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Ritz-Carlton Managed Abaco Club Debuts New Fractional Ownership Cottages

(ABACO, BAHAMAS) -- The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Managed Club, announced April 8 the second series of Ritz-Carlton Club fractional ownership residences. This secluded residential development and sporting retreat known for golf, beach and boating pursuits, now offers five fractionally-owned cliff cottages to members of the Ritz-Carlton Club.

The opening of the cottages marks the second phase for the private residence club, with the initial phase having opened last November. The new cliff cottages are nestled into the side of a tropical limestone ridge surrounded by lush landscaping and feature stunning views of Winding Bay. With this addition, RCC members now have 10 fractional residences to explore, each with a view of the bay or the first fairway of the Scottish-style links golf course designed by Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie.

The cliff cottages include two and three-bedroom floor plans, ranging in size from 1,656 square feet of air-conditioned space to 2,381 square feet.

Influences for the cottages were drawn from traditional Bahamian buildings on the island. All of the cottages include large, welcoming porches reflective of their southern hospitality inspiration, while the interiors boast fine finishes such as warm wood floors, bead paneling, stone tile, granite countertops and vaulted tongue and groove ceilings. Cottage amenities include a contemporary kitchen with Viking appliances, free standing garden tubs, flat panel televisions in all bedrooms, luxury furnishings and outdoor showers.

As a points-based membership, members receive annual points to use toward their vacations in Abaco. This approach provides increased flexibility as each member can select the travel dates and residence floor plan best suited for their trip. Additionally, when choosing from the collection of residential options (cabanas, fairway villas, as well as cliff and beachfront cottages), each residence is assigned a varying nightly point value. Furthermore, the concept grants a deeded interest as part of a Bahamian real estate trust. This gives members the ability to will the interest to their heirs.

Pricing, which starts at $110,000, comprises the following three membership options: Select Membership - 500 points; Preferred Membership - 1,000 points; Premium Membership - 1,500 points.

For an example of how these points can be applied, members could elect to spend 14 nights in a two-bedroom cliff cottage (990 points) in the peak winter months, seven nights (235 points) in a similar two-bedroom cottage in June (235 points), seven nights in a cabana in July (100 points) or seven nights in a three-bedroom cliff cottage in the fall (170 points).

The Abaco Club is a 534-acre private resort-style retreat that features the world's first Scottish-style links golf course in the tropics, and clubhouse, dining, spa, tennis courts, and fitness center amenities on Greater Abaco.

American Resort Development Association Names Disney's Jim Lewis New Chairman

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Disney Vacation Club president Jim Lewis, who oversees Walt Disney Company's growing vacation ownership division, was elected the new chairman of the American Resort Development Association, the national trade association representing the vacation ownership industry.

"ARDA and the vacation ownership industry are fortunate to have Jim Lewis' leadership during this particularly challenging time in our history," said ARDA president/CEO Howard C. Nusbaum, whose organization recently held its annual international conference in Orlando.

"Jim's passion for the product and in-depth knowledge of the industry puts ARDA in very capable hands at a time when the industry needs to work together. His personal integrity and commitment to industry excellence makes him the right leader at the right time."

Since 1991, Disney Vacation Club has been a growing vacation ownership business which includes eight themed Disney Vacation Club Resorts, more than 400,000 individual members from approximately 100 countries and every U.S. state, and more than 2,000 "Cast Members" or employees

Under Lewis' leadership, Disney Vacation Club has more than doubled its business since 2003.

As part of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide Operations Steering Committee, Jim helps develop the vision and strategy for this global business, managing performance expectations, technology application, product-investment levels, competitive positioning, expansion, and talent development.

"It is both an honor and a humbling responsibility to have been chosen by my peers to lead the association at this unique time," Lewis said. "I am confident that, together, we will work through the present economic obstacles and continue to provide the excellent family vacation experiences that millions of Americans want and deserve."

