17 Years of Affordable Luxury
“Our intention was never to purchase a week’s timeshare – let alone two!” So says Alliance member, Fiona Carter, as she explains to us how she came to own in the fabulously lush resort of Marriot’s Club Son Antem in Mallorca.
“Back in 2001, my previous partner and I were curious as to how timeshare worked and encouraged by the cheap inspection trip out to Marbella we were offered, we thought we’d go out and check for ourselves. Although we liked the way the timeshare product worked, we found we didn’t like the Marbella resort very much – it didn’t offer us what we were looking for. The sales pitch was actually very intelligent however and quite elegant and we liked the company and how they represented themselves. Having enjoyed the short break, we decided to book a further trip out to their Son Antem resort in Mallorca as this seemed more the type of setting we were after, and we were not disappointed!
And having initially thought we would purchase a week, we ended up buying two as it gave us much more flexibility – something I’ve been really grateful for over the last 17 years.
Not having any children at the time, we purchased 2 gold weeks which we could take any time apart from August. When our daughter Scarlet was born we thought this might cause issues as we would be limited in school holidays, but in actual fact the weather in August can be so hot we were happy to take our time early or late in the season instead.”
"The kitchens are brilliantly equipped with top of the range facilities including Villery and Boch cutlery"
The resort itself is just beautiful. There are 224 properties in total and they are built in a townhouse style, with spacious two or three bedrooms. The townhouses are built in groups of six around a small pool so you never feel like you are on a huge resort and the grounds are lush and wonderfully tended. They each have a private patio and the kitchens are brilliantly equipped with top of the range facilities including Villery and Boch cutlery for example. The villas are cleaned every day if you require with all the beds changed – such a treat! Alternatively if you don’t want the service you simply let them know.
We are also able to request where on the resort we want to be each time we stay (for example when my mother used to come with us I requested close to the clubhouse as she couldn’t walk terribly far) and though we don’t always stay in the same townhouse, as they are all identical, it feels like you are going back to your own familiar place each time. This was lovely when Scarlet was little and we were unable to stay out too late as we could have our food, movies and even BBQ if we wanted, knowing the facilities were all there. There is also a small shop selling groceries so you don’t even have to leave the resort if you don’t want to.
"My shoulders literally go down the minute I step off the plane and I know I can relax and that everything is in hand and all is as it should be"
Over the years as my daughter Scarlet has grown through different phases we have used the resort in different ways. When she was tiny she wanted to go and dig at the beach so we would hire a car. Now she is older and keen to have her friends come out with us the flexibility of having the two weeks has really come into its own. We can choose to have two villas but for one week so we’ve had other families holiday with us – but still all having our own space which has been lovely.
The resort also has a great range of onsite facilities which have been upgraded and added to over the years. The resort management really listens to the needs of their guests and owners and respond to that – for example they added a more relaxed dining option a few years ago serving burgers and ice-cream which reflects the way we all eat out more casually these days. Great if you are fed-up with self-catering but don’t want to always go to the more formal restaurant.
Although I don’t use the golf course, my new partner does play so no doubt he will enjoy the greens. My daughter and I are now using the lovely spa together which is great way to spend time relaxing. I work so hard and travel so frequently with my job that it is really important for me to be able to switch off in a stress free environment knowing the standard is always to my expectations and literally everything is taken care of when I am away. You don’t always get that with a normal holiday and I can’t imagine how let down I would feel if my precious holiday time was compromised by poor service or crowded and substandard facilities.
My shoulders literally go down the minute I step off the plane and I know I can relax and that everything is in hand and all is as it should be.
"The sales operation is kept very discrete"
There is a small sales team on site but there is never any sense that people are being wheeled through the resort and ‘pitched’ too either – the sales operation is kept very discrete.
Marriott’s staff retention is also excellent and we have really got to know the team over the years. They treat you very much like an owner rather than a holiday maker and are welcoming but deferential – and so helpful! I appreciate the fact that when I phone to book my weeks the staff always answer within four rings and so on the ball and delightful to deal with – it’s always so easy. We love the resort so much that we have only exchanged twice over the years. Each time it was within the Marriott Vacation Club and the service and facilitates were excellent still. I can see this is something we may well do more of in the future as Scarlet goes off on her own holidays and my partner and I may want to explore other places. At least I know that the standard of resort will be what we are used to though!
I have never regretted buying the timeshare – even when they put the maintenance fees up from time to time – we get emailed notice of what they are doing and why and this is always reflected in the standards. The value it represents is still excellent. I can’t believe I would get the same standard of accommodation and service without having to pay thousands of a pounds for a holiday week instead of hundreds. I believe reliability and consistency are things worth paying for anyway.
Meantime 2018 has been a really busy year for us so I will be banking a week so we can take 3 weeks next year to celebrate the end of Scarlet’s exams – heaven!
Fiona's 3 top tips for getting the most from your timeshare
- Plan your trips as far in advance as possible – that way you can ensure you get the weeks (or exchange) you want
- Be open to how your holidays will change along with your differing family needs – what may suit when your children are young may be the opposite to what you want once they are teenagers and beyond!
- Make friends with your resort staff – they will treat you like old family friends!
Our thanks to Fiona and Scarlet for sharing their experiences with us – and good luck in your exams Scarlet!
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