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New Beginnings: We are so looking forward to welcoming you back.

Hurrah! The db San Antonio is open again and it's better, brighter and even more appealing than ever. The team have worked diligently leaving no stone unturned to get the hotel back up and running ready to welcome our Members and their families back to the resort, hopefully, sooner rather than later. 

There have been some changes. The crisis provided an unparalleled opportunity for the maintenance team to catch up and restore and refresh many things beyond just fresh coats of paint and general repairs. For example, the db Bistro has been completely updated and given not just a facelift, it's been transformed into a fresh and exciting, scrumptious all-inclusive fine dining experience. Now called the Salia, it features an outdoor dining option are so you enjoy fabulous cuisine whilst overlooking the main pool and feasting your eyes on the amazing views to St Pauls Island and all the way across to Gozo.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, new regulations are in place for both the safety of our guests and also the staff. The management team have done their utmost to ensure that these are no more intrusive than they have to be. Our goal is to ensure that your holiday experience is truly delightful and one to treasure.

Of course, we are all still waiting patiently for the green light. Not just from the U.K Government who need to clarify who can travel, where they can go and what restrictions may be put in place, but also the Maltese Government. Hopefully, fingers crossed we will be seeing you all very soon.

In the interim, check out this short video from the team that makes the magic happen. 

Dear Valued Members: Covid-19 Update

Dear Valued Members,

To say that the past few months and recent events have been somewhat challenging would be an understatement for us all. We know that for our members in the U.K. that the physical, emotional and psychological impact has been tremendous. Amidst all of this turmoil and uncertainty; many of us have witnessed our much needed holiday plans set adrift upon a sea of uncertainty.

Be assured that we miss our members, our family per se, being here amongst us in Malta, just as much as you miss being here.

The Good News

As a team we have done everything possible to not just secure your investment in exceptional holiday and travel experiences as a travel club member, we have used the downtime to ensure that the opportunities to maximise and benefit from your membership are honoured.

There are still many unknown quantities, the situation is still fluid and things change by the week, if not the hour. You can rest assured, however, that we have your very best interests at heart. Your membership is in safe hands and will be there for you to enjoy once the U.K airports reopen and travel becomes a pleasurable reality once again.

As a team and a business, we are doing everything possible to ensure that you can utilise your holiday ownership membership once the clouds have cleared and clarity enables us to enable you to do so.

Our Membership Team are trying their best to contact every one of you directly by telephone to reschedule your holiday weeks and to mitigate risk and expense on your behalf. As a club, we have over 5,000 members and of course, it will take time for us to reach out to all of you.

Regardless of whether you have weeks booked here at The DB San Antonio; or weeks banked or reserved in other resorts with Dial An Exchange, our intention is to attempt fastidiously to ensure that you all ultimately experience the kind of holiday that you planned at some point in the near future.

If you have not heard from one of our Guest Membership Team already, you should do so at some point in the very near future. Should you have any pressing concerns, please feel free to contact us directly on the numbers listed on the website.

Malta is more beautiful than ever…


You will be pleased to know that Malta as an Island hasn’t wasted time during this crisis. Neither has The DB San Antonio. Upon your return, you will notice that everywhere has had a spruce up.

Whether you catch a bus out to Mhelliah, jump on a ferry to Gozo or simply wander down the seafront of St Pauls Bay you will immediately see that Malta has taken the opportunity to clean up, polish up and improve so many areas and aspects that were beginning to look tired or even dilapidated. Everywhere you go, now has benches resplendent in new livery portraying the flags of the E.U and the wider regions. Seafronts have been refurbished and whole new vistas have been opened up making for beautiful evening walks.

In terms of The DB San Antonio, the pools have been retiled, all the balconies repainted and the restaurants have had a refurbishment.

It hasn’t stopped there; the resort has a plan throughout the coming months to facelift as much as possible to ensure as always that your next visit will be a genuine pleasure.

The big question is?

When can you visit?

We fully appreciate that you are probably desperate for a holiday and eager to get back to Malta for some sun, relaxation and fun. The genuine answer is that we are as much in the dark as you. Unfortunately, it is entirely out of our hands.

The truth is that none of us truly know what happens next. Malta has done exceptionally well in the manner in which it handled the whole crisis, which is great news for you. Everyone, hotels, bars, restaurants and most importantly your Guest Membership Team are eager to see you and your families back on the resort enjoying your holiday as soon as possible. But unfortunately, we are waiting for things to settle down in the U.K. and will, of course, be driven by the freedom to travel and the lifting of restrictions accordingly.

Of course, one thing that is certain; Malta will be one of the absolutely top choice destinations for European travellers in the near future. As a low-risk country with one of the best performances throughout the crisis, Malta’s easy accessibility combined with so many amazing attributes in terms of history, culture and food will ensure that demand will be high.

There has never been a better time to be a member of such an exclusive club as the one you joined.

As a member, your time here in this beautiful country for you and your family is guaranteed. We look forward to welcoming you back very soon.

In the interim from all the membership team and The DB San Antonio resort staff, stay safe and we hope to see you soon.

Dream now, visit later...

Any questions?

Email or call us directly, please. We still have some restrictions in place including social distancing in the workplace but we will do our very best to respond to your queries as quickly as possible.

PS: When you do come back to Malta, don’t forget the Pork Pies, Black Pudding and Haggis ; )

Happy Doggy Holidays: Our Guide to Making The Dogs Tail Wag

Why do so many happy holidays for many families lead to unhappy doggy days?

Once all the packing has been done we approach the dreaded moment when the whole family shuffles around the house in a state of confusion and nervous emotion.

On the one hand, everyone is excited and delighted because the summer holiday is only hours away. But there is an elephant in the room. The elephant is usually the most loyal, adorable and loved member of the family, the dog!


They just know...

Nobody wants to say goodbye, nobody wants to take responsibility, nobody wants to look the poor dog in the eyes.

Nobody wants to take the poor dog to the kennels in case they cry.

If you're a dog lover, you've been there. Dogs are extremely intuitive and can read you like a book. You know the dog knows that something awful is happening, you're leaving them behind in a strange place with strange people and they don't like it.

The good news is that times have changed. It has never been easier to take your wonderful, heart and the soul of the family best friend on holiday with you. So, why wouldn't you?

This is our guide to planning and preparing your pet-friendly holiday. From choosing your mode of travel and places to stay to the all-important regulatory requirements and even what you need to pack for a wonderful doggy holiday.

Planning in advance

We're all different when it comes to planning our holidays. Personally, I'm the last-minute packing king. I love nothing better than running around the house digging out everything from sunglasses to flip flops and literally just throwing it all in. Remember your dog can't make lists and it can't just nip down to Boots to grab those much-needed toiletries.

So, whilst your dog is brushing up on its french or cornish language skills you need to think about some basics. Trust me, they'll cost you far less on your local high street than they will in the South of France.

Pet Passports

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If you're travelling overseas you will have to equip your dog with a Pet Passport. This has certain mandatory requirements such as a current and correctly registered chip. Make sure your phone numbers and contact details are up to date.

You are also required to get the dog vaccinated against rabies and this has to be completed at least 21 days prior to travel. Once on holiday prior to returning you are also required to treat your dog for tapeworm and this needs to be done between 24 to 120 hours prior to your journey home.

All things considered, it will cost circa £150 to get your pet fully approved and legal for travel variable depending upon where you are travelling too and vets fees of course.

One thing that is highly recommended is up to date insurance and ensure it covers your pet for the country you are visiting. You may have to pay an excess or additional premium for the extra cover. It's worth it doing. Also, ensure that your own travel insurance covers you if for example you are delayed in returning and need to stay longer if there are any complications.

