Pine Lake Resort is due to begin work this year on a long-term maintenance plan for its chalets, but in response to feedback from guests has already completed an initial wave of refurbishment, with the results offering a glimpse of the improvements that lie ahead in one of South Africa’s most prestigious timeshare properties.
Thuso Moroe, General Manager, said the resort’s three-year refurbishment programme is scheduled to start in May, the plan of action being to tackle batches of timeshare units at a time in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and in this way progressively upgrade all of them. There are 34 units, 12 of which (units 09-20) will be refurbished between May and July this year in the first stage of work.
Pine Lake has made a head-start on the programme, however. In the course of November 2018, we completed a resort-wide refurbishment of selected soft items that originally were going to be replaced over the three-year period. The project was a response to guest feedback, and involved installing new couches, curtains and blinds. “These were priority items that we decided it was best to address straight away in all of the units,” Thuso said.
The previous two-seater couches have been replaced with L-shaped ones and decorated with scatter cushions, while the new blinds are thicker and more hard-wearing than the old. As for the curtains, Thuso said Pine Lake has adopted a contemporary style of curtaining which, along with the blinds, allows for better control of lighting and privacy.
“You have a block-out curtain running on its own rail and a voile curtain in front of it,” he explained. “So, if during the day you want to take a nap but don’t want it to be too dark in the room, you can close the voile curtain instead of the block-out.”
The blinds, white in shade, are aligned with the colour scheme of the new-look chalets and give a vivid indication of the changes that are on the way. “The colour scheme is moving from darkish brown to white, which makes the units seem bigger. As soon as you walk in, you have that sense of freshness.”
While the new couches, blinds and curtains hint at the alterations coming in the three-year plan, Pine Lake’s mock-up units (units 21 and 22) show the full extent of them and demonstrate what the other units will be like once they are all refurbished in their entirety.
The guest response to these mock-ups has been extremely encouraging. “We’ve been running the units for some time to get feedback on what works and what doesn’t,” Thuso said, “and they’ve become very popular units everyone wants to go and stay in.”
Pine Lake made several readjustments to the design of the chalets through having field-tested it in the mock-ups. Smart digital TVs, for instance, are now part of the ensemble thanks to this process, and the couches that were introduced in last year’s soft refurbishment stem from it as well.
The major tasks of the refurbishment ahead, though, are to replace the flooring in the units and to get stuck into the verandas. “After we covered the braai areas on the verandas outside, we saw the need to refurbish the verandas, so we’ll also be working on them and replacing the tiles with new finishes.”
These are the main objectives, the big jobs, of the three-year plan, but the wider goal is, as always, to ensure guest satisfaction at the resort and confidence in the Pine Lake brand. The refurbishment will achieve that goal, Thuso said, by improving the quality of the holiday experience in ways you can see and feel: “We want owners to be proud of how well we’re looking after their timeshare investment.”