One of the worst names in European timeshare must be MacDonald Resorts, in our old publication Inside Timeshare we highlighted their treatment of members and their inability to withdraw from their contract. For over 5 years we told the story of Mrs B and the problems of her “relinquishment” and the threats of legal action for around seven years of maintenance arrears, arrears she did not owe.
This was not the only story on this subject, there were many more, most ended up paying the arrears and continuing to pay their annual fees, bullied into it by MacDonalds “debt collectors”, who sent some very disturbing and threatening letters through the post.
Then there was the problem of the conversion of fixed weeks to a points-based system, which MacDonalds forced members into. This was backed by the discredited and now defunct TATOC (The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees), and the full backing of Harry Taylor the CEO of TATOC.
TATOC was the only timeshare organisation which backed MacDonald Resorts, even the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) washed their hands of them years ago.
We have seen action groups fight for their rights and all to no avail, the biggest of these was the MRL Action Group, as this story from The Herald in 2015 explains.
Since then, we have published several articles here on AIT beginning with “MacDonald Resorts: The Worst Developer in Europe?” In this article, we highlighted their tactics as well as revisited the Mrs B case.
The two articles which followed looked at the Directors Report and further signs of financial problems: “MacDonald Resorts Directors’ Report: Not Good News for Members” & “MacDonald Resorts Ltd: Further Signs of Trouble”.
Following on from those articles we have now received news that the MacDonald Resort on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, Plas Talgarth, is now officially up for sale.
It is listed with Knight Frank, one of the world’s leading independent real estate consultancies, founded in London in 1896. Some of their recent large contracts have been:
2000: Knight Frank sells the Duke of York’s Headquarters in Chelsea, London, on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.
2005: The firm is appointed to advise on the development of the London Olympic Village for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
2012: February, presents Battersea Power Station to the global property market.
2013: Participated in the founding of on the Market.
2015: Knight Frank wins the instruction to sell 231 prime residential units within the Royal Atlantis on Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.
Quite a few prestigious contracts are in there, especially the Dubai contracts, so the sale appears to be in good hands.
Offers required for this property should be in excess of £5,500,000 and for this, you will get:
Located on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, Wales’s largest National park
- 77 units comprising studios, one bed, two beds and three-bedroom apartments totalling 184 bedrooms
- Situated within a 15-minute drive from the coast (St George’s Channel)
- Attractive Grade II Listed Georgian Mansion House
- Extensive leisure centre with a spacious gymnasium, indoor swimming pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi as well as an outdoor swimming pool to the rear of the Mansion House
- Spa facilities comprising four treatment rooms, a relaxation room plus pedicure and manicure stations
- Large event space, the Village Hall, popular for weddings and corporate events as well as two squash courts, offering an ideal location for additional event space, subject to redevelopment
- Significant development potential comprising 15 lodges, and residential apartments plus refurbishment to the existing bedrooms and reconfiguration of the leisure facilities
- Held freehold and has been in the same ownership for 32 years
It also states the property type is Hotel and tenure is Freehold with Vacant Possession, so what does this mean for any members who are still fixed-week owners and didn’t convert to points?
From what we have experienced in the past with the sale of resorts used for timeshare. It will be down to the new owners to decide if they will honour the fixed-week contracts, which is going to be very unlikely, unless they are a timeshare developer. For points owners, it just means one less resort available to them.
This just proves that what you own is not property, just the right to use, you are in a club and nothing more.
We have also found one listing for a fixed week at Plas Talgarth, this is listed with Sell my timeshare now or SMTN, with a sale price of $3,368 or £2671.67. The description given by SMTN states:
“Macdonald Plas Talgarth Resort” is set in acres of parkland at the southern tip of the Snowdonia National Park, just 5 miles (7 kilometres) from the beautiful beaches of Aberdyfi and Tywyn. The resort nestles in the lovely valley of the River Dyfi, and has the welcoming atmosphere of a small village, with its own cosy Welsh pub. For more information about this scenic resort, visit www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk.
*Interval International Select Resort* Featuring a lovely 3 bedroom, 2 bath Plus suite that is spacious enough to accommodate 8 guests comfortably. This is a self-contained unit with a garden overlooking the golf course and has double-decker balconies for breathtaking views. Usage is annual in July week 28, and the RTU contract runs until 2085. For more exciting details or to make an offer, please submit the inquiry form.
It certainly paints a wonderful picture to any prospective purchaser, we just wonder if whoever buys this realises that they may just be buying a “damp squid”, and will they ever be able to use it?
The news of this sale confirms what we suspected in our previous articles that MacDonald Resorts is not in the best of financial health, regardless of what “spin” they may put on it. It also reinforces what we have said all along, timeshare is not property or real estate it has no value, it is a right to use a product only while the provider owns the resorts.
In the end, this is one company that Timeshare can do without, their bullying and their greed have shown no bounds, and their members are treated with contempt and seen as nothing more than a regular income to be rinsed.
Timeshare has over the years seen many come and go, often leaving in their wake financial ruin for many of the members. Timeshare is not cost-effective, it is just an ongoing financial burden with no resale value whatsoever.
We shall keep an eye open to see when it is finally sold and to whom, will it be a timeshare developer or not, that is the question we are all waiting to have answered.
So far we have only found one mention of a case against MacDonald Resorts in the Spanish Courts and this goes back to 2016. It resulted in a victory for the consumer with their contract being declared Null & Void and the return of their full payment. This case was brought by M1 Legal.
What does surprise us, is that compared to other developers who fell foul of the Spanish Timeshare Laws, it appears that MacDonalds Resorts has “escaped” the influx of claims. This might be down to the way they deal with their “members“, reinforcing the point that their contracts are subject to Scottish law and Spain has no jurisdiction over them. A point used many times by Diamond and Club la Costa, one which has failed every appeal made by the developers, if it is sold in Spain, then it comes under Spanish Law.
That is all for today, join us again on Friday for another Wyndham article from Irene with “Wyndham’s Arbitration “Shell Game” Bedgood v Wyndham Oral Arguments”. It is certainly very interesting reading.