OBX Taste of the Beach 2015

Do you enjoy the Outer Banks?  Are you a “foodie”?  Do you enjoy experiencing new things and having fun while doing it?  Want to kick off Spring at the beach on a mini “event vacation”?  We’ll be there again this coming March and can’t wait!

March 19-22, 2015 (Thursday-Sunday)

http://www.obxtasteofthebeach.com/

Four Days of Food Drink and Fun on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

2015 Events and ticketing will begin in early December!

The Outer Banks Taste of The Beach Weekend is a fantastic way to sample the fare of many fine restaurants on the Outer Banks in one fun-filled, food-centric weekend!  Casual chefs to full-on foodie fanatics will revel in innovative culinary opportunities offered up by members of the Outer Banks Restaurant Association. You can indulge in a fancy wine dinner one night and mix with the masses in an organic farm to fork experience the next. Or maybe an intimate cooking class with one of the area’s world class chefs is more your speed.  Over 60 events over four days at nearly 40 different venues!

This fun food festival event features: wine tastings, cooking classes, special multi-course menu presentations, brewery tours, tapas crawls, cook-offs, showdowns and throwdowns, dine-arounds and many more culinary delights! It’s four days of foodie heaven and lots of fun activities on the Outer Banks. It involves over 50 restaurants!

The Taste of the Beach Grand Tasting on Sunday, March 22nd, will be the hottest ticket in town with about 20 area restaurants and beverage vendors serving a sampling of original hand prepared foods, fine wines and beers from around North Carolina and the world.  Restaurants will be competing for the 7th Annual TOB’y Awards; Best Booth Presentation, Best In Show, Best Outer Banks Catch, and the two top awards, the Chef’s Award and the coveted People’s Choice Award.

We have timeshare accommodations for this event available in fully-equipped condos in Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk and Duck.

Be sure to check OBX Taste of the Beach website for the upcoming postings of events.  Some of the more popular events sell out quite quickly.  But don’t worry, there’s so many great events offered, that you’re sure to find many that you will want to attend.  We find the problem is narrowing down our choices.

See you on the Outer Banks in March!

Ocean Sands Resort

I visited the Virginia Beach oceanfront this afternoon. Temperatures were in the mid-70’s.  My convertible top was down, and I was loving life and enjoying the opportunity to be at the beach!

Ocean Sands Resort (VSA Resorts) had a special assessment in 2014 for all timeshare owners.  The assessment was to cover costs for adding balconies to all units, which are oceanfront.  This is an oceanfront resort and all units overlook the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, a new pool enclosure and upgrades to the building’s elevators and other amenities will be included as part of the project.

Construction is underway.  All balconies are expected to be completed by April 2015.  Ocean Sands Resort was the only oceanfront resort with no balconies.  There was no way to sit outside and enjoy the salt air and watch the surrounding activity on the Boardwalk and beach.  While the added assessment was most likely difficult for many of the owners at the resort, it was an opportunity to add value to the ownership.  It was something long overdue and I am excited about the upcoming stays that I will enjoy outside on the new balconies!

Ocean Sands Resort is centrally located on the Boardwalk near the 24th Street Stage.  It’s a great resort for being close to entertainment, shopping and dining.

BEACHWOODS (Continued)

beachwoods-interior-and-exterior-renovations-will-be-completed-in-may-2015
All unit renovations will be completed by May 2015.

(Continued from November 19, 2014)

It was determined that the owners would be responsible for the costs to renovate and upgrade the units by way of a special assessment in the amount of $1681.  Information was projected onto the two big screens up front that showed maintenance fees for other comparable resorts and size units in Virginia Beach and Williamsburg.   Stagnant maintenance fees over the years did not allow for a funded reserve account for replacements and upgrades to the units and amenities.

Bruce Thompson indicated that Gold Key Resorts was footing the major costs for the resort at $15 million.  It was necessary for the owners to accept the costs for the unit renovations.  Additionally, the Board had voted on a maintenance fee increase for 2015.  The maintenance fee would go from $650 to $710.  There was no perceived backlash from the audience.  One owner asked if the resort would buy back her week.  No, Gold Key would not be buying back resort units.  He indicated that there were financial representatives on-site for the day to assist owners if they needed options for the special assessment, future maintenance fees or past due accounts.  Again, it was reinforced that not paying would come with repercussions.  Bruce also indicated that a funded reserve account, going forward, will negate the need for future special assessments.  He noted that there had never been special assessments at any of the timeshare properties built by Gold Key Resorts.

