Welcome home!


Welcome home!

In Branson with friends for a week. There were always a few deer welcoming us back to the resort from our daily trips to area activities. This is a rare shot we were able to get of one from the car.

-Patti F. from Appleton, WI

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Once In A Lifetime


My boyfriend of three years and I decided to take a spontaneous vacation in July. We were in our early 20's and living together for a little less than a year. We found a fantastic deal and booked a trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Our excitement was palpable.

As a young couple in love, off we went to Cancun International Airport on our first trip to Mexico, to an all-inclusive resort and to a beach not on the US eastern coast. We were thrilled to just be away together in such a lovely place.

After settling into a room, squeezing in a little pool time, and enjoying a delicious dinner at the buffet, we decided to take a walk on the beach. Hand-in-hand we went as we took a seat on two loungers under a tiki hut. The stars twinkled above us on this dark night, the ocean lapped the sand, and we enjoyed the silence that surrounded us in this peaceful moment.

I said to my boyfriend, "What a perfect place, what a perfect dinner, what a perfect night." At that moment he replied "It's the perfect time for me to ask you to marry me." I stared in awe as he got down on one knee and opened up a box showing my sparkling engagement ring. I smiled and cried tears of joy as I replied "Yes!” We shared an emotional and happy moment under the romantic sky.

As it turns out, he had done an impressive job asking my parents for their permission, receiving the delivery of the ring, and getting through the airports' security and customs departments. I was excited, beaming, and still in shock when we went to the lobby. We celebrated with champagne as we watched the live Mexican band play along with couples and children dancing about...

We immediately got moved to an oceanfront room and spent the rest of our vacation in bliss as we relaxed, got massaged, sunbathed, dined, drank, danced, and laughed together. During our remaining days, we frequently visited Jack and José who shared in our happiness as a newly engaged couple and new timeshare owners. This was a very special vacation for us and I will never forget the once in a lifetime memories that were created at Ocean Maya Royale.

-Erin D. from Blue Bell, Pennsylvania

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It'll never top Mexico


Our first RCI vacation took us to Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan Peninsula. We were excited to be able to exchange our timeshare in the Berkshires for a vacation outside of the US in order to give our two young boys some exposure to other cultures. We rented a car so that we could explore the surrounding countryside and possibly see some of the Mayan ruins while in Mexico. The resort was nice enough and offered a number of activities... The food was great; we tried a number of different options and the kids even tried some new things (a small miracle). The resort’s many pools provided some variety as we spent a chunk of time swimming and joining in on some resort-sponsored pool football...

-William H. from Coventry, Connecticut

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Playa del Carmen is like Paradise


SoniaThe first time I ever visited Playa del Carmen, I immediately fell in love with this magical little town by the beach.

As you walk down the streets in beautiful Playa del Carmen, you will see “locals” from all around the world that decided to stay here for good after vacationing in paradise themselves.

There is nothing like spending the day at the beautiful and famous Mamita’s Beach. It is one of the best beaches in the world. There is plenty of fun to be had for everyone visiting.

Staying in downtown Playa del Carmen is your best bet to experience everything the town has to offer. You will find everything you can think of from local restaurants that serve the best Mexican food throughout the region to upscale gourmet restaurants, led by internationally recognized chefs. There are also small hotels and luxury resorts, as well as cozy little bars and huge night clubs, such as the famous Cocobongo. Everything is right here!

Make sure to stop at Quinta Avenida, located on Fifth Avenue. There are people walking down the street all day long shopping, sipping coffee, eating ice cream, enjoying a cold drink, sitting at the bar or restaurant and going to church.

If you enjoy sports, there are plenty of activities to try during your visit: fishing, snorkeling, and a lot of other water sports are very popular.

There is also a ferry for those that would like to visit La Isla de las Golondrinas (Island of Seagulls) located on Cozumel Island just 25 minutes away. Here you can explore some of the biggest coral reefs in the world.

Whether it’s day or night, there is always something going on in Playa del Carmen. And if you visit, you will have the time of your life right here, and who knows … maybe you will end up becoming a local too! Come back to the RCI Blog this week to read stories and see photos from RCI Subscribing members who vacationed in Playa del Carmen.

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Resort at Malaga, Spain


Resort at Malaga, Spain

A view from the resort of the Mediterranean Sea

-Peggy A. from Jonesboro, Georgia

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A Visit to Gibraltar


A Visit to Gibraltar

An amazing view of "The Rock" on a day trip to Gibraltar from our home resort in Malaga, Spain

-Daniel D. from Woodstock, Connecticut

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40th Anniversary


We had a beautiful trip driving down the coast of Spain to Malaga. The resort was wonderful and we met some very nice people from England, as well as other counties. They had very good entertainment at night, which we enjoyed. We found a lovely beach restaurant, called Max Beach. We spent our 40th anniversary there, with a lovely table overlooking the ocean, great food and great entertainment. It was a very special week, with lots of sightseeing and fun. The next week we went to Albufeira, Portugal. We had a very memorable and lovely vacation. Ended it all by spending three days in Frankfurt, Germany. My husband surprised me with First Class tickets for all our flights. Who could ask for a better 40 anniversary!!!

-Carolee A. from Mississauga, Canada

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Moorish Ruins in Malaga Town


Moorish Ruins in Malaga Town

Took the local bus from the resort to Malaga.

-Maureen G. from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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La Vida Bella


Last year I was planning a little trip to France when one of the friends I was to be traveling with decided that she would like to see another country, as they're so close in proximity. I switched gears in the planning and started to research what inventory through RCI was available in bordering countries to France. Wow was I pleasantly surprised at how far the US dollar would go for accommodations in Spain. We searched the Costa Del Sol to serve as a home base when visiting Sevilla, Ronda, Granada, Morocco, and Gibraltar...

After a quick trip to Madrid, we took a train to Malaga, rented a car, and drove to the resort. The directions were exactly as stated online. Someone in our party flew directly to Malaga and was able to check in early without any additional fees. We were all pleasantly surprised with the resort. It wasn't brand new, however, it was very well maintained. We had very comfortable accommodations and a lovely view of the sea. There were eight people in our party ranging from ages 2 to 52, and there was something for everyone. The staff was very attentive to our every need and even provided free shuttle service when requested. As far as the beach, we were so busy visiting Sevilla, Ronda, Granada, Morocco, and Gibraltar that we didn't even miss it. I loved the area and the people of Spain are magnificent. We will definitely return one day and trust RCI to handle helping us with the accommodations.

-Kristina G. from Mulberry, Florida

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Malaga, Spain – So Much To See And Do!


I hope you enjoyed reading about Malaga and the surrounding areas this week on the RCI Blog! I’d like to close this week out with one final blog about my trip to Malaga. Enjoy!

I travelled to Malaga last November for what would be an unforgettable trip. We checked in at Club La Costa at Marina del Ray and were pleasantly surprised with our one-bedroom accommodations. The living room was full of light, everything was clean and tidy, and we had a large balcony overlooking the coast! We used the balcony to enjoy amazing sunsets at night and to feel the refreshing sea breeze in the morning, when I would have my cup of coffee.

Since we were only there for a few days, we decided to plan small day trips so that we could see a lot of the area. We rented a car with the help of an amazingly kind and helpful receptionist at the resort. The first night, we were a little tired, so we went to nearby Torremolinos, where we enjoyed a wonderful Pulpo a la Gallega (octopus with potatoes in hot sauce) and a good Rioja bottle of wine.

The next day, we headed toward Grenada and reached the city of the Alhambra in just a few hours. There, we shopped and enjoyed amazing views of the churches, squares, avenues, and gardens. We had dinner at an Arabic restaurant on Calle Elvira – a small street where you can find pieces of fine art, collectables and souvenirs. At the end of this street, a little square overlooks the Alhambra. In these places you can feel all the charming fashion of Andalusia.

On our third day, we visited Gibraltar. This took a couple of hours by car, but was well worth the drive. The weather was almost perfect – sunny and warm. We enjoyed the view of the rock, with its narrow streets and its duty-free shops. In the afternoon we moved to the west. After passing the city of Algeciras, and the amazing hills where the myth of Hercules’ columns were set, we reached the town of Tarifa, a small city set on a long sandy beach. This is the European surfer’s paradise. We had dinner at a delicious small restaurant in front of the pier.

On the fourth day, we decided to go to Marbella. We roamed the street of this fashionable city and then we headed to Puerto Banus. Here there is a pier where you’ll see many luxurious yachts. In front of the pier is a street full of couture shops. After a quick stop back in Marbella for some ice cream and a walk on the promenade, we went back to Malaga to enjoy our last dinner before we had to head back home.

As you can see, there is so much to do when visiting Malaga. This was my second trip to Andalusia and I am sure I’ll come back again and again!

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My Family Surprise


Imagine my surprise when all my family - our son John, wonderful daughter-in-law Patty, daughter Joyce, and my gorgeous grandchildren: Jay, 25, Mike, 21, and Melissa, 20 could all come down here to Florida to visit us. I exchanged into a beautiful resort only 10 minutes away with just a month's notice. We went to the Keys, saw alligators, took boat rides, and ate at some of the finest restaurants. I'll remember this forever and so will my loves.

-Elizabeth A. from Hartford, CT

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Paradise Found


While on a trip to the Florida Keys we stopped in Key West. Loved it so much we exchanged into The Galleon Resort in June of 1995. We planned our wedding to take place there. We were planning an outdoor wedding but the weather was not working out. The staff of the resort offered us the use of an enclosed garden. They had it groomed for us. When we completed our vows we saw many of the other guests had come out to watch and cheered for us as we shared our first kiss. We loved this place so much we now own there and return every year. It's been 16 years and counting.

-Jack J. from Lincolnton, NC

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Relaxation or Adventure? Key West is great for both!


Emily SA few months ago, my boyfriend Blake and I planned a trip down to Key West. After a lot of research (on my part!), we arranged for our accommodations, booked our flights, and began our trip.

We flew into Miami and, at the urging of many articles and reviews, we opted to rent a car to drive to our resort in Key West instead of hopping on another plane – wow, were those authors and reviewers right! The 3+ hour drive on Highway 1 from the Florida mainland to Key West, while lengthy, was incredible! The views of the water were incredible, especially when we went over the Seven Mile Bridge.

After arriving at our resort in Key West, we headed over to a restaurant for dinner and then over to Mallory Square – an open area on the water with all kinds of street performers and vendors – to see an amazing sunset. If you want a front row view, get there early because it gets very crowded!

Our next few days were filled with catching some sun at the resort’s pool, seeing the action on Duval Street and exploring the town. We rented bicycles on two of the days to help us get around quickly to all of the Key West must-do’s: Southernmost Point, the Ernest Hemingway Home, the Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum. Another Key West must-do, in my book, is breakfast at Blue Heaven on Thomas Street – great setting and even better food.

Key West is a wonderful vacation destination. Whether you want to just relax by a pool and watch beautiful sunsets or take small adventures exploring the town – or a combination of both – Key West has it all! Come back to the RCI Blog this week to read stories and see photos from RCI Subscribing members who vacationed in the Florida Keys.

 

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Timeshare is the best thing we have ever owned


For Christmas four years ago, we took both of our sons and a significant other to Kauai, Hawaii. We spent the whole week taking helicopter rides, which was awesome. The best way to see the beauty of this gorgeous island. We also went snorkeling, to a luau, toured every inch of this gorgeous island, took a boat ride around to the Na Pali Coast, swam in waterfall pools, the list goes on. The resort had a lanai for both rooms that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. We hated to go to sleep and woke up very early every morning to sit on the lanai to watch the sunrise. The weather was absolutely perfect and the resort was wonderful. It was a Christmas dream vacation to be in the most beautiful place in the world with our grown children and friend. We want to go back and recreate the whole week because it is the one trip that we can never forget. Owning our timeshare is the greatest purchase we have ever made. We have been to all of the Hawaiian Islands and Kauai has been the most special.

-Richard K. from Bells, Texas

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Where's Waldo (Sue)?


Where's Waldo (Sue)?

Waiting to go on another adventure in New York City. A view of the resort and its fall decorations.

-Susan R.

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My husband's 60th


My daughter and son-in-law gave us a wonderful weekend in New York City for my husband's 60th birthday. We saw a Broadway show, walked through Central Park and ate at great places. The special timing was it was Christmas time in the city, too. The lights, decorated windows and shopping around New York made it extra special. It is the best place in the world during the holiday season and The Manhattan Club was a terrific resort.

-Debra K. from Bay Shore, New York

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Georgia mountains on my mind


Before going on a vacation with my family I always read the reviews. I focus on travelers looking for the same things I do: family friendly, a variety of activities, and great outdoor adventures. In addition, I like to call the resort staff and speak with someone from the area.

I called Country Hideaway at Mountain Lakes and spoke with the sweetest lady. I felt an immediate reassurance that this was the right place for my family and our guests.

Our unit was clean and well stocked, with a wooden deck overlooking a perfect lake. I fished each morning as the coffee brewed. Hummingbirds, ducks and geese were our pets for the week. We had the run of the place with water slides, a country store, a clubhouse with every amenity possible, trails, horses, etc. My son loved swimming in a lake without alligators! The fireworks for the 4th of July (one week early for resort guests) were picture perfect over the lake...we watched from our deck. The area boasts the town of Helen, the Blue Ridge Parkway, loads of state parks and waterfalls...too much to name. We had our first whitewater rafting trip on this vacation; pure joy! We long to return to the mountains...we booked our Christmas Holiday at another resort, this time in North Carolina. I'll let you know how that goes!

-Susan R. from DeBary, FL

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Fishing Lake Hamilton


Fishing Lake Hamilton

Our home resort. Early spring fishing week almost every year. Jim is taking advantage of every minute of daylight.

-Theresa S. from Paris, Arizona

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Sedona – So much to do, see and eat!


I hope you enjoyed our stories, photos, and tips about Sedona this week! Before we move on to another topic, I’d like to leave you with one last story – my story! – about a recent trip to Sedona:

After many years of hearing the praises of Sedona, I finally took the plunge and went for a week in mid-May.  I can't believe I waited this long! The drive from Phoenix to Sedona only takes about two hours and flies by with all the new sights to take in (loved seeing all the cacti). Once you hit the red rocks, you'll be blown away!

Entering Sedona by car is breathtaking.  You will want to stop and take pictures along the way but I recommend waiting so the cars behind you don't get mad.  You will have plenty of time for pictures when you plan an excursion or two (or three or four...).  After attending a breakfast orientation at my resort, my decision was made.  I would do a hot air balloon ride, an all day trip to the Grand Canyon, and a day trip to Jerome, AZ.  Please keep in mind that these were my personal choices.  There are so many things to do and see in Sedona (either on your own or by tour).  Your options are endless.

I have to say that the highlight of my trip was the hot air balloon ride.  It is something I can now mark off my bucket list.  They picked me up at 4:30am and we were in the air by 7am. We floated for about an hour and fifteen minutes and then, once back on the ground, had breakfast and champagne courtesy of the hot air balloon company.  What an unforgettable experience!

You can't go to Sedona without checking out the Grand Canyon!  I had been there as a kid, but was dying to go back.  No disappointments there!  Had a wonderful day.  I didn't want to do it on my own so I did go on a 12 hour tour.  So worth it.  A wonderful lunch at the El Tovar Hotel and even got to stop at a Navajo Reservation on our way back to Sedona.

Last, but not least, was my day trip to Jerome, AZ.  I did this on my own as it is an easy, albeit curvy, drive up a mountain, about 40 minutes from Sedona.  Lots of fun, eclectic shops and history here.  I did more shopping than history. I even had a fabulous lunch of a hotdog wrapped in bacon with all kinds of yummy toppings with a side of flash fried spinach (a must).

I could write a novel about Sedona and all the fun stuff to do, see and eat (there are so many great restaurants).  I can't wait to go back!

 

Hot air balloon ride

Hot air balloon ride

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

Jerome, Arizona

Jerome, Arizona

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Sedona Pines Resort


Last year my husband Charles (age 72) and myself (age 73) drove to Sedona, Arizona and stayed a week in Sedona Pines Resort. We enjoyed the trip there, but were really pleasantly surprised at the accommodations at Sedona Pines. It was lovely with everything we could ask for in the way of convenience.

It was conveniently located to take in all of the lovely rocks and canyons, take a train trip and shop. We were able to go to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park...No one can describe the beauty of the canyons, rocks and all the other surroundings. We will go back again.

-Lillian G. from Russell, KY

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