Plan for a Luxury Vacation in Miami Beach and South Beach

Miami Beach and South Beach vacation rentals offers people living in the Northern part of the United States at least a brief respite from cold and snow while relaxing in the beautiful and exciting area. The allure of a tropical vacation is difficult to resist after weeks of digging out vehicles and shoveling walks. The Miami area has been made popular through movies and television shows and draws international travelers as well as from across the U.S, making it a hotspot for vacationers. Being allowed the opportunity to live in the lap of luxury while in Miami Beach vacation rentals is a dream come true for travelers escaping to the area.

Located along the Atlantic shoreline, but far enough South to remain warm throughout the year Miami Beach and South Beach offer beach combing and the ability to tour nearby points of interest.. Citrus plantations thrive nearby while the Art Deco area, which is home to more Art Deco designed architecture than can be found in any other single locale, of Miami Beach attracts thousands of tourists who enjoy lingering over coffee in this exciting cultural area. Separated from Miami proper by Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach and South Beach are premier vacation havens for tourists wishing to escape brutal winters and relax.

Ocean Drive in Miami Beach was featured in Birdcage as well as Scarface, with the Jackie Gleason Show, Miami Vice and many other TV shows and movies having been based or shot in the area. Miami Beach vacation rentals offer tourists the opportunity to be within walking distance of both the ocean and nightlife as well as spectacular shopping and restaurants. Choosing Miami Beach vacation rentals such as a hotel, condo or home to rent can be a daunting task when unfamiliar with the area.

Vacationers often enjoy driving to the nearby Everglades to see nature in it’s raw form, taking a day trip on boat or simply relaxing and people watching. Tours can be arranged such as an Art Deco one which guides people through the truly unique area while providing rich historical information pertaining to the Magical City as Miami is known. Other activities include scuba diving, fishing, visiting the Holocaust Memorial as well as many local museums and parks. Boredom can’t exist while enjoying a Miami Beach vacation rentals.

During the 1920’s South Beach and Miami Beach attracted President Harding as well as numerous millionaires to the area, such as J.C. Penney and Harvey Firestone, just two of the many who built luxurious mansions in the area. Many of the pedestrian friendly tours focus on local history including the architecture, notable residents as well as how the area has prospered throughout the years.

Choosing where to stay provides many options to travelers. South Beach vacation rentals include options ranging from luxury hotels to the ability to rent and reside in an exquisite private mansion. Miami Beach condo rentals as well as South Beach condo rentals provide everything from luxury penthouse suites which overlook the city or ocean and include maid service to spectacular luxury hotels that often cost no more than regular hotels when carefully arranged for. Doing research and making arrangements prior to traveling will result in the best results and most luxurious vacation within budget.

Why Even Celebrities Endorse the South Beach Diet – A Food For Thought

The world is used to celebrity promotions, from politics, to clothing and everything in between. What is different when they promote a diet plan is that weight control is part and parcel to their careers. Most celebs need to maintain their trim, toned bodies as a part of their job. Packing on the pounds, will cause headlines proclaiming a weight gain nightmare for a starlet. Because their weight loss and fitness programs are a requirement to maintain their image, this is one endorsement where they are actually practicing what they preach.

What diet is the favorite of some of the celebs? The answer is the South Beach Diet and the reason is because they experience great results. Troy Aikman (of Dallas Cowboys fame) claims, “It worked for me, I’ve lost 10 pounds. It’s been good”. The reason the South Beach Diet is the one diet plan selected by so many celebrities is because it provides quick weight loss results and promotes a lifetime of healthy eating. Outlining a plan for successfully losing weight, the South Beach Diet does not permanently remove any one food group. Instead, the diet regimen prescribes a methodology for selecting good carbohydrates versus bad carbohydrates. There are good fats, which are allowable, and bad fats, which must be avoided.

So, what celebrities are South Beach Diet followers? Nicole Kidman is one, along with Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, Lorna Luft, Bette Midler and Kim Cattrall of “Sex in the City” fame. Each of these individuals claimed great results from adhering to the weight loss plan. Kim Cattrall has publicly added that she follows the South Beach Diet and adds exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Unbelievably, Bill Clinton has said good-bye to his burger-binging days of old, and has lost a reported thirty-five pounds with his commitment to this weight loss program. Lorna Luft (daughter of Judy Garland) claimed the South Beach Diet as the one she used to lose weight.

South Beach” was the response when Health Magazine’s Robin Vitetta-Miller responded to questions about Nicole Kidman’s weight control program. She added, “You have a nice balance of high-quality protein and complex carbs, and you are likely to stay with the diet for the rest of your life.”

