The Lost Resort

by Bob Sparrow

Timeshare salesman

This week, every year since 1993, our family has vacationed in our timeshare at the Marriott Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert, and we should be there now, but as everyone knows, the world has turned upside down.  When we bought the timeshare 27 years ago, Linda and I both had pretty good jobs, two young kids and very little savings, which is why we accepted the Marriott’s invitation to come out to the desert, spend two nights and play two rounds of golf.  The only caveat was that we had to listen to a 90-minute presentation about a timeshare, with a tour of the property including a boat ride on the man-made lake that goes inside and outside of the hotel.  We decided that since we didn’t have any ‘extra money’, we were a safe bet to resist the high-pressure sales tactics that we knew took place during those 90 minutes.

Taking a ‘boat tour’ of the Marriott facility

So we packed up our two kids, who were 7 and 9 at the time, threw in our golf clubs and left the frigid January southern California 68 degree weather, for the balmy 80 degrees in Palm Desert.  We walked into the timeshare presentation with kids in tow feeling pretty smug.  They immediately shuffled the kids into a fabulous playroom, designed to keep them fully occupied while their parents were being given the ‘third degree’.  The presentation was very convincing, but we knew we were safe because we were broke and nearly gagged at the price to purchase a timeshare week – $32,000!!!  At the end of the presentation, we thanked them and started to get up and said we just couldn’t afford it at this time (we were actually thinking, or AT ANY TIME!).  They then mentioned that, with a small down payment, we could pay over time, with ‘low, easy monthly payments’ (I thought they were going to throw in some swamp land in Florida too).  We looked at each other and sat back down.  “Just how small is the down payment and just how low are those easy monthly payments?,” we asked.  I don’t remember the numbers, but it was something we thought we could afford, so we bought, hoping we wouldn’t have ‘buyers remorse’ as we drove home.

“Are we there yet?” Yes!!!

As it turned out, it was one of the best purchases we ever made.  As mentioned in the opening, we’ve spent a week there every year; we’ve never changed the time of year or ever tried to exchange it for some place else.  We loved it! Our kids loved it.  Our friends and family that we invited out to stay with us, loved it.  What’s not to love? Great accommodations, great golf courses, great restaurants and great weather.  The best feature of all might be the fact that we didn’t have to get on an airplane to get there – we could just throw stuff in the car, drive for and hour-and-a-half and we’re truly in a whole different world.

The kids brought friends out, played in the pool and park areas, rode the shuttle back and forth between the villas and the hotel and later enjoyed meeting kids (some of the opposite sex as they grew older) around the pool and as they got much older, at the night club on site – Costas

Since that time, several of our friends have also purchased timeshare weeks at Marriott Desert Springs – at a more reasonable price on the ‘Black Market’ I might add.  So we’ve continued to enjoyed getting together out there for golf and socializing and the kids still make an appearance with their own families.  Up until last week, we were hopeful of spending our 27th year there in spite of all that is going on, as the timeshare villas were open and available as was, first, both courses at the Marriott Desert Springs, then just one.  We decided that if that golf course stays open, we could just as easily sit in our villa there, wash our hands and have an opportunity to get out in some fresh air and play some golf.  But alas, the other course, along with virtually every other golf course in California, closed.

The sun has set on the Marriott Deserts Springs Resort for most of 2020

We’re told we won’t lose the week as they may let us switch it for a week in August when the temperature there is typically north of 100 degrees. So, this week, instead of enjoying our 27th year in the desert, we’ve resorted to watching movies and washing our hands at home.  I knew this timeshare thing was a scam!

So our 26 year streak is broken, but we’re hoping that next year we’ll start another one.

Stay well!

FINDING ‘HOTEL CALIFORNIA’

by Bob Sparrow 

Eages

The Eagles

I recently watched a documentary on my favorite band, ‘History of the Eagles’ on the Showtime Channel. If you’re an Eagles’ fan this is a must see; even if you’re not, it’s still great music history.  So the first week of April as we headed out to Palm Desert for our 19th year of enjoying our timeshare, I was mixing my metaphors, dangling my modifiers and juxtaposing the reminiscing of the Eagles documentary and the looking forward to my hedonistic week in the lush environs of Palm Desert.  It created a strange concoction in my head – I present it forthwith.

                                                On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair

                                                Warm smell of colitas rising up through the air 

For the uninitiated, colitas is the small, sweet buds at the end of the cannabis plant that makes for what was colloquially known in the ‘70s as ‘good shit’.  This week we’ll enjoy the sweet smell of a good cabernet.

So I called up the captain, please bring me my wine

He said we haven’t had that spirit here since 1969

Hotel2

Marriott Desert Springs Hotel

It’s hard to think of the Eagles and not think of their biggest hit, ‘Hotel California’.  There have been many interpretations of the meaning of the lyrics of that song, the most common is that it’s an interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles.  So this week I’m loosely translating it to represent my decedent week in the desert where we eat at great restaurants, drink expensive wine and play luxurious golf courses.  Because it combines Life in the Fast Lane and a Peaceful Easy Feeling, I have concluded that the Marriott Desert Springs Hotel is my ‘Hotel California’.  The lyrics echoed in my head . . .

                                                                                                              Welcome to the Hotel California

                                                                                                          Such a lovely place, such a lovely face

                                                                                                        Plenty of room at the Hotel California

Any time of year, you can find it here.

Marriott mirror Yes, you can find it there in Palm Desert, but you may not want to find it ‘any time of year’; in the summer it’s not such a ‘lovely place’, but in early spring – awesome!

One of the great features of this timeshare is that it’s an hour and half’s drive from home; so no airports, delayed flights, missed connections or airplane food; and yet once you’re there you feel like you’re in a whole different world – perhaps because you are.

Some dance to remember

Some dance to forget

And there are some of us that have just forgotten how to dance altogether, but the images dancing in my head of desert nights, desert skies, desert flowers, desert sunsets silhouetting Mt. San Jacinto in the distance and billion stars in the sky are simply magnificent.

Relax said the nightman, you are programed to receive,

You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave

Actually check-out is by 11:00 a.m. or you’re subject to late fees, but after a week of ‘Desert Decadence’, it’s time to go home.Hole #2

Hotel California ends with, if not the greatest, one of the greatest guitar riffs in rock and roll history, I’ll conclude with:

  1.  Find your Hotel California – ideally a few hours drive from your home, but in a totally different       world
  2. Listen to some Eagles music, if you don’t have any, GET SOME!
  3. Enjoy a week of indulgence; you’ve earned it . . . probably

Back home and the lyrics that are now echoing in my head are: My diet starts Monday!

 

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