* Book a resort in Egypt for only $329 and get another week in Egypt FREE! THIS OFFER CAN ONLY BE REDEEMED VIA OUR CALL CENTRE
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Call us on +2 0 224635500 (Arabic and English) 80004442357 (Arabic - UAE residents only) 80004442354 (English - UAE residents only) Terms and Conditions: *Buy One get One Free. 1. Bookings can only be made through the RCI call centre. 2. The paid Extra Holiday week applies to selected resorts and destinations only and is subject to availability and booking terms. 3. The free Extra Holiday week is valid for selected departure dates throughout 2018. 4. The free Extra Holiday week accommodation applies to selected resorts and destinations only and is subject to availability â€“ please ask for details. 5. The booking confirmation of the free Extra Holiday week will be in accordance with RCI standard booking procedures. There is no cash alternative. The free Extra Holiday week is not transferable or valid for resale. 6. All prices quoted are per week for accommodation only. Prices do not include travel or any other connected expenses. For Full terms and conditions, visit rcitc2.com
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Welcome The speed with which 2018 has come around reminds me that I need to start planning our family holidays, before we find ourselves talking about Christmas again! The great thing about being an RCI member is that with a little forward planning, making early deposits, combining your weeks, saving and borrowing points, you will get those special holidays that set your timeshare family holiday lifestyle apart from the hotel room experience. Remember, our holiday exchange programme is dynamic, with resort availability changing by the hour, so it pays to keep your eye on RCI.com and use our ongoing search facility. For inspiration, please check out the holiday hot spots selected for this issue of your RCI magazine. From the exotic to the tranquil, and from mountain highs to sizzling shores, we’ve brought together many different ways you could be holidaying this year - and next year too, if you really want to plan ahead. Kick off 2018 with a FREE holiday! Book an RCI Extra Holiday in Egypt and we will give you a second week in Egypt free - see page 2. And don’t forget you can take an RCI Extra Holiday
without using your weeks or points, see page 20. Or upgrade to RCI Platinum membership to enjoy many excellent benefits, see page 19. Wherever you travel, live in the moment and get the most from every minute of your holiday time together.
Andy Liggins, Vice President Operations RCI Europe, Middle East and Africa
Dreaming of a sunny beach?
RCI Extra Holidays
For when you have used all your weeks and points
Visit RCI.com or call us today! MEMBER SERVICES: +2 0 224635500 (Arabic and English) 80004442357 (Arabic – UAE residents only), 80004442354 (English – UAE residents only) EEN NDDLLEESSSS VAC VACAT ATIIO ON N 33
New for you RCI members have more than twice the number of resorts to choose from than members of any other exchange holiday programme. Here are three of the latest resorts to join RCI’s exchange programme. Overlooking the beautiful Akbük Bay in Turkey, Ramada Resort Akbük (DD39) enjoys views of the area’s stunning scenery. A shuttle takes guests to a private beach just minutes away. As an all-inclusive resort, its amenities offer roundthe-clock comfort and entertainment. Guests can cool off in the outdoor pool, and enjoy family fun with activities such as beach volleyball and table tennis, while evenings are filled with live music, dance shows and a mini-disco for the children. The spa is quintessentially eastern, having a Turkish bath, sauna, massage rooms, hot stone beds, and a relaxation room. The Royal Blue Hotel & Spa Paphos (DG78) in Cyprus, overlooks Paphos and the coast. In addition to the beautiful scenery, on-site facilities include outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a gym and an indoor heated swimming pool. The on-site restaurant serves delicious Cypriot cuisine, while room service allows guests to dine in the comfort of their room. Set against the Aravalli Hills, Ananta Udaipur (DD38) in the western state of Rajasthan in India has the look of a fairytale about it. Nestled in generous gardens of lush greenery, on resort, two restaurants, a swimming pool, a children’s activity area and a beautiful spa and wellness
Ramada Resort Akbük DD39.
The Royal Blue Hotel & Spa Paphos DG78. centre ensures that all guest needs are catered for. Beyond the resort, Udaipur is a stately city built around several lakes and home to 11 royal palaces.
Helping you We want you, our members to enjoy planning your RCI holiday escapes and so we constantly review the tools we give you to help you to do this. Many members share their stories of wonderful RCI Exchange Holiday adventures in our Endless Vacation Magazine, and the one thing those happy members all have in common is a good understanding of how to use their membership to get away on the holidays they want and deserve. To be sure you are getting value from your RCI membership, visit the RCI.com help library 4 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
and look out for the growing number of fun, short and simple videos full of tips and guidance. Our animated characters will walk and talk you through the different stages of your RCI holiday planning and booking journey, from the introductory Welcome to RCI, to RCI Points Explained and RCI Weeks Explained videos, and more. If you feel you need a refresher in what RCI membership has to offer, take a few minutes to visit RCI.com/help-ae
CO M P E T I T I O N
Be a Star! Win $700 holiday spending money! How would you like to star in an RCI brochure or on RCI.com? You can make yourself into one of our stars very easily. All you have to do is send us photographs of magic holiday moments while out on a great getaway with RCI.