Bruce Thompson closed the program and invited everyone to vote their ballot and to enjoy the offerings available; catered food and beverages, a Bluegrass band, RCI seminars, meet with Gold Key officers, and take tours of the model units.  The ballot had a place for comments and suggestions, and he encouraged everyone to share what they thought.  He said that he planned to personally read each and every one of them.  He then turned things over to Julia Lee, President of the Association.  From there, the meeting went quickly and everyone dispersed to the different areas.

My husband and I decided to go on the model tour first.  There were several of the open-air Humvees taking owners to tour the units.  There was never any crowding since things were set up for owners to flow to different areas.

First, we were taken to the 2600 building to view two side-by-side, two bedroom lock-outs.  The first unit had not been updated yet for comparing the “before” and “after”.  The second unit was fully renovated.   Although we’ve stayed at the resort previously, we chose to go into the original unit first.   We bought our first Barrier Island Station timeshare in Duck in 1984.  Throughout the years, while the furniture had been replaced periodically, it was always replaced with the same styles, fabrics, and colors.  The interiors at the Kitty Hawk location were the same as Duck.  Furniture, carpeting, cabinets and fixtures all had the same look as they did in 1984.  Yes, dated, but everything looked clean and well-maintained.  Overall, if I were staying in the unit, I would have been happy with the accommodations.

We then went into Unit 2603.  Wow!   Stainless steel appliances, granite counters, appealing furniture with lovely fabrics, plank laminate flooring, high-end linens and window treatments, coordinated color schemes, large flat panel TVs in each room, and very nice wall art and accessories.  The large Jacuzzi tubs had been removed providing space for a nice sitting area in the master.  The “B” side could be entered from the “A” side or could be locked off with a separate entrance from the outside.  The combined foyer had a full size washer and dryer.   On each patio, there was a nice iron set of patio furniture for outdoor dining.  For anyone that has been to this resort, there are lovely, quiet wooded areas surrounding each building.  The interiors of the units are nicely sized.  We were not rushed on our tour of the units.  A Humvee was waiting when we were done to whisk us away to the next model unit up the road.

This unit was a dedicated three bedroom in the 3400 building.  It was a downstairs unit, with no stairs to climb to enter the unit.  There was a charcoal grill and a shower for rinsing in front of the building.  On the front porch, there were two wooden Adirondack chairs.  This unit had similar items, but the furnishings, fabrics and colors were a bit different.  You didn’t get the feeling “that if you’ve seen one unit, you’ve seen them all”, which had been the norm for the Barrier Island Station resorts.  This was a very nice sized unit that would accommodate up to eight.  There are other three bedroom configurations that have a lock-out with two bedrooms on one side and one bedroom on the other side.  This unit was not a lock-out.  In this unit, the third bedroom was set up as another sitting area.  It was good size, with a sleep sofa, end tables, a chest and a large screen TV.  This allowed for folks to spread out or gather in two separate areas.  The master had a king size bed with full bath and separate vanity area.  The other bedroom had a queen bed.  All bedrooms had a large flat panel television.  On the back of the unit was a nice large patio with an iron dining set overlooking a lovely wooded area.

Again, there was no rush to complete the tour of this unit, and when we were ready to head back for lunch, our transportation was waiting.

When we arrived back to the “welcome area”, there were staff awaiting to greet us and answer any questions.  Another staff member was at a table handing out sweatshirts with the Beachwoods logo.  From there, we proceeded back to the heated tent were a fully catered lunch awaited.  It was provided by a local Outer Banks caterer.  There was pulled pork barbecue, ribs and chicken, with cole slaw, cornbread, beans and dessert.  Tables were set up with beverages including sodas, tea, coffee, wine and beer.  There were round table-clothed tables available for dining both inside the tent and outside.  It was very enjoyable listening to the Bluegrass music while dining on a delicious meal.

There was plenty of seating.  As previously stated, everything had been set up to allow for a very coordinated flow to different areas, so there were never lines or feeling crowded.  This was a very well planned and organized event.  After eating, we filled out our ballot and comments, and submitted it in one of the provided ballot boxes.

Next, we proceeded across the street to check-out the lake area and see what construction had taken place at the former Welcome and Fitness Center.  The building was gutted and the indoor pool was now only a huge hole in the ground.  On the large patio outside, overlooking the lake, was a large outdoor fireplace with a nice warm fire burning.  It felt good on this brisk day.

The Gold Key officers and staff were present and available in one area of the building to answer questions.  The architectural renderings and detailed plans were set up on easels for a closer look.