Localised Health Warnings

UK travellers it's worth doing a check online to see what local health issues are prevalent. You may only be going to Cornwall, but they may have an outbreak of a virus or other illness. Across certain regions of the UK, there are currently concerns about Alabama Rot and illnesses such as Haemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE) for example. 


Ultimately, you cannot totally protect your dog from every illness conceivable. A dog will be a dog, and sniffing around, splashing through puddles and rummaging through the undergrowth is vital to their happiness. Researching and knowing the precautionary advice and the symptoms to be aware of could save your dog's life.


Heat Prevention

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If you are travelling abroad and it's going to be hot your dog may need sunscreen, yes, dogs get sunburned too. Especially those more exposed areas such as the ears, the nose and the belly. There is an abundance of dog safe sunscreens on the market but always ask your vets advice. 

It may even be worth investing in some booties if your dog will wear them. The pavements, promenades and the beaches get hot, very hot. The last thing you want is a dog with burnt paws and pads.

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If your dog is like mine, a mad as a hatter Springer Spaniel who thinks she's a Dog Shark and loves to swim in the sea then it's worth getting the equivalent of a rash vest.

Not only will this protect them from the odd curious jellyfish, but it will also keep them cool and keep the sun off their backs. Remember the sun is magnified through the water, add into that factor the extra activity levels. Your dog is just as if not more than likely to suffer from heat exhaustion and sun-stroke as you are.


Keeping Those Energy Levels Up - Food and Treats

We are so very lucky in the UK. Thankfully pretty much everywhere you go there will be a good quality pet store nearby. With companies such as Jollyes and Pets At Home covering most of the UK, great value, good quality and a diverse range of food and treats are never more than a stone's throw away.


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Warning, blatant product placement alert. I'm a huge fan of Jollyes own brand dog food Lifestages Grain-Free, and wouldn't let my pooch eat anything else. If you are as selective about your dog's diet needs then make sure you either take enough food with you or can source it on route or nearby.

If you are travelling overseas it's worth remembering that the standards set by the Food Standards Agency in the UK in terms of product description and ingredients probably won't apply to your destination. Finding high-quality dog food can be a challenge and it's worth doing a little research before you depart.

Travelling to Your Destination

If you are sticking to the UK and driving to your destination then this isn't such a huge issue. Load up plenty of water and make sure your pooch is going to be comfortable and safe throughout the journey. Plan your stopping off points around places that you can stretch lots of legs and freshen up your pet.

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This website provides some excellent advice and even allows you to search for dog-friendly services, pubs and walking locations in the UK and France - Driving With Dogs

One of my favourite stopping off points in the UK is the recent addition to the M5, Gloucester Services which has well-signposted bridle paths and dog water points on both sides of the motorway.


If you are travelling by train then ensure that you have checked the terms of carriage and pet travel conditions as the provisions and requirements vary from one service provider to another.

Travelling Overseas

This is potentially very complex and requires a huge degree of diligence. There are far too many variables for me to cover in this article. Every airline, train operator and bus service provider has a whole host of restrictions and requirements. Be absolutely certain that you know exactly what is expected.


Places to Stay

As a Holiday Ownership Member, you have access to a paw licking, nose snuffling array of places to stay in the UK. From exquisitely fitted out Canal Barges in Worcester to luxurious Log Cabins and Cottages courtesy of Hilton in Scotland the British Isles offer you a plethora of dog-friendly options.


One thing you are always guaranteed is prime locations and superb standards of accommodation and facilities on any resort you choose. Seriously, how many dogs go for a walk down the local park and mutter like Muttley to their friends...

"Ooh, I've just had a fabulous holiday at a Hilton in Scotland... "

If you are travelling outside the UK, then contact Dial An Exchange direct and ask them for recommendations. Many of the resorts across France, Spain, Italy and further afield change their policies according to seasons. DAE will have up to date advice and information on the very best selection of Dog-Friendly resorts.

From walking beautiful Alpine meadows to dog sharking in the Mediterranean there are lots of options. 


My advice, in the UK through the Winter and early Spring there is an abundance of Bonus Weeks available from as little as £159 to £299 per week for the entire family, including your dog or dogs. 


This is the perfect time for those long weekend and country breaks. Enjoy some countryside, rural charm and soak up some Spring sunshine in some of the most beautiful locations and prestigious resorts imaginable at bargain prices.


Your family and your dog/dogs will absolutely adore you.

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Our Favourite Places in Malta: Castille Square & Cafe Castille

If the delightfully flighty and adorable Audrey Hepburn had ever visited Malta, she would have looked very much at home in the wonderfully discrete, charmingly understated and heart flutteringly authentic Cafe Castille, that sits on the corner of St Pauls Street and Castille Square in Valletta, Malta. Cafe Castille is part of the delightfully original Castille Hotel and compliments it perfectly. As cafes go this one is pretty wonderful from every perspective, the coffee is exceptional also. There is no polished smoked glass or modern burnished chrome or brass accoutrements here. It’s precisely as it should be, an original gem that has remained true to its nature. Cafe Castille is nestled quietly amongst the architectural grandeur that surrounds it, stealing none of the ambience that seeps resiliently, almost stoically from the ornate old buildings, fountains and statues. Hundreds of years of history, legends of heroism, valour and resistance surround Cafe Castille in every direction and it is hard not be a little awed by it, precisely as you should be.


A people-watchers haven


Cafe Castille is undoubtedly one of my favourite locations in Valletta, if not the whole of Malta for relaxing in the morning sunshine. It’s a people-watchers haven. The cafe feels almost detached, even somewhat nonchalant amidst the hustle and bustle. Tourists of every size, shape and nationality stumble past, creating their own pedestrian hazard with mobile phones glued to their faces as they attempt to follow Google Maps. Gaggles of bemused amateur historians trying in vain to follow the finely crafted if often weary “I’ve done this a thousand times…” narrative of their umbrella-wielding tour guides. Blossoming or rediscovered romance can be seen everywhere. Couples walking hand in hand, emulating an almost vivid aura of insouciance, disparate from the world around them, eyes only for each other. Whispered conversations of shared memories of long ago, emanate from every other table as couples rediscover their joy in each other over some of the finest coffee Valletta has to offer. It’s often hard to distinguish if the expressions of relish and anticipation are directed at one another or secretly at the selection of freshly made mouth-watering cakes or appetisers that are on the way. But there is no question that the patrons of Café Castille are happy, contented and relaxed.


The place to see and be seen


This Café is not merely a tourist mecca. Serious business is done here. The Office of the Prime Minister is literally across the street and a myriad of other government and ministerial offices are located nearby. Often you will discover heated, animated, excited and captivating conversations surround you. A plethora of languages is evident to the casual listener. If you listen carefully you will hear the deceptively expressive, direct and loud traditional Maltese tones blended with the dulcet second official language of English and a smattering of Italian and even Russian, often at the same table. It’s difficult not to be impressed and even captivated. This is a truly international convention true to the traditions of Malta’s importance in the Mediterranean. Over sensually fragrant espresso’s, deals are done, handshakes exchanged and lives changed.


Happy Hours


Audrey Hepburn in the guise of her delightful character, Holly Golightly said:


“No, no, you disapprove of me. And I will not accept drinks from gentlemen who disapprove of me. I'll pay for my own whiskey and don't you forget it!”


