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Sunchaser Vacation Villas at Riverside
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Reviews (214)
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Reviewed August 5, 2010

If you are an RCI member and exchange into the Fairmont Vacation Villas, this is NOT really an RCI Gold Crown resort despite what RCI pretends. We booked a 2-unit (2 bedroom lockoff). The units were OK but the entire resort is surrounded by private homes, some of which are just being built. The windows to the units don’t open (they’re not made to open) so you either open the doors (and invite in mosquitoes) or you run a noisy window-unit AC. There are light penetrating shades on the windows but they don’t block out the light so exterior lighting at night keeps the rooms illuminated and the sunshine’s in your bedroom at sunup. The indoor pool, sauna, and spa were all out of service.

The building we were in was undergoing renovation so in addition to being woken up daily at 7 AM by construction equipment literally outside our window, we couldn’t open the doors or run the AC or sit on the unit balcony because of the backloader/bobcat diesel fumes and construction noise. The pictures of the resort are not entirely accurate. There is some nice landscaping but the condo buildings are surrounded by pavement and parking for cars – think Motel 6 or Days Inn.

Judging by our experience, Fairmont Villas Resort management is indifferent to complaints or requests from guests for any kind of resolution. In a nutshell, they don’t care and they don’t follow through.

We read some other negative TripAdvisor comments about this resort and figured people were just being overcritical. Actually, those critical reviews are not inaccurate. For instance, there is one nearby grocery store and the prices are high ($5.75 for 4L of milk, $7.00 for OJ, $12 for a 6-pack of ordinary beer plus a $1.20 “chill charge”).

The resort writes on its literature that “Our mission is to provide an exceptional vacation and experience for our owners and guests.” Our experience couldn’t be further from this mission statement. Why house guests in a building which is undergoing renovation?

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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6  Thank GPA3818
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2010

1.Waterpark on property was closed,no repair work being done. There is no other outdoor pool.
2. Room was on the 3rd floor, no elevators
3. Activity center for Hillside units closed
4. CONSTRUCTION WOKE US UP AT 7:30AM
5. No safes
6. No electronic locks, makes you wonder who else has a key?
7. Kitchen has a bar sink, can't even fit a plate in it.No oven, old 4 burner stove top
8 Shared laundry, not "in unit" as advertised
9.Television set is so small can't see the screen across the room
10. Baseboard heat
11. All blinds are bent & broken. Does not keep out sun. No drapes anywhere
12. Jetted tub didn't drain, shower head put out a trickle of water
13. Play area is dangerous for small children
14. No nightstands in bedroom, almost no drawer space
15. No counter in bathroom, no storage for toiletries.
16. Front desk doesn't care if you are booked for one week & check out after 2 nights because of all of the above issues.

Stayed: June 2010, traveled with family
8  Thank TravelConnoisseurs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2010

We stayed at this place on a guest RCI certificate. We just wanted to find a place for a short 3-day weekend getaway and this was the only place available. After reading the reviews on here, I didn't keep my hopes up too high for this vacation villas.

Check-in went smoothly and the front desk staffs were very helpful & friendly (PROS). We got a 1-bedroom unit on the 1st floor in the 4000 section of Hillside without a terrace (Unit "B"). The only windows we got were along one side facing another unit in the other building. So for those who wants a view, this isn't the unit to go for. The unit looked fairly clean, but there were some sharp tiny pebbles on the kitchen floor that gave one of us a minor cut on the foot, within the first 5 min of entrance. I guess they didn't sweep the floor careful enough. It might be wiser to be wearing shoes/flip-flops in the unit.

As for the unit, the bed in the 1-bedroom was fairly big and comfortable. We needed a soft bed because there were 3 of us. But the sofa-bed was awful to sleep in. When you lied on the sofa-bed, you could pretty much feel every spring poking your back. It was a very uncomfortable sleep, and the 3 of us ended up sharing the big bed in the room. The unit was equipped with 2TVs, 1DVD player, 1VHS player, electric fireplace. The kitchen has a super tiny sink that could only fit a small plate (SEE PHOTO ATTACHED)...if you want to do some minor dish washing, you are bound to make a splash in the kitchen. The kitchen was well-equipped in terms of utensils. We were hoping for an actual oven other than a microwave-"oven" and a bbq for baking a frozen pizza & garlic bread. That didn't quite work out since we think the microwave-"oven" is more of a microwave, and it was a bit chilly at night for the bbq.