In another building next door, one of the RCI seminars was taking place.  These were presented by RCI representatives that had been brought in for the event.  Lined up outside of these two buildings were golf carts to transport owners back to the area across the street.    There,  we lined up for the short bus ride back to our vehicles.

It was a great day and I’m glad that we had the opportunity to attend.  While, I can share information about the day,  I cannot begin to convey the atmosphere, organization and genuine effort made by Gold Key Resorts.  The owners, in attendance, were presented with information about their resort and its future plans in a way that exemplifies the hospitality that this group is known for in the industry.

For me, this has been the year of the Special Assessment.  This is the sixth resort, where I am an owner, that is assessing fees over and above the annual maintenance fee.  However, after attending the program last weekend, I believe this is the most beneficial of them all.  I am thrilled about what is taking place at the former Barrier Island Station Kitty Hawk.

Please check back soon.  I will have pictures posted by the end of the weekend.

 

BEACHWOODS (Continued)

cypress-lake-at-beachwoods
The on-site lake, which has been under utilized in the past, will be transformed with a boardwalk, paddle boats, fishing and more!

BEACHWOODS (Continued from November 18, 2015)

A need always exists to make any timeshare resort more geared to all seasons, so that off-season owners find value in utilizing their weeks at their home resort.  Additionally, with more off-season activities and amenities, it also draws in guests through the exchange companies.  With increased demand during these time frames, exchange values increase, thus providing owners with better exchange opportunities.   Beachwoods will be promoted as a four season resort, with amenities that can be utilized year round.

Next, the presentation highlighted the plans for the site with architectural renderings.  The beautiful on-site lake has been underutilized.  Now, it will be a focal point and gathering place, with many activities for owners and guests to enjoy.  A boardwalk will be built to encircle the lake.   A small pier will be built for fishing and launching paddle and row boats.  A pavilion will be created, overlooking the lake, with areas for gathering, relaxing and taking in the views.  A national leader in the water park industry has been hired to build an indoor water park in the space that originally housed the indoor pool, fitness center and welcome center.  An upscale welcome area is also in the plans, which looked beautiful in the renderings.  Additionally, a new building will be built to house a state-of-the-art fitness and recreation center.  The large outdoor pool area will be restructured for a more tropical and inviting ambiance, with improved outdoor furnishings, landscaping and a Tiki Bar.  The wildlife trails throughout the 100 acres will be more defined, providing opportunities for walking, hiking and wildlife viewing.  Beach parking across from the ocean will also be available.  Upgraded landscaping will be installed throughout the property.

The 84 units will all be completely renovated from the ground up with new everything.  Two completed models (a two bedroom lock-out and a dedicated three bedroom) were available for touring throughout the day and on that Sunday.  All units and amenities (except for the water park) are projected to be completed by mid-May 2015.

Gold Key will implement a system for collections, which had been non-existent.  Only 80% of the owners were paying maintenance fees.  And, although 20% of the owners were not paying, these owners were still permitted to utilize their weeks or exchange their time with RCI.  An aggressive collection policy will begin immediately.  Gold Key will assist owners that are not in good-standing, but these owners will need to pay up their accounts or measures will be taken against them.  Only owners in good standing will be able to utilize their weeks or deposit them with an exchange company.

Additionally, a sales team will be put in place to sell the unsold inventory at the resort.  I believe that 40 timeshare weeks remain unsold.  Selling this inventory, instituting an aggressive collection system, having over a million dollars in developer loans forgiven, and the $15 million being provided by Gold Key will get the resort headed back in a positive direction financially and as a premier Gold Crown resort.

As far as exchange companies and the resort’s affiliation with RCI, it was confirmed that everything for existing owners would remain the same.  However, going forward with new sales, Interval would be the exchange company affiliation.  Additionally, once the unsold inventory finds new owners, the remaining parcels of land that were initially slated to be developed will go forward.

The only thing left to discuss was how all 84 units were going to be renovated and upgraded.  It was time to hear what the owners’ obligations would be.

(to be continued)

BEACHWOODS (Continued)

bruce-thompson-president-of-gold-key-resorts
Bruce Thompson, President of Gold Key Resorts/PHR, presented the “vision” for BeachWoods

(Continued from November 17, 2014 Post)

Owners were provided an Agenda for the meeting, along with other information regarding events for the day, and parking information.  Parking was arranged off-site due to the volume of RSVPs received.  The parking location was about three miles from the resort at the Kitty Hawk Elementary School.  Open Air Humvees and a tour bus were utilized to move everyone from the parking lot to the resort.  Upon arrival at the resort, we were greeted by Gold Key staff.  Since construction had already begun on parts of the resort, bathroom facilities had been set up, as well as a large heated tent across from the former Welcome Center.  From the start, everything was well-organized.  Staff were easy to pick out of the crowd, and were proactive and friendly in moving everyone to registration and then to the tent for the program.  Coffee and beverages were provided.  Seating faced two large screens.

