SPRING / SUMMER 2018
SPRING / SUMMER 2015
P L AY | E AT | S H O P | R E L AX | E X P LO R E
Bold Copy: Non-bold copy PG. 88
P L AY | E AT | S H O P | R E L AX | E X P LO R E
WHAT OUR GUIDES LOVE
ABOUT FINLAND, HUNGARY, ITALY AND SCOTLAND
TENERIFE A YEAR OF EVENTS NOT TO COVER LINES MISS IN 2018 THIN BOLD MEMBERS SHARE COVER LINES UNIQUE FLORIDA LIGHT BOLD EXPERIENCES COVER LINES BOOK BOLD
Experience the taste of the high life with tastecard+ With an RCI Platinum membership, your benefits go beyond holiday extras! Tastecard+ is your one-stop-shop for great savings on lifestyle benefits at home. Enjoy 50% off your food bill or 2 for 1 meals in over 6,500 national restaurants, including your favourite chains such as Pizza Express and Prezzo, as well as offers at some of the UK’s best luxury dining spots.
It doesn’t stop there, tastecard+ offers so much more than great dining! Take a break and save up to 70% on hotel bookings nationwide Make the most of your weekends with up to 60% off theatre, live music, comedy and cinema tickets Experience great days out, whether it’s spa breaks or theme park visits, save up to 50%.
Start living the high life and upgrade today for just £50 at RCI.com
Terms and conditions: RCI reserves the right to vary or amend benefits available. Some Platinum benefits may be subject to availability. Please visit http://aboutrci.co.uk/platinum/terms/ for full terms and conditions. RCI Platinum is not available to RCI Lite members.
IS THE OFFICIAL TRAVEL PUBLICATION OF RCI
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND PUBLICATIONS
Claire Williams EDITOR
Helen Foster EDITORIAL AND PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE
In planning your first Endless Vacation magazine of 2018, we kicked off by talking to our members to find out what they loved so much about their holidays with RCI. So this issue of your magazine is all about sharing that love! On page 27, RCI members, Margaret and Charles Burnell, introduce us to their family members Dale and Gilmour Walker who are delighted to share how much they enjoy staying in timeshare accommodation, after being gifted an RCI Guest Certificate. Buying family and friends a Guest Certificate is a great way to holiday with a group, knowing that you will all be comfortable in your own space while away together. Florida is an iconic destination when you think theme parks. However, three RCI member couples describe how, after 20 years of taking the children off to see Mickey, they are now discovering a fabulous lifestyle beyond the thrill rides. Turn to page 38 to learn what it is about Orlando that keeps these couples coming back for some grown-up fun. Who hasn’t dreamt of cruising the world’s oceans? RCI member, Pat Anstead, is a big fan of RCI Cruise & Resort Holidays. It is fascinating to learn from her what aspects of holidaying on the ocean waves she loves so much, and how cruising has introduced her to some exciting new destinations. Meet Pat on page 62, and learn more about how to use your RCI membership to set sail on your next getaway! In our cover feature on page 16, we asked our Guides to walk you through their insider tips about the holiday destinations they love to visit. They bring together some interesting insights on destinations in Scotland, Hungary, Finland and Italy. All that remains is to wish you the happiest of holidays throughout 2018.
Helen Foster, Editor EV@RCI.com
EDITOR’S PICK: Landal GreenParks, page 32.
4 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
Helen Gurney DESIGN TEAM
Charlotte Semark Ginny Knight Trevor Lewis MARKETING MANAGERS
Shelley Burton Jo Smith PROGRAMME MANAGERS
Rachael Noam Sonal Chauhan CAMPAIGN MANAGERS
Gemma Gregory Leia Unwin MARKETING EXECUTIVES
Danielle Millar Rebecca West COVER PHOTO
Northern Lights, Finland
The paper contained within this publication is sourced from chain-of-custody certified suppliers, to ensure sustainable production. Please recycle. Endless Vacation, The RCI Magazine, is published twice a year by RCI Europe. Original articles and contributions may be reproduced or transmitted only with written permission from the Publisher. No responsibility is accepted by RCI Europe for any losses or other consequences resulting from advertisements or other material appearing in this publication. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in Endless Vacation, no responsibility can be accepted for errors or omissions. Information is correct at time of going to press (January 2018). RCI Europe reserves the right to accept or reduce advertisements at its discretion without assigning any reason for doing so. All offers are subject to terms and conditions, and limited availability. © RCI Europe 2018. For full terms and conditions visit rcitc2.com
Spring / Summer
CONTENTS F E AT U R E S
WHAT OUR GUIDES LOVE... Hear what our Guides say about the way they holiday...
GIVE THE GIFT OF A HOLIDAY One of many fantastic benefits available to you, as an RCI Member
ENCHANTING ESCAPES WITH LANDAL GREENPARKS Bring your family together to enjoy the great outdoors
THE BEST OF FLORIDA Enjoy the laid-back vibes of Florida
TENERIFE 2018 YEAR OF CELEBRATION Calendar of 2018 events in Tenerife
AEGEAN ADVENTURE Inspiring holiday highlights, from Greek shores to the Turkish coast
HOME FROM HOME HOLIDAYS Love Home Swap is a wonderful way to holiday
LOVING CRUISE AND STAY RCI members were delighted to discover great-value cruise holidays
I N E AC H I S S U E
4 6 7 10
EDITOR’S NOTE WELCOME NEWS COMPETITION E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 5
Welcome We start the New Year with an exciting new holiday opportunity for you... Love Home Swap has joined the RCI family giving you access to the popular home swap programme. See news story and page 58 to find out more about this great new way to holiday. 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! As an RCI member, with a little forward planning, you will get those special holidays that set your timeshare holiday lifestyle apart from the hotel room experience. Remember, our Holiday Exchange programme is dynamic, with resort availability changing by the hour, so visit RCI.com regularly and use our ongoing search facility. For inspiration, please check out the holiday hot spots selected for this issue. 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. Wherever you travel, live in the moment and get the most from every minute
We are growing our RCI family with the acquisition of Love Home Swap, a company that allows its members to swap their homes and holiday homes with one another. We are delighted to be able to offer you a 14-day free trial and 70% discount on a Love Home Swap membership so you can use your properties to give you even greater holiday choice. It’s simple. Start with the Love Home Swap property directory to see what you like, then post a description of your home, with photographs, to tell other members what you have to offer. The conversation begins and swaps are agreed, using the secure site. Because you can swap your home for points to be used when you choose, you don’t need to swap on the same dates with your match. See page 58 to hear from Love Home Swap members, how it works for them and to get more details about your discounted membership.
Andy Liggins, Vice President Operations, RCI Europe, Middle East and Africa
LHS home in Phuket.
THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING RCI Visit RCI.com
or call us today!
MEMBER SERVICES: 0845 60 86 380 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
RCI TRAVEL: 0845 60 86 121
N E WS
Watch & Learn It’s the start of the year and a good time to check your RCI account to start planning to get the best holidays out of your timeshare ownership. To help you on your way, we have packed RCI.com with direction and ideas as to how to use your RCI membership and make it work for you and your family. 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 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 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, to help you get away on your perfect holiday escape. Maybe you can have more weeks away than you thought, or holiday in an extra-special place you never dreamed your weeks or points could take you. Be sure you are getting real value from RCI membership by visiting RCI.com/weekshelpuk or RCI.com/pointshelpuk to view the videos now.
The collapse of UK airline, Monarch, last year uncovered some alarming failings in the travel insurance cover afforded by many policies. It was found that a significant number of insurers, including some of the big names, refused to provide cover for ‘scheduled airline failure’, leaving thousands of holidaymakers without flights to or back from their holiday destinations. RCI Travel† has that covered for RCI members. Policy provider, CTS, provides indemnity against travel company failure, as long as it is trading with ATOL protection. The ATOL programme is designed to protect customers against company failure, ensuring that they do not get stranded overseas or lose their holiday booking money. Economic uncertainty is something we are learning to live with, but you can reduce the risks by making sure your travel insurance covers the failure of your chosen airline - especially if you have booked peak travel time flights which will be expensive to replace at the last minute. T&Cs: †RCI Travel is operated by ICE Europe Limited (ICE), trading as Our Holiday Centre, using the name RCI Travel under licence from RCI Europe. For full T&Cs visit rcitc2.com
Changed your contact details recently? Update your email, phone numbers and address on your account on RCI.com or give us a call - to be sure you receive all your RCI news and special offers.
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 7
N E WS
Love, Like, Share How often do you search the internet for decorating ideas, recipes, gardening tips? Given a cup of tea or glass of wine - and a little down time - it is a pleasure to meander through the internet window on the world to see what others are doing with their homes, dinners and gardens. Holidays are just made for internet browsing and we have built an online platform especially for you. Our Blog was created as a central place where our members and staff could come together to share their ideas and top tips about the many different ways they love to holiday. Better yet - Our Blog also carries information which is specific to timeshare holidays and to RCI membership, so if you love your timeshare, Our Blog is the place for you to go on RCI.com for great ideas on how to get the most out of it. Our Blog is built around three categories. Experiences is the category where you will find out how others are
holidaying, sharing tips and highlights on many different destinations, festivals and activities to be enjoyed. Click onto About RCI to learn more about your RCI Holiday Exchange programme, together with the many additional lifestyle benefits you enjoy as an RCI member. In the Timeshare Advice category, as you might imagine, you will find advice on issues such as selling timeshare and consumer protection. Please visit rci.com/blog for your timeshare holiday inspiration and remember to help spread the word by liking and sharing the blogs on your own Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or email the link, to build a lively community. If you have had an RCI Exchange Holiday that you loved so much you feel you want to share your own story, we can help you to turn it into a blog! Just email us the details along with any supporting pictures to EV@rci.com
Easy pay & play Weâ€™re pleased to be able to tell you that we are making life easier for our valued RCI Platinum members by giving them a Direct Debit payment option. With a membership that is always up-to-date, you can be sure that you will never miss out on any special offers from RCI and, importantly, you will always be ready to book your RCI Exchange Holiday whenever you want. And to make things even simpler, you can manage your Direct Debit online at RCI.com, where you can also set up your Direct Debit payment.* *You must be within two years of the expiry date of your membership to set up Direct Debit payments. Eligibility rules apply.
