A brief history
The hotel complex at Club La Santa, and indeed the whole of the isleta, was originally owned by the La Caixa de Canarias savings bank, whose directors had planned its development in 1972 for the use of their employees. However, the project became too expensive and was eventually abandoned. This rather strange collection of buildings, designed in the Moorish style by the Spanish architect Juan Manuel Ruiz de la Prada, then stood unfinished and unoccupied for several years, until Tjaereborg, the Danish travel agency, learned of its existence. At the time, Tjaereborg needed more hotel space for its burgeoning holiday business in Lanzarote and its owner, Pastor Eilif Krogager, decided to buy the hotel, even though there were no recreational facilities there, apart perhaps from a swimming pool. Unfortunately, however, holidaymakers stayed away, preferring the bright lights of Puerto del Carmen, so once again the hotel - by now considered a white elephant - was put up for sale. No one wanted it.
Towards the end of the nineteen seventies, however, by chance a former cycling champion, Willy Beckmann, came upon the deserted complex and conceived the idea of developing it as a sports centre. He contacted the Pastor, who reportedly responded "You have the ideas, I have the land and the money, we should be partners" and they set up a business arrangement, more land was acquired, and the sports facilities at both ends of the complex developed. Thus they realised the concept that in due course became Club La Santa, launching the project as a unique timeshare resort on 22nd June 1983.
By the early nineteen eighties the sale of timeshares had begun in earnest, through a highly optimistic but perhaps over-zealous sales force, with the aim of handing over the 400 or so apartments to be managed by the timeshare owners once the majority of weeks had been sold. That meant some 20,500 apartment weeks, tenable until 2082. Unhappily, sales failed to match expectation, and less than a third of the apartment weeks had been sold by the time the sales operation was suspended in about 1992.
The financial situation was by then dire. Uniquely, the timeshare contracts did not require payment of the annual service fee unless the apartment was actually to be used. Budgets were therefore constructed on shifting sand, and some phenomenal losses were sustained by the owners. Eventually the decision was made to look to tourism, rather than timeshare ownership, to fill the complex, and that has remained the board's policy. Only through resales of existing contracts can that ownership benefit be acquired.
A trio of strong general managers eventually turned the place around, under the direction of a new Danish board headed up by the Pastor's daughter, Liff Knude. A satisfactory relationship has been established between timeshare owners and holidaymakers - and much of the credit for this must go to the work of ITSO La Santa, the international association which, through its board, seeks to safeguard and promote timeshare owners' interests. The board is made up of two representatives from each of the national associations most represented at Club La Santa - Denmark, United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium - and over the years has succeeded in admirably stabilising relations with Club La Santa management.
Most importantly, the board took charge of the sinking fund which had been set up when sales began, in order to create a maintenance reserve which would ultimately be owned by timeshare owners. The Danish bank with which these funds had been informally deposited had been taken over, and no one had the authority to secure their release and reinvestment. Working in conjunction with Club La Santa, the board set up a properly incorporated Trust Fund to hold the money, and this is now directed by a board comprising two ITSO La Santa board members and the general manager of Club La Santa.
The Fund presently underpins the STRAP Agreement - that is, the statement of timeshare owners' rights and privileges, which was made with Club La Santa management in 1999. Under that agreement, although our contracts provide that Club La Santa can completely recalculate the service fee every third year, leaving timeshare owners vulnerable to market vagaries, annual increases are tied instead to the Spanish consumer price index, and our rights and privileges are protected from erosion. In consideration, ITSO La Santa pays Club La Santa a proportion of the annual interest earned by the Fund, which presently stands at about £1 million. The money is paid to Club La Santa on condition that it is spent solely upon the upkeep and maintenance of the apartments and facilities used by timeshare owners, a situation which is audited annually by the ITSO La Santa board. A new STRAP Agreement was finalised in 2012, on similar terms, and is intended to run for the next ten years.
Regardless of age or ability, Club la Santa is the ideal family holiday centre with 30 different free sports facilities to use and 40 instructors on hand to help learn and improve skills in the different activities. It also recognises clients’ needs to be able to relax and unwind in this busy world with quiet areas and a spa.
A major programme of development and renovation is in progress, which is scheduled to run until 2016 and is designed to enhance and extend the complex. 200 of the existing apartments have now been renovated and the remaining ones are due to be finished by 2016.
As well as the renovation programme, Club la Santa has built 96 new suites. They have been specially designed by the famous Danish architect Henning Larsen. The modern interior design is the work of a talented young team led by local architect Carlos Morales, creating an elegant fusion of Scandinavian and Spanish influences. These new suites and the improved sports facilities will ensure that Club La Santa continues to enhance its reputation as the world’s Number 1 sports resort.
The above account is correct to the best of our knowledge and belief.
We apologise for any inaccuracies, which are inadvertent.
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