Are these Manhattan Club Critics Correct?

You know the position we typically take here at The Timeshare Authority; we are always the first to say that many of the critics and financial experts who lambast timeshares do so because of a lack of true understanding of the timeshare product, its purpose, and its real benefits. But blogger, George Gombossy wrote an interesting article a few weeks back titled, “Manhattan Club Timeshare: Nice Place, If You Can Use it.”

In the article, Gombossy raised some very viable questions. He looks at the situation of a couple who purchase a Manhattan Club timeshare some 15 years ago. Their timeshare ownership was a little less common than the one-week annual usage, we all associate with timeshares or even the every-other-year biennial ownership. For their purchase price of $12,500, the couple received 7 nights of usage every third year.

In their, so far, 15 years of ownership, the couple has only been eligible to use their timeshare for 35 nights, that’s 7 nights per usage year x 5 years. This actually averages to just under $360 per night—a price that is practically a steal on luxury accommodations in Manhattan. And of course their ownership does not cap at 15 years. They still have a lifetime to use and enjoy New York nights at the Manhattan Club, with each time lowering the overall cost of their ownership.

So where’s the problem?

First, the dollars and cents are not quite this clear cut. The couple pays around $700 per year in annual maintenance fees and they did not purchase their timeshare ownership in cash, which means that they have paid interest on it over the years. This interest has added up to, thus far, $11,250 dollars. These additional costs bring their timeshare ownership to an average per night cost of almost $980. But remember, once the timeshare is paid for, the only on-going cost is maintenance, meaning that the per night cost average goes down, year by year. And have you priced luxury Manhattan hotel rooms lately?

Here’s the real rub.


This couple, and according to the article, “hundreds of other timeshare owners,” find that the number of units available to them is few. In order to book nights, owners have to book a year in advance. Unless, an owner only owns every usage third year, and then their terms of ownership do not permit them to book more than six months in advance.

The couple, who also owns a Stowe, Vermont timeshare and a Maui timeshare, says they have never had this problem at other properties.

The owners explain, “When checking the website, units identical to ours are being offered to the nonmember general public on many dates, including the one(s) we had requested. This is inexcusable since dues-paying members should have first choice of units and dates.”

The Other Side of the Story: from the Manhattan Club

In comments made to the Better Business Bureau, Louise Church, director of inventory management at the Manhattan Club, has written to the BBB. Church states that the pool of available timeshare units for Manhattan Club owners is not the same pool of units made available to the public and that rental to the public is used as a way to keep the maintenance fees of the owners lower.

She also adds that the couple in question is seeking reservations at the highest demand season of the year and that the couple has been placed on a waiting list. Which Church adds is a process that works.


The blogger wraps up his post by drawing the conclusion that you can’t even give away timeshare for a $1.

Every time I hear this I wonder how, if this were accurate, any individual or company makes money as timeshare brokers of resales? … If you can’t resell, then why do people choose real estate brokerage of timeshares as a profession and more importantly, why do they stay in it? If the myth of the $1 timeshare were true, how have successful timeshare brokerages like ours stayed in business all these years?

In the end, the truest principle of business is that the customer is always right. Even if the customer isn’t. While you can’t please all of the people, all of the time, timeshare has to find a way to be even more flexible and accommodating. This is the only way to diffuse its critics once and for all.

Important Footnote: The Manhattan Club consistently remains one of the most in-demand timeshare resales and rentals on our Timeshare Demand Index