8â€‚SPRING / SUMMER 2018
CO M P E T I T I O N
Be a Star! 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 and you could WIN one of these great prizes. FIRST PRIZE
7-night holiday at Club Las Calas (1448) in Lanzarote worth up to £535, PLUS £1,000 spending money! You’ll spend a fabulous 7 nights staying in a one-bedroom apartment at the stunning resort, Club Las Calas in Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote. The resort has benefitted from a lavish multi-million euro apartment upgrade. The apartment sleeps up to four people (privacy 2) and comes with a fully-equipped kitchen.
A Kindle Fire HD8 with 8’’ HD Display and WiFi worth £89.99
Amazon vouchers worth £50 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.
Submit your pictures by 18 April 2018.
Visit RCI.com/blog to see how others are sharing their memorable holidays. *For full terms and conditions please visit rcitc2.com. Entrants must be 21 or over and must be RCI members. Entry confirms participant’s agreement to be bound by the terms and conditions. Competition is governed by English law. 1 AU T U M N / W I N T E R 2 0 1 7
CO M P E T I T I O N
About Club Las Calas resort
This RCI Gold Crown resort offers a great location to explore Lanzarote’s popular seaside town of Puerto del Carmen. The resort boasts four swimming pools, a children’s club, leisure centre with a gym and a mini shop. There is a restaurant and separate entertainment bar offering nightly entertainment. With a brilliant animations programme, there is always lots to do if you ever get tired of relaxing in the beautiful Canarian sunshine. Las Calas offers a great holiday experience for all the family.
HOW TO ENTER Visit facebook.com/RCI and post your favourite photo along with a caption telling us where it was taken and why it was so memorable. Email us at EV@RCI.com
Upload your photos anytime year-round to: tinyurl.com/rcimemories Write to: The Editor, RCI Europe, Kettering Parkway, Kettering, NN15 6EY, England, UK.
Prize must be booked by 31st December 2018 and travel must take place before 31st March 2019. Booking dates are subject to availability. Prize cannot be exchanged for cash or any other alternative.
CO M P E T I T I O N
Why I I ve my Timeshare Competition Winners! Thanks to everyone who took part in our Endless Vacation Autumn/Winter 2017 competition. The winner of the Why I Love My Timeshare competition was Lindsey Cope from Kilgetty, Wales. Her photograph of her family at Ona Cala Pi Club in Mallorca was the judges’ favourite. Lindsey wins a seven-night stay at the Pearly Grey Ocean Club resort (1786) in Tenerife, plus £1,000 spending money.
2 The runner up was Peter Stephens from Leicester who wins a Kindle Fire HD8.
3 In third place, is Lewis Williams from Gwynedd who wins £50 in Amazon vouchers.
Don’t miss out on our latest competition! You could be spending seven nights in the superb Club Las Calas (1448) in Lanzarote’s Puerto del Carmen, known for its Blue Flag beaches, PLUS £1,000 to spend on your holiday. Turn to page 10 to enter.
N E WS
Fabulous New Resorts To keep things fresh and exciting for our members, here at RCI we work hard to add new resorts to our Resort Directory to ensure we give you the widest choice of holiday destinations of any exchange programme. This is why, each year, we add a selection of new resorts to our exchange programme. Here’s a selection of our latest additions for you to consider for your next holiday.
The Ananta Udaipur (DB39) The Ananta Udaipur in India is nestled at the bottom of the beautiful Aravalli Range and spread over 75 acres of lush grounds, with stunning views of the surrounding area. Accommodation is in contemporary villas. It’s great for both couples looking for a romantic
getaway, and also families, having a large outdoor pool which takes centre stage, as well as a gym, games room and spa to keep you busy. As it is just a short drive from the City of Lakes, it’s ideally situated for exploring the spectacular landscapes or relaxing at the resort.
Royal Blue Hotel & Spa Paphos (DG78) An indoor heated pool and four outdoor pools, tennis courts and a gym are all available to enjoy at the Royal Blue Hotel & Spa Paphos. Situated over 200 metres above sea level, the views over 12 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
Paphos Bay are second to none. The main town is a short drive away where you’ll find a wide range of attractions and eateries, with something for everyone’s tastes.
N E WS
Samra Bay Hotel (DD35) Days can be spent soaking up the rays by one of two pools, or enjoying the resort’s own private beach, at Samra Bay Hotel in Egypt. If a break from the scorching sun is what you need, then have a pamper session in the resort’s luxurious spa centre. Located in the heart of Hurghada, Samra Bay is just a few minutes’ walk from the town’s lovely marina, which is lined with restaurants and bars. The resort is very close to several top diving sites too, if you want to appreciate the local marine life.
Holiday Club Turun Caribia (DD34) The Holiday Club Turun Caribia in Finland is an excellent base for a family holiday, as it boasts a large spa that includes an indoor pool with slides, and a huge pirate ship for the children to enjoy. There’s also a large adventure park next door that will keep the young and young at heart entertained. The resort also has several restaurants to cater for all palates, as well as a sports bar where you can all enjoy a refreshing drink or two after a busy day.
Ramada Resort Akbük (DD39) Ramada Resort Akbük in Turkey is located at the end of a long bay, benefitting from incredible views. The surrounding area is rich in history and is perfect for explorers. After a day of sightseeing the nearby ruins of the Temple of Apollo, the on-site spa offers a wide range of treatments to help you to unwind. There are also many sporting activities and pools with waterslides in the resort, should you fancy staying around the pool and simply soaking up the sun. E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 1 3
RCI Extra Holidays Go on, treat yourself! Everyone deserves an extra break each year and, as an RCI member, you can make the most of RCI Extra Holidays in addition to your Exchange. Whether it’s a family getaway to Tenerife or a much-needed, indulgent escape to Portugal, we’ve got a holiday to match all budgets and experiences. Take a look at these resorts that are just waiting to be discovered.
Club Monte Anfi (7515)
Macdonald Monchique (DH74)
Macdonald Doña Lola Resort (1689)
£589 per week
*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. All prices are rounded to the nearest pound and are subject to change.
Macdonald Plas Talgarth Resort (1846)
Macdonald Forest Hill Hotel & Spa (0324)
Macdonald Elmers Court Resort (0644)
Ferienclub Grundlsee - Mondi (2578)
Ferienclub Oberstaufen - Mondi (2029)
Las Terrazas de Cala Codolar (2727)
Apartmentos Tropical Park (2403)
Anezina Village (4806)
Royal Blue Hotel & Spa Paphos (DG78)
March to December 2018 Visit RCI.com or call 0845 60 86 111 to book Details correct as of 24/1/18 but 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
AU R O R A B O R E A L I S L I G H T S U P F I N L A N D.
What Our M O U N T V E S U V I U S K E E P S WATC H OV E R N A P L E S , I TA LY.
16 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
T H E S U N S E T S OV E R L A K E B A L ATO N , H U N G A RY.
BY N ATA S H A H E G A R T Y
T H E I CO N I C Q U E E N â€™ S V I E W, S COT L A N D.
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 1 7
Finland in the summer RCI Guide Sarianne Kauppi tells us how exciting Lapland can be once the snow has melted, with all the wonderful activities that are on offer in the summer months.
SPECTACULAR VIEWS: (clockwise from top left) Sarianne and her family on holiday in Finland. Sunset over lakeland countryside. The Cathedral in Turku. Reindeer calf grazing in the sunshine. Midnight sunshine. Karelian pies (karjalanpiirakat). (background) Aurora Borealis.
18 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
PHOTOS: MARJ ANDERSON (1), FABIO MOTTAREALE (2), SARIANNE KAUPPI (2), SHUTTERSTOCK (17), ALAMY (5), VISIT FINLAND (3): VASTAVALO/ANNE SAARINEN, TIMO OKSANEN, ASKO KUITTINEN).
Lapland is traditionally thought of as a winter destination for the likes of skiing, visiting Santa Claus and the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), but it is also very nice to visit in the summer as well. It’s light for 24 hours in the summer months thanks to the incredible natural phenomenon of the midnight sun, which means there’s lots more time to make the most of your holiday. There are quite a few hills and mountains in Lapland that are perfect for hiking and walking when it is warmer. I recently stayed in western Lapland at Holiday Club Ylläs 1 resort (2418), it is well placed for appreciating the lovely landscapes in the area. There are a lot of National Parks in Finland, especially in the north, that are great for those who want to immerse themselves in the country’s beautiful nature and Lapland is a perfect place to explore some of them. In the summer, it’s a relaxed way of life in Finland, and you are free to just enjoy your holiday at your own pace and take your time to look around. When the snow has melted, you can still go up on the ski lifts to take advantage of the beautiful panoramic views. On my last trip, I took the gondola lift up to Ylläs Mountain, which is the second biggest in Finland, standing at an impressive 718 metres tall - and the views were breathtaking. While exploring and enjoying the local wildlife, you might even spot a reindeer or two wandering around, they don’t just come out at Christmas time! If you want to give your legs a bit of a rest from all the hiking, many resorts are situated on the banks of one of Finland’s several beautiful lakes, and they are very relaxing places to enjoy your holiday. You can hire rowing boats and canoes or even
go for a refreshing swim in the lake if it’s warm enough, which is a great way to wind down and relax. While you’re in Finland, make sure you try lots of the delicious local foods! Some of the best include Karelian pies (karjalanpiirakat) which are rice-filled pasties, slathered with lashings of butter. Rye bread (ruisleipä) made from sour dough is another must try if you’ve never tasted it before, as everyone eats it in Finland and it will be found on most menus. For those who have a sweet tooth, salty liquorice (salmiakki) might be an acquired taste, but it’s one of the country’s most popular sweets. For a change of pace, in the south west, there is an old and beautiful city called Turku. There’s a river - the Aura - that runs through the city and there are old moored up boats that have been converted into bars and restaurants that make for a very different dining experience! There are plenty of historic sites for those who want to get a real feel for Finland’s interesting past. Turku is one of the oldest cities in Finland, and the former capital when Finland was under Swedish rule. There’s an old castle at one end of the River Aura, and a beautiful cathedral you can walk around at the other, that I’d especially recommend. It really is a lovely city to visit in the warmer months. Turku is too far away from Lapland for just a day trip, but it would be perfect to visit for a couple of nights to really get the most out of it and see all the beautiful surroundings. By using RCI Travel you could arrange a two-centre break and enjoy everything the historic city has to offer, as well as exploring the beautiful National Parks of Lapland, all in one unforgettable holiday. E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 1 9
Luxurious Lake Balaton Szilvia Paar and Tamas Galdi are RCI’s expert Guides for Hungary and know all the best places to ensure you get the most out of your trip. Here, they explain why the Lake Balaton area is the perfect holiday destination for everyone.
