Chocolate Covered Time Shares

ghirardelli.jpgThe trend of luxury hotels offering time share suites has expanded into San Francisco’s most historic properties. The Ritz Carlton, for instance, offers fractional ownership at 690 Market St., which is the 119 year old former Chronicle building. An 2004 Sfgate article details the property’s offerings:

Shares in the Ritz-Carlton clubs are sold in three- to five-week interests. Airport pickup, private catering and unpacking and pressing garments are some of the services offered to members. “We pair a residential environment with Ritz-Carlton services,” spokeswoman Beth Vairo said. “Everything is stress-free. Four weeks before arrival, your personal concierge will ask you questions such as: Is your refrigerator provisioned? Do you need anything taken out of storage? Family photos? Golf or ski equipment?”

Wouldn’t that be grand? The MLS listing also shows that “1/12th deeded ownership offers min 21 days use per year, unlimited space-available per diem days, reciprocal use at other RC Club Resorts plus discounted/upgraded stays at Ritz Carlton hotels!” And you’re worth it, surely, especially since (as Socketsite has pointed out), the prices have been reduced.

But if the Chronicle building is not historic/sexy/swanky enough for you, maybe you want to get on the Fairmont Hotel’s new Ghiradelli Square action. I’ll quote from the effusive website directly:

Built as an illustrious chocolate factory in 1893, listed on the National Historic Register in 1982 and now a retail oasis undergoing a dramatic transformation and renovation, Ghirardelli Square is proud to boast a new name for the first time in its rich history: Home.

Well, a second home, anyway. These are timeshares, after all. As with the Ritz, you can purchase a 1, 2, or 3 bedroom suite, starting at $262,000, that allows you to not only reserve time in your Ghiradelli Square apartment, but also any other Fairmont Hotel location. Amenities include:

* Full access to all Club facilities including golf courses, spas, tennis, fitness facilities and equipment.

*Full service business centers, conference rooms, and Club Houses

*Storage and parking

*Upgrades and privileges at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts worldwide. 

The crazy thing is if these babies start under 300K, I can easily afford one. Course, I still have to keep paying rent in the meantime since I can only use the time share a certain number of days per year, so…mental math taking place… oh (insert depressed sigh here). But if are lucky enough to be in the market for a (chocolatey!) second home, you can read more about Fairmont Heritage Place and take a virtual tour here.

Okay, advertising brochure aside now, one question I have for readers is: are time shares investments, or are they just escape mechanisms? I’m a fan of both, personally, but I wonder about the resale possibilities of such properties in general. Thoughts?