I return to my chair on the beach. There is a different couple sitting next to me, from when I left for lunch. Eder comes by and we chat. He talks to the couple next to me. They ask what the deal is with reserving chairs. He clarifies that a rolled up towel on a chair means, you can have this chair. It was placed there for your convenience by a beach butler. A towel spread out means that someone has reserved the chair. We all chat about how long it should be okay to reserve a chair. The woman says she would pay $20 a day to reserve a chair all day. I think back to my discussion with René. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe people do like different levels of service.
It really seems like the whole club concept is evolving. At this point there is a special lounge for club members and I believe they get checked in there. For the record, I have not ever had to wait to check in. Remember, I have been here 16 times (although this trip report is the 15th time). Never. Had. To. Wait.
There is a special area on the beach for club members. On this trip that I am currently reporting on, the sign saying this is a special area, for club members, is being ignored. On my trip in June there were fancier beach beds and there were no non-club members, but I’m wondering what will happen when the hotel is at capacity and there are no chairs to be had. The biggest benefit for club members is they get a 25% discount on their rates, so if you travel several times a year or for longer periods, it would be a benefit. They also get upgraded amenities in their room (Moet and L’Occitane), transportation to and from the airport. It seems what people are paying varies. There are different levels, affecting what kind of room you can book. You can book any Iberostar property and there are other properties you can book. It is definitely not a timeshare. You are not buying a certain number of weeks or a specific period of time. It seems vacation club is a more accurate name. The fees are pretty high (tens of thousands of dollars). There seems to be a lot of secrecy about how much it is, which probably means different people pay different amounts, and no one wants to talk about what they get. This is the part that makes me uncomfortable. It should all be above board. While some people report that people are signing up in droves, the empty special beach section and empty lounge tell a different story.
René talked about all kinds of possibilities for club members. But like I said, it is evolving. If you are interested in finding out more you can schedule a breakfast meeting with a sales rep, who by the way, is not an Iberostar employee (I’ve been told). It takes longer than they tell you it will, but you are in control and can always say, I’m done. They’ll give you something for your time, they always do. I’ve never sat through a presentation that I thought was worth it though. The other thing I have heard is, GET IT IN WRITING. Every thing they say you will get, make sure that is documented.
I was also told by René and others that Iberostar was going to come up with some kind of loyalty program for people like me who come all the time. Still waiting for that. It would be nice, but doesn’t matter to me. I’m going back either way.