YEAR-ROUND DELIGHTS: (clockwise from top left) Tamas and Szilvia take a quick break from answering your calls. Turquoise waters of Lake Balaton. Steam rising off the thermal Lake Hévíz. Ice skating on Lake Balaton. Sunset at a vineyard overlooking Lake Balaton. Fisherman soup (halászlé). (background) Traditional Hungarian embroidery.
20 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
Many people think Lake Balaton is simply a spa region that is aimed at the more mature tourists, but it is so much more than that. Families will love holidays here as there are lots of activities for younger people to enjoy. Lake Balaton is one of the biggest lakes in Europe, being over 50-miles long and 8-miles wide. The surrounding area boasts some great cycle paths and walking routes, if you’re looking to get out and explore the nearby countryside. Even though Hungary is not a coastal country, staying at Lake Balaton makes a great alternative to a beach holiday as it is quite a special place. You will feel as though you’re actually at the seaside because during high season sand is taken to the lakeside, turning it into an artificial beach for a few months. So water sports, such as sailing and rowing, can be enjoyed before a nice relaxing sunbathing session on the sand, or building sandcastles with the children. In the winter, the lake freezes over spectacularly, giving you the chance to ice skate on it. And of course, when you’ve finished all that sunbathing (or ice skating), there’s one of Hungary’s most famous activities to enjoy: wine tasting. You really must try the wine in this region, because it’s some of the best you’ll taste. Visitors love a wine tour. All of the bigger wine cellars offer tours where they show you around cellars and vineyards, as well as talk about the history and the wine production. The best part is when they offer you a taste of several different types of wine to try, with some snacks to go with it. It is an intoxicating way to spend an afternoon or two. We can’t possibly talk about the local wine, without mentioning the delicious Hungarian
cuisine that you can’t leave without tasting. There are so many national dishes it’s hard to recommend just a few, but we’ll give it a go! You can find a lot of white meat in Hungary such as deer, wild boar or fresh-water fish. Another favourite is soup - fisherman soup (halászlé) and pea soup (borsóleves) are both traditional and very tasty. Pancakes are also a staple on the Hungarian menu and there are so many different toppings to choose from. Eating out is very reasonably priced, so it is worth making the most of it by having meals at lots of different restaurants and trying as much of the local food as possible! If you’re looking to indulge in a bit of spa time (which is an absolute must when you visit Hungary), we can recommend the perfect place. On the western end of Lake Balaton is the beautiful Lake Hévíz, which is the largest thermal lake in Europe. It is a famous spa region and people now bring their children to experience the thermal lake. Bathing in the healing waters is said to be medicinal for those who suffer from rheumatic illnesses, though, the warm water is relaxing for anyone who wants to let the soothing water do its job. There really isn’t anywhere else like it. After a long soak in Lake Hévíz, enjoy one of the several specialist luxurious massages that the spa has to offer - it will be a perfect end to a superb day. You’ll leave Hévíz feeling very relaxed, refreshed and ready for some more exploring. There are plenty of lively activities close by, with clubs, pubs and lots of restaurants to round the day off with. Whether you like an outdoors, active holiday or the slower, more leisurely pace of life, you’ll always find something fun to do in Hungary.
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 2 1
ITALIAN ESCAPE: (clockwise from top left) Fabio on the slopes on Piani di Bobbio. Lake Como. Sfogliatella. Procida Harbour. Waterfall at the Royal Palace at Caserta. (background) Devotional fresco, Majolica Cloister of Santa Chiara, Naples.
Escape to Italy Whatever you’re looking for in a holiday, Italy has it. Fabio Mottareale is RCI’s market lead for Italy, and he has some great tips for enjoying two very different areas of this beautiful country.
22 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
Italy isn’t only my home country, but my favourite holiday destination. Throughout the years, it has been in the top 10 most visited countries worldwide and it’s easy to see why. Italy has lots to offer in terms of arts, history, cultural entertainment, food, seaside and mountain resorts. This is particularly true for two of my favourite destinations: Naples and Lake Como. A visit to Naples is an absolute must, particularly in the summer as it’s so beautiful. The city stretches itself between the Tyrrhenian Sea and Mount Vesuvius, and despite being the largest city in the south of Italy it still offers a cosy and familiar atmosphere. Lots of different cultures influenced its development throughout history - Greek, Roman, Spanish, Arabic and French - and this fusion of worlds is still visible in the multiple churches, monasteries, squares and monuments that are to be found in the area. Naples is a city full of extreme contrasts blended together in a unique way and there are many sights I’d recommend you see. Firstly, Giuseppe Sanmartino’s unmissable masterpiece, the Veiled Christ (Cristo Velato) at the Cappella Sansevero is just wonderful. Similarly, The National Archaeological Museum of Naples hosts one of the world’s finest collections of Greek and Roman vases and frescoes, so you really should take some time out of the sun to see those. The Spaccanapoli is an ancient road that runs right through the middle of the city centre and is a truly wonderful sight. Naples’ main square (Piazza del Plebiscito) faces the sea and is a great place to walk around and people watch. If you’re looking to indulge in some welldeserved retail therapy in between discovering Naples’ fascinating history, the Vomero District and the Galleria Umberto I, are both great shopping hubs for designer brands, as well as more affordable and high-quality deals. Naples is, of course the home of one of Italy’s
most famous foods - the Pizza Margherita. Two of the best restaurants to get a slice or two are Pizzeria Da Michele and the Pizzeria Sorbillo, as long as you are prepared to get a ticket and face a long queue - but the wait is definitely worth it. Another absolute must try dish while you’re in the city is the Sfogliatella, a delicious ricottafilled pastry that you’ll find in the famous Pintauro restaurant, and don’t forget to stop off for an espresso in the historic Caffé Gambrinus to keep you going! Aside from the world-famous Amalfi coast, the archaeological sites of Pompeii and Ercolano are really amazing to explore, and are only around 20 miles away from the centre of Naples, so easily accessible for a day trip. For those who have more than a few days available to spend in Naples, the islands of Capri, Ischia (a volcanic island with thermal spas) and Procida are also worth a visit. As I’m also a ski-lover, Lake Como is the destination where I travel with my family every winter and is a fabulous location for skiing. Other well-renowned ski destinations nearby are Piani di Bobbio, Madesimo and Livigno. I also recommend taking time out to visit some of the beautiful historic sites that Lake Como has to offer. The gothic Cathedral, built in the 14th century on ancient Roman ruins is a beautiful building. The Voltiano Temple, showcasing the work of the first electric battery inventor, Alessandro Volta, is very interesting and showcases a piece of important history. The numerous villas built along the lake, such as Villa Carlotta, Villa Olmo and Villa del Balbianello are lovely to see. They’re more like huge stately homes that you can walk around and admire the beautiful art, or take a stroll around their gardens – they’re all very impressive. Overall, no matter what you want out of a holiday, Italy will deliver. E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 2 3
SCENIC SCOTLAND: (clockwise from top left) Marj on holiday in Scotland. Dalwhinnie Whisky. The House of Bruar in Pitlochry. The Old Packhorse Bridge in Carrbridge, the oldest stone bridge in the Highlands. Scottish Tweed suit. Artisan chocolates. (background) Scottish heather.
Bonny Scotland Marj Anderson, a former RCI UK AffiliatesÂ Manager, shares why she loves beautiful bonny Scotland so much, highlighting the best places to visit along her favourite drive - the A9 Corridor.
24 S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 8
There are so many lovely places to visit in Scotland, it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one. Instead of trying to choose, there’s a superb mini-road trip that takes you through some of Scotland’s most beautiful places that I’d recommend. The route from Perth, up to Inverness, drives straight through the Cairngorms National Park and there’s so much to see on the way, from traditional Scottish towns and villages, to distilleries and adventure parks. Scotland is famous for lots of different sweet treats, but for chocolate lovers, the first place you must visit is the Highland Chocolatier in Pitlochry. Award-winning artisan chocolatier Iain Burnett is famous worldwide for his delicious velvet truffles, so go to the Chocolate Lounge while you’re there to try some and see how it is made. While in the area, if you’re looking for a real Scottish shopping experience, The House of Bruar is full of beautiful clothing from traditional tweed suits and luxurious cashmere jumpers, to sporting equipment. While in Pitlochry, take a walk over the river – there’s a theatre that holds the Pitlochry Festival every year and here are some great places to stop and have a bite to eat too, but the star of the show here is The Queen’s View. It’s not too far away and you can drive up if you don’t fancy the hike. It shows off one of Scotland’s most iconic landscapes across the River Tummel, and on a clear day, the mountains surrounding Glencoe can be seen in the distance. After taking in those amazing views, head up to Dalwhinnie Distillery. As the highest and coldest distillery in Scotland, it’s a really unique place. Obviously, Scotland is as famous for whisky as it is for its world-class golf courses, so make sure you take a sample home as a souvenir. I recommend taking a tour as well, as it was awarded the Best Distillery Tour from Drinks International in 2017.
