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Send Me on Vacation To Hold Crush-Out the Effects of Cancer Event September 21, 2014

Posted by Steve Luba in : Charity, News & Events, Send Me On Vacation , add a comment

Send Me on Vacation returns to the Napa Valley for its 4th annual breast cancer awareness event, “Crush- Out the Effects of Cancer”, to be held on October 2, 2014.

This year “Pink Is The New Red” for Rob Hunter from Hunter III Wines who has recently released his Petite Syrah Rouge in support of Send Me On Vacation. Hunter III Wines located in St. Helena CA was the first winery to support Send Me On Vacation in the Napa Valley. SMOV chairwomen, Victoria Acquistapace, assistant winemaker for Hunter III wines, was instrumental in aligning Hunter III wines with Send Me On Vacation. Over the past four years Send Me On Vacation has created partnerships with dozens of wineries in Napa Valley.

Send Me On VacationThe mission of Send Me On Vacation is to use the vacation as a catalyst for breast cancer survivors to cope with the  emotional and physical effects of surviving cancer treatment. SMOV believes that when the physical treatments end, the emotional struggles begin. This year SMOV annually awards nearly fifty women from throughout the country dream vacations.

“The need to go on vacation and get away from it all multiplies when you are a cancer survivor,” says Pam Horwitz, a two time survivor and chairwomen of Send Me On Vacation’s Survivor Committee.

In addition to sending women on week-long vacations, the organization recently launched a program called “The Goodness Vacation” in Phoenix, Arizona. The Goodness Vacation is four-night Staycation for women with Stage 4 cancer who are unable to travel far from home. Its purpose is to provide a nourishing getaway from ongoing treatments that create a heightened sense of wellness. SMOV will be launching this program in multiple cities across the country. The second city to launch the Goodness Vacation will be in the Napa Valley. The Wine Country Inn, located in St Helena, Ca, will be hosting the vacation. “We couldn’t think of a more beautiful and relaxing inn to trust with our recipients,” says Victoria Acquistapace. “The inn is known for their exceptional personal service and authentic beauty.”

Affiliated with St. Helena’s Martin-O’Neil Cancer Center, the group is able to send patients from the Napa Valley on dream vacations when treatment is completed. “Colleen Winters, Patient Care Navigator, was instrumental in guiding us through the process of aligning the cancer center with Send Me On Vacation. She is an amazing woman who cares for every patient in extraordinary ways,” says Cathy Backus, Founder and President of SMOV. “Colleen doesn’t just look after patients; she cares for her employees as well.” Two nurses at St. Helena Hospital were battling breast cancer themselves and still working daily to take care of dozens of cancer patients. Through Colleen’s efforts, SMOV was able to award both women a dream vacation. “Working with the nurses elevated the program to a new level. One of the nurses and her husband had battled cancer at different times during their lives and the thought of going on a vacation was a distant dream. After learning that she and her husband never had a honeymoon, SMOV reached out to Trade Winds Yacht Charter and the couple received a vacation of a lifetime. It’s generous vacation partners like Trade Winds that make the difference,” says Backus.

Vacations like these, and many more, are possible because of local sponsors throughout the country. Hunter III Wines, Charles Krug Winery, Delectus Winery and Annadel Winery are four dedicated partners who support community health and wellness through the efforts of Send Me On Vacation. Yearly events attended by local residents have been instrumental in making SMOV an important part of the community.

Inspired by women like Victoria Acquistapace from Hunter III Wines, Linda Reisacher from Delectus Winery and Alycia Mondavi from Charles Krug Winery, the charity has taken fundraising to new heights. This October 2, 2014, SMOV has partnered with the Napa Valley Wine Train to “Crush-Out the Effects of Cancer” with four winemaker dinners aboard the train. From 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., vintners will be pouring their unique wines to compliment specially prepared meals. The cost of the benefit dinner ranges from $159-$199 per person. Reservations can be made by calling the Napa Valley Wine Train at 707-253-0920 (extension 221) or by registering online at www.sendmeonvacation.org.

Interval International Welcomes Two South Africa Resorts to Vacation Exchange Network September 18, 2014

Posted by Steve Luba in : Interval International, News & Events , add a comment

Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services and an operating business of Interval Leisure Group (Nasdaq: IILG), announced the affiliation of South Africa resorts Simola Golf and Country Estate and Arminel Hogsback Village, part of the Kat Leisure Hotel Group. A leading hospitality company in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, the group is known for its range of accommodation in sought-after destinations.

“Simola Golf and Country Estate is Interval’s first affiliation in the popular Knysna area of the Garden Route, and Arminel Hogsback Village offers visitors an idyllic natural setting in the centuries-old Afro-Montane forest of the Amathole Mountains,” said Darren Ettridge, Interval’s senior vice president of resort sales and business development for Europe,Middle East, Africa, and Asia. “Together, these beautiful resorts showcase the diversity of South Africa’s coastline and mountains.”

Simola Golf and Country Estate

Simola Golf and Country Estate

Simola Golf and Country Estate is a mixed-use property that covers 325 hectares (803 acres) of rolling wooded hills located between Cape Town and Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route of the Western Cape Province. The resort features a mix of two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom duplex lodges, both featuring a well-appointed open-plan living space and spectacular views. Its grounds are laced with jogging and bicycle paths and extensive landscaped gardens. The lodges also have a large outside area with a barbecue and two-car garage. Guests have access to a number of on-site amenities, including a Jack Nicklaus championship golf course, spa and gym, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a full-service restaurant, lounge and clubhouse, and a heliport.

The freestanding two-bedroom Forest Lodges of Arminel Hogsback Village have a large wood deck and gas fireplace and are furnished to a high standard. Amenities include a dishwasher, plasma TV, outdoor barbecue, and private parking. Guests can use the on-site swimming pool, playground, La Royale Arminel Forest Spa, and dine indoors or out at the full-service restaurant at the resort’s associated hotel. Forest trails and the charming village of Hogsback are steps away.

“Both of these resorts provide an authentic experience of South Africa’s Cape region that we look forward to sharing with Interval members,” said Avril Kaschula, chief executive officer of Kat Leisure Hotel Group. “Simola Golf and Country Estateis in the heart of the action, yet away from the crowds with a hilly landscape and panoramic views that extend to theIndian Ocean. Arminel Hogsback Village is a magical world of mountains and forests. In fact, there are unconfirmed rumours that JR Tolkien was inspired by the scenery while he was writing Lord of the Rings.”

RCI and Plantation Resort of South Carolina Renew Affiliation Agreement September 14, 2014

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RCI and Plantation Resort recently renewed their multi-year affiliation agreement. The property has a long-standing affiliation with RCI, and brings a high-quality property in South Carolina’s Grand Strand area to the exchange company’s approximately 3.7 million subscribing members.

“Plantation Resort is pleased that we are continuing the mutually beneficial relationship we have enjoyed with RCI over the past 26 years,” said Blaine Liljenquist, chairman and CEO of Planation Resort. “We are impressed with the total commitment of RCI to provide exceptional services to our resort and enhanced vacation experiences for our owners.”

Plantation Resort South CarolinaThe RCI Gold Crown Resort property is found in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, just four miles south of Myrtle Beach. Surfside Beach provides a relaxing area to enjoy a peaceful vacation, while also offering convenient access to the water and beach activities, plentiful golf courses and lively nightlife of Myrtle Beach just minutes away.

“We have enjoyed a great relationship with Plantation Resort, and are excited to be continuing our affiliation,” said Gordon Gurnik, president of RCI. “The beautiful property is ideal for both couples and large groups looking for a beach and golf getaway, and our members have enjoyed vacationing there for many years.”

Guests at Planation Resort can take advantage of the on-site amenities like the swimming pool with expansive sun deck, the lazy river, the fitness center with several class offerings, the saunas and steam rooms, as well as the spa with massage options. The resort also provides a complimentary shuttle to nearby beaches.

The residences available offer plenty of space to accommodate various group sizes, ranging from studio to three-bedroom units. The units each include a fully-equipped kitchen, a living area, a balcony or patio, and a washer-dryer in unit.

Hilton Grand Vacations Named Among Best Companies for Working Families September 11, 2014

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Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) has once again been selected by the Orlando Sentinel as one of Central Florida’s Top 100 Companies for Working Families – this year placing among the top 20 large companies within the region.

“Continuing to be recognized by the Orlando Sentinel as one of Central Florida’s Top 100 Companies for Working Families, and achieving our highest ranking to date, is a source of great pride for Hilton Grand Vacations,” noted Mark Wang, President Global Sales and Hilton Grand Vacations. “Creating and maintaining a culture that supports our team members’ professional and personal growth is a priority for us at Hilton Worldwide.”

hilton_grand_vacationsNow in its 21st year as Central Florida’s premier award program, theOrlando Sentinel‘s Top 100 Companies for Working Families list recognizes companies that demonstrate a core commitment to family and work/life balance. This is HGV’s fourth consecutive year being selected among the Top 100, and the first year the organization has been recognized among the top 20 honorees.

The 2014 list of Top 100 Companies for Working Families is based on scores collected from an application that included a broad selection of questions. Applicants provided comprehensive details of workplace advantages in categories of core benefits, family-related benefits, work environment, communication, and training. Winning companies were determined by the data they provided in their application which was reviewed and scored by an independent panel of human resources experts.

“We are honored to receive this award,” said Lisa Cohen, Vice President Human Resources Consulting. “Our goal is to create an environment where each of our thousands of team members can achieve their full potential. This annual recognition signals that we continue to be successful in delivering the dynamic opportunities, benefits, balance and rewards our team members deserve. Being named among the top 20 further affirms our Hilton Grand Vacations reputation as an employer of choice and reflects the comprehensive benefits we provide to our team members.”

To explore the global career opportunities within Hilton Grand Vacations, please visit the HGV careers website atwww.hiltongrandvacations.com/careers.

SPM Resorts to Manage Three New Timeshare Resorts September 7, 2014

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Three resorts recently selected SPM Resorts, Inc., a professional timeshare property management company, to manage their properties. The resorts include Stony Court in Virginia, Sea Scape Golf & Beach Villas in North Carolina and Oceanique Resort in Florida.

Oceanique Resort in Florida

Oceanique Resort in Florida

Sea Scape Golf & Beach Villas is located in the Outer Banks in Kitty Hawk, N.C. SPM manages several additional properties in the Outer Banks area including Outer Banks Beach Club I & II, Barrier Island Station and Ocean Pines. In total, SPM now manages 11 properties in North Carolina.

Stony Court is located next to Chalet High, another Basye, Va. resort managed by SPM Resorts, Inc.

Oceanique Resort is located in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. This is the seventh resort in Florida managed by SPM, and the others include Blue Tree Resort in Orlando, Vacation Villas at FantasyWorld in Kissimmee, Atlantic Terrace in Daytona Beach Shores, Tropic Sun Towers in Ormond Beach, Hollywood Beach Tower in Hollywood, and La Costa Beach Club in Pompano Beach.

Bill Young, SPM Resorts’ President and CEO, said, “We are thrilled to expand our management portfolio to include three new timeshare resorts. The growth of our company is a testament to our hardworking team, who work daily to make each of our resorts a better vacation spot for owners and guests. As a professional timeshare management company, we focus on generating revenue and reducing expenses in order to keep maintenance fees as low as possible for owners and to make improvements to the resorts.”

Interval International Renews Agreement with St. Lucia Resort September 4, 2014

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Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services and an operating business of Interval Leisure Group (Nasdaq: IILG), announced the renewal of its affiliation with Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort & Spa, a mixed-use resort in St. Lucia, West Indies. The multi-year agreement with the 60-acre luxury retreat located on Labrelotte Bay extends the relationship established in 2009.

“We are delighted to continue offering our quality programs and services to owners at Windjammer Landing,” said Bryan Ten Broek, Interval’s senior vice president of resort sales and marketing. “The resort is well known for its spectacular location and wide variety of amenities, as well as its dedication to providing owners and guests with the highest level of service.”

Windjammer+Landing+Villa+Beach+Resort+in+Saint+LuciaDesigned by noted architect Ian Morrison as a self-contained Mediterranean-style village with graceful archways, Windjammer Landing features white stucco walls, beamed ceilings, and tile roofs. The 70 spacious villas are decorated in tropical colors and include an open floor plan, wood furnishings, fully equipped kitchen, and a terrace or sundeck with scenic ocean views.

Guests at the resort can enjoy five restaurants, Serenity Spa, a newly expanded 2,500 square-foot beach on Labrelotte Bay, six swimming pools, supervised activity programs for children, babysitting services, and a plethora of water sports. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the Gros Piton, go horseback riding, zip-line in a rain forest, golf and sail on the beautiful bay waters.

“Our partnership with Interval has provided our owners with access to upscale membership and exchange privileges that they truly appreciate,” said Franz Starker, project director for the Private Residence Club. “And, Interval’s continued focus on delivering innovative point-of-sale technology and training support greatly enhances our product offering with prospective buyers.”

Earlier this year, Parents Magazine recognized Windjammer Landing as one of the “10 Best Caribbean Destinations for Families” for its impressive array of family-friendly activities. The resort also received TripAdvisor’s® “2014 Certificate of Excellence” for consistently earning high ratings from travelers.

Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club Expands to Mexico August 31, 2014

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Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club (Lifestyle), located on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic on Cofresi Beach, has announced its expansion into Mexico with the new Sea Adventure by Lifestyle Resort, located on 1,300 feet of white sandy beaches on the North side of Cancun at the tip of Puerto Juarez, the gateway to Isla Mujeres. On-site sales, member reservations and stays are already underway this month at Lifestyle’s newest vacation club destination.

Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club Sea Adventure Cancun

Sea Adventure by Lifestyle Resort

Members and guests will enjoy a full-service kids club for ages 4 to 10, a thrilling water park with water slides, waterfalls and other fun rides, three restaurants, four bars, fitness center, a large ocean-front swimming pool with three inset Jacuzzis, shaded palapas and sun bed, a 13-hole mini-golf course, and a ballroom-theater for dinner shows. The on-site activities team arranges a wide variety of activities for the entire family, such as beach volleyball, soccer, water polo and ping-pong. Paddleboats and kayaks are also available.

The newest Lifestyle vacation destination features Lifestyle’s signature V.I.P Beach and V.I.P services. “We are thrilled to add Sea Adventure by Lifestyle to our growing portfolio of vacation properties and bring our signature Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club Member experience into Mexico,” commented Markus Wischenbart, President of Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club. “We plan to continue our expansion into Mexico and the Cancun area by next year, and will have more exciting news to share soon.”

The distinct developments and vacation experiences of Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club in the Dominican Republic include: The Tropical, The Crown Suites, The Crown Villas, The Royal Suites, The Royal Villas, The Residence Suites, The Presidential Suites – Puerto Plata, The Presidential Suites – Punta Cana, Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort, as well as the new Costa Esmeralda by Lifestyle, and Villa Park Villas & Suites under construction and scheduled to open by fourth quarter 2014.

Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club Members, guests and their families have a wide variety of activities available in the Dominican Republic. In the North Coast, adjacent to its properties in Puerto Plata is the Ocean World Adventure Park with its daily animal and aquatic shows and a casino. Other activities in the area include a cable car ride to the peak of Mount Isabel de Torres, white water rafting, horseback riding, deep sea fishing, boating, snorkeling, monster truck safaris and city tours of Puerto Plata.


Labor Day Travel Expected Near 35 Million According To AAA August 28, 2014

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 AAA Travel projects 34.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2008 and a 1.3 percent increase over 2013. Nearly 86 percent of travelers (29.7 million) will celebrate the holiday with a final road trip before summer comes to a close and children head back to school. The Labor Day travel period is defined as Thursday, August 28 to Monday, September 1.

Highlights from 2014 Labor Day Travel Forecast include:

AAA-logo“As the economy makes modest gains, more Americans are joining the labor force this year,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “With Labor Day symbolizing the American workers’ contributions to the strength and prosperity of our country, it’s only fitting that millions are choosing to celebrate this positive direction with an all-American road trip.”

Consumer spending is continuing to rise in spite of stagnant income growth. In the third quarter of this year spending is expected to increase 3.8 percent year-over-year, while disposable personal income is only expected to increase 1.4 percent. Reliance on credit cards, rather than increasing income, is fueling holiday travel spending this year. While economic growth is slow, consumers are feeling more comfortable taking on debt.

“This year, Americans are more optimistic about their financial situation,” continued Doney.  “Consumer spending continues to outpace disposable income, indicating that Americans are comfortable using their credit cards to take one last summer vacation this year.”

Travelers likely to pay lower gas prices for Labor Day

Most U.S. consumers are paying the lowest gas prices for early August since 2010. AAA expects gas prices to have little impact on the number of people traveling for Labor Day, though lower prices could help make travel more affordable.  Barring a major development, such as a Gulf Coast hurricane, prices are likely to remain relatively low leading up to the holiday weekend compared to recent years, which will allow travelers to allocate more of their budgets towards travel expenses. The current price of gas is $3.44 compared to $3.59 on Labor Day last year. AAA provides the latest gas prices for the nation, states and metro areas at FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com.

Airfare and hotel costs rise, car rental fees flat

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $171 per night compared to $161 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen nine percent with an average cost of $125 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $51, the same as last year. Airfares have risen two percent with the average round-trip, discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $219, up from $214 last year.

Interval International Extends Multi-Year Affiliation Agreement To Dubai Resort August 24, 2014

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Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services and an operating business of Interval Leisure Group (Nasdaq: IILG), Arabian Falcon Holidays and Royal Club Dubai recently announced a multi-year extension of the affiliation agreement for Royal Club at Palm Jumeirah.

“This renewal offers a win-win situation for Interval International and Arabian Falcon Holidays,” said Darren Ettridge, Interval’s senior vice president resort sales and business development Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. “For our part, we have two of the best resorts in the United Arab Emirates affiliated with our worldwide network. On the part of Arabian

Royal Club at Palm Jumeirah

Royal Club at Palm Jumeirah

Falcon Holidays it can offer members at Royal Club at Palm Jumeirah an Interval membership as an additional benefit.”

”Royal Club members at the Palm Jumeirah will continue to be enrolled into the exchange network, giving them quality alternatives when they go on vacation,” said Mohannad Sharafuddin, CEO and president, Arabian Falcon Holidays, the marketing company of Royal Club Dubai.

”We are very pleased that the affiliation of Royal Club at the Palm Jumeirah with Interval International has been extended,” added Nozmul Islam, CEO of Royal Club Dubai. ”Our partnership is good for our companies, and what is more it is good for Dubai.”

Royal Club at Palm Jumeirah was the first timeshare resort in Dubai and has been successfully marketed by Arabian Falcon Holidays since 2004. Located on Dubai’s landmark Palm it was later joined by Royal Club at The Bonnington Tower, another Interval affiliated resort.

Festiva Adventure Club Selects RTX Premium Plus for Members August 21, 2014

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Resort Travel & Xchange (RTX) is proud to announce that Festiva Adventure Club (FAC) has chosen RTX as its preferred exchange provider, giving all FAC members a Premium Plus membership in RTX. Festiva Adventure Club (FAC) is committed to providing its members with flexible vacation options that suit the needs of a variety of vacation owners, and believes that RTX is the best exchange company to help it reach that goal.

RTX logo“Over the years, we have learned from our members as well as from our competition and peers in the vacation ownership industry,” said Rich Hartnett, senior vice president of sales for FAC. “We have taken our own experiences as well as feedback from our members to heart and have partnered with Resort Travel & Xchange (RTX), a company that we think offers the best options in the industry when it comes to vacation ownership exchange.”

RTX Premium Plus is the highest level of membership offered through RTX. Through RTX, FAC members will be able to enjoy a wide range of benefits and vacation opportunities including a plethora of exchange and other travel options that are unique and affordable.

How RTX Is Different from Other Exchange Companies

Traditionally, exchange companies allow timeshare or vacation interval owners to exchange their weeks of ownership with another timeshare owner to make their experience more flexible. But traditional exchange companies don’t recruit members; they recruit affiliated resorts. As a result, the system typically only allows members to trade within a directory of resorts that have affiliation agreements with the exchange company. Owners with weeks or points memberships at multiple resorts may be forced to use multiple exchange companies.

RTX is different. It revolves around its members. RTX members can place search requests anywhere, after which dedicated Travel Consultants search for availability in all resorts and hotels, rather than just within a directory. RTX members also have access to low exchange fees, the flexibility of split week reservations and the longest deposit period in the exchange industry. RTX Premium and Premium Plus members also enjoy a whole world of travel benefits beyond exchange. RTX getaways are offered exclusively to RTX members and are some of the best last minute deals for luxury resort rentals available anywhere. Our travel center allows members to book hotel, flight, rental car and more from one convenient location. And with a rebate reward program, members get $20 to $40 off of future RTX purchases for each exchange transaction.

A Sampling of RTX Benefits