Budget is always a priority when it comes to planning a trip, and I’m always on the lookout for deals for me, my husband, and our first grade daughter. After two years of parenting during a pandemic, we were all looking forward to getting away from it all.
So when a Facebook ad popped up offering five days at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico for $399, I clicked. The idea of a vacation that didn’t require cooking sounded amazing, and the price was cheaper than I had hoped.
My husband, still skeptical, thought it was too good to be true and asked, “What’s the matter?”
He was right, there was.
We had to attend a two hour timeshare presentation to receive the deal. The trade-off seemed worth it: five days in Playa Del Carmen at the four-star Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda hotel with two pools and unlimited food and booze.
I booked the offer and crossed my fingers that it was real. And it was – but it didn’t all go to plan. Here’s how it was.
Our all-inclusive resort in Mexico was better than expected…but we had very low expectations
When we landed in Mexico, my husband and I worried that there would be no one waiting for us, our room was shabby, or it was all a hoax.
But someone was waiting at the airport to take us to the hotel, which was about an hour south of Cancun. There we found a dimly lit open-air lobby filled with plants, and the friendly staff took us in a golf cart to our room at the far end of the property, where an iguana and deer roamed. crossed our paths.
Then came the moment of truth: our bedroom. It was simple with two queen beds, a patio overlooking palm trees, and a fridge stocked with soft drinks and water.
As we walked to the breakfast buffet the next day, some details made me think the property was a bit dated (the club had pictures of Magnum PI and Elvis), and I noticed that the beach was full of seaweed. But we couldn’t complain. Maybe other all inclusive resorts were fancier with more fine dining, but I was glad I didn’t have to cook and my daughter couldn’t believe she could have unlimited dessert.
Eventually, we had to attend the timeshare presentation.
The timeshare presentation was back in Cancun and would take at least four hours with travel. The hotel started pestering me to schedule it from the moment we arrived and wanted us to come the first day, but I held them off until the third day when it rained.
The presentation was in a lavish resort with stunning crystal clear pools which made our hotel look shabby. Of course, to use them, we’d have to spend $100,000 on timeshare there.
They then took us to the auction room, where every few minutes a bell rang signaling that someone had signed a deal. I pretended to take notes on my computer while Googling “How to get out of a timeshare presentation.”
We declined their offer to shop in the posh surroundings, but before we left they sent us to a cramped room to book our return trip to our hotel and forced one final sales pitch on us: for $3,000 we’d get three vacation for the next three. years, plus a stay at this magnificent property in Cancun.
“Not bad,” my husband said, wanting to buy the offering. “Think about it – it would take care of our winter vacation, and we can get our summer vacation for free,” he said.
But over the hour-long ride, I became the cynic. Reading the fine print I saw that the property in Cancun was under construction and they couldn’t tell us in advance how much we would have to pay for a summer stay which would be on top of the $3000, or what properties would actually be available when we wanted to travel.
I wasn’t ready to commit and convinced my husband to drop the offer.
I would give up a vacation day to attend a timeshare presentation again, in exchange for a cheap offer
With travel prices rising astronomically, I’m always on the lookout for cheap vacations, especially all-inclusive resorts. The lack of planning and cooking seemed priceless, and to me the long presentation was worth it for the cheap price.
I will be happy to attend another timeshare presentation for a cheap price and will definitely book another one of these deals – as long as my husband promises not to buy a timeshare.