$700 holiday spending money
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TO ENTER: Send your favourite photographs of your RCI Exchange Holiday moments to us by 31 March 2018. Include your name, membership number, and a short description of what is pictured. Email: EV@RCI.com. Or write to: The Editor, Endless Vacation magazine, Kettering Parkway, Kettering, Northamptonshire, NN15 6EY, England. For terms and conditions visit rcitc2.com. Entrants must be 21 or over. Entry confirms the entrant’s agreement to be bound by the terms and conditions.
Kindle Fire HD8 worth $110
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Let others see what fabulous holidays you enjoy with RCI by sharing the wonderful moments you caught on camera with other RCI members who are looking for travel inspiration.
CONGRATULATIONS... Our thanks to everyone who entered the Endless Vacation Autumn/Winter 2017 competition. The lucky winners were Viola Engström from Sweden who won the first prize of a week’s holiday at Vigilia Park (2802) in Tenerife. In second place was Petteri Lahtinen from Finland who won a Kindle Fire HD8 and, taking third prize of two RCI trolley cases was Hermann Warstat of Germany.
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E GY P T
Holiday With a Difference T H E R E I S M O R E TO E GY P T T H A N G LO R I O U S C A R P E T S O F S A N D A N D AWA R D -W I N N I N G SCUBA DIVING. THERE ARE SOME LESSER K N OW N AT T R AC T I O N S A LO N G E GY P T â€™ S R E D S E A COA S T WO R T H D I S C OV E R I N G . BY LO R R A I N E LOV E L A N D
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ou may not think of spas or horseback rides when you think of Egypt, but look carefully at this holiday destination and you will be surprised by the variety of experiences it offers. Here are just some of the highlights of Hurghada, a 40-kilometre stretch of sparkling sea and stunning coral reefs, that make for a perfect holiday.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Hurghada Harbour. Take a boat trip. Massage tables overlooking the Red Sea. Making papyrus.
Seeking serenity If it’s serenity you seek, start at the Horas Spa in Hurghada, one of Egypt’s leading spa clubs. Book a Pharaoh massage - a full body stretching treatment using traditional therapy that has been part of Egyptian culture for centuries. Therapists practice the ancient dry massage by pulling, stretching and bending the muscles to relieve aches, pains and muscular tensions. Many treatments use black seed, believed in ancient times to be a herb capable of healing everything, except death. Book a late afternoon treatment to relax and unwind, ready for a restful evening. If you’re looking for real escape on your holiday, where better to go than out into the Red Sea? Hire a boat for the day with your own captain, and dive, swim and float about on the turquoise waters. Boat hire is popular and affordable, with diving boat rentals from as little as $300 per day. If you are travelling in a large group you can share the cost and go for a more luxurious boating experience. Sixhour excursions on a tour boat can be enjoyed for as little as $25 each, and you may get to swim with dolphins. Paper art Think of Egypt and you will think of the pyramids, the Nile and endless desert sands. You will find something very different at Selkhet Papyrus in Hurghada, where you will learn about the production of the world’s first paper. E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 7
The papyrus plant has grown on the banks of the River Nile for centuries and, for more than 3,000 years, the Egyptians exported papyrus to the ancient world. The museum here is the biggest papyrus gallery in Egypt and showcases intricate hieroglyphs and paintings - and you can watch today’s artists at work. Entry is free and the opulent building and its surrounds will impress on their own, as you pass through the museum to discover the beauty and wonder of such a simple but significant invention. Sunset sensations Horseback riding in the desert is starting to become more popular than camel rides! Horseriding Hurghada offers romantic horseback rides along the beach and into the Eastern Desert. A three-hour ride can take you and your horse for a refreshing trot into the sea. Mounted on a magnificent Arabian cross horse, with the breeze gently cooling your face, as you ride into a blazing orange sunset is an exhilarating experience. The rides vary in skill level, the experience, and the time out on your horse. From a forest tour to enjoy the shaded canopy of trees, to a Lawrence of Arabia-style horseback safari up into the mountains, this is a holiday experience it will be impossible to forget. A 4x4 drive safari is also an option. Visit a Bedouin village to learn about their life and traditions, before dining on a barbecue dinner under a glorious sunset, with a clear night sky bursting with stars as the finale. After dark, the 1001 Arabian Nights Dinner Show is a night of culture and performance. Learn about the life of the Pharaohs and Bedouins in stories 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
