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Abercrombie & Kent vacation clubs: try before you buy
Let the tough timeshare and vacation club market work to your advantage this year. Upscale travel firm Abercrombie & Kent's Residence Club is offering two-year trial memberships starting at $18,700 a year for 15 nights – that's a tad under $1,250 a night. The residences tend to be around 4,000 square feet and have four bedrooms. A&K suggests that you can "even travel with the extended family," but I'm sure I could find other uses for the extra space (I'm not a fan of traveling with a lot of people, regardless of connection).
Okay, so it's basically a decent amount of cash for access to some great properties in places like the Turks & Caicos and Deer Valley, Utah. The details, however, make the difference. A&K takes care of airport pickup, grocery shopping before you hit the ground and the other prep activities that could slip your mind when you're worried about catching planes and disappearing from the "real" world for a few days or weeks. The Global Experience Manager will take care of all this for you, including any unique needs or interests you may have – from a behind-the-scenes private tour of the South Carolina Aquarium's Turtle Hospital to skiing withOlympic athletes in Sun Valley, Idaho.
"This two-year trial offer is designed for those considering a second home or who simply want an extended opportunity to experience club life before making a long-term commitment," says Abercrombie & Kent Residence Club President Scott Wiseman. "Families can enjoy the privacy of a spacious home in their choice of popular resort destinations for much less than the cost of comparable hotel suites. Club membership is an affordable, maintenance-free alternative for those thinking about buying a second home."
Under this trail program, you can play without having to drop any cash up front. Instead, you pay the normal dues with a 10 percent premium. If you join later, A&K will credit it to your capital contribution. Fifteen-, 30- and 45-night programs are available, so you can choose your level of decadence. If you choose, you can exchange your nights for credit toward other A&K travel, like a cruise in the Galapagos or an African safari.
This is a pretty wild deal – a chance to date a vacation club before marrying it.