They have schedules for various activities each day, such as dodge ball, free thai massage, aqua fitness, hiking trips, etc. There are a few tennis courts and you can rent out tennis rackets for free (but you have to buy a tennis ball). Other than that, you could try the tiny indoor pool (we didn't try it), or golf. For those non-golfers like us, you are out of luck for things to do! As a previous poster has mentioned, the Fairmont Hot Springs is actually a Fairmont Hot Springs Pool. It was about a 5-min drive from our place. We weren't too fond of the whole hot spring pool idea, and decided to skip it.

We ended up going to the Radium Hot Spring ($6.30/adult), which was great! They have a hot pool (for relaxation) and cool pool area (more for swimming & diving). I would definitely recommend the Radium Hot Spring over the Fairmont Hot Spring, for an extra 25 min drive & cheaper admission fee. We also ended up taking a stroll in Invermere, and hiking along Juniper Trail near the Radium Hot Springs, which are pretty much the highlights of our weekend.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this location unless you are a golfer. Spending a day or two here as a stopover is completely sufficient, but definitely not for long-term purpose. You might have better luck staying closer to Radium and do some hiking nearby. It is a pretty quiet location, with an okay view...you can get better view from Radium, or even from Invermere for sure. Kitchen space is okay, but the sink is ridiculously small, which forces us to use the dish washer. The sofa bed is pretty useless for sleep since it's super uncomfortable. For the PROS, the staffs are friendly & helpful and the bed in the actual bedroom is comfortable.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled with family
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3  Thank cookiedoughy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2010

We booked our stay just after Christmas. We travelled 2 hours to ski Lake Louise from Calgary and drove the last 2 hours after a great day of skiing. We normally stay in the large Panorama timeshare condos however we had a promotional pass to try out Fairmont so we booked a free stay.

We stayed in 210"B" and overall the room was clean, service quick and friendly. Upon entering the room there was a small living room with 2 person couch/bed, arm chair and TV. The kitchen was squeezed into the hall between the living room and bathroom. It really was the size of a mini kitchen but there was a flatplate burner so it is termed a proper kitchen. The washroom had a huge Jacuzzi that could have fit a family of 6. This is where the space must have been compromised for the kitchen. The bed was very comfortable and the pool/hot tub & workout facilities were lovely.

The hotsprings are nice, apparently they empty the water every night, not sure why. I really am not thrilled about staying just off the highway, I prefer Panorama's location or Whitefish nestled in the mountains.

Our timeshare presentation was of the usual sort, not too high pressure. We walked out when the guy started to get insulting, he knew we weren't going to purchase and got a bit grumpy, digging for dirt will never get a sale!

I gather they give the tiny "B" lockoff units to guests on passes and the owners have special dibs the large "A" attached units with real kitchens shown in the pictures above. I woundn't purchase a timeshare there based on seeing the tiny condo we stayed in and I certainly wouldn't want to pay money for staying there either. The RCI points you get upon purchase are quite low so I don't believe it's a good investment either. If you do book with them make sure you get an A unit as opposed to a B lockoff-you'll be happy you inquired!

Overall a nice time in Fairmont for a winter ski vacation, but we'll stick to Canmore, Panorama, Whitefish for location, space and value.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Flying_canadian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2009

We exchanged through Interval International and enjoyed our time at Fairmont Riverview. It is a single condo building by itself away from the rest of the Fairmont condos and overlooks a golf course. (That is, if you are on the side we were on. Otherwise, it would look out on the parking lot with mountains in the distance.) It was very quiet and peaceful, and looked exactly as depicted in the pictures. Pool towels were provided and they had a variety of activities offered each day. The unit had both a VCR and DVD player. The electric fireplace is a nice touch. Free internet was also a plus.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank TravelerSpokaneWA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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