told through live music, belly dancing and horseback stunts in the Arabianthemed palace. This show is magical and dazzling. Desert dishes On the Old Sheraton Road, the Granada Restaurant features a cosy Egyptianstyled terrace overlooking the coast. Serving up an array of international cuisine, a combination of modern touches and cosy ambience make it easy to spend hours in the comfort of your surroundings. Why not visit for breakfast to start your day with sea views and the silky hot froth of a cappuccino? Simplicity defines Egyptian cuisine, with vegetables, rice and lentils traditionally having more of a starring role here than meats. Different regions will add their own local twist to the nation’s favourites. Ful wa Ta’meya - fava beans and falafel - is the go-to fast food dish here. The fava beans are simmered all night, while the falafel is mixed into a paste and fried for the perfect snack. If you dine in a local restaurant it won’t be long before you see baladi bread on the table. Considered a national staple, the whole-wheat flatbread is traditionally cooked in a wood-burning oven. It’s so tasty that it’s often eaten on its own, or as a side. It is delicious dipped in besarah, made from a combination of spices, peppers, dill, parsley, fava beans and leek. With lazy days spent in the spa, on the beaches or exploring the desert, there is much more to Hurghada than meets the eye. Always travel with an open mind and you will be enriched with new experiences.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Horseback riding in the sea is a memorable experience. Egyptian cuisine. Bedouin people at sunset. Taking tea at a Bedouin camp. A 4x4 safari adventure.
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STAY WHY NOT TRY ONE OF THESE RESORTS?
Samra Bay Hotel DD35
Lillyland Beach Club 3240
Zahabia Resort 3936
“If you are looking for a hotel with attention to detail, excellent customer service, cleanliness, great food, friendliness, great pool and beach, this is the hotel for you.”
“Resort located right on the Red Sea. Everything you need can be found on site in the resort. The ideal place for a relaxing holiday.”
Regina Beach 2392
Mirette Touristic Village 2420
Le Pacha Resort 5580
“Set in an excellent location in the centre of Hurghada.”
“Enjoyed using the on site facilities especially the swimming pool.”
“We experienced the highest standards of hospitality, with staff going out of their way to make our stay extra special.”
“Good location, lovely swimming pool and private beach access.”
RCI.com For more resort information, and to book. Or see page 3 for contact details
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AEGEAN ADVENTURE THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN, STRETCHING FROM GREEK SHORES TO THE TURKISH COAST, GUARANTEES SUNSHINE ALMOST EVERY DAY! BY D O N N A DAI LE Y
he Aegean is peppered with beautiful Greek islands set in a sparkling sea, with whitewashed houses tumbling down to the shores. Explore old-town lanes, and dine al fresco on fresh seafood and delicious local dishes at seaside tavernas. While Turkey, with its oriental roots and Islamic culture, adds a touch of the exotic. Temperatures heat up in May and stay warm right through October, so you can enjoy the best beaches while avoiding the high-season crowds. Whether you choose the islands or the coast, the Aegean resorts offer relaxing holidays with lots of activities to add interest.
Skiathos Further north, the island of Skiathos is one of the most popular in Greece. Beautiful beaches are the attraction. There are more than 60 of them, ranging from turquoise coves to long, sandy beaches. Since the island is small and easy to get around, you can try a different beach every day of your holiday. Nostos Beach is a favourite for its relaxed vibe and clear, warm waters. Sandy Koukounaries Beach, in the southwest, is one of the island’s largest and among the top-rated beaches in Greece. It competes with striking Lalaria Beach, its white pebbles backed by steep cliffs on the north coast, as the island’s best.
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ABOVE LEFT: One of the pretty streets in Skiathos. ABOVE RIGHT: Lalaria Beach, Skiathos.
