This is not only a timeshare review of going “mainland” from the island of Maui, (where we live), but also a review of the unique experience of exchanging a land based timeshare for a catamaran at the Harbor Vacation Club in San Diego.
Included in this review are a couple of tips regarding exchanges where the company has no reviews or information about the particular timeshare, other than the location and basic facts.
Following is the review of Cheri’s Hilton Del Mar timeshare exchange and her catamaran timeshare exchange experience.
In February I needed to go to San Diego for some oral surgery. We had booked at the Hilton Del Mar using our points. It worked out great for my husband and me.
The Hilton Del Mar is in a great location and close to everything. San Diego is only about 20 min. away and the beaches in North County are beautiful. Great restaurants are very close by. My husband stayed the first week with me and then my son came to stay with me. The hotel room did not work out very well since my son is in his mid 30’s and I am in my mid 50’s. As I was recouping from surgery, I needed my own space and a little privacy, i.e. a separate bedroom. It just happened to be President’s Week so we were a little concerned about the availability of timeshares. This is a very popular time to vacation and timeshares go quickly during any holidays in the San Diego area.
I called Interval International to see if there was anything in all of the San Diego area available.
Sea Where The Adventure Begins
There was a Catamaran available starting the next evening at Harbor Island – right across from the airport in San Diego. The name of the timeshare is Harbor Vacation Club, an affiliate of Shell Vacations Club. They said it was a two bedroom. The woman at II had no input from guests who had stayed at this property – other then how great San Diego is. We packed up at the Hilton and headed over to Harbor Island. We knew this might be a different kind of timeshare experience but we were open to the idea and it sounded like a fun and interesting experience. So, we traded our Villa del Palmar Studio one day before check in and thought the exchange to a catamaran was still better then a hotel room.
When we got to the Harbor Vacation Club the lady (Apple is her name) checked us into our timeshare and explained that it is a lot like camping. She was right!
Apple said that Shell had taken over the Catamaran and there were also three houseboats which looked like they might have been more comfortable. They were more spacious anyway. Having not seen our new accommodations yet we were still excited about recouping and vacationing in the beautiful San Diego Harbor area.
So Down The Plank We Walked To Our On The Bay Accommodations.
The accommodations were very small but we did have two separate bedrooms. This was the big plus. The kitchen/living/dining room was one small area. The size of the kitchen did not matter. We were in the heart of San Diego with many restaurants to choose from.
We were told we could not move the vessel. That was fine too. That could have created other problems anyway.
We were also told that if we turned the TV on you could not run the space heater on high or it would blow the fuses. Ok I fess up we were cold and wanted to watch TV so we did try it and It did blow the fuses just as Apple said it would!
The bathroom had a shower head on the bathroom sink that pulled out so you could shower. Again, much like camping. As far as my concern about the airplane noise from the close by San Diego Airport, I was surprised that after 10:00pm there was no noise. It was totally silent at the Harbor.
Can You Say Snug As A Bug.
The bedding was very nice, comfy and warm. But, by the third night we just couldn’t stand the cramped quarters anymore. My son said if I made him stay one more night he was going to sleep in the car. The car was one of those Dodge station wagons.
We laughed and said THIS is the sign of a bad timeshare exchange when you would prefer to sleep in the car!
Tip #1: Even seasoned timeshare exchange travelers can experience this type of an event. I should have taken the time when Interval II did not have any reviews or information about this catamaran exchange, to call the resort directly to inquire about the accommodations. By calling direct before we exchanged, we would have known although unique and in a prime location the “camping experience” was not what we were in need of at that particular time.
Observations: It really wasn’t too bad for 3 nights. However one week would seem very long especially if you like space, want to watch tv and be warm at the same time. Even though Interval said it would accommodate more than two people I don’t think this would be possible unless you like being very close. If you don’t mind a hand shower or are “camping” types than this could work for you.
The positives are: San Diego has so much to see and do. If you intend on being out and about a majority of the time and just need a clean warm bed to sleep in and are looking for a timeshare that is conveniently located to all of downtown San Diego attractions in a quiet area – the catamaran is a unique, one of a kind option. The staff at Harbor Island Vacation Club was friendly and helpful as well.
Tip #2 Since the Catamaran was not exactly what we were looking for in an exchange, we should have listened to Apple’s hint that the houseboat was bigger and better equipped for a week long stay – especially for a mother and adult child arrangement. Remember, the staff is your best resource for information. So when given subtle hints, I would suggest paying attention to those hints, as the staff are only trying to help you have the best experience during your stay.
Next time we are in San Diego we plan to tour the houseboat to see if this would be a better Harbor Island Vacation Club accommodation choice. Considering the prime location spot, this could be a great option for the perfect San Diego timeshare vacation – if it is well appointed, with plenty of space and more outside of the “camping” experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A fun alternative to a hotel in San Diego is the Harbor Vacations Club stay aboard your own private yacht or houseboat, docked in picture-perfect San Diego Harbor. Every yacht or houseboat is spacious and captures the charm of the sailing life. Enjoy your morning coffee on your own patio or balcony, cook up a delicious meal in the galley, or just relax and soak up the sun on deck. You’ll just need to step ashore for nearby dining, shopping, and popular attractions such as the Gaslamp Quarter, world famous beaches, Seaworld, San Diego Zoo and more. Come aboard Harbor Vacations Club, and discover what makes San Diego such a favorite port of call for business travel, romantic getaways and family vacations to Southern California. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Harbor Vacations Club Hotel San Diego