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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Our first vacation through RCI


My husband and I purchased our timeshare while we were vacationing alone. The following year we took our 2 daughters and a friend on vacation with us to the Sheraton Vistana Resort in Orlando. Since our previous vacations had always taken place in hotel rooms we were anxious to see their reaction when we arrived. We gave them the key to our villa and told them to go open the door while we grabbed luggage. We waited outside. When they walked into the villa we heard screams. They came running out and the look on their faces were priceless. They were so excited about staying in a 2 bedroom villa at a luxury resort for a week instead of a cramped hotel room and so were we!

-Bonnie R. from Richmond, MN

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Good eats on the island of Maui


Dan "The RCI Guy" - Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"Last year, my best friend asked me to join him in Hawaii to celebrate his birthday. He was going to be staying at a beach house in Paia on the north shore of Hawaii. Since it was still a bit chilly where I live in Salt Lake City, the answer was easy... "yes"!

I've been coming to Hawaii since I was 10 years old...at first it was always the island of Oahu, but over the years I've been able to visit almost all the islands – Kauai (where I own a timeshare), Oahu, Maui and even Lanai.

Our flight landed in Kahului and the beach town of Paia is only about 10-15 minutes east along the north shore. We arrived at night, so I really couldn't see anything, but I could sure hear the surf from the beach house we were staying at. There's something magical, almost mesmerizing about the listening to the ocean surf, especially at night. For me, it easily lulls me to sleep. My first morning was beautiful, the ocean was only 50 feet off the back porch and there were shallow tidal pools where the locals loved to go fishing.

When I go on vacation I love to go off the beaten path and Paia is exactly my kind of place – a local surfing town with VERY friendly people and lots of little, funky shops and restaurants. Some of my favorites were the Paia Fish Market - try the mahi mahi burger with onion rings. Cafe Des Amis serves up great crepes with a fun, outdoor patio. No matter what, take the time to check out Mana Foods. It's the local health food/grocery store and it has the coolest items that you won’t find anywhere else. It seems almost everything in the store is organic – really fun. And if you go during the day you should check out their hot and cold deli. We bought a bunch of the buffalo wings...seriously some of the best wings I've ever had! Finally, perhaps the most famous restaurant on the island is just a couple of miles east of Paia. Mamma's Fish House has been right on the beach for about 40 years and the food is amazingly good. The atmosphere is hard to beat and the service was impeccable. I ordered the wild boar and mahi mahi – fantastic! My friends ordered the macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi stuffed with crab - mmmmm good! Your meal starts with fresh baked bread and a complimentary "shot" of the soup of the day. Mamma’s Fish House may be pricey, but it is well worth it!

Another great spot on the island is Wailea. There are three or four great beaches but my favorite was Big Beach – just ask any of the locals how to get there. Look for local food trucks selling everything from shaved ice to shrimp scampi along the way. Big Beach is just that... BIG! It stretches along the west coast for almost half a mile - the sand is soft and the waves are perfect for boogie boarding or body surfing.

Also on the west coast, but further north, is Ka'anapali. There are a lot of beautiful beaches here and my favorite place is Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop. It's about five miles before you get to town, look for it on the right, and it is HEAVEN! Yes, their pies are incredibly good, but so are their sandwiches and pot pies...everything is amazing!

I LOVE Maui - hope you do too!! Come back to the RCI Blog this week to read stories and see photos from RCI subscribing members who have also visited Maui. Trust me, these photos will not disappoint!

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Thanksgiving with the Christel House Cousins


Becky A., Director, Christel House

By: Becky A., Director, Christel House

 

My first real job out of college was at RCI.  I started as a vacation guide 22 years ago.  As a small town girl from the middle of Indiana, working for RCI opened my eyes to different people and cultures and created a broader view of the world for me.  I learned to embrace and celebrate cultural diversity.  After all, isn’t that part of the magic of traveling to a new place?

 

In my role at Christel House, I love working with RCI and all of the timeshare companies that support our efforts.  But, my favorite thing is spending time with our kids. I personally know most of the young people you’re hearing from this week on the blog.  Some of them have been to the U.S. to attend a summer leadership camp and have stayed at my house on numerous occasions.  They are part of my extended family and like all families, we have special traditions, including an annual Thanksgiving feast.  Only, our feast takes place in August at the end of camp and green bean casserole is nowhere on the menu.

 

We give thanks the Christel House way, with Indian flat bread, guacamole, curry, tacos and other “family” favorites from the across the globe. The kids each pick a food from their home country that they would like to share with their Christel House “cousins”.  That’s what they call each other – they may be from different countries, but to them, Christel House is home and we are all family. 

 

The kids do all of the cooking.  My job is to make sure no one cuts themselves or burns the house down – they aren’t used to sharp knives or cooking on a stove that has more than one heat setting.  The end result is a humble meal made from the most basic of ingredients.  Yet to me, it is far better than a gourmet meal in any five star restaurant.  It isn’t just about the food.

 

Just like with lots of families, some of the best conversations take place around my kitchen table.  The kids take so much pride in sharing their unique customs and traditions with each other.  It is something we all have, regardless of whether we are rich or poor.  They also love to find the common threads that run through all of our cultures. That’s what happens when people of different backgrounds come together through travel or over a shared meal; it breaks down barriers and promotes mutual understanding and respect.  And, that is the magic of what happens in my kitchen each August.

 

A photo of me and the “cousins” cooking our Thanksgiving dinner.

A photo of me and the “cousins” cooking our Thanksgiving dinner.

 

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It’s Christel House Week on the RCI Blog


Christel DeHaan - Christel House News and Updates

I am thrilled to welcome you to the very first Christel House week on the RCI Blog.  As the founder of Christel House and co-founder of RCI, it gives me immense pleasure to witness the outpouring of generosity that RCI and its employees have shown to the children of Christel House.

 

I could never have imagined what was to come when my family’s living room served as the first RCI “office” in 1973.  As the timeshare industry evolved and business grew, so too, did RCI’s reach.  We rapidly became a multinational company with offices spanning the globe.  And, our corporate culture, including a strong belief in giving back to the communities where we did business, quickly transcended international borders.  That rich culture of social responsibility continues to be a hallmark of RCI’s business today.

 

After the sale of RCI in 1997, I was in the unique position of being able to focus my time and resources on making a difference in the world.  Christel House is my way of doing just that. We opened our first learning center for impoverished children in Mexico City in 1998.  Four more centers in India, South Africa, Venezuela and the United States soon followed.  And, fourteen years later, we continue to grow.  Most of our learning centers are strategically located in third world countries where RCI had much success during my tenure.

 

It also is important to recognize that you, the RCI subscribing members, have played an important role in this story since day one.  Without your patronage of RCI throughout the years, none of this would be possible.  For that, I thank you. 

 

This week, you will have an opportunity to read blogs from some of our students, teachers and even a few RCI employees who have visited our learning centers.  You will also have an opportunity to join RCI in supporting our work.  True to its culture of giving back, RCI will match all donations made to Christel House in 2012 by its members up to a cumulative $25,000.  I invite you to join us as we transform young lives.

 

A photo of me and Christel House students in South Africa

A photo of me and Christel House students in South Africa

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28 years and counting


Mark your calendar for week 29 next year. We're all going on vacation to Hilton Head. We bought a timeshare. Those were the words my mother-in-law said to me 28 years ago. I didn't know when week 29 was, nor did I know what a timeshare was but 28 years later, I have come to appreciate, understand, and anticipate week 29. Over the years, we have met perspective spouses, watched our babies grow, celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, and even shed tears caused by family deaths on that beach at Hilton Head. The proverbial circle of life with week 29 as a backdrop. No matter the severity of the winter weather, sunny week 29 was waiting. No matter the stress of our day-to-day jobs, relaxing week 29 was waiting. No matter the 51 hectic weeks between trips, mellow week 29 was waiting. Last year my mother-in-law could not go to Hilton Head because of cancer, but this year she was back stronger than ever. She was ready to treat everyone, especially her new great granddaughter, to ice cream. What lies ahead? Who knows? But what we do know is that week 29, our timeshare, and the Hilton Head beach will be there to soothe our jangled nerves.

 

- Submitted by: worldtraveller

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St. Maarten Honeymoon 1996


I had never been on a vacation before...ever. For our wedding gift, my in-laws gave my husband and me two weeks at any RCI affiliated resort. We chose to go to St. Maarten in the Caribbean and it was paradise! We went to two different resorts - equally wonderful - and when it came time to go back home, I cried and begged to live there forever. Three years later we were invited to hear about RCI at a local hotel. Of course we went and bought a timeshare right then and there. Our honeymoon experience was so amazing that we wanted to always have the option of great vacations! Thanks for starting us off right!

 

- Alexis P. from Maple Valley, WA

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Thirty years and more!


Thirty years and more!

We became RCI subscribing members over 30 years ago when a very young family struggling to make a living after moving to Queensland for a life-change. Our daughters and then grandsons grew up loving the annual week at Don Pancho Resort at Bargara where we watched turtles laying eggs and hatchlings emerging. Over the years we have travelled the world with RCI. Now retirees, we spend much of our time planning "Where to next?" As we tell everyone - we are definitely Timeshare Junkies!

- Eileen W. from Queensland, Australia
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Twenty-three Years with RCI


Our subscribing membership with RCI began when we purchased our first timeshare at Breezy Point, MN in 1985. We made our first exchange the following year for Spring Break with our three daughters to Oceanside, CA. In 1989 we traded for a week in Cancun and purchased another timeshare. We made other exchanges to locations in Florida, California, Hawaii, New Orleans, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Greece and Canada over the years. We even made an exchange for a houseboat in Florida! We have always been able to get an exchange for the location of our choice. All trips were enjoyable, but Greece was the most outstanding. It was on the island of Crete, which has beautiful scenery and rich history. It was our first experience with Greek culture and we loved it. We have visited Greece many times since. RCI has been a winner for us!

- Norma V. from Burnsville, MN
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Many Trips


I have been an RCI subscribing member for over twenty years. I have used my week to exchange and to stay at my home resort. I love my RCI membership. I have used my exchanges to travel all over the world plus many fine resorts in the U.S. I have so many wonderful memories of the places I have been with my husband, my family and my friends I could not possibly pick one. If there is ever anyone at the pool talking timeshare and RCI I am the one promoting the virtues. I would never have been able to stay at these fine resorts if I had not been an RCI member.

- Marlene M. from Nisswa, MN
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RCI Subscribing Members for over 20 years…WOW!


Helen F. - UK and Travel Destination NewsFor Joan K. from Northamptonshire, England, an RCI subscribing membership unleashed her inner adventurer and she has enjoyed two decades of travelling the world with RCI. Joan has always been passionate about travel and this independent divorcee made sure her son, Mark, grew up with the same appreciation for the wonders the world holds for the curious mind. For Joan, a week’s timeshare in Antigua was the perfect gift for Mark. “I wanted to enable him to see the world and to share the experience with friends,” she explained. “Through travel I’ve discovered that I have a real sense of adventure – not for me lying around on a beach all day! I want to get out into the local communities to experience different cultures and the different ways of life the world over.”

After joining RCI in 1991 when she bought a week at Club Tarahal in Tenerife on the Canary Islands, Joan immediately exchanged for a week in Acapulco in Mexico and loved it so much she bought a second week of timeshare, there and then at the resort. Joan shared some of the most exciting and memorable moments of two of her RCI exchange holidays in the European edition of Holiday, The RCI Magazine. Her story (read it here!) sees her on safari in South Africa where she witnessed a ‘kill’ first-hand, and sharing a quiet bathing spot in a hilltop lagoon with monkeys in India. Of course, she got some much needed R&R in fabulous RCI affiliated resorts along the way to recharge her batteries!

This week on the RCI blog, we’ll be sharing stories and photos from those of you who have been RCI subscribing members for 20 years or more. Be sure to check back to hear about all the great places our members have traveled over the years.

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Riviera Maya, Mexico 2008


In May 2008, my husband, daughter and son went to the Grand Mayan at Riviera Maya. We had coordinated our trip with my brother-in-law and his wife and daughter who also exchanged a room for their timeshare week. The Grand Mayan had large rooms for ourselves and our adult children to share. There was plenty to do at the resort. We explored the Riviera Maya activities, and even enjoyed some spa treatments. The highlight was celebrating our son's 21st birthday...The most difficult part of the trip was navigating the Mexican highways. I'm just glad that my brother-in-law did all the driving instead of my husband. I also came to understand what a terrible backseat driver I am. Both couples came away from that trip appreciating our own spouses. We had a great time and enjoyed the pampering of a luxury resort. Now to plan another trip...

- Jane K. from Denver, CO
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South Africa 2003


This was our first real trip using our timeshare. We were told by everyone that you have to trade Gold for Gold, Silver for Silver, and so on, that is so not true. With RCI on your side the world is open...We traded for Cabana Beach just outside of Durban, South Africa, the top RCI affiliated resort in the country. WE GOT IT! What an adventure we had. The resort was wonderful, right on the water with spectacular sunrises over the Indian Ocean. Cabana was home base to a week of once-in-a-lifetime day trips. We went diving with sharks, saw a recreated Zulu Village in the day of King Shaka and went on a game drive. Sharks withstanding the game drive ended up giving us the biggest threat of all. Halfway up the mountain we were met head on by a young bull elephant. Nowhere to turn around and he started walking right towards us! We had to back up down the road all the way, with the elephant flapping his ears and swinging his trunk. We later learned from the rangers that there was a new born calf and he was being big brother. Loved it!

- Richard S. from Houston, TX
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RCI’s UK "Holiday" Magazine Gets a Makeover


Claire W. - UK and Holiday Magazine UpdatesWhen you received your last copy of Holiday magazine you may have noticed we’ve had a bit of a revamp. Like it? We hope so, because many of the ideas came from you!

At the end of 2009, we sent out some member surveys, and we got so many great ideas and feedback from you that we decided to incorporate them into the magazine (updates were also made to RCI North America’s subscribing member publication Endless Vacation® Magazine – you can check those out here) . And as someone who is very involved in the management of Holiday magazine, I can tell you that feedback is always very helpful!

One of the things you told us is that you find travel and vacation tips, RCI information and hearing from other members very useful.  So we now have an all-new, revamped member section called Your Holiday. This is where you’ll find details about your membership, all the latest RCI news, new timeshare resorts for you to try, exclusive offers, recommendations and stories from other members, and much, much more.

We’ve also introduced a new regular feature, Ask the RCI Experts, where you can send us your vacation queries and travel questions to be answered by us.

From the October issue we will be including a Member Travelogue  featuring interesting travel tales from RCI members (we’ve already heard from one member who slept in the same bed as Bill Clinton on holiday – albeit two weeks apart!).

And we’ve introduced regular food features as you told us you like eating out and trying new foods on holiday. (Who doesn’t!?)

We hope you love the new-look Holiday magazine and we’re really keen to hear your opinions and feedback. Let us know what you think by commenting below.

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Puerto Rico 2009


San Juan turned out to be a great town. My plans were to cruise for a week then stay in Puerto Rico for 6 more days. The Sol Melia Resort turned out to be the most beautiful place we could have chosen. It was a very modernly designed facility from the check-in areas to the rooms themselves. The pools were magnificent, huge, clear, blue, and the perfect temperature. The most special part of staying in this timeshare was that we were in such close proximity to the only rainforest in the U.S. National Park Service. It is worth a million dollars to see and experience this magnificent treasure only in Puerto Rico. We had such a fun and adventurous time. I recommend it to everyone. It's only about one hour from San Juan and the airport.

- Angela G. from Middle River, MD
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My Niece's 21st B-Day Gift to Aruba


I was wondering what I could give my niece and godchild for her 21st birthday. I really wanted to make her birthday memorable as it's such a milestone in life. I decided the only gift that she would remember for the rest of her life was an RCI vacation. I was able to deposit my week and she requested a week in Aruba. Typical soon-to-be 21 year old, she was very specific on the week and chose only 2 resorts in Aruba. It came down to the wire but just 2-3 weeks before her chosen date, I got a call from the RCI guide to let me know RCI was able to accommodate LeeAnne and her mom (my sister) the actual week they wanted in August at the resort in Aruba that was her number one choice. I was a hero to my niece!

My niece, LeeAnne, invited a friend and her mom to join them on this adventure and according to all 4 they had a blast. It was a great mother/daughter bonding trip and no one wanted the week to end. They said they were treated great by all the staff and the RCI exchange was the best vacation they have had! Needless to say, my sister now wants to buy my timeshare and wants to be a member of RCI so that she can travel every year with minimal hassles. Thanks so much for helping me make my niece's 21st birthday a memorable one.

- Abigail V. from Cave Creek, AZ
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My Birthday 2009


I had not had a real birthday party in a long time, so I decided to throw myself one! Fortunately, I found a Last Call vacation through RCI at the beautiful Kings Creek Plantation resort in Williamsburg, VA. It was very reasonably priced but when I got there, I thought, "Oh my, I should have paid waaaay more for this." It was so nice to have my family come with me. We had enough room for everyone! One of my husband's gifts to me was 'Guitar Hero' and my family and I had a blast taking turns playing it on the big screen television! I was skeptical at first because we are fairly new to the whole timeshare thing, but now that we're confident that RCI will do their best to accommodate our needs, we won't travel any other way! As a matter of fact, we're leaving Monday for a week in Walt Disney World...yippee!

- Steven B. from Suffolk, VA
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Cape Cod Memories 2009!


Gary S. - Travel Tips and InformationWe drove from our PA home to check out Cape Cod for the first time and were not disappointed. The fresh seafood and beautiful coastal scenery experienced on that late August drive, was just a small indication of the wonderful time in store for us! We stayed at the Harbor Hill resort at the very tip of the cape in Provincetown. Entering our timeshare unit was like walking into a palace in terms of luxury and size! The resort was surrounded by water on three sides with magnificent views of the town and the beaches from nearly every vantage point.

There were many activities to keep us busy: whale watching, swimming at the one of the many beaches and exploring the unique culture of Provincetown. The weather was picture perfect every day of our stay.

A most memorable day was our trip to Martha’s Vineyard. We parked and rode the ferry; had a great lobster for lunch at Coop de Ville, and after an informative bus tour of the island, we browsed through the shops on Circuit Avenue while scoping out a dinner spot.  Outside one of the restaurants we had earlier considered, a motorcade pulled up, and from beyond the gathering crowd, we made out President Obama and family entering the restaurant. We barely missed having dinner with the President!

After checking out, we drove to Boston, explored Faneuil Hall, the New England Aquarium and then dinner at La Famiglia Giorgio’s, with ample portions of expertly prepared Italian food “where everyone is treated like family”. A perfect way to end a perfect vacation experience!

Check back on the RCI blog this week when we share photos and stories about Cape Cod from RCI subscribing members.

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Baseball Spring Training in Florida


For the last three years my wife and I have traveled to Orlando for vacation. We first went to Walt Disney World and other activities in the area. We went to three Braves baseball games during the March spring training. The next year we went to nine baseball games but included the Astros to our game plan all in the same Orlando area.

Well, last year we used our RCI subscribing membership and traded into five weeks of timeshares for 31 spring training games in 34 days. It was a lot of fun and we got season tickets at the Nationals and the Astros parks. We had the same seats every day so the people we were sitting with became friends and we will do it again this year. What a great way to spend a vacation and enjoy friends that we have met in past years.

- Robert W. from Hayes, VA
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Learn what RCI is doing in the Big Apple!


Barbara E. - RCI Subscribing Member BenefitsHere at RCI we frequently discuss how to create an amazing experience for our subscribing members – it is the major topic of conversation – but we rarely get to meet our members. It’s true. Most of us have friends or neighbors who are RCI members – with 2.6 million members in North America it is a likely occurrence to know a few – but few of us ever meet with those we don’t personally know. Until now.

For the first time in North America, RCI will be holding regular events open to timeshare owners at affiliated resorts. Our pilot program will be at The Manhattan Club in New York City – a location near many members, former members and timeshare owners.

Events will run most Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings and will be open to timeshare owners interested in learning more about the recent enhancements to the RCI Weeks program. The first event will take place Wed., July 13 for RCI subscribing members who are also Manhattan Club owners.  The last event will take place on Wed., September 28.

Don’t have time to attend an event in New York City during your visit? No worries. We already have one of our best Vacation Guides on site at The Manhattan Club (Wed. – Sun. 9am-5pm) to answer your questions and provide information.

You don’t need to be an RCI member to attend. We welcome everyone visiting New York or coming into New York for work or play to head over to The Manhattan Club and meet us at the RCI Welcome Center.

In honor of our exciting events in the Big Apple, we will be sharing photos and stories about New York from RCI subscribing members this week on the RCI blog. Be sure to check back and don’t forget to visit us at The Manhattan Club!

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