Skiathos Town, is a pretty place with its red-tiled roofs and whitewashed houses set between two hills. Stroll along the waterfront, browsing the boutiques and craft shops, or wander the streets of the old quarter. After dark, its lively restaurants make for a fun night out. Catch an excursion boat at the port to see three magnificent sea caves that lie south of Skiathos Town. You can also sail round the island, or to the medieval fortress of Kástro, where you can see the remains of the old island capital. The neighbouring island of Alonnisos can be visited by boat as a day trip. The national marine park here is a shelter for dolphins, seals and rare sea birds. The interior of Skiathos is worth exploring. Back roads and hiking trails wind through olive groves into the pine-covered hills. Skiathos has several monasteries, as well as old churches; many are decorated with fine frescoes. Panagía Kounístra monastery is worth a visit for its splendid
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view. From here you can see the entire coastline of this lovely island. Turkey Choosing a holiday spot in Turkey, with its winding coastline and many resorts, isn’t easy. Edremit, which lies almost directly east of Skiathos across the Aegean Sea, is a perfect introduction to this fascinating country. Lying at the foot of the Kaz Mountains, the beach resorts are dotted along the Bay of Edremit, set apart by its greenery. The district is covered in pine forests, which are cool retreats from the summer sun. Kazdaği National Park is the place for explorers. It surrounds Mount Ida, one of two sacred Greek mountains of the same name - the other is in Crete. Hikes along lush trails will take you past waterfalls and to relaxing shady picnic grounds. There are still traces of the ancient world in the old villages of Oren, Altinoluk and Güre. A two-hour drive along the coast
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK (5), ALAMY (1).
TOP: Temple of Trajan in the ancient city of Pergamon. ABOVE LEFT: Bay of Edremit. ABOVE RIGHT: Natural pond in Mount Ida National Park, Turkey.
brings you to the tranquil Temple of Athena and ancient theatre at Assos, with stunning views out to sea. The ruins of Truva (Troy) and Bergama (Pergamon) are also within striking distance. Along with beautiful scenery, the mountains have blessed Edremit with fresh air and thermal springs. The resorts around GĂźre feature thermal pools of natural
mineral waters. The thermal springs have been places of healing since ancient times. According to legend, Mount Ida was the site of the worldâ€™s first beauty contest, where Aphrodite was crowned queen. Perhaps the ancient gods had it right in their choice of lofty domains. Whether Crete or Edremit, they left us with two heavenly places to enjoy.
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Portugal and Madeira are known for their wonderful beaches, but look beyond them to find fascinating histories and cultures.
ust the sand off your feet and put on your walking shoes - Portugalâ€™s Algarve and island of Madeira have more to offer than endless golden sands. The Algarve There is plenty to discover within the forts, castles and cathedrals of the Algarve. Walk around Silves the former capital of the Algarve and step back into the world of the Moors, who invaded the region in 713AD.
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Domed buildings and archways dominate the townâ€™s architecture. The real treasure of Silves is its castle, with red sandstone walls, sitting on a hill high above the Arade River. Parts of the castle date back to the 8th century. After the Christians won Silves back from the Moors, the castle served as the seat of the provincial governor until the middle of the 16th century and then the towers were used as a prison for some years.
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK (14).
BY SAR AH LEE
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Silves Castle. Hands of Fatima door knocker. Silves Cathedral.
Just a few hundred metres from the castle, the 15th century cathedral is a Gothic beauty of stark white walls contrasting dramatically with red sandstone windows and doorways. An earthquake struck Silves in 1755 destroying part of the cathedral’s nave. When the building was repaired, its simple Gothic façade was replaced with Rococo elements, but 20th century renovations returned the building to a more Medieval style. Just a 35-minute drive from Silves is Lagos. This ancient maritime town was occupied by the Moors in the 8th century, who established the town’s important trade links. Thick city walls hide a charming old town centre. Visit the Castelo dos Governadores, or Governor’s Castle, which is entered by a gate
in the town walls and not obviously a ‘castle’. The information around the walls tells the story of the town’s rise to prominence. Today this area is lovely for a stroll, taking you into the streets of the old town, where you will find a fantastic variety of boutiques, traditional shops and dining experiences. Across from Castelo dos Governadores, from the Forte Ponta da Bandeira, you will have fabulous views out over the bay. From its roof, it is easy to imagine the town’s harbour as it used to be in the 15th century, when it was the starting point for Portugal’s naval expeditions during the nation’s Age of Discoveries. There are some interesting sculptures and an armoury within the fort and you can walk into Lagos town or go over the
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hill to Praia Porto da Mos. Praia Porto da Mos, with its two beach bars and restaurants, is the ideal place to take some time out after exploring. There is a place for everyone on this beautiful beach and many say it is at its best at sunset – a perfect end to your day. Madeira Sitting 590 miles from the shores of the Algarve, Madeira was claimed by Portuguese sailors in the service of Henry the Navigator in 1419, and is considered the first great find of Portugal’s Age of Discovery. Madeira is famous for its green hillsides and natural beauty, especially in the springtime when the island shows off its floral finery with a blooming extravaganza. The annual Flower Festival, held 7-13 April, is a celebration of Madeira’s natural wonder. Its capital, Funchal, sees thousands of children in floral dress flock to Praça do Município to build the Wall of Hope, a spectacular mural of flowers. The next day, floats adorned with flowers take part in the Flower Parade. The streets of Funchal are filled with sweet perfumes while artists
FROM TOP: Lagos Governor’s Castle. Lagos’ lively old town. The domes and arches of the Moors. Lagos, looking out to sea.