With your wallets a little lighter and legs a little heavier from all the sightseeing, the road trip continues. Aviemore is a great little town to park the car and explore for the day. The Old Bridge Inn does amazing food and is the best place for a good meal and refreshing drink after a busy day exploring the Cairngorms, or skiing on one of the fantastic slopes nearby. JK Rowling has used Scotland as her inspiration in her muchloved Harry Potter series and continues to do so – Aviemore train station appears in the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play, so it’s a must visit if you’re a fan! If you’re looking for somewhere that has everything, the Macdonald Aviemore Centre is where you need to visit. With an incredible children’s soft play centre, a brilliant swimming pool, a shopping centre and a food court with all types of cuisine to choose from, it’s definitely a place to spend some time. Further along, if you’re travelling with children, Carrbridge has an unmissable activity centre. The Landmark Forest Adventure Park has plenty to keep everyone amused all day – it’s not just for younger visitors, everyone can enjoy it. There are excellent guides there who will show you how to fell trees and many other great things, including safari rides, a Tarzan trail and a shooting gallery, which is all good fun. When you finally arrive in Inverness after taking in the beautiful scenery, wildlife and activities on the way, you’ll have seen some of Scotland’s real gems. I would suggest driving the country route wherever you’re going in Scotland. It will take longer but really shows off the country’s unrivalled scenery. It all depends on the adventure you want. With wonderfully friendly people and beautiful countryside, Scotland will charm you into returning again and again. Scotland is available to visit using your RCI Extra Holidays. E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 2 5
STAY WHY NOT TRY ONE OF THESE RESORTS?
Club Abbazia 2833
Club Dobogomajor 4193
MEMBER REVIEW: “Pleasant resort for a holiday spent enjoying the great outdoors, as its close to the local lakes and park.”
MEMBER REVIEW: “Close to the spa town of Hévíz, this is a gem of a resort in the Hungarian countryside for rest and relaxation.”
Holiday Club Saimaa C642
Holiday Club Katinkulta 2247 MEMBER REVIEW: “It’s the most relaxed that I have felt in years, staying in this lakeside resort in such a beautiful area with a fabulous spa and saunas.”
MEMBER REVIEW: “Lots to do for families and couples alike at this resort, as it’s in a great location to explore and enjoy the outdoor activities.”
Torre InserraglioI Tramonti 3560
Hotel Mioni Royal San A267 Mandatory half board
MEMBER REVIEW: “A place with real history worth exploring. We would recommend visiting the nearby cities such as Lecca, Gallipolli and Nardo.”
MEMBER REVIEW: “Nice resort, great pool and hot springs. Close to public transport; only 45 minutes to Venice by train and 10 minutes to beautiful Padua.”
For more resort information, and to book. Or see page 6 for contact details 26 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
Give the Gift of a Holiday BY N ATA S H A H E G A R T Y
There are so many fantastic benefits available to you, as RCI Members, to enhance your holiday experience, and some of them are also available for you to share with your family and friends. Guest Certificates are a great way to gift your loved ones with a week or two away...
FLORIDA DELIGHTS: (clockwise from left) Orange Lake Resort (8896), Orlando. Daytona Beach, Florida. Coastal view at Fuengirola. Margaret and Charles Burnell enjoying dinner.
argaret and Charles Burnell purchased their timeshare in 1989 and joined RCI to take advantage of the RCI Holiday Exchange programme. Over the last 28 years, they have enjoyed fabulous exchanges all over the world, discovering places they never thought of visiting before. Margaret explains that there are so many destinations that really stand out for her, but Florida created many special memories for the couple. “One of the most memorable destinations for us was our first trip to Florida in 1991. We travelled to a number of different resorts, really making the most of our trip and taking in the sights of the Sunshine State. We first stayed at Orange Lake Resort in Orlando (8896). It was beautifully furnished with spacious apartments that overlooked a lovely lake. “From there we drove to Daytona Beach and stayed at Ocean East Resort (0462) 28 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
located right on the beach. Even all these years later I can remember the activity programme that was arranged for the children which kept them fully occupied. They loved taking part in competitions and the prize giving at the end. It was brilliant! “Following that, we crossed the state to the west coast of Florida and stayed at the Treasure Island Beach Club (0778). It was in a lovely beachfront location, close to many restaurants and amenities. We enjoyed spending time exploring the lovely craft shops of Treasure Island.” The couple haven’t kept the perks of being RCI members to themselves, but instead have shared their experiences using Guest Certificates and found it to be a great benefit. “We have used Late Deals, RCI Extra Holidays and Guest Certificates to allow friends and family to enjoy great exchange holidays as well. The process is so simple in that once a resort has been chosen on
RCI.com, you just click on the icon to add a Guest Certificate. An email is then sent to us and to the recipient of the exchange. So simple!” Margaret recently gifted her cousin Dale Walker with a Guest Certificate so she, her husband Gilmour, and brother-inlaw John could enjoy a relaxing week away in the Costa del Sol. Happy to receive her holiday, Dale said: “Using the RCI Guest Certificate, we had a fabulous holiday at the Crown Resorts at Club Calahonda (1878) in the Costa del Sol in September 2017.” As soon as the party arrived at the resort, Dale was impressed with the high level of service and friendly staff. “We arrived at the resort at around 21:00 and were delighted to find the reception open, with a very pleasant and helpful receptionist. She explained in great detail about the resort facilities and also informed us of a courtesy bus that was available if
we wished to visit any of the other Crown Resorts in the area.” Dale and her family were very pleased with the size of the apartment in comparison to that of a standard holiday hotel room, as it was a perfect size for a family holidaying together. She said: “Our two-bedroom apartment was located on the second floor and was spotlessly clean with an excellent view from the balcony. The apartment had a lounge and kitchen area which was great for relaxing and cooking in when we didn’t fancy going out to eat.” As for the holiday, Dale had a wonderful time: “The apartment was ideally located to take a short taxi or bus ride into the brilliant town of Fuengirola or the famous Marbella in the other direction, so there was plenty of choices for when we wanted to get out and about to explore. “We decided to use the courtesy bus to visit Crown Resorts at Club Marbella in
30 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK (5), MARGARET & CHARLES BURNELL (1), DALE & GILMOUR WALKER (1).
FAMILY REUNIONS: (from top) Dale reunited with her cousin in Fuengirola. Crown Resorts at Club Marbella in Calahonda (2404). Spanish paella. La Cala de Mijas.
Calahonda (2404) and spent a very pleasant morning sunbathing at the pool there. We also had a lovely lunch using complimentary discount vouchers we received from our own resort, which was a very nice touch.” There were plenty of places near their apartment to grab a bite to eat and a drink or two when the group decided to venture out of the resort. “The beach was just a short walk downhill from our apartment with an excellent boardwalk which ran all the way along to the pretty village of La Cala de Mijas. There are so many bars and restaurants along the way that we took advantage of stopping for long, leisurely lunches before taking the local bus back to the resort.” Although the holiday wasn’t for an extra special occasion, there was a rather wonderful memory that Dale has taken away with her. “I found out one of my cousins was holidaying at Fuengirola while we were there, so arranged to meet up the very next day. I hadn’t seen her for 22 years as she lives in London, so it was an opportunity for a catch up that we couldn’t miss! “It was their first time visiting the Costa del Sol, so thanks to our previous holidays in the area, we knew the best places to go. We decided to return to La Cala de Mijas to have a wander around the shops and take in the beautiful sights. All of us spent a lovely day catching up and dining out together. It was as though we just took up where we left off all those years ago. We loved it.” Dale and Gilmour have stayed in timeshare resorts with friends before, and would definitely recommend using the Guest Certificate option in the future to take advantage of all the space and privacy timeshare offers a larger holidaying family group. Guest Certificates cost £41 and can be purchased on rci.com when making an RCI booking.
Introducing Our Blog... Unlock the exciting world of travel with your NEW RCI Blog, packed with holiday tips, ideas, membership news and advice to inspire your next great getaway. Updated regularly to bring you the latest and greatest ways to holiday, sign up to the newsletter to browse our exclusive stories and tips sourced from travel experts, RCI staff and you, our members.
Learn more today Visit RCI.com/blog
ENCHANTING ESCAPES WITH
Bring your family together on a woodland lodge holiday to enjoy all the fun of the great outdoors. BY LO R R A I N E LOV E L A N D
hy not refresh your holiday lifestyle this year with a holiday out in the countryside with Landal
GreenParks. This is outdoor living at its best. Every holiday park has been designed so you can break free from the frantic pace of everyday life. Lounge in your stylish living area with a good book, bring on splash time in the swimming pool with the children, or rent bicycles for a forest adventure. And, when evening falls, cook up a feast in your cosy lodge and relax in comfort, or flex your skills with a bowling challenge before dining at the welcoming brasserie.
32 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
Bollo Bear - Landal GreenParksâ€™ mascot ranger - is on hand to keep the children entertained while you relax with some spa time for two, or take time out for a romantic picnic with fresh treats from the on-site grocery store. The real beauty of Landal GreenParks is being able to select a view to suit you. The many rural locations of the holiday parks vary from enchanting woodlands and golden beaches, to hilltop vistas and serene lakes. Whichever backdrop you choose, fill your days with activities for the perfect blend of laughter, fun and adventure in the great outdoors. Here are just three examples of the magic of Landal Greenparks.
Going wild at Landal Landgoed ‘T Loo, the Netherlands Mix things up on your travels at Landal Landgoed ‘T Loo, which is a world away from everyday life. It’s the perfect place to explore the surrounding Dutch attractions, with Amsterdam less than 90 minutes by car, and Arnhem just a 50-minute drive. If you’re looking to entertain the young, and young at heart, the area is also home to wildlife encounters. For a little monkeying around, head south for Apenheul Primate Park - reportedly the first and only zoo where the furry residents venture freely around the forest. Lots of monkeys hang out in the park, from spider monkeys to gorillas - although the gorillas are, of course, contained in a compound for your safety!
IT’S GREAT OUTDOORS: (clockwise from top left) A field of tulips near Amsterdam. Lodge living at Landal Landgoed ‘T Loo. Barbary Macaque mother and baby at Apenheul Primate Park. Mini-golf at Landal Landgoed ‘T Loo.