Oprah Winfrey’s battle with weight loss has been roller coaster ride that all of American has watched for years. Now, it seems, the outspoken celeb has found her plan, the one that she’ll keep using for weight control for the remainder of her lifetime. And the plan she has chosen is the South Beach Diet.

Some of these celebrities are rather notorious for saying whatever is on their minds. It is well known that being displayed on television adds weight just because of the media used. How “fat” the celebrity appears when viewed is of the foremost considerations when planning a show. Maintaining body weight is one of the utmost priorities. Failing to project “the image” has sabotaged careers (remember Kirstie Alley of “Cheers” fame?).

When you consider that the celebrity’s financial future is directly tied to their appearance, then you can readily accept that they truly believe in the weight loss regimens they promote. The South Beach Diet has gained not only acceptance, but is touted by celebs as their weight loss method for life. The healthy lifestyle approach of the South Beach Diet is workable around any career. It can be followed when dining in restaurants or when travelling. It does not involve purchasing hard to find products. Everything you need for losing weight with this plan is at the neighborhood grocers. Your diet regimen will include a wide variety of choices from all of the food groups. This makes the South Beach Diet very portable – you can use it wherever you go. That’s an important issue to Hollywood celebrities who travel all over the world.

Bette Midler, songstress and actress, was astonished at the great resulting weight loss on the South Beach Diet. She purports to have lost a pound a day. It is rumored that she relayed she would be on track for a healthy lifestyle if she could develop a regular exercise regimen to go with her weight reduced body. Linda Silver, a Los Angeles based beauty guru states, “I did it (South Beach) and it really works. I lost 14 pounds in two weeks and better than that I had no desire for sugar, bread or carbs. It works”. With endorsements from California to Washington DC, it’s no wonder that so many people are talking about the amazing weight loss results of this plan.

In basic terms, the reason why the South Beach Diet works so well is that it is based on the science of metabolic function. It prescribes to the limiting of foods that increase blood glucose levels. Weight loss occurs when calories burned exceed caloric intake. The faster the rate food metabolizes, the quicker the calories are burned. High blood sugar levels mean lower metabolic rates. Eliminate the foods that are known to cause high blood glucose levels and you’ll eliminate the excess weight. Add exercise to the diet regiment, the metabolism will speed up even more. Then take the science and formulate a plan that is easy to follow and can work for a lifetime. That’s the South Beach Diet.

To obtain endorsements from such a wide variety of celebrities for a diet program, it must work and there must be good scientific principles backing the weight loss plan. The South Beach Diet works because the foundation of the regimen prescribed is scientific. When celebrities like Oprah Winfrey say a weight loss program works, she means it. We can believe them because we can watch them as they are losing weight. The Bill Clinton seen of late is a much leaner, trimmer man than the one who left the White House. Bette Midler looks absolutely svelte on stage these days. From politicians to starlets, sports celebs and talk show hosts, the South Beach Diet is the claim to their losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Buying a Timeshare in South Beach – A Real Estate Investors Point of View

We hadn’t even checked into our little boutique hotel on Ocean Drive in Miami’s South Beach when Danny was greeting us with promises of VIP passes to the Mansion, reserved chairs, tent and towels at Nikki Beach, $100 in gas, a free meal and more, if we would spend 60 minutes listening to the hotel’s timeshare deal.

My wife Julie and I took a tour in Maui of the Westin Timeshares but didn’t go through the salespitch. I am not in the market for a timeshare, but I’ve always wondered if they would make a good real estate investment (and, I love the idea of getting free stuff for listening to someone tell me about a real estate deal). Julie hates wasting time but was curious and reluctantly agreed to sit through the spiel.

We barely managed to get checked into the hotel, and we were ushered up to the fourth floor to begin. We walk into what used to be a hotel room, and were offered the choice between two of the empty tables at the back. We were both expecting a one on many presentation. But, it looked like we were about to get a one on one sales presentation.

The room was buzzing with conversation as there were 8 other tables of couples listening as salesmen gave them their best pitches.

No less than 90 minutes later, we had walked our 22 year old salesman through our extensive travels over the past two years. He felt bad that we didn’t know about this deal sooner. He told us we would have saved SO MUCH money if we had known about this deal before we went to Spain, England, France, Belize, Hawaii, and Australia. He emphasized that this was an investment because when we would sell the property later we would get more than our money back. He also slipped in the fact that we could ‘game’ the system by renting our property out at peak times if we weren’t going to use it, and, make money from that to pay for future trips.