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create floral carpets and shops compete for the most beautifully decorated windows. This blaze of colour symbolises rebirth and the joy of springtime like nowhere else on earth. Other colourful festivities on the island include Festas do Funchal and Festas da Sé, held from 27 May to 6 June. The Atlantic Festival takes place throughout June and is a cultural and fun-packed event, consisting of the Madeira Music Festival, the International Fireworks Competition and street performances. You can’t visit Madeira without sampling its wine and the Madeira Wine Festival takes place in early September, starting at Estreito de Camara de Lobos with the grape harvest, and spreading to Funchal with a folklore celebration. Why not see the year out with a bang and pencil Madeira into your diary for next New Year’s Eve? The city’s seafront promenade has become a viewing point for a spectacular firework display. Each year more than 100,000 people gather in the city to watch the fireworks in a big New Year carnival, with bands, dancing, music and street parades.
GOA DELIGHTS: 1. Narrow streets lined with colourful houses, terracottaroofed mansions - Panaji. 2. Market traders. 3. Spices galore - Anjuna Flea Market. 4. Anjuna Flea Market. 5. Baga beach. 6. A Portugese influence in Panaji city.
FROM TOP: Bird of Paradise plant is native to Madeira. Funchal Cathedral. Flower Festival. The verdant hillsides of Madeira.
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STAY WHY NOT TRY ONE OF THESE RESORTS?
Oasis Village 1145
Clube Albufeira Resort Algarve 2414
Clube Praia da Oura 2734
MEMBER REVIEW: “A nice resort, in a quiet, pleasant location. Take advantage of the free shuttle that takes you straight to the Marina in Vilamoura.”
MEMBER REVIEW: “Top quality resort in a good location for the Algarve. Good transport links to explore further.”
MEMBER REVIEW: “Very close to beautiful beaches and a great choice in beachfront bars and restaurants.”
Alto Lido of Madeira 1883
Pestana Palms 2829
Pestana Village 3725
MEMBER REVIEW: “Comfortable room, with good basic facilities and a lovely sea view from the balcony.”
MEMBER REVIEW: “Delightful seafront resort with direct access to sea and outdoor pool.”
EMBER REVIEW: “This is a very M comfortable resort, with friendly staff, set in an amazing garden.”
RCI.com Or see page 3 for contact details.
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A Year in the Life of an RCI Platinum Member Ever wondered what our highest tier membership has to offer? Travel with peace of mind Track your luggage, wallet and keys wherever you are in the world through MyTAG.
Capture holiday memories Enjoy exclusive discounted rates with Branded Memories’ selection of photo books and albums. It’s the perfect way to share your holiday memories.
Save with Member Rewards You’ll be rewarded with up to $31 on selected RCI bookings every time you book. Use the credit that you have built up on your account to use on future purchases.
Upgrade for just $74 at RCI.com Terms and conditions: RCI reserves the right to amend the benefits available. Some benefits may be subject to availability. Please visit www.aboutrci.co.uk/platinum/terms. RCI Platinum is not available to RCI Lite members.
Explore Europe with RCI Extra Holidays from only $469 per week
Take a look at three of our fabulous European resorts, just waiting to be discovered. Availability is limited so hurry and book today! Remember, you don’t need to use your weeks or points to book these holidays. Available March - December 2018
HAMPSHIRE – ENGLAND
GRUNDLSEE/ STEIERMARK - AUSTRIA
ADEJE – TENERIFE
Macdonald Elmers Court Resort (0644)
Ferienclub Grundlsee Mondi (2578)
Apartamentos Tropical Park (2403)
Visit RCI.com or call +2 0 224635500 (Arabic and English) 80004442357 (Arabic - UAE residents only) 80004442354 (English - UAE residents only) to book *No week deposit/exchange or points required. Extra Holidays are accommodation only and do not include travel or any other expenses. Not all resorts are available for all months in 2018 - for up-to-date availability visit RCI.com. All prices are rounded to the nearest currency and are subject to change. Details correct as of 02.01.2018 but are subject to change and availability which may be limited during peak times and school holidays. All bookings are subject to availability and Terms of Membership, booking conditions apply. We reserve the right to amend, withdraw or extend this offer without notice. For full terms and conditions including pricing, please visit rcitc2.com
RCI Europe Endless Vacation member magazine