Bucky Houser, President of Gold Key Resorts opened the program by introducing himself and other key officers of the company.  CEO Bruce Thompson then took over the program, providing background on Gold Key Resort/PHR, and then himself.  He presented a very informative slide show presentation on the two large screens at the front of the tent.

Then, he put the “bad” out there about Barrier Island Station Kitty Hawk.  I believe few owners, including ourselves, were aware of the depths to which the resort had fallen.  Owners and guests complained about units not being renovated, furniture and soft goods not being replaced, and amenities that were worn out and deteriorating.  Apparently, the underlying causes that had brought the resort to its current state were mostly unknown by the vast majority of owners in attendance.  It was truly eye-opening.  It is hard to imagine what would have become of the resort and its owners had Gold Key Resorts not stepped in with their vision and funding.

Bruce talked about the expansion options that Gold Key Resorts had looked into, both on the Outer Banks and elsewhere in Virginia.  Other properties on the Outer Banks had been considered, but none had the potential that this Kitty Hawk property offered.  The original developers of Barrier Island Station Duck and Kitty Hawk were no longer involved.  One partner passed away in 2006 and  the other was in extremely poor health.  There were no active collections for non-paying owners.  Maintenance fees were kept unrealistically low, with little to no reserve funding available.  Sales were at an all-time low.  Debt had escalated to unimaginable proportions.

According to Julia Lee, President of the Association, negotiations had been in the works for almost two years.  Julia, according to Bruce Thompson, was instrumental in having a great amount of debt wiped off the books.  It is my understanding that she has family ties to John Lancaster, the surviving original partner.  Up until this past October, Ms. Lee had also been President of the Association at Barrier Island Station Duck for 25+ years, and is currently President of the Association at Barrier Island’s Ocean Pines.

Next, came the vision for the new resort and the unveiling of the new resort name.  It was decided that a new name was needed due to the negativity that had befallen the Barrier Island Resorts.  Since the property sets inside a maritime forest and is located a short distance from the beach, it was decided that the new resort name would be BeachWoods.

Stay tuned for more…….

 

 

 

 

Beachwoods

An exciting new resort is coming to the Outer Banks in Kitty Hawk!

Have you heard about Beachwoods ~ A Four Season Outer Banks Resort?

Gold Key Resorts/PHR recently purchased the former Barrier Island Station in Kitty Hawk.  Construction and renovations are already underway.  This should be exciting news for the owners of timeshare weeks at the resort.  For some time, the resort has been doing a downward spiral with no funds being pumped into the resort, no collection policies in place for delinquent and non-paying owners, deteriorating units and amenities, and almost non-existent new sales.

Gold Key Resorts/PHR, headquartered in Virginia Beach, had been looking to expand into the Outer Banks.  Fortunately, they took an interest in this property, and over the course of two years of negotiations and researching the viability of turning this resort around; Gold Key decided to move forward on the acquisition.

Gold Key Resorts has many holdings, including four timeshare resorts, three hotels and nine restaurants, in the Virginia Beach resort area.  Anyone that has visited the resort area in recent years has witnessed extensive changes at the oceanfront.  It has truly changed the landscape and has set the area up as a top East Coast destination.

In the early years, Barrier Island Station Kitty Hawk was rated as a Gold Crown Resort by Resort Condominiums International (RCI).  This designation is awarded to the top tier resorts based on several criteria.  Unfortunately, the rankings declined over the years.  Gold Key Resorts’ vision for this resort will bring it back up to Gold Crown status.  Their vision is strongly supported by the plans and funds that will go into the new BeachWoods Resort.

Owners were notified by letter back in September about the acquisition.  There were promises of new and exciting things for the resort, with more information to follow.  More teaser information arrived and all owners were encouraged to attend the Owners’ Annual Meeting in November.  Big things were in-store for those who were able to attend.  It was requested that an RSVP be sent back to Gold Key in order to prepare for the “event”.

Check back shortly…..I will be updating what was awaiting when we arrived in Kitty Hawk for the Owners’ Meeting this past Saturday.