Careful to always show us the low amounts when referring to what each week would cost in terms of timeshare points (I will get to that in a sec), and to tell us the higher end of what we’d be otherwise spend if we didn’t have this deal, he artfully painted a powerful picture of what life would be like once we were the proud owners of South Beach timeshare.

At this point, we knew the general structure of the deal, but we still did not know the price. But here is how it works:

  • Annually you get 7,800 points,
  • The points accumulate and rollover, so unused points just roll into the following year,
  • You can break them up and use them for 4 days or 3 days instead of only week chunks,
  • Your friends and family can use your points so long as you make the booking,
  • Your points can be used directly at any of their resorts or through their network of timeshares,
  • There are no black out periods, and because you are buying at South Beach which is top tier you can more easily stay at other desirable locations around the world.  

500 points would get us a week in Costa Rica. But, as we dug into it, we found out that 500 points was for what they called GREEN weeks, which basically means nobody in their right mind travels there during that period because of volatile weather conditions.

Realistically, with those points, we would get two weeks at a place we would want to stay during the time period we would want to stay. By compromising on either the quality of property or the timing of the trips, we could potentially squeeze four weeks out of it. But I can’t say that with confidence.

This timeshare program definitely seemed to have some advantages over what we’d heard about timeshares from other people. For example, you are not stuck to one specific week each year. You don’t lose your points if you don’t use them. And you can transfer to your friends or family as long as you make the booking yourself. It also seemed very flexible.

Really, it didn’t sound half bad. I am sure Julie was nervous that I was going to want to buy one. But, at this point we still didn’t know the price.

FINALLY, as we are getting close to two hours sitting at this little table, and Julie is about to pass out on the table from exhaustion and impatience, we learn that all this could be ours for $36,000.

And with their financing, at the rate of 18% APR, your total cost for the purchase comes to $39,180 + $9,000 (required 25% downpayment) = $48,180.

In addition to that, your timeshare fees for maintenance, taxes and insurance are $963/year (total of $4,815). So your grand total for owning this time share for 5 years is:

$52,995 which works out to $10,599 per year.

Or, put another way, it’s the same as paying $757/night at a hotel of your choosing during a two week vacation each year for 5 years.

Even if you buy it with cash (no financing) and hold it for 15 years, you are still going to be paying the equivalent of $240/night each year for your two weeks of vacation. I don’t think you can rent out your properties enough to cover your costs on that one!!

And the worst part is that the locations they offered were not of much interest to us. And you had to pay $154 to transfer your points for use at their network properties. We ARE big travelers, but that also makes us pretty particular. We know we like to be within walking distance of the sites and highlights of places we visit. We don’t want to be outside of the city, or at least not centrally located. Our young salesman tried to convince us that the amount we were saving was going to make a $5 cab ride to get to the things we wanted to see or do worth it. It would be more like a $25 cab ride…each way…every time we wanted to go anywhere. What a pain!

For $757/night, let’s face it, we can stay in some pretty swanky places RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE Of the action just about anywhere in the world.

So, we said no thanks. But, wait, we couldn’t just leave because we decided this wasn’t a deal for us. We had to tell his manager why we weren’t buying. And after that we had to meet one last person.

This final guy sat down and actually told us that they didn’t want to lose out on our business. They wanted to give us the opportunity to enjoy the resort further. To do that, they were prepared to hold the $36,000 price for us for two years, and they would give us 8,000 points to use for the low price of $2,200! Maybe it’s a better deal, but we’re still not interested.

Ok, so for most people, you won’t make money or save money because you own this timeshare, but maybe you can resell it later for a higher price? I went onto multiple sites that have resale timeshares on them, and found this exact timeshare on sale for $21,000 with a note beside it saying “negotiable”. And a quick look around at other timeshares within this resort group showed a sad story of prices dropping, and people anxious to offload their timeshares at rock bottom prices. So, it doesn’t look like it’s a good investment either.

And on top of all of this, the free gifts that I got all excited about are pretty much useless. The hoops you have to jump through to get any of the rewards are ridiculous. Take the free $100 in gas for instance. You will enjoy a $25 rebate each month you spend $100…but it has to be four consecutive months of spending $100 and sending in your receipts or you don’t get it! I am sure 99% of the people never use most of the free gifts you get.

After the long presentation, Julie smugly said to me “So, you promise we never have to do that again?”. But, I’m a real estate investor, and when I see someone talking about a deal, I get curious. So, I couldn’t tell her that would be our last one, but I tried to reassure her that the next one would give us really good gifts!