Macdonald Hotels bids to head off timeshare row

Started by Newshound, June 11, 2004, 21:08:52

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Newshound

Macdonald Hotels bids to head off timeshare row

SCOTLAND'S largest hotels group is heading towards confrontation - and possibly the courts - with 4,000 angry Highland timeshare owners following a dispute over use of leisure and marina facilities at one of the company's top hotels.

Macdonald Hotels owns the Loch Rannoch Hotel, situated next door to extensive timeshare facilities at Loch Rannoch Highland Club.

But for the past year it has barred owners and their families from using the hotel following a decision last summer by the club to switch the lucrative management contract away from Macdonald to Timeshare Management Services, a company run by former club members.

The row looks set to rumble on, and is likely to finish up in the Scottish courts, say owners, as a claim by the hotel group over back-fees plus costs amounting to around £1 million still remains outstanding.

Now, John MacDonald, chief executive of Macdonald Resorts, a subsidiary of the hotel and leisure chain, has written to timeshare owners offering to reverse the decision to bar them from the hotel - but only if they pay for the privilege.

MacDonald said: "Notwithstanding the escalating legal dispute, we are now taking positive steps, and using our greatest endeavours to restore the goodwill previously enjoyed."

He added that the hotel group intends to treat "our heightening legal action" against the Highland Club committee as an entirely separate issue to the group's relationship with the timeshare owners.

However, Macdonald's apparent stand-down has a financial sting in the tail, that involves timeshare owners now being asked for a hefty £1,495 fee for a week's use of the hotel facilities, which the company is "offering" at a £500 discount. Also, in what MacDonald describes as a "second gesture of goodwill", the offer carries with it two nights free bed and breakfast for two at any UK hotel, "subject to availability".

According to one owner, Edinburgh-based Laura Intably, the owners are furious at what is being seen as a "backdoor" way of trying to get into their favours, and regain a contract worth thousands of pounds a year. The fee, she claims, is simply a way of Macdonald getting back at the timeshare owners and their management firm for taking the management deal away.

Describing the letter as "unsolicited and deceptive", she said she has the support of many owners. Intably also claimed that, by accepting the proposed offer, owners run the risk of losing the right to use their lodge week plus voting rights, and she urged owners to "check the small print", which she claims could contravene the Timeshare Act 1992.

"Clearly this is aimed at taking advantage of owners visiting the resort this summer, with a view to using access to the hotel's pools and leisure facilities as leverage," she added.

The next Highland Club AGM is a month away and Intably added: "All this is a blatant attempt by Macdonald to gain enough votes too regain their lucrative cash cow."

Another timeshare owner, who lives in Kinloch Rannoch but asked not to be named, said: "You are talking about thousands of timeshare owners who have been poorly treated by Macdonald Resorts and who voted unanimously last July to switch their management contract away from the hotel group. No-one is going to be fooled by this so-called offer which is aimed at dividing our ranks. It will fail to do so."


Val

See my post under MacDonalds face the OFT. Probably should have posted as new topic. We still do not have access to the leisure facilites on site or on the Loch.


Powered by EzPortal