Those are wise words to remember, especially when it comes around to Happy Hour at Café Castille. Running from 4 pm until 6 pm the atmosphere elevates distinctly to one of joyous celebration as tourists and local office staff fuse together to watch the sun go down majestically radiating copper, bronze and warm red tones through the streets of Valletta. Be wary of the local favourite, Aperol Spritz. This refreshing long cocktail is delicious and deviant, it has a tendency to sneak up on you leaving you legless. 
Café Castille, it really doesn’t get much better. Visit it, steep yourself in its warm welcoming charm; relax and soak up Valletta at its very best. It’s one of the very finest and most authentic cafes in Malta.

This is the first in a series of Our Favourite Places to visit in Malta. We want to ensure that your whether you are visiting Malta for the first time as a member, staying at the San Antonio on an exchange or bonus week or are an accustomed Malta visitor that you get the very best experience from your holiday.

If you would like to recommend a location or place for us to discover and feature then please do get in touch:

How to make the most of Bonus Weeks

Unlimited Adventures From £159 Per Week

Bonus Weeks are unlimited, you and your family can take advantage of as many spare availabilities, last minute breaks and special offer weeks as you wish. Bonus Weeks start from an incredible £159 to £399 per apartment, per week. So whether it's you as San Antonio members who fancy a short break in Veneto or the Kids and your Grandchildren who want a week on the Algarve in a 3 bedroom family sized luxury apartment these represent absolutely outstanding value. 

The following is a guide to maximising your membership and getting those fabulous holidays that you and your family deserve.

As a San Antonio Resort & Spa Travel Club member, you are automatically enrolled into Dial An Exchange for life for free. As a goodwill gesture and to encourage you to explore the very best that DAE has to offer we always start you off with the optional Gold Advantage membership for your first year. This is so you can test and assess if the annual upgrade fee of £55 is value for money. As a Gold Advantage member, you get priority booking on exchanges and Bonus Weeks along with instant discounts on every booking and exchange fee of £10 and a whole host of other benefits such as priority booking on exchange weeks and bonus weeks.

As a Gold Advantage Member, that means you could grab a week in a one-bedroom luxury apartment that sleeps 4 people for as little as £149, that works out at an incredible £5.50 per person per night. Take your friends and get them to pay for the flights is my advice.


What is a Bonus Week?


Bonus Weeks are essentially spare inventory that arises as a natural result of the flexibility within the Dial An Exchange system. This spare inventory may be unsold fixed weeks that are offered because it's better to have someone on the resort and in the apartment spending money and using the facilities than having it empty. The weeks may be excess inventory which each resort has to maintain to enable their product to actually have flexibility; they may be weeks that an owner has saved over or banked or new weeks as a result of expansion and redevelopment.

In many cases, they may be in exquisite new resorts that are recently opened and commercially it makes sense to offer occupancy to keep the staff busy. In many places, the resorts will have a very seasonal focus such as Ski resorts in the Alps. Peak season is snow season, but a week in the spring as the snow melts and the flora and fauna comes back to life is a dream destination for walkers and mountain bikers and these types of resorts offer what for them are out of season weeks, but for you are actually prime time.

To get the absolute best options from Bonus Weeks you may have to go out of the peak season. But for exploring that can be perfect, for those among you interested in really getting to know a place, museums, art, history and culture they can be immensely rewarding. Grab a spare week somewhere in Malta in November and instead of lounging by the pool spend time doing all the things you wouldn't do in the scorching heat and humidity of August.


Finding Bonus Weeks


When logging into the DAE platform you can search for available Bonus Weeks in the Availability function. It's important to understand that this is a live site and it literally changes by the minute. The majority of the weeks you see available here are last-minute breaks, usually from 1 day to up to 8 weeks’ notice from arrival on the resort. This is perfect if you are like me and have the flexibility to travel spontaneously and just love travelling to places on a whim. However, the vast majority of Bonus Weeks will never actually make it to the availability search. This is because most Bonus Weeks are actually requested well in advance and never get to that stage of being advertised as available. 


Getting the most out of Bonus Weeks


The key to really working Bonus Weeks to your advantage is to be flexible. If you fancy a week or two in Portugal in October make an actual request based upon the area you would like to be based and the kind of resort you require. As an example, last year I wanted a week in Spain near Benalmadena, in October. Quiet and relaxing with access to local transport and a sea view was my specified requirements. I made the request in June. DAE came back within a week with 3 options, one of them being Absolute Polynesia which I instantly booked. Check that resort out and you will see why I didn't hesitate. A 1 bedroom sea view apartment with a hot-tub on the balcony cost me £249 for the week. When we arrived, I would quite happily have paid 5 times that price. The resort is stunning in every way and for explorers, it was the perfect gateway to the coast and to inland travel by train.

DAE are not magicians or mind readers. Give them some notice, be flexible on the actual resort but specify a region and style of property you would like. Be sure to define any special needs you may have such as disabled access, children’s facilities and so forth. Advise DAE that you are open to suggestions and watch what they come back with. I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised.

People who criticise the Bonus Week system usually just don't know how to use it correctly or have ridiculous expectations. If you want a week in a 2 bedroom family-sized apartment in the middle of August the chances of getting that are of course slim. Similarly, asking for Hogmanay week in a log cabin on Loch Lomond is unlikely to get you a satisfactory result, people who own those weeks own them for a reason. However, it doesn't cost you anything to make a request, you only pay when you book and confirm.

Bonus Weeks are designed to open up your travel options, to tempt you to take holidays that you would probably never think of taking. They are perfect for those short breaks. Even if you only spend 4 days at the resort, these still represent excellent value for money compared to the equivalent hotel cost for a room on a per night basis.


How to co-ordinate Bonus Weeks with your travel schedule?


This is where you need to get smart. Do not find a Bonus Week and then book and confirm payment before ensuring that there are available flights from your preferred or nearby departure airport. Bonus Weeks are on a first-come-first-served basis. Once you book the week and confirm it, your payment is processed and there are no refunds. So, two ways to do ensure that everything matches up. 

The first way is to request or find an available Bonus Week then book it and hold it. You can hold a Bonus Week for up to 24 hours. Once you have done this then begin scouring the flight availability. Only when you have found and booked a reasonably priced flight go back to the DAE website and then confirm and pay for your bonus week.

Alternatively, look out for those crazy flight offers. Last week, for example, was offering return flights to Malta for the last 2 weeks in November and the first 2 weeks of December for £79 per person. They also had flights to Portugal at £86 return for the same weeks. Once you see the flights being offered dash across to the DAE website and see what is available in the Bonus Week listings and if there is something that grabs your attention BOOK IT QUICK.


Okay, to an extent there is a little bit of an art to this process. It is easier if you have a choice of departure points. For those members in Yorkshire for example there is usually very little difference between travelling from Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Robin Hood or East Midlands airports. For them, using Bonus Weeks is a doddle, there is always an operator to choose from. If you live in West Wales, it may be more of a challenge. But work at it, make it a little hobby on a Sunday morning and be brave. You may have never considered a week in Sicily or Denmark but at these prices, it pays to be adventurous. 


If in doubt, ask your home resort.


There is a knack to getting the very best out of any system and the best people to take you through that learning curve are your home resort team. Every member has a different Holiday Identity. It takes a little time and some trial and error to explore and perfect your booking and use format. We are here to help you achieve that with as few errors as possible, so pick up the phone and ask us to guide you and assist you.

Ultimately it is in our interest to ensure that you are getting the very best out of the system. Our goal is to have happy members who recommend us because they love their travel club.


Check out our bi-weekly Pick of the Bonus Weeks article here

Winter Wonderland: Scotland Meets all the Criterion



"It's not about the number of breaths you take, it's about the number of moments that take your breath away..."


There truly is no better time to visit Scotland than during late winter and early spring. Whether you are searching for that idyllic windswept walk along sweeping beaches and rugged coastlines or an exhilarating nature feast ambling or mountain biking through epic moorland, immense forests and mountain ridges, Scotland has it all. From cycling to canoeing and of course, if there’s a flurry even a bit of skiing.


Food and Fun


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During the winter and early spring months, the options are unlimited. Exploring Scotland and all it has to offer is superb during the quieter off-season months of the year. Amazing culinary delights from internationally famous seafood such as Loch Fyne mussels, freshly caught langoustines and specialities such as Arbroath Smokies and of course the ubiquitous mouth-watering and drool-inducing MacSween haggis await you in every town, city and small fishing village. Of course, it would be rude not to sample a few malt whiskeys whilst you are there.


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One of the truly marvellous things about visiting Scotland between January and May is how easy it is to get around. Outside of the main tourist season, the roads are quiet with hundreds of miles of great drives through mountain ranges, around pristine lochs and jaw-dropping gorges. The adventures are almost limitless. The opportunity to get those wellingtons or walking boots muddy irresistible.


Holiday Ownership Members Access the Very Best Value and Standards


As a travel club member, you have an almost unlimited choice of options when it comes to your accommodation. From Log Cabins in tucked-away rural neuk’s (Scottish for corner) to traditional cottages and converted castle apartments and town residences through your Dial an Exchange membership you can choose precisely what is right for you. Bonus Breaks are a superb way to maximise the benefit of your membership whether you use them as bases for exploring through the week or simply as long weekend breaks.

Prices range from £159 per apartment/lodge/cottage per week for a studio or one-bedroom to the ridiculously great value £229 for a 3 bed which will comfortably accommodate up to 8 people and all of your walking, cycling or skiing equipment. Dial an Exchange are currently offering members a huge range of locations from the foothills of Aviemore to the Isle of Arran and of course the haunting and magical highlands.


Our Best Pick of Currently Available Bonus Weeks


This is our pick of some of the best on offer available to book over the next few months. Remember, Bonus Weeks are on a first come first served basis and with prices and locations like these they don’t stay available for long, so our advice is to check regularly and book them as soon as you can.



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Many of these locations are dog-friendly too, usually for a small surcharge of between £25-£40 for the additional cleaning cost.


Brunston Castle, Ayrshire – 3 Bedroom/Sleep 8 – from £189


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Located in a magnificent rural idyll, the resort is named after the original 16th Century Brunston Castle. Set in 25 acres of landscaped grounds in the peaceful Girvan Valley, just five miles from Ayrshire’s picturesque coastline, Brunston Castle makes the perfect place from which to explore the wonderful west of Scotland.

Blessed with a remarkably mild climate year-round, the resort offers peace and privacy in what is one of the loveliest parts of Scotland - renowned for its rich history and magnificent scenery.

Dramatic coastlines, sandy beaches, castles, family attractions and plenty of golf courses in the surrounding area, Ayrshire has a considerable amount to offer at any time of the year.


Loch Rannoch Highland Club, Perthshire – 2 Bedroom/Sleep 6 – from £189


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The holiday cottages at Kinloch Rannoch in Perthshire, Scotland are set deep in the heart of the Highlands. The lodges and apartments of The Loch Rannoch Highland Club nestled in 250 wooded acres, overlooking the startlingly clear waters of Loch Rannoch and the towering peak of Schiehallion beyond. The surrounding countryside abounds in lochs, rivers, woodland, and rugged mountains, making it the ideal place for outdoor pursuits of all kinds, ranging from rambling and rock climbing to pony trekking, bird watching and fishing.


Macdonald Spey Valley Golf & Country Club, Aviemore – 2 Bedroom/Sleep 6 – from £229


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Macdonald Spey Valley Golf & Country Club borders the famous River Spey, beneath the splendour of the imposing Cairngorm Mountains, the UK’s largest winter sports area. Whether you are after exhilarating outdoor adventure or tranquil relaxation, there is something here for everyone. Set in the Cairngorm National Park, the resort is close to the tourist centre of Aviemore.


If You’re Not Fast You’re Last


In total Dial An Exchange has over 19 resort-style properties and almost 100 cottages and lodges for members to select from including famous name hospitality operators such as Hilton and MacDonald’s. Bonus Weeks are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and the locations and resorts offered change on an hourly and daily basis. 


Becoming a Travel Club Member


To access these amazing holiday opportunities you have to be a travel club member. There are over 24 different levels of membership and the right one for you is entirely dependent upon your holiday needs and aspirations. For an informal conversation with no obligation contact me directly on:

Winter Sun: Our Top Pick of Pre-Xmas Bonus Weeks

Winter Sun


Winter Sun: Top Pick of Pre-Xmas Bonus Weeks

One of the very best things about being a member of the San Antonio Resort & Spa Travel Club is the unlimited access to Bonus Weeks through your Dial An Exchange membership. If you are flexible on your travel dates; can take holidays at 8 weeks or less notice then this is the very best way to make the most of your membership and be the envy of your friends.

This is our selection of the very best Bonus Weeks on offer via Dial An Exchange in the run-up to Xmas. Whether you want to sit by the marina in Puerto Banus in the Costa del Sol, take mouthwatering cooking classes in Tuscany or have a bit of Irish craic in Kilkenny, Ireland there is something for everyone. Xmas shopping is redefined with traditional markets full of local produce and handcrafted gifts. Take a look at our Top Picks.

Macdonald Leila Playa – Costa del Sol – £229


You would have to be crazy not to take advantage of some winter sunshine before Xmas when you look at the variety of locations, accommodation and standards on offer. Bonus Weeks range in price from the ridiculously low £159 to a remarkable £399 per unit per week. To put that in perspective you can take a week in a luxury 2 bedroom (sleep 6 guests) apartment at the Macdonald Leila Playa on the Costa del Sol from the 15th December for £229 for the week. That works out at a grin-inducing £5.45 per person per night, less than £40 per person for the week. The resort is perfectly located so that you can spend your days exploring the chic resort of Marbella or dining al-fresco and watching the harbour at Puerto Banus. are offering flights from as little as £110 per person return from Leeds Bradford. If you can find a tour operator who can get you a week in the Costa del Sol for £150 per person, I’ll eat my shoe.

Quinta do Lorde  – Madeira – £229

If you are happy to extend your flight by an hour then dash off to Madeira where the temperatures are more akin to the Canary Islands in December. Xmas is a very special time culturally in Madeira and arriving on the 16th December is perfect timing to ensure you catch the array of carnivals, parades, daily markets and the fun and festive feel of the Island. The capital city of Funchal is transformed into a Winter Wonderland.

Quinta do Lorde is the perfect location for the avid explorer and has easy access to plenty of stunning walks across the island via the famous levadas. Take good shoes and prepare yourself for a breathtaking array of beautiful flora and fauna, nerve-wracking mountain trails, narrow rock face footpaths and waterfalls.

This deal is for a 1 bedroom apartment that sleeps 4 guests and all apartments have stunning ocean views. The resort has it’s very own marina and yacht club and offers a range of sports facilities to suit every taste. Splendid gardens lead down to a lovely traditional fishing village which will remind many visitors of Robin Hoods Bay or Whitby. There you will find an array of boutique restaurants and bars. This location and resort attract the more adventurous traveller, walkers, climbers and mountain bikers.

La Ferriera – Tuscany – £229

Imagine checking in to the La Ferriera in historic, genteel and charming Tuscany on the 14th December for a week. Whilst everyone back home is fighting through the madness of shopping for the festive season, you could be enrolling into the on-site cookery school. Learn how to prepare the most ancient and refined dishes that make up Tuscan cuisine using the finest of ingredients. Tastings: of the best fresh seasonal ingredients and local artisan products. Wine Tour: discover the pleasures of wine organized in collaboration with the best wineries in the area. 

When you are not sampling the amazing range of food, go and explore Tuscany. La Ferriera is located on the banks of the river Arezzo, only 5 minutes from the charming medieval village of Loro Ciuffenna. The residence is centrally located in the beautiful region of Tuscany and all the major cities of Arezzo, Siena, Florence, Pisa are easily accessible. 

Forget M&S or House of Fraser and struggling through the crowds back in the UK. Buy your friends and family fabulous authentic gifts from the local markets of Tuscany for Xmas instead.

*This resort has a mandatory Half Board package. Check the resort details on Dial An Exchange for more information.

**This is a traditional Tuscan styled resort and is not suitable for people who have walking difficulties.

Knoctober Abbey – Ireland – £189

The history of Knocktopher Abbey is fascinating. Set in 17 acres of mature gardens and parkland, it was the site of a Norman castle, and the keep can still be seen today.  Situated almost precisely between the towns of Kilkenny and Wicklow and nestled the among lush green rolling countryside Ireland is famous for you may struggle for sunshine at this particular location. But the venue certainly makes up for it.

Knocktober Abbey is the perfect place to wrap up and set off an explore. If it’s traditional Irish Craic you are looking for, you will find it in abundance here. You will be picking your knees up and dancing the night away with Cèilidh bands and gatherings galore.

This is a sleep 4 Bonus Week arriving on the 14th December, just in time to get into the Xmas spirit. Apartments are luxuriously equipped with antique Chesterfield suites, vintage furnishings and some apartments have open fires and log burners equipped.


Important Information: These are my 'Top Picks' of currently available Bonus Weeks. Please be aware that the Dial An Exchange system is a live site and that Bonus Weeks operate on a first-come-first-served basis. 


To understand how to get the absolute maximum out of Bonus Weeks and make them work for you, check out the Guide here

The Future of Holidays Has Arrived: Millennials Go Mad For Holiday Ownership

It’s been around in one form or another since the 70’s and like most travel or vacation concepts the road hasn’t always been plain sailing. Timeshare, Vacation Ownership, Holiday Ownership and a whole multitude of other names has taken its time as a product to come of age and for a plethora of reasons the road has often been rocky. But resilience and belief in the concept among developers, operators and marketers combined with more rigorous and tenacious consumer rights and protection have finally led to what many observers believe to be the Golden Age. Finally, Holiday Ownership has evolved into a travel solution that is virtually perfect for the modern, tech-savvy wanderlust driven consumer we commonly refer to as Millennials.

As a concept, it has become so desirable that global leaders in the travel and hospitality sector are rapidly dominating huge swathes of the market. A quick look around the internet and the world is graciously adorned with the very best luxury standards offered exclusively to timeshare and holiday ownership club members by companies such as Wyndham, Hilton, Disney, Marriott, Hyatt, Jarvis and plenty of other smaller groups and independents such as The San Antonio here in Malta, who are taking a more boutique travel approach to holidays. Many of these well-respected vacation brands have specifically invested in new resorts aimed specifically at millennials or adapted existing products and solution to make them more digitised. Wyndham completely transformed 16 of its brand upgrading the technology to make them mobile friendly and App focused.

For the millennial with a deep curiosity for the world and a desire to guarantee exceptional accommodation standards, flexibility and variety there’s never been a better time to take a serious look at Holiday Ownership.


Whatever floats your boat?


It doesn’t matter what excites you, inspires you or fascinates you the right Holiday Ownership product can meet and exceed everyone’s expectations. For the adventurous, you can ski in Hokkaido, Japan and stay in the Westin Park Hyatt. If you love deep snow, fresh powder and panoramic mountains whilst relaxing in state of the art apartments designed for winter sports enthusiasts you will love this.

If skiing isn’t your thing and you’re more a water sports fanatic then Bali now offers dozens of 5* beach resorts for the surfers, divers and windsurfers amongst you. Grab a week at the Anantara Uluwatu Resort and surf the same waves as the legendary guys who founded Rip Curl. The modern evolution of vacation ownership could have been designed with the extreme sports enthusiasts from Point Break in mind, if they’d been Holiday Ownership members they wouldn’t have needed to rob banks to fund their adventures. From mountain biking down sweeping alpine glaciers and ravines across Europe; to cycling or hiking through Greece or doing Route 66 in the good old USA; as a member of a Holiday Ownership Travel Club, you can do it all.

The modern Holiday Ownership product now caters for the adventurous. Vietnam, Polynesia, Africa and Eastern Europe are seeing huge levels of investment for the traveller looking for experiences, culture and adventure. Rumour has it that the furthest point of Indonesia, Timor Leste (formerly East Timor) has a resort approved and funded, that’s virgin unexplored territory right there. I spent a few months in East Timor about 10 years ago and the mountains, volcanic sand beaches and raw charm literally took my breath away. It’s perfect for those savvy travellers who are looking for inspiration and an idyllic escape. Timor Leste could fast become the modern-day version of Alex Garland’s inimitable book The Beach.

If running the gauntlet, risking life and limb isn’t your thing then take a more sedate approach and use your Travel Club as a conduit to explore fabulous historic cities across the world. Stay in Veneto and use the resort based train station for day trips into Venice or Verona or grab a week in a converted monastery in Tuscany and become a MasterChef by immersing yourself in the daily on-site traditional cookery courses. Learning how to use local produce to create mouth-watering dishes and then in the evenings get to grips with wine tasting sessions and learn how to quaff like a pro. Right now you can book Bonus Weeks at either of these locations for as little as £159 (for a one-bedroom, sleep 4 apartment) for the week. That’s less than £40 per person for the week.


Why Millennials?

All the research is clear. Millennials are more interested in experiences than material goods. Holidays are almost twice as important to them as they are to their Baby Boomer parents with the average millennial travelling twice as often every year, which amounts to an average of 4.7 holidays or breaks per annum. Personalisation, flexibility and choices are vital components for the modern millennial vacationer who demands exhilarating experiences and great standards of accommodation without compromising.

78% of millennials consider new experiences and different cultures to be a key part of their holiday. They expect to be engaged, enlightened and enthralled by their destination and the people they meet and the things they do when they get there. Basically, sitting in a bar in Tenerife drinking Yorkshire Bitter and watching Only Fools and Horses with a Steak Pie is seriously not for these people.

Variety is king and millennials want to do something different every year. The annual visit to the Costa del Sol that they grew up doing with their parents isn’t for them. Holiday Ownership means that they can change their holidays as they change their outlook. They can adapt and improvise their travel plans to suit their changing lifestyle, from young couples gallivanting around the world footloose and fancy-free; to the more considered school break with the kids in tow, Holiday Ownership is designed to be adaptable and flexible. The key benefits of cost-effectiveness and sublime standards of resort safety, security and peace of mind that comes with 4*-5* accommodation and resorts is paramount to the modern-day traveller.

One of the key developments in the holiday ownership sector is that it’s embraced digitization enthusiastically. Everything is online and a sharp eye is maintained in the UX aspect of finding the perfect holiday, combining it with the perfect travel options and optimising and streamlining everything so its hassle-free. Mobile apps can be tweaked so that you and your partner are notified of special offers that interest you or get alerts updating you on that elusive cheap Bonus Week in California or Scotland. Recent research conducted by the Resort Developers Organisation (RDO) found that 69% of Holiday Ownership members their membership actually encourages them to take more holidays and to select locations that they would never have considered through a traditional travel agent or booking platform. So, if you are one of those people who finds yourself always talking about travelling but never actually getting around to it, this could be the answer.

Whilst the truth is that Holiday Ownership may not always save you money, it guarantees you significantly better standards at a lower cost and vastly greater options in terms of accommodation and facilities. Forget cramped hotel rooms and chalets and stashing your skis under the bed or chaining your bike up in a shed. Take a log cabin with wood burners, drying rooms, integrated saunas and hot tubs or converted farmhouses with state of the art kitchens and heated pools on the roof. You’ll pay the same as you would for a standard bed and bathroom hotel bedroom. 


Finding the right product for you


So, how do you get involved, find the right product for you and what are the true benefits? There is a simple truth here “Never buy on price alone”. Choosing the right product is critical. Make sure it does what you need it to do and most importantly makes sense financially. Step aside from the emotional aspect for a moment and have a clear idea about how you are going to use it and what you are going to need and expect to get from your product and membership. If you need to guarantee 2 weeks in Ski season in a top-flight location like Tignes, then make sure that your primary purchase guarantees you that. If, however, you are like me and you love hiking, exploring and prefer visiting places out of the crazy and exorbitantly expensive peak season then buy the minimum requirement at your home resort and blast the Bonus/Extra weeks benefit. If you have kids and need to ensure that you can always get away with the family in the prime school holiday season then buy peak season.

All the research shows that the vast majority of Holiday Ownership members who are disgruntled bought the wrong product. Whether they were ill-advised on the day or thought they could cut corners and get more for less it simply doesn’t work that way. It’s impossible. The famous social thinker John Ruskin apparently stated that “In business, it is impossible to get more for less…” and that applies to Holiday Ownership as well. Your initial purchase has to be perfect for your primary holiday needs. To put that into perspective, I know a couple who are passionate scuba divers and they have a mapped out agenda of every wreck and cave they want to dive in Malta and the surrounding islands over the next 8 years. They love beaches, they love the sun. They own at the San Antonio Resort & Spa and their membership guarantees them 2 weeks every year in June with a sea view for 4 people. To book that through a travel agent or online via would cost them a small fortune. Now it costs them less than £900 per annum (maintenance fees – more on those in a moment) + flights in a 5* apartment with 2 bathrooms and 2 sea-view balconies. Included within that cost is a Half Board + Drinks package for 4 people for the duration of their stay. Outside of their primary holiday needs, they devour up to 8 extra weeks per year. They work in the gig economy, are essentially project or contract workers and can work remotely. They utilise the free-flowing Bonus Weeks that are offered up to 10 weeks before departure and range in price from £159 to £399 per apartment per week to satisfy their need to explore.

The secret here is to work collaboratively with the Holiday Ownership Consultant at the resort of your choice. Be open and honest about your expectations and critically, if the product you need to achieve your holiday dreams isn’t affordable, wait until it is. The whole point of being a Travel Club member is to take more holidays in better standards for roughly the same budget as you are spending anyway. If those sums don’t add up and you have to rob Peter, downgrade your car or turn the heating down to maintain the membership; then it’s probably not right for you, right now.

Maintenance Fees

Every form of Holiday Ownership comes with an annual commitment over and above your original membership cost. If you buy Timeshare in Scotland essentially you are buying a deed in perpetuity forever and ever and ever. You own a slice of the resort and the apartment and facilities and you have to maintain it, insure it, revamp it, rebuild it and ensure the standards and the quality never impairs from the day you buy it until the day the sun goes down for good. If you are buying because you and your future generations will use the salmon fishing rights on the local loch or will always through the generations be spending Hogmanay there, then it makes sense. If you are thinking about short-term holidays for the next ten years, then don’t. Buy something with a shorter tenure that you can adapt as your life changes.

Many Holiday Ownership resorts and clubs are now on a designated leasehold basis. This means that you buy guaranteed quality and access for a specified period of time. At the San Antonio, for example, membership runs for up to 10 years. You can just walk away after that period, you can renew if you wish. The choice is yours. Our annual user fee is pretty unique in the industry. A one-bedroom apartment that sleeps 4 people is approximately £450 per annum for each week owned. The user fee covers refurbishment, legal costs, insurance on the property, administration and maintenance and it also provides for all occupants breakfast, evening meals and beer and wine for the duration of their stay. Considering that the resort has 5 restaurants to choose from including a rooftop Asian Fusion with panoramic views over Gozo and Comino and a Moroccan and Indian buffet-style option that is a pretty exceptional deal and our members love it.

When it comes to the annual costs be careful. How is the cost managed, what is it spent on and vitally how is it controlled? Many clubs like the San Antonio will be limited to the local inflation costs as a maximum so you can pretty much rest assured that whilst it will probably go up, most years that rise will be in line with the cost of living index. Some more traditional Timeshare resorts have no limitation, you own the resort and if the need to rebuild the swimming pool your maintenance fee will reflect the cost eventually. The devil is in the detail and thankfully in the USA and Europe, a host of consumer rights and protections have been introduced which has significantly enhanced the perspective of the product and solution. But ultimately the onus is on you to understand and check what you are buying or joining.

When you are considering resorts you have the undivided attention of a professional consultant so maximise that time with them. They are of course salespeople first and foremost but ideally, they want happy members who recommend new members to them.

Take a look and decide for yourself


It costs nothing to take a look around a resort and to spend some time with a Holiday Ownership Sales Consultant. In many cases, they will actually reward you for doing so, regardless of whether you join the club or not. But be aware that to really consult and to present the right options to you takes time. They need to really get under the skin of what you want to do and how. In the case of The San Antonio, for example, we have over 16 different levels of membership and the chances are only one of them will be perfect for you. So it’s important to take the time and really define which one will fit your needs. If you buy the wrong membership you will either sit there disappointed that it doesn’t get you what you need or complain that you could have got what you needed for a lot less money.

Our members are amongst us every day of the week. Our presentation suite is on route to the main outdoor pool and bar areas and existing members wander in and out to see the concierge team throughout the day. Our members speak to each other, drink and eat with each other. It is extremely important for us that they are happy and love what we do. So, take the opportunity to explore and ask questions to really understand if this is right for you. If it isn’t, we don’t mind. All we ask is that you leave happy and perhaps come back when our product will achieve your vacation dreams and satisfy your adventures and aspirations. But if you like what you see and it makes sense financially, get involved and with our guidance and support, you’ll be the envy of your friends and exceeding your holiday dreams in no time.

Come along and meet us or contact us for an open discussion to see if what we do could change the way you holiday for the better. You might be surprised.




Love Holidays? You'll Love Holiday Ownership

If you want to know the secret to guarantee better standards of holidays for you and your family; at prices that mean you actually take more and more holidays, then read on?

You work hard for your holidays. Probably like most people you plan well in advance. Certainly, when my children were younger, the whole process of deciding where we were going and the planning was all part of the fun. Most people save up for the occasion and then look forward to it immensely. Many of my friends have integrated Apps on their phones that count down the days, some even post automatically on their social media precisely how many days and hours it is before they depart much to the annoyance of all their friends. Holidays are important to us; they have become part of our culture and in many cases have become important to our way of life and count as a special time with loved ones.

But not all holidays are equal, neither are all holidaymakers.

Have you ever wondered why that annoying bloke and his wife down at the golf club seem to spend so much time on wonderful luxury holidays?

Or find yourself irritated by the fact that when they’re not on holiday they spend all evening down the local pub regaling you about their most recent destination or bragging about where they are going next?

Well stop scratching your head and resist the temptation to go green with envy. This is how they get so many exciting and romantic breaks away each year. More importantly, this is how you can do exactly the same.

How do they do it?

It doesn’t have anything to do with their uncanny almost supernatural ability to use the internet more effectively than you. They don’t have a family member who works at or some ancestral shareholding in TUI that grants them free holidays every year. What they do have is a membership to some form of travel or holiday ownership club that guarantees them a superb level of luxury and in many cases an almost an infinite number of holidays every year.

What does being a Member Guarantee You?

As members of an exclusive Holiday Ownership Club like the one at the DB San Antonio Resort & Spa in Malta, they are guaranteed 4*-5* accommodation and resort standards wherever they holiday. Travel Club members only ever stay in exclusive luxury suites, apartments, villas and lodges whether they are simply looking for beautiful beachfront accommodation in Bali, safari lodges in South Africa or a fun-filled week in historic Malta.

It also ensures that they are unlikely to ever stay in a hotel room ever again. That is unless they choose to take advantage of heavily discounted member benefits for city breaks which gives them access to thousands of branded hotels such as Hyatt, Hilton or Sheraton in pretty much every city in the world. A lovely added value benefit when you need to spend a couple of nights somewhere before or after that New York to Southampton cruise. Did I mention the discounts on last-minute cruises (10 weeks or less booking window) where you can save up to 80% on the brochure price?

The primary benefit guarantees members their primary holiday every year in either their home resort or into a range of select members-only resorts and villas. The DB San Antonio Travel Club offers them a choice of over 7,000 resorts in circa 110 countries. Regardless of what style of holiday you desire that is a truly breath-taking range of choice of location and types of accommodation.

From private villas on white sandy beaches to exquisitely furnished canal barges in the UK and ski lodges in Austria or Colorado as members, the world really is their oyster.

Great standards and great value

Travel club members don’t just benefit from highly superior standards and exclusive benefits though. For example a week in a hotel room in the DB San Antonio during August booked through a travel agent would probably cost you circa £2,000 for the accommodation alone. As a member, you only pay your annual user fee which starts at around £400 and gives you a luxury apartment for 2 guests and includes a half-board + drinks package and access to 5 amazing restaurants including 2 on the roof with romantic views across to Gozo. That represents unbeatable value and great savings on your main annual holiday every year.

But for many people, the real value of being a member is the unlimited access to Bonus Weeks. At the time of writing this article on the 27th November as a member I can book a 2 bedroom luxury apartment in a bespoke resort in St Julian’s, Malta for just £159 for the week, not per person. Check-in date is the 21st December, the perfect escape from the chaos of Christmas in the UK. Alternatively, Xmas week on the beach in the Algarve in Portugal or Funchal in Madeira for 4 guests is a mere £229. That’s less than £60 per person per week + flights.

Members can take as many Bonus Weeks as they like, they really are unlimited and the only additional cost is your flight. Prices are fixed between £159 per unit per week to a maximum of £399. Prices vary depending upon the season and size of the unit. Currently, there are over 300 Bonus Weeks available in the USA from a Marriott Resort in Orlando to a Wyndham Vacation Club resort in California and every week is fixed at £199 per unit per week.

How do you become a member?

My advice is to take a short break in Malta and come and visit us at the DB San Antonio Resort & Spa. One of our consultants will walk and talk you through the concept and work with you to ensure that a Travel Club will match your holiday plans and preferences for the immediate future. We will guide you through selecting precisely the right level of membership. Everyone is different and it is vital that you take a bespoke look at how it would work for you. Everyone uses their membership in different ways and it is important that you join at the right level, a level that meets your needs and is of course affordable.

It’s important to remember that travel clubs are not for everyone. They have to suit your lifestyle and fit comfortably within your holiday budget. We want happy members who come back to us for more and more holidays year after year.

Our members range from the retired couple who have family here in Malta and they join to guarantee themselves a luxury sea view apartment. This ensures that for 2 weeks every July they can come and see their relatives and without being incumbent upon them. For them what is even better is the fact that the grandchildren can take it in turns spending time on the resort with them. Everyone wins with great facilities and entertainment and the half board + package for up to 4 guests.

Why I Joined

Personally, I’m a cheapskate. I joined purely for the Bonus Weeks and last minute breaks. As much as I love Malta, I live here. For me, the lowest level of membership gives me a guaranteed week’s accommodation every autumn for my brother and his wife to visit. I on the other hand just grab bonus weeks and in the past 3 years alone have visited Sicily, Austria, Corfu, Scotland, and Ireland. Next week we are going to Madeira for a walking holiday. We have never paid more than £249 for our accommodation and have adored every single resort we have stayed in. In total, we have spent less than £1,200 + flights for 6 holidays in 4*-5* apartments.

Membership will fire up your Travel Bug

As members, our travel bug has come alive. Most weekends we go online, look at the best flight offers around Europe in the next 4 to 10 weeks and then find a Bonus Week to match the flight that catches our eye. From gorgeous cabins with uninterrupted views across the Adriatic to the rolling green hills of Ireland and the cultural and historic splendour of Austria, we’ve never run out of ideas for somewhere new and exciting to try. At these prices, we would be crazy not to take advantage.

What isn’t to like?

PS: It drives my family crazy, they just cannot understand how we spend so much time on holiday. It’s our secret and will stay that way. It could be yours too!


Awards Galore for the San Antonio - Malta

2019 has been a tremendous year for our members home resort the San Antonio Hotel & Spa. Our continued investment in the resort was roundly applauded by members and exchange visitors throughout the summer season. The new pristine decking area which is non-smoking was warmly welcomed by many and plenty of our guests had fun trying to navigate their way through the new tunnel under the resort that leads straight out onto the beach.


I spoke to many of our members and Dial An Exchange (DAE) guests throughout the summer months and they waxed lyrical about the new features and the overall ambience of the San Antonio. It's no secret that we are working very hard to try and cater for every taste in terms of both entertainment and restaurant offerings.

Newcomers to the San Antonio are utterly wowed by the views from the Sky Bar and the Yushan Asian Fusion Restaurant. Competition for the best seats is fierce, especially as sunset approaches in the evenings. Everyone knows that the very best place to be is in the Sky Bar on our 10th-floor rooftop or the 1st-floor Sun Terrace. There is undoubtedly something magical and romantic about sitting back, relaxing with a cocktail or a glass of wine and watching the sea turn a wonderful tone of russet as the sun goes down behind Gozo and Comino. 

We are of course delighted that the feedback to DAE from our guests throughout the year has been of such a fabulously positive nature. As many of you know, Dial An Exchange is rigorous in their resort review process and as consistent award winners for the past 5 years, we have set our benchmark very high. As members of the Holiday Ownership Club, you will, of course, be proud to hear that we have yet again exceeded expectations. 

The Resort of the Month Winners - UK & Europe

Dial An Exchange visitors feedback resulted in the San Antonio Resort & Spa being awarded Resort of the Month.

"Perched on the palm-fringed seafront of St Paul's Bay in Malta, DB San Antonio Hotel + Spa is our Resort of the Month for December."


Most Popular Resort in the UK & Europe 2019

There are literally hundreds of resorts across the UK & Europe and the majority are truly outstanding. So to be yet again recognised in the Top 50 is truly an outstanding achievement. We actually came 6th overall and when you look at some of the competition for this award that is pretty amazing. It is important to understand that many different elements are reviewed and weighted by DAE when collating this exclusive group of resorts. Of course, the actual facilities, standards and hospitality aspects feature highly but customer service and the overall experience is critical to securing visitors satisfaction.

A huge round of applause goes to the team within the Travel Club who ensure that our members and exchange guests are thoroughly looked after and their holiday expectations exceeded. It isn't always easy and we have had a few interesting challenges this year. One of the most memorable ones was having to switch double beds into twins when one lovely lady was losing sleep because of her husband's newly discovered snoring issue. The team have gone above and beyond this year to solve unexpected problems and challenges as diverse as lift-phobias and specialist dietary needs.

The San Antonio, In-house Team always go the extra mile for our guests and some of the feedback from DAE demonstrates how much this is appreciated. We always put our customers first so please do remember if you have a special need that we should be aware of, ensure that you tell us as early as possible when booking. 


We look forward to seeing you again in 2020 and endeavouring to exceed your expectations once more.


Meet the San Antonio Consultant of the Year 2019


This is the first in a series of candid interviews with some key members of the San Antonio, Holiday Ownership team based in Malta. If you are thinking about joining the industry, then this is a great way to discover why people get so hooked on it and what makes people successful. If you are considering becoming a member of the San Antonio Resort & Spa Travel Club then Hannah is a great person to speak to for advice.


A waggish and often delightfully self-effacing sense of humour, a face with a thousand expressions courtesy of acrobatic eyebrows and arguably the most stylish fashionista in the industry secures her a place in everyone’s heart. Let’s find out a little more about what makes her tick and why she is so successful. Let’s meet 3 times Rep of the Year, Hannah:


DL: The question everyone wants to know, of course, is how did you get into the Holiday Ownership industry and why?

HC: Lots of people kind of fall into this industry, usually whilst looking for a new beginning or a change of lifestyle. I suppose I did that in away. But I fell in love first and then fell in love with the industry thanks to my wonderful husband.

DL: It sounds like a fairy-tale, tell us more?


HC: Well no guesses who the frog was in this little story, only joking. So, Once upon a time, I was hanging around a bar called The George Pub in Malta, feeling a little forlorn and honestly at a loose end. I’d set up a restaurant on the island and it didn’t quite work out as I’d planned. To be honest, despite the hard work, the long hours and a lot of soul searching, my time in Malta up to that point had been a disaster. Whilst gazing into the bottom of the glass of beer I was drinking this rather charismatic and funny guy offered me a drink. Of course, I ditched the beer and said: “Hey that would be lovely; I’ll have a large Gin & Tonic thanks.”


Long story short, this guy worked in the Holiday Ownership industry, you could tell. Balls the size of a Gorilla (metaphorically of course) and the mesmerising character to match. Within a year we were married, Malta looked great again, life was definitely on the up and I was working on the cold line at The San Antonio. I’ve never looked back.


DL: Sounds like the script to a movie with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. What were your first impressions of the industry and how did you settle in?

HC: Like a lot of people I was a little sceptical. The product does genuinely sound too good to be true. But the team I worked with, the people who trained me convinced me that it really can revolutionise people’s vacation experiences for the better. When I first joined the team on the cold line, it was quite a male-dominated environment in terms of the banter. It wasn’t easy. I was the youngest member of the team and a woman. Talk about glass ceilings and closed shops, I had to literally bang heads together and break down doors to prove myself. It’s changed a lot and I’d like to think that part of that change was driven by me and the positive impact and great work I’ve done.


DL: What is it about the job that has kept you interested? You’ve been with the team at The San Antonio for almost 5 years now, how do you keep motivated?

HC: It sounds corny, I know, but every day, every week and every month is different and has different challenges and opportunities. The prospects which we call UP’s (Unqualified Prospects) change as the season's change. They change as the weather changes. When I go to reception to meet my next couple it’s like a lucky dip or even a real-life trick or treats. The secret is to never prejudge anyone and never assume anything.


As for motivating myself, obviously, the money side is important and peer recognition. I’m really well respected by everyone in the business and that’s important to me, I work very hard. But, there is also the belief factor in what I do and what our product is.


DL: The passion you have for the industry is clearly evident. How much fun do you have at work?


HC: We’ve certainly had our moments. A key part of the job is about having fun and ensuring that people enjoy their time with us. I’ve had a family dancing around the pool singing “I wanna be like you whoo-whoo…” It’s brilliant, if they’re happy, I’m happy. I’ve also been doing a tour when one of my colleagues, Steve, was gingerly leading a couple around the infinity pool on the roof. One minute he was chatting away with them then suddenly he just slipped. He just went up in the air feet first and straight into the pool. Honestly, tears were streaming down my face; my couple couldn’t breathe for laughing. Eventually, he clambered out of the pool dripping wet and his toupee had come off. I didn’t even know he wore one.


DL: If you were talking to someone who was thinking about joining the industry what would you say to them, what advice would you give them?


HC: Wow, good question. First and foremost they have to be resilient. It can be fun, it can be very rewarding both emotionally and financially and the social side with our team is outstanding. We are like a family; we support each other and get on really well together. But sometimes it can be tough. We all have weeks where things just don’t go right and you have to be able to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep your chin up.


Ultimately, you have to love travel, like meeting people and be a natural conversationalist. Having a high emotional IQ is really important. The ability to empathise and a natural desire to help is vital to this job.


DL: You’ve experienced quite a few of the resort's members can exchange into. Which one was your standout favourite and why?


HC: Ha! Sorry, but my answer is a little biased here. For our honeymoon, we spent 2 weeks at the El Dorado by Karisma in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I really don’t have the vocabulary to do the place justice. The minute we arrived the place simply took our breath away. We had a beautiful beachside apartment with private gardens on a sweeping expanse of golden sand. The service was beyond exquisite and I think that goes a long way to making a holiday special. Magical would be an understatement and it was the perfect place for a honeymoon.


DL: So the whole travel industry is in a little bit of a flux at the moment. and  Trip Advisor have been exposed for fake reviews. Thomas Cook finally collapsed, leaving over 40’000 travellers stranded, many even forcibly removed from their hotels. Such was the crisis that it has led to a parliamentary review of how travel companies protect and care for their customers. 

In light of the above, where does that leave the Holiday Ownership industry?


HC: It’s certainly been a rollercoaster year for the travel industry of that there is no doubt. But the reality is that the industry is changing so quickly as a result of technology. I certainly think that overall the quality of resorts, the standards in hotels and value for money aspect has improved significantly. Holiday Ownership itself has a turbulent past, especially in Europe. However, developments over the past few decades to protect consumers on the one hand combined with leaps in technology have brought Holiday Ownership in Europe up to the same level as the industry is in places like the USA, Australia, South Africa and the Caribbean.  You only have to visit resorts like Cameron House in Scotland, Absolute Polynesia on the Costa del Sol and the San Antonio to realise that the product and the offering now are exquisite, it’s flexible and ultimately offers amazing standards and great value to the discerning traveller.


I think the industry has room to improve, of course. For me, however, every single day of the week I have my members coming back to stay on the resort and they tell me fabulous stories of the places they have been using our club and cost savings they have made. That for me is the best litmus test, happy members.


DL: Hannah, it has been an absolute pleasure meeting you. If I can be honest, when I agreed to meet someone from the Holiday Ownership industry I expected some old guy with slicked-back hair a gold identity bracelet and the matching Rolex watch. You’ve certainly changed my perceptions of the industry. 

HC: Ha, you haven’t met my husband have you? wink

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For more information on the travel club, Hannah works for visit: Holiday Ownership Malta
Take a virtual tour of the home resort: 
San Antonio Resort & Spa