In 2006 I stayed at an ILX resort in Sedona. It was really good. After their 2 hour sales pitch, I decided to buy a trial membership.
After having difficulty trying to book a trip to their resort in San Carlos Mexico, we settled for Payson Arizona. They could book us a room, but were no help in how to get there. Their suggestion was to call the resort. I never got to speak to anyone that could speak good english at the resort. I do not know spanish. A little tough to make the correct arrangements. Of course, they told me the previous year how they were the premier travel planners.
We arrived at Kohl's Ranch about 4:30. I had payed for a 1 bedroom, but they supposedly did not have availability. We were supposedly put in a brand new studio, but that also did not happen. We took what they had, with every intention of correcting it the next day. The ILX person made sure to book our appointment for a 2 hour sales pitch again. I was promised a $100 (recieved 3 cards in the mail) for my time.
The guest breakfast was ok, and the staff really got you excited about your stay. The sales pitch was worthless. We were shown three lovely rooms, but I feel only staff and their guests get to enjoy them. They neglected to review the contract I had with them, and the sales agent got a little pushy. When I wouldn't sign up, he told me I didn't understand my contract. He finally went into the office and pulled a summary of my contract. He told me they never sign 18 month trials, and that you must pay the balance during your 1 week stay. When I explained he was wrong (which he then relaized), he asked who signed my deal from ILX. I told him some big manager in charge at their home base, and his reply was that is probably why he is now fired. As if I cared. We did not get our $100.
We finally got the front desk to give us our 1 bedroom. The room was pretty nice. We liked the idea of a couch. Not sure I cared about the hot tub - they looked like they were 30 years old. We were told they put checmicals in them each day. I was a little concerned. I own a hot tub and if you treat the water each day with chemicals, it is a little crazy. Later they said they also emptied them all the time. I find this hard to believe, since we would not get in the pool or the hot tub since it was never cleaned while we were there. They both needed to be vacuumed real bad.
Our room ended up being a complete disaster. The shower drained real slow. You had to stand in water almost imediately after turning it on. I called multiple times, and even spoke to the maintenance guy myself. Not sure what he used, but I am certain some hair and clog remover from Walmart or Home Depot would have fixