Lyrics to the hit song ¨Hotel California¨ were probably inspired after a Time Share presentation. How would you like to vacation like a rock star every year on your budget? Imagine going to a five star resort every year for less than what a hotel will cost you. ¨We are not a timeshare. We are an investment in your quality of life.¨ No matter what a salesperson will tell you, timeshare sales are a business and the bottom line is making money. In this article we will explore the pros and cons of owning a timeshare by comparing two of the most popular presentations in The Riviera Maya area. My goal was to visit three of them, but I actually only got through two and the reason for this may surprise you.
#1 Vidanta/Mayan Palace
Hands down this property is impressive and with every luxury imaginable. The presentation was, quite frankly one of the most aggressive experiences of my life and when I use that word I am being polite. You will go through four people before they decide to let you go. The pressure is so intense that the original salesperson turns you over to his Supervisor. The Supervisor pressures you and gets upset when you decide not to buy. Afterwards, you meet a third person which makes another pitch and walks you to the ¨exit¨ to get your taxi. Once you get your taxi voucher a fourth person comes in and gives you another ¨deal¨ you cannot pass—except for the purposes of researching this article I did. Timeshares have gotten a bad rep over the years and for good reason. The sales tactics are the equivalent of a psychological bootcamp and every technique available to persuade you to use your credit card will be used. Tourists have caught up so now they are not timeshares and they will tell you that. Now they are ¨Private Residential Clubs¨ which are TIME SHARES.
PROS: This property is considered the best of The Riviera Maya. They are the most luxurious. Anyone would LOVE to vacation here. That is never the issue when it comes to timeshares. The properties are usually top notch.
Price of a Luxury studio apartment per week: $650
Price of a Luxury one bedroom per week: $850
Price for both the living room area and bedroom per week: $1050
Cost: $68,400 USD plus closing costs (first quote they give you)
(Please be aware you are not actually buying a condo but you are paying for fees as if you were)
CONS: Honestly, no CONS. The property is gorgeous. I mean, who would NOT want to stay there? However, that is not the issue. Is it a wise investment? We will explore that later in this article.
Note: The salesperson did not let me take photos of the property.
#2 Tres Rios
The property was breathtakingly beautiful and eco-friendly. The luxury is still there, but on a much more subdued level than Vidanta. It feels like you are staying at a traditional yet luxurious Mexican Hacienda with private cenotes, lavish green spaces, and a beautiful view of where the ocean meets a cenote. Like any other Time Share, the property is never the issue. The sales presentation was significantly more laid back than Vidanta and the hosts were friendly and welcoming. I did not feel anxiety or stress during this presentation.
PROS: Tres Rios is very green and they make it a point of preserving the area and encouraging a sustainable way of living. I loved this property and vacationers do too. I ran into people on the buffet line that come here every year and they clearly love it.
CONS: Back to the investment question. Is it worth it?
Price of an apartment per week: $1320 USD per week
Price of a bedroom without living room and kitchen: $898
Final Overall Offer to join: $4195
*** Please be aware that with any sales presentation they start very high until they give you a price that is significantly lower than the initial cost. It is not that Tres Rios is a lot cheaper than Vidanta, I am just using these two properties to show you how high they start and how much lower the final quote is. They are gauging your interest from the beginning to see what they can get out of you.
#3 Park Royal
I did not end up going to this presentation because apparently my ethnic background did not qualify. Although I have the financial information they requested, the passport, and the overall profile of what they were looking for—my ¨Place of birth¨ automatically disqualified me. Apparently, some timeshare resorts have a list of birthplaces that they do not want. I wanted to visit three places, but I was rejected by this property. Racism and discrimination are issues that we have to face worldwide.
From a purely ¨I want to vacation like a celebrity¨ perspective, the timeshare does fulfill the most exquisite of tastes. These gorgeous properties give you the serenity and the luxury that you are looking for. The properties are well kept, beautiful, and they make service their top priority. However, all of this does come at a price. Let’s further explore the question:
Are TimeShares Worth the Investment?
Simply put, no. Let’s be clear about something; Timeshares are NOT an investment. An investment is something that appreciates over time, has the ability to give you a source of income, or both. A timeshare will give you neither.
Timeshares are a luxury item. It is similar to buying a car or a fancy purse. You want to buy it because you like it. It does not bother you to be spending thousands of dollars on a designer purse. Another example, it is like purchasing the latest model car that is going to go down in price as soon as you drive it off the lot. Similarly, timeshares are for those that want a luxury vacation and that can afford to do so. Rule of thumb—if you have to finance a TimeShare you cannot afford it. You CAN purchase it and enjoy it, but it is not an investment. There are many websites that will sell you an extra week here and there from timeshare owners that are trying to recover some of their expenses. You are much better off doing this from a financial perspective. You will still enjoy the properties without the financial commitment of a Timeshare. In other words, owning a TimeShare is not like having a condo that you can resell and make a profit. However, you will still have the maintenance fees that you are responsible for. One of the biggest realizations for TimeShare owners is when they learn that it is not an investment. It is easy to be carried away when you are with a skilled salesperson while sipping a frothy drink by the pristine blue waters of the resort, but you are warned. Reselling it is a challenge and it is not like a regular real estate transaction. You will not get what you paid for it. You cannot even get a tax deduction for the maintenance fees that you will pay for the timeshare that you own. Overall, from a financial perspective, like buying a boat or a yacht, timeshares are a financial loss for the purchasers. For the corporation? Judging from the growing resorts popping up everywhere, they must be doing well financially by giving out loans at high interest rates for the TimeShare owners.
Do you Still Want to Purchase A TimeShare?
By all means, please do. If money is no obstacle for you, go ahead and spend your money. They will be happy to take it. However, please be aware that there are plenty of second hand websites out there that will gladly get rid of their own timeshares at remarkable prices. Like any financial decision, do your research. Scams are everywhere.
For comedic relief—this is me surviving a Time Share presentation. You can truly check out whenever you want, but they make it very hard to let you leave without purchasing.