Lewis is a Certified Public Accountant, and holds an MBA from the Krannert School of Business at Purdue University, where he received the Distinguished Alumni Award. Lewis serves on the board of Rejoice in the Lord Ministries and represents Disney on the board of Florida Hospital. A leader on the ARDA Board of Directors since 2004, Lewis will serve as chairman for two years.

In other ARDA news from last week's international conference, several individuals and organizations received prestigious Circle of Excellence awards at the annual gala dinner and fundraiser.

"These companies and individuals represent 'the best of the best' in the vacation ownership industry," Nusbaum said. "Selected by their peers, they set an example of personal and professional excellence for us all."

Among this year's big winners were Wyndham Vacation Ownership and Group RCI, each of which received two awards. Wyndham received the ACE Innovator Award for implementing several break-through green initiatives and the ACE Project of Excellence Award, which recognizes timeshare or mixed-use projects that are considered a success by investors, owners and the local community.

Wyndham's project of note was Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando, a showcase resort that became the set for the company's first-ever TV ad campaign featuring legendary golfer Arnold Palmer.

Meanwhile, Group RCI, one of the leading timeshare exchange companies, was given the ACE Employer of the Year Award and associated with the ACE Women on Their Way winner. Group RCI was singled out this year as a top employer, "demonstrating exceptional commitment to its employees," for designing a highly targeted new training program called CATALYST to create a company culture of leadership.

The brand new ACE Women on Their Way Award was started to recognize the outstanding achievements of women who continue to excel and advance in the timeshare industry. This year's recipient was Group RCI's director of Global eCommerce, Jenniver Vanlerberghe, who quickly became the driving force behind the development and introduction of RCI's new Enhance Search Internet Service that enhances online bookings.

Mammoth Mountain Tamarack Lodge Cabin Awarded LEED Platinum Certification

(MAMMOTH LAKES, CA) -- Tamarack Lodge's Cabin 11, one of the resort accommodations in Mammoth Mountain, recently received LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, yet another example of the acclaimed resort's ongoing commitment to sustainable development practices. 

The cabin is the first registered Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building in the Town of Mammoth Lakes, and one of only 12 projects in the state of California to earn Platinum status.

The deluxe 1,336-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath cabin, one of 34 at the resort, sets a precedent for environmentally friendly building practices in pristine, resort locales. 

"Constructing the Tamarack cabin to LEED Platinum standards is one of many important steps that Mammoth Mountain is taking to fulfill our commitment to the environment," said Mammoth Mountain chief executive Rusty Gregory.  "As one of only a dozen Platinum certified projects in California, we're proud to be taking a leading role in what can be accomplished with sustainable building practices."

The cabin construction was a local collaboration between Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth Lakes' Woodward Architecture and Boyer Construction, and Truckee's BECx Engineering. With stunning views of Twin Lakes, Tamarack Lodge is rated one of Condè Nast Traveler's Top 50 Ski Hotels.

The U.S. Green Building Council established the national environmental LEED rating system in 1993 to encourage the mainstream building industry to utilize sustainable practices. The U.S. Green Building Council bestows LEED ratings using a point system based on pre-specified features in categories such as innovation and design process, location and linkages, sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.

Mammoth's Tamarack cabin addresses all LEED categories and is home to a diverse number of "green" elements. Builders used materials and resources that are environmentally preferable and/or extracted, processed and manufactured within 500 miles of the site, including environmentally friendly hardwood flooring, recycled carpeting and decking material, local masonry rock and pest resistant siding, recycled and local drywall, energy efficient windows, local concrete aggregates and recycled fiberglass insulation.

With added insulation and thermal windows, the cabin features exceptional energy performance and exceeds California energy requirements by more than 37 percent. Other "green" aspects of the home include enhanced outdoor air ventilation provided by an air-to-air heat exchanger that supplies the required 45 cubic feet per minute of fresh air, exhaust timers on bathroom exhaust fans and waste management practices such as trash documentation.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is a leading four-season mountain resort that draws 1.6 million annual ski visits.

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