Any teenagers in your party will be thrilled by Walibi Holland theme park, home to Goliath, the fastest and highest rollercoaster in the Netherlands. Thrill at a few seconds spent at breakneck speeds of 65 miles per hour, while mini-thrill seekers will enjoy the park’s calmer rides. Back ‘home’ at the resort after the day’s excitement, the resort’s lake and man-made beach are ideal for relaxing in the warmth of the late afternoon sun. Finish off your evening with dinner at the castle-themed restaurant to make your family feel like true VIPs, well fed and ready for a restful night’s slumber. E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 3 3
The heights of Landal Warsberg, Germany Wine lovers will get a taste for the heady heights of Landal Warsberg. The resort sits high on a plateau, with views overlooking the River Saar and the romantic city of Saarburg. There is also plenty close to the resort to amuse the explorers, as it sits at the borders of France, Germany and Luxembourg. Take a ten-minute drive to Saarburg and stop off at the impressive Saarburg Castle perched high on a hill and is a picture perfect photo opportunity. The climb is worth it for the impressive views of the river below, the valley and its vineyards. The tour is free and you can stroll about the vineyards afterwards.
When the Romans arrived over 2,000 years ago, the Celtic Treveri were already practising viticulture and the area’s acclaimed Riesling has been perfected over time. Its unique notes come from the hill’s shale stones which act as a heat reservoir, infusing the grapes with flavour. Savour its distinct flavour at a local vineyard or at your resort’s wine tasting sessions. If wine isn’t for you, the Bitburger Brewery produces one of Germany’s premier craft beers. Founded in 1817, the tour charts the history and brewing of the Pilsner and comes with some generous samples. Enjoy a late lunch before retreating back to your cosy lodge for a sunset toast to the perfect day out. 34 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
imposing castle, which is dramatically illuminated once dusk descends. Classical music fans should visit in mid-August for the Baroque Festival with 12 days of performances from the world’s best performers in the world of music and the arts. Keen golfers should swing by the Old Lake Golf Club to tee off on the 18-hole narrow course, interspersed by lakes for the ultimate challenge. You can always slow things down a little with a horseback ride or boat trip, giving you time to take in the settlements dotted along the riverbank. If it’s your first visit to Hungary, Budapest is a must. Catch the one-hour train from Tata for as little as €14 return and spend the day seeing the key sights, from Fisherman’s Bastion to the Parliament buildings.
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK (5); iSTOCK (2); ALAMY (1); LANDAL GREENPARKS (7).
SO MANY PLACES TO SEE: (clockwise from top left) Winding waterways in the old town of Saarburg. The Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest. Live music at the Baroque Festival in Tata. Riesling grapes on the vine. Bollo Bear keeps the children entertained at Landal Warsberg. Saarburg. Cycling around Landal Residence Duna.
The variety of Landal Residence Duna, Hungary Experience Hungary at its best at Landal Residence Duna. The resort is surrounded by vineyards, hills and panoramic views of the River Danube. Beyond the resort, you can explore quaint towns and statuesque cities in the surrounding area. Tata gets our vote. The Baroque town comes alive in summer with colourful festivals, sports and outdoor events. June’s Water, Music and Flower Festival is Hungary’s largest family event which hosts three days of shows, concerts and fireworks, all overlooked by the town’s E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 3 5
STAY WHY NOT TRY ONE OF THESE RESORTS? Throughout the year, we are able to offer availability at Landal GreenParks resorts via the RCI Exchange Holiday programme. Visit RCI.com regularly to check for availability at the featured properties, as well as at many other different Landal resorts.
NETHERLANDS Landal Landgoed ‘T Loo C903 member review:
“The staff are very friendly and helpful, the food is good and even the store has some really fine Dutch treats. All very high quality. It is really set up as a family retreat but also works in many other ways because of the setting and location.”
GERMANY Landal Warsberg C902 member review:
“What a charming, relaxing resort! The units are very comfortable and give enough solitude for a true holiday. The surrounding area, especially Saarburg at the bottom of the hill, is magical…”
HUNGARY Landal Residence Duna RB27 member review:
“The apartment had a wonderful view of the countryside and the wheat fields, which swayed in the breeze and made for a great foreground at sunset… The resort was relaxing and welcoming, as well as being centrally located for day trips to Brno, Bratislava and Budapest.”
RCI.com For more resort information, and to book. Or see page 6 for contact details
Share the gift of travel! Recommend RCI to a friend and earn £50
With thousands of resorts spanning the globe, RCI offers you new experiences and cultures outside your home resort. Recommend us to one of your fellow timeshare owners and earn £50 to spend on RCI products!
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3
1 2 3
Your friend signs up at RCI.com/rfrl and includes your RCI Member ID RCI enrols your friend You both receive your £50* credit
Visit RCI.com/rfrl To be eligible to receive an RCI credit worth £50, the timeshare owner you refer must join and be accepted into the RCI Weeks Exchange programme. The credit can only be used as payment for selected RCI products and services and cannot be refunded or converted to cash. The credit will be valid for a period of six months from enrolment. We reserve the right to amend, extend and/or withdraw this offer at any time, without prior notice. Visit rcitc6.com for full terms and conditions.
The Best of Florida
FLORIDA IS A HOLIDAYMAKERS’ PARADISE, WITH EVERYTHING FROM LAID BACK VIBES TO MICKEY AND CO. THREE RCI MEMBERS SHARE THEIR UNIQUE FLORIDA EXPERIENCES. BY LO R R AI N E LOVE L AN D
ere are three RCI member couples who call Florida home for two weeks every year, each with very different experiences. Allow them to reignite your Florida wanderlust… Anna Maria Island shores with sophistication Over on the west coast of Florida lies a bounty of beaches and places for nature and culture lovers. Margaret and Michael Barnes own two weeks at Limetree Beach Resort (6098) in Sarasota, and have spent a number of holidays enjoying the delights of the west coast. 38
SPRING / SUMMER 2018
Last winter the couple relished their week at Gulf Stream Beach Resort (3415) in Bradenton - a small and friendly island community. It proved the ideal resort for their family, including their one-year-old grandson. “Travelling with a little one, the resort turned out to be perfect, as we could enjoy plenty of pool time and it backed onto a bay which was simply beautiful, with the beach just across the road. “Being able to leave our apartment and immediately feel the sand between our toes felt like heaven and instantly transported us onto island time. A week on the west coast is
perfect for us, as we can fly into Tampa which gives us more flexibility on flights. We love revelling in the island life of ‘Old Florida’, with days at the beach and dining at leisure.” The Barnes also opted to spend a day on Anna Maria Island in the Gulf of Mexico, just a 20-minute drive from Bradenton. It boasts a pristine beach to suit every traveller, from hidden beaches to family-friendly options where you can enjoy the hypnotic turquoise waters. Elsewhere, visitors can usually be found wandering the pier or browsing the island’s quaint mix of shops, galleries, museums and parks for a culture and great outdoors fix.
“We still head for Orlando with our older grandchildren, and will usually alternate our days on and off the parks to avoid feeling burnt out. But we find the best way is to organise a week in Orlando, followed by a week on the coast. Florida gives us the flexibility to enjoy different kinds of holidays to match our needs and those of our family and friends. This lets us create the perfect blend of thrill and chill. You just have to go with the flow here,” says Margaret. Whether you’re a foodie fan, culture vulture or are beachy keen, look no further than the Sunshine State for this trio of treats - and everything in between.
SOPHISTICATED SHORES: (clockwise from far left) Crandon Park Beach, Miami. Michael and Margaret Barnes. Bradenton Beach Pier on Anna Maria Island. Gulf Stream Beach Resort (3415). Barnes family sandcastles.
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 3 9
Miami and The Keys coastal adventure Go casual on Florida’s southeast coast, a prime spot for unleashing the chilled out vibes the state is notorious for. Something that Jayne and Michael Weston love about holidaying here. “After 25 years of visiting Orlando, we love nothing more than discovering the real Florida, away from the theme parks,” Jayne tells us. “The parks are great of course, but now we like to turn things down a notch and explore the Florida coast to our own beat and not Mickey’s!” The couple own two weeks at Oyster Bay (0211) in Sebastian, situated on the Intracoastal Waterway. “Oyster Bay is fabulous, you can hire a boat out to enjoy dolphin or manatee spotting out on the
waterway. Meanwhile back on dry land everything is compact and within walking distance, so it’s perfect for an afternoon wander.” Jayne and Michael then spend a week at another resort to explore a bit more of the state. A few months ago they stayed at Mizner Place (7559) in Weston - less than an hour from Miami. “The concierge at Mizner organised some coach trips for us to Miami and the Keys, which allows you to soak up more of the views compared to driving yourself. “We spent six hours in Key West which was ample time to wander the sights. We even had time for the spectacular sunset and the street entertainment at Mallory Square, including fire acts and jesters. Travelling by coach was super convenient as it gave us more time to explore without worrying
40 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
RELAXING VIBES: (clockwise from top left) Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal Waterway. Jayne poses with her near-namesake. Mizner Place (7559). Sunset in Key West.
about parking nearby. Plus it’s always five o’clock somewhere in Florida, so we could responsibly savour a few drinks while listening to live music acts in the sun, which added to the whole experience.” The tour fits in a range of iconic and unusual attractions, including a visit to Key Largo to see the ship made famous in the 1951 movie African Queen, starring Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. Other stops include Miami’s South Beach and the less well-known Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Miami and the Keys are surprising destinations and throw up such contrasts of experience, with both a sunny and serious side to them. The memorial is a bit of an odd Miami attraction, but south Florida is home to the largest population of holocaust survivors in the US, so it’s
all the more poignant. It was a haunting experience, but we’re glad we did it as it opens your eyes to things.” Wherever you decide to call home for a week, keep your options open. “Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track and follow advice from locals and fellow tourists. Floridians are so hospitable and it’s how we have found some of the most memorable places to drink and dine on our travels,” advises Jayne. The Westons are planning their next Miami trip, which will include Bayside Marketplace, a popular shopping and dining venue which hosts live bands and entertainment. Perfect for a sunset sip, savour and shop experience. After all, as Jayne says, it is always five o’clock somewhere in Florida… E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 41
Far from ordinary Orlando After many years of taking their children to see the big mouse himself, today Terence and Sharon O’Connor prefer to revel in the laidback lifestyle of Orlando. While their daughters and grandchildren still enjoy the parks, for Terence and Sharon the beauty of the capital is that they can still explore at their own pace. “We love Orange Lake Resort (0670) and these days we spend quite a bit of time here, making the most of all the facilities around the resort’s four villages,” said Terence. “Lounging by the pool and enjoying the more than ample entertainment programme from day to night is the perfect way to slip into holiday mode.” 42 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
After relaxing on resort, the couple like to explore the local sights of Celebration in Kissimmee. “We were there last November, and the town’s lake was decorated for Christmas. They even had snowfall machines to create a winter wonderland - so anything is possible, even in the Florida sunshine! They have different themes throughout the year but we love November as it’s a little bit quieter, yet the weather is still glorious.” Celebration was the brainchild of Walt Disney, modelled on small town American suburbia. Picture-pretty clapboard houses, complete with perfectly manicured lawns and white picket fences, together with vibrant boutiques, are sprinkled around the charming community. There is always something waiting to
PHOTOS: THE BARNES FAMILY (3), THE WESTON FAMILY (3), THE O’CONNOR FAMILY (2), SHUTTERSTOCK (6), ALAMY (1).
EXPLORING THE MAGIC: (clockwise from top left) The O’Connor family with Mickey. Terence and Sharon pose at the famous castle. Nighttime in Kissimmee Old Town. A typical beach house. Shrimp skewers.
be discovered here with a packed events’ calendar, from car shows and concerts, to food and art festivals. “Being able to slow down the pace is what it’s all about for us, and Celebration is perfect with just enough to entertain us without feeling overwhelmed.” The community also offers a fabulous selection of cafés, bistros and patisseries, allowing you to experience something new and different on each visit. To go upscale, request a spot on the patio at Imperium Food and Wine to dine on a platter of delights, including divine cheese plates, Asian beef skewers and cilantro lime shrimp, not forgetting the comprehensive wine menu to complement your lunch. The couple also like to indulge in a little retail therapy, and Orlando is a shop-until-
you-drop haven for designer items from the Premium Outlets and Malls to high-end offerings. “Our favourite is The Mall at Millenia. It has a wide selection of brands, from Tommy Bahama and Gap to Gucci and Chanel, and it’s only a 30-minute drive from the resort.” And the best way to top off the day? Sampling one of Orlando’s thousands of restaurants. “There are several dining venues near our resort. Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze and Outback Steakhouse are our top go to places - and you’re assured of great food at great prices compared to the UK.” So on your next visit to Orlando, consider swapping theme park thrills for smalltown charm on your tailor-made food and shopping adventure.
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 4 3
STAY WHY NOT TRY ONE OF THESE RESORTS?
Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort - West Village 0670
Hilton Grand Vacations Club At Seaworld 3517
Orlando International Resort Club 0552
“Felt like a home away from home. Great location close to all attractions, including Disney and Universal theme parks.”
“The resort was amazing. Lots of entertainment for the kids. Very clean and modernised. The staff were very friendly and accommodating.”
Sheraton Vistana Resort 0450
Hilton Grand Vacations Club At Tuscany Village 6309
The Villas at Summer Bay Orlando By Exploria Resort 5995
“We had family members from age 10 up to age 80 and all found the resort to be very comfortable.”
44 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
“Very satisfied with this resort. It is a great location, with Disney and Universal just a short drive away, and restaurants and shopping outlets all within walking distance.”
“A great location and a very clean and tidy resort with extremely helpful staff. We would recommend it to anyone looking to stay in the International Drive area.”
“Very convenient location for shops, entertainment and major theme parks. There’s also plenty to do if you just want to lounge around the resort.”
SOUTH EAST FLORIDA
Wyndham Cypress Palms 3995
Wyndham Palm-Aire 3875
Sapphire Resorts @ Dover House A868
“I would recommend this resort. The rooms are beautiful and have adequate space. A great location for Disney, being about ten minutes from the park.”
“Lots of fun and relaxation to be had at this resort, being close to the beaches and the Rapids Water Park.”
Silver Lake ResortSilver Points 6815
Wyndham Sea Gardens 2890
La Costa Beach Club Resort 0724
“I have stayed here many times. It is the first resort I look for when searching for an exchange in Florida.”
“The resort is right on the beach. We enjoyed relaxing by the pool that overlooks the ocean.”
“This resort is for beach lovers and perfect for a relaxing retreat by the ocean.”
“It may be an older resort but you can’t fault how clean and well maintained it is. It’s in a fantastic location. We are very likely to return.”
RCI.com For more resort information, and to book. Or see page 6 for contact details
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 4 5
YEAR OF CELEBRATION WITH YEAR-ROUND SUNSHINE, TENERIFE IS SOMEWHERE YOU CAN VISIT AT ANY TIME. TO MAKE BOOKING A HOLIDAY EASIER, WE’VE PUT TOGETHER AN ACTION-PACKED CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR 2018 TO INSPIRE YOUR HOLIDAY PLANNING FOR THE YEAR AHEAD. BY NATASHA HEGARTY
rom music festivals to traditional fiestas and celebrations, there’s always a great reason to book a flight to the largest of the Canary Islands. Here’s just a selection of some of Tenerife’s biggest events of the year. Three Kings’ Day Rather than Santa Claus on January 6 Christmas Eve, Spanish children are traditionally left gifts by the Three Kings – or Wise Men – and it is therefore a very exciting time on
Tenerife. The Kings, Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar, who are usually played by locals, ride their camels through crowd-filled streets full of celebrating people. After that, many leave their boots outside in the hope of waking up to some gifts inside them. A joyful, festive celebration to get involved in!
46 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
2018 January 11February 17
International Music Festival of the Canaries Now in its 33rd year, the annual music festival takes place across Tenerife and
PRESENTS AND PARADES: (left) Epiphany Parade, Three Kings’ Festival. (right) International Music Festival.
Gran Canaria, attracting a large number of visitors. Expect to see shows by internationally-acclaimed musicians with orchestras and soloists getting their chance to shine. After enjoying the shows, head to one of Tenerife’s beautiful beaches to kick back and relax, there’s plenty to choose from. Santa Cruz Carnival Europe’s biggest carnival is an February unmissable experience and 7-18 tourists travel from around the globe to see the spectacle. The crowning of the Carnival Queen kicks the celebrations off, followed by a massive parade where people take to the streets in their best and most outrageous costumes to party. This year’s theme is fantasy, so put on a pair of heels and your most outrageous wig and join in the fun! 2018
I Love Music Festival Costa Adeje hosts the biggest dance March 30 music festival of the year, featuring some of the top artists and DJs in the industry. It takes place over two days and four stages. After a good dance, slow the pace by taking a stroll into Adeje’s Old Town taking in some of Tenerife’s more traditional ways of life; stop to have a bite to eat at one of the lovely local restaurants. There are also plenty of hiking trails if you really want to get back to nature. 2018
Pilgrimage of San Marcos To honour San Marcos, the quiet April 29 town of Tegueste is brought to life with a traditional pilgrimage. The town hosts a huge procession of brightly decorated floats accompanied by folklore groups, flocks of livestock, and dancers, all flanked by crowds of 2018
WILD AND WONDERFUL: (left) Santa Cruz Carnival. (right) Pilgrimage of San Marcos.
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 47
TRADITIONAL TENERIFE: (left) Corpus Christi Flower Carpets. (right) San Juan Festival.
people in traditional dress. An offering of farm produce is made to the saint and livestock is blessed. Bonfires and a big party follow the pilgrimage. Corpus Christi Flower Carpets May 31 This colourful, beautiful and rather sweet-smelling fiesta takes place in one of the most traditional towns on the island, La Orotava. A huge sand mural is created outside the Town Hall, but the flowers are the main attraction. The flower carpets are created in such intricate detail and are real works of art. However, they don’t last long, as early evening the Corpus Christi procession walks over them, destroying them all and scattering the petals until next year’s creations. So get there nice and early so you don’t miss them! The town itself is known as one of the most beautiful places on Tenerife, so while you’re there have a wander and take in the sights. 2018
San Juan Festival Midsummer’s Eve - or San Juan June 23-24 dates back centuries to when the Spanish believed the sun cast powerful magic at midsummer. Bonfires are lit – and some brave locals even leap over them – beach parties, midnight swimming and lots of fun is on the agenda. The next morning, get up early and watch goats being taken for a (very reluctant) swim in Puerto de la Cruz. A spectacle definitely worth a watch! 2018
Virgen del Carmen Festival As the protector of seamen, Carmen July 16 is widely celebrated on Tenerife, though the biggest celebration takes place in Puerto de la Cruz. A beautiful effigy is paraded through the streets and, after the release of doves, is taken out on a flower-adorned boat as people watch 2018
FUN AND FIESTAS: (left) Decorated Hearts of Tejina. (right) Festival of San Andrés.
48 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
CANARIAN CELEBRATIONS: (left) Virgin of Candelaria Fiesta. (right) Festival of the Christ.
from the shore. It’s then carried back to her chapel, before a huge fireworks display closes the festival. Puerto de la Cruz is quintessentially Canarian, and is full of restaurants serving delicious traditional dishes. It boasts a classy nightlife and it’s more than likely to be jazz music you’ll hear spilling out of the bars. Hearts of Tejina In one of Tenerife’s most unique August 25 celebrations, this one combines Catholic and Pagan rituals to honour Saint Bartholomew. It involves three streets in Tejina - El Pico, Arriba and Abajo, all competing to see which can create the most elaborate hearts, and the locals take it very seriously. A wooden structure with two large hearts is decorated with flowers, fruit and cake, and is paraded through town. The hearts weigh up to 1,000 kilograms, stand 12 metres tall and are quite a sight to behold. 2018
Virgin of Candelaria Fiesta The Patron Saint of the Canary August 14 Islands is revered during this fiesta, attracting pilgrims from all over Spain. There’s a reenactment of the moment the Guanche people and the Black Madonna met each other for the first time, which is a fabulous piece of street theatre not to be missed. The procession ends with plenty of food, drinking and dancing, which is always a holiday treat! 2018
Festival of the Christ Honouring the Christ of La Laguna, September celebrations take place throughout 14 the whole month with the main event on the 14 September. The statue of Christ is marched around the town by locals who pay their respects. The festival ends with Tenerife’s biggest firework display of the year that rivals any Bonfire Night. Definitely worth a watch. 2018
STUNNING SURROUNDINGS: (left) Church in Adeje’s Old Town. (right) Teide National Park.
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 4 9
SOAK UP THE SUN: (left) Las Teresitas beach. (right) Siam Park is a Thai-themed water park.
Festival of San Andrés The Festival of San Andrés is to November celebrate Saint Andrew, but it’s 29 mostly about wine and having fun! Now is the time to taste all the new wines, so make the most of all the freebies. This festival is lots of fun and if you’re a bit of a thrill seeker, join in with the brave locals as they slide down very steep hills on planks of wood. A mountain of car tyres will break your fall, but make sure you don’t break anything yourself! 2018
Christmas Illuminations The island is illuminated by December beautiful Christmas lights, twinkling in every town. There aren’t many huge public celebrations during December, as Christmas is usually a quiet, family affair. So, use the time wisely to explore the breathtaking Teide National Park and take the cable car up to the peak - the views are magnificent. Round off the year by attending one of Tenerife’s many New Year’s Eve parties. 2018
LIGHT UP THE SKIES: (left) Christmas lights. (right) Traditional Tenerife restaurant.
50 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
PHOTOS: ALAMY (10); SHUTTERSTOCK 6).
Winter Sun This is the start of the winter October season when sun worshippers flock to the island to escape the cold weather and top up the vitamin C. It is a month that is also rather quiet on the fiesta front. Make the most of the light calendar and head to the beach or relax by the pool with a book and a cocktail in hand. Bliss. 2018
STAY WHY NOT TRY ONE OF THESE RESORTS?
Club Tarahal 2063
Club Tenerife 2389
“We enjoyed visiting the north of Tenerife, a much greener and relaxing holiday.”
“Great views to the coast, down to the town and behind to the mountains and Mount Teide.”
Hollywood Mirage Club 2429
Royal Park Albatros Club 3941
Vigilia Park 2802
Club Casablanca 1668
“We have enjoyed several holidays at the Hollywood Mirage Club and we are never disappointed. Los Cristianos offers relaxed bars and restaurants, as well as some lively ones if that’s your cup of tea.”
“This resort is relaxing and welcoming. The rooms are clean and well equipped. The pool has activities and plenty of sun beds if you choose to stay on site.”
“Very happy with our exchange holiday. Apartments were lovely with great views of the pool.”
“Apartments are newly refurbished, clean and tastefully decorated. We enjoyed relaxing by the rooftop pool.”
RCI.com For more resort information, and to book. Or see page 6 for contact details
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 5 1
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 azure sea, with charming, 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. Beyond the beaches, there are ancient archaeological sites, picturesque villages and walks through olive groves to be enjoyed. 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
52 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
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. Crete Crete is the largest and most southerly of the Greek islands. From rugged mountains to idyllic beaches, it has stunning landscapes and a rich history to explore. Start at the Venetian Harbour in the islandâ€™s capital, Heraklion. The fortress is fronted by a string of bright fishing boats and is a memorable sight. Then wander into the Old
PHOTOS: ALAMY (3); SHUTTERSTOCK (2).
CRETAN BEAUTY: (from left) Skiathos coastline. The Byzantine church of Agios Titos. Vai Beach with its palm forest.
Town to view the exquisite Venetian Loggia, the Byzantine church of Agios Titos, and bustling Lion Square. Heraklion has a superb Archaeological Museum, which holds treasures from the ancient Minoan palaces at Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, Zakros and other historic sites. Crete is littered with Minoan ruins, as well as Roman sites such as Gortys. Visiting the museum before you visit the sites will give you a better understanding of this fascinating culture. The island is made for touring in a car, with fabulous views from winding mountain roads, through picturesque villages, past
shepherds’ huts and vineyards. Take the thrilling drive to the top of Mount Ida, Crete’s highest summit and the legendary birthplace of the Greek god, Zeus. Many popular beach resorts lie east of Heraklion. From Elounda, take a boat to visit one of Crete’s strangest places. Spinalonga Island is a former leper colony, and walking through its abandoned houses and old fortress is an eerie and emotional experience. Just outside the village of Kritsá, near Agios Nikolaos, is the tiny Byzantine church of Panagia Kerá. Inside, its walls are completely
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 5 3
SENSATIONAL SKIATHOS: (from left) One of the pretty streets in Skiathos. Lalaria Beach, Skiathos.
covered in colourful religious frescoes. Not far away is the spectacular Vai Beach, with sands fringed by the largest natural date palm forest in Europe. It’s a beautiful place to chill out after sightseeing. Crete tempts you with many places to explore, but you’ll never see them all in one visit. This is an island to return to, again and again. Skiathos Further north, the island of Skiathos is one of the most popular in Greece. Beautiful beaches are the big attraction. There are more than 60 of them, ranging from crystal clear turquoise coves to long, sandy swathes. And since the
54 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
island is small and easy to get around, you can try out a different beach for 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. 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 enthralling streets of the old quarter. After dark, its lively bars and restaurants make
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK (7), ALAMY (1).
TEMPTING TURKEY: (from left) Temple of Trajan in the ancient city of Pergamon. Bay of Edremit.
for a fun night out on the town. Catch an excursion boat at the port to see three magnificent sea caves that lie south of Skiathos Town. Others take you 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 also worth exploring. Back roads and hiking trails wind through olive groves into the pine-covered hills. With around 1,000 different herbs growing on the island, it’s an aromatic journey. Skiathos has several monasteries, as well
as old churches; many are decorated with fine frescoes. Some can only be reached on foot via steep paths. Panagía Kounístra monastery is worth a visit for its splendid 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, can seem daunting for a first-time visitor. 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
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 5 5
Ceneviz Bridge in the Kazdaği National Park.
Edremit. What really sets Edremit apart is its greenery. The district is covered in pine forests, which are cool retreats from the summer sun. For explorers, Kazdaği National Park is the place to go. 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. Mount Ida featured in Homer’s Iliad and there are still traces of the ancient world in the old villages of Oren, Altinoluk and Güre. A two-hour drive along the coast 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
56 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
(Pergamon) are also within striking distance. Along with beautiful scenery, the lush mountains have blessed Edremit with the freshest air and thermal springs. Altinoluk in particular has a high oxygen density, while resorts around Güre feature thermal pools of natural mineral waters. It’s a perfect recipe for healthy relaxation and pampering. The thermal springs have been places of healing since ancient times. According to legend, Mount Ida was the site of the world’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.
STAY WHY NOT TRY ONE OF THESE RESORTS?
Nostos Village RA12 - Mandatory half-board
Grand Leoniki 7456
Hattusa VTC Kazdaglari A830
“The setting is tranquil and immediately relaxes you. I would highly recommend going to the Greek night on site.”
Heramis Thermal Resort C810
“Located just outside of Skopelos, this resort is within walking distance of the town and harbour.”
“This resort is ideally placed to go on trips to explore this interesting island with natural attractions.”
“Situated high on a hill, this resort offers beautiful views and a tranquil setting for a relaxing holiday.”
“Perfect place to relax and recharge your batteries, as there is a huge thermal spa and Turkish bath on site.”
“We had one of the best timeshare experiences at Heramis. There are so many things to see and do, one week is too short.”
RCI.com For more resort information, and to book. Or see page 6 for contact details
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 57
HOME FROM HOME HOLIDAYS YOU GO TO THEIRS AND THEY COME TO YOURS. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HOME SWAPPING – A WONDERFUL WAY TO HOLIDAY. LOVE HOME SWAP MEMBER, JENNIFER BOCCHI FROM RENO, NEVADA, TELLS US WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A HOME SWAPPER.
FUN IN THE SUN: (left) Jennifer and her husband, centre, on a swap in Venice. (right) A swap in Saint Lucia with friends.
e love to travel with our two children, so when we heard about swapping homes with others as an affordable and comfortable way to travel, we hit the internet and that’s where we found Love Home Swap. Putting our holiday home at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, into the Love Home Swap exchange pool, we became members about three years ago. We do both the 1-4-1 home exchange, as well as using the points system. 58 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
Having done 13 holiday home swaps in three years, we love the lifestyle. Up to now, we’ve never stayed in a home with the hosts, or hosted ourselves, but you can and you get points for the guest stay period. Every one of our swap experiences has been amazing. The locations have been fabulous and most of the properties are far nicer than our own, and certainly way better than a hotel room! We visited Disney, staying in a hotel, and my four- and five-year-olds were not impressed. “What is this? Only one
HOME FROM HOME: (clockwise from top) Love Home Swap properties in Provence, France; London, UK; Malibu, US; Barcelona, Spain, and in Bali, Indonesia.
room?” they asked... The property we use to swap at Lake Tahoe sleeps 13 people and has a pool, hot tub and a gym, so it’s great for families. Plus it is a town house, and yet only seconds from the beach, which makes it a very attractive holiday stay. And we get to stay in some pretty amazing places. One was a beautiful house in Chicago. They had children the same age as ours and the home had a playroom and all the space you could want; we even swapped cars and car seats.
Our Saint Lucia swap was simply fabulous. We stayed in a clifftop villa for 10 days with three other couples. Saint Lucia was beautiful, a piece of paradise here on earth, while the swap was out of this world - it came with a concierge and a crewed boat we could use. And that is what is so cool about Love Home Swap membership - you get to enjoy so many different kinds of holiday with it. We have turned our holiday home into all our holidays. We’ve had family breaks,
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 5 9
romantic getaways and holidays for the girls - I took my Mom and three sisters to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico and it was such a special time together in an incredible place. One of my sisters has always wanted to visit New Zealand and so we are doing a swap in January with a home there, but have gifted our end of the swap to my sister and her husband so theyâ€™ll be off on the holiday of their dreams. It comes with so much flexibility. We did a
60 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
swap with a couple who stayed at ours for five nights, while we split our stay into two weekend getaways. We have always felt very safe, finding the other swappers to be really good people, and happy to share their experiences with you. A few of those we have swapped homes with have become our friends, so we are creating a community for those who love to travel. Love Home Swap has been a hugely positive experience for us all.
PHOTOS: JENNIFER BOCCHI (2). LHS (10).
STUNNING SWAPS: (clockwise from top) Love Home Swap properties in Sydney, Australia; Chicago, Illinois; Paris, France; Phuket, Thailand, and in Hollywood, California.
14-Day FREE Trial ends 31 March 2018 Discover a new way to holiday with Love Home Swap a new member of RCIâ€™s family of brands! What you get with a Love Home Swap membership: New holiday experiences Swap your primary home or holiday home with another Love Home Swap member to experience local living in fabulous accommodation worldwide Reduced accommodation costs Make big savings on your holiday accommodation costs Easy-to-use system Flexible options to suit every type of home swap PLUS a points system making it really easy to holiday where you want, when you want to go
FREE Love Home Swap membership trial
Visit lovehomeswap.com/endless Terms and Conditions: These holidays are limited and subject to availability. Two-week Free Trial - When you sign up for a free trial with Love Home Swap, unless you cancel before the free trial period ends (midnight GMT on 14th day of your free trial), you will be automatically subscribed to Love Home Swap annual membership. Special 70% introductory discount off the membership fee for the first yearâ€™s Standard Annual membership level. To cancel email: email@example.com. Additional terms apply - for details visit lovehomeswap.com/terms-and-conditions
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 6 1
Loving Cruise & Stay BY H E L E N F O S T E R
RCI members, Pat and Charles Anstead, were delighted to discover they could enjoy great-value cruise holidays with leading cruise brands using their RCI membership. Being able to tag a fabulous resort stay onto the holiday with the RCI Cruise & Resort Holidays package was a real bonus for the couple.
t had to be an ocean-bound getaway for Pat and Charles Anstead to mark a special occasion. The couple are celebrating milestone 60th birthdays for both Pat and her life-long friend this year. Booking the RCI Cruise & Resort Holidays package, which brings spacious timeshare accommodation into the mix, meant the Ansteads were able to treat their friends to a memorable birthday celebration. Mexican magic It was an RCI Cruise Holiday sailing from Mexico in January 2016 that alerted the couple to the value of cruising using RCI membership. Pat explained: “At that time, the deal included a free week’s stay in Mexico, 62 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
and we used our points to add a second week to the holiday. We stayed for seven nights at a gorgeous Mayan resort property in Acapulco that was affiliated to the RCI Exchange Holiday programme. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. The location of the resort was idyllic and the accommodation was so spacious. You know you are going to get quality accommodation booking through RCI Travel, and it is the perfect way to start or end your cruise holiday. “Charles and I love to see places that are very different, and Acapulco was just that. A standout for us was watching the famous diving off the cliffs, and then eating in the evening by the light of blazing torches all very spectacular. Mexico was very hot
SOMETHING DIFFERENT: (clockwise from left) Approaching a port. Pat at their resort in Mexico. Cliff jumpers in Acapulco. Island village architecture in Brazil.
though and, after touring the islands for a few hours, we were glad to take the ship’s tender and return to the ship. While Mexico was fascinating, when you are in a strange destination like that, you can easily make rubbish decisions on where to eat - and a bad decision can have a big impact on your time away. Returning to the ship to eat, where there were so many restaurants and so much choice of quality dining options, was a great end to a great day.” Brazil’s best On February 11, last year the couple set sail from Rio de Janeiro on a nine-day cruise calling at several islands off the coast of Brazil and finishing the cruise in style by
visiting both Montevideo in Uruguay and Buenos Aires in Argentina. They sailed with Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), a brand Pat and Charles favour. It was this cruise that inspired the couple to book a high seas adventure to celebrate with their friends. “Brazil is a fascinating place,” said Pat, “We called at several islands which were very pretty. Lots of colourful houses and cottages, with friendly local people to greet you wherever you ventured. The places the ship put us ashore were always so very cute. We just walked and walked, taking it all in. We loved the relaxed ambience of these islands and, overall, the destinations on this cruise had a very Spanish feel to them which we liked. E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 6 3
ENJOYING CRUISE LIFE: (clockwide from left) Pat glammed-up and ready for evening entertainment on the ship. Montevideo. Sailing into the sunset in Mexico. Poolside at Pat’s Mexican resort. Pat with the family at Universal Studios. Arriving at a Brazilian island on the ship’s tender.
“The Uruguayan island we visited was completely different. It was a very wealthy area peppered with designer boutiques - but it was still a pretty place. We ended our cruise in Argentina, and my only regret is that we didn’t book a stay there and take a few days to explore Buenos Aires. We are glad to have seen what we did of South America by cruising through these wonderful destinations; it was so very different from anywhere else we have been.” What’s to love about cruise Pat and Charles discovered that cruising ticks many holiday preference boxes for them. Have you ever wondered who uses those gyms on board the ship? Well that would be Pat and Charles... “We enjoy our time on the ship as much as we do our time ashore,” said Pat. “There’s lots to do on the cruise ships, even ice skating and rock wall climbing on some! The shows in the evening are very good too. You have all the entertainment you need under one 64 SPRING / SUMMER 2018
roof - it is a proper holiday,” she said. “Typically, after a morning spent exploring ashore, we love to return to the ship to soak up the sun on a lounger by the pool for an hour, then we head for a session in the wellequipped gym, or take to the running track around the top deck - my favourite form of on-board exercise. Finally, we return to our cabin to relax before dressing up and going off to enjoy one of the ship’s many dining options. The food is of a high quality and the different cuisines on offer mean that dining never gets boring. Although we don’t always take the ‘dressy’ dining option, we do like to dress up during our cruise, as it makes for a special occasion. But you don’t have to dress up - it’s all about you choosing how you want to customise your holiday with cruise.” For the Ansteads, there is no doubt that it’s the opportunity to see many different destinations that has them hooked on cruise. “We feel a cruise is like having the best of an all-inclusive holiday, but with the bonus,
which takes it one step better than an all-inclusive, of being able to go out each day to explore a new place to see things you’ve never seen before. Each day you enjoy a completely new adventure,” Pat explained. The couple have owned timeshare and been RCI members for over 20 years, having bought it while on holiday in the Dominican Republic and converting their ownership at Hurricane House Resort (3041) in Florida to RCI Points. They have seen much of the world using their RCI membership and use their timeshare to visit destinations they have sampled while on a cruise. “We used our RCI Points to stay in Saint Maarten, a magical Caribbean destination we visited on a cruise,” said Pat. “Having had that taster of this beautiful island, we fell in love with it and just had to return. We stayed in traditional Caribbean-style accommodation with RCI, right on the beach. It was a dream holiday.” As you read this magazine, Pat and Charles
will be setting sail with NCL to the Caribbean with their friends on an RCI Cruise & Resort Holidays cruise. They will stay for a week in RCI accommodation in Fort Lauderdale, which Pat knows will comfortably accommodate the two couples, before setting sail. “RCI Cruise & Resort Holidays are really good value, and so flexible having the stay option to be used at either end of your cruise,” Pat concluded. “Being RCI Exchange Holiday accommodation, we know our stay will be in the comfort of a quality resort in a superb location with lots of space to take friends and family with us.”
Activate your £250 complementary Savings Credits now to put towards a cruise or hotel stay.
AC T I VAT E B Y C A L L I N G : 0800 587 2188
E N D L E S S VAC AT I O N 6 5
2018 brings members incredible savings with
RCI Cruise & Resort Holidays
More than just a Cruise - now offering Golf, Spa and Ski experiences! Activate your £250 complimentary holiday Savings Credits now.
Terms and Conditions: You will be awarded with £250 Savings Credits (“Savings Credits”) upon enrolment. Savings Credits must be activated by 16 March 2018. Savings Credits will be credited to your RCI Cruise & Resort Holidays account and may be redeemed as a form of partial payment for subsequent Cruise, Travel and Lifestyle transactions, excluding flights and car hire. To be awarded or to redeem Savings Credits, you must maintain an active RCI Cruise & Resort Holidays account. Free enrolment Savings Credits will expire 6 months after activation date. All prices are per person, based on two people sharing.
Use your £250 Savings Credits towards:
4-DAY GOLF BREAK, EMIRATES GOLF CLUB, UAE
7-DAY SKI BREAK, CHALET HOTEL CHRISTINA, FRANCE
£789 Lowest Market Price Apply £236 Savings Credits
£949 Lowest Market Price Apply £250 Savings Credits
£553 Member Price
£699 Member Price
3-DAY SPA BREAK, ARIA HOTEL, HUNGARY £798 Lowest Market Price Apply £239 Savings Credits
3-NIGHT HOTEL STAY, CARDINAL HOTEL ST PETER, ROME
£559 Member Price
£433 Lowest Market Price Apply £221 Savings Credits
£212 Member Price
Activate your £250 Savings Credits now! RCI members-only offer ends 16 March 2018.
Call 0800 587 3499 and quote RCI250 to start saving! Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday 09:30 - 19:30 Friday - 10:30 - 18:00 Saturday - 10:00 - 14:30
†RCI Travel is operated by ICE Europe Limited (ICE) trading as Our Holiday Centre and uses the name RCI Travel under licence from RCI Europe. RCI Cruise & Resort Holidays are brands and services operated and provided by RCI Travel. RCI Europe is a separate entity and does not supply any travel services and is not responsible for any of the products or services offered herein.
Escape with an RCI Late Deal From just ÂŁ195 per week Can you travel within 45 days of booking? If so, then take advantage of our discounted RCI Extra Holidays where you can: Choose from a variety of destinations Experience great quality resorts Enjoy all year round availability
Visit RCI.com or call us on 0845 60 86 111 *Late Deals: No week deposit / exchange or points required. Not all information is applicable to RCI Lite or Club members. Late Deals price applies to selected resorts when booking for travel within 45 days. For full terms and conditions including pricing, please visit rcitc2.com.
RCI Europe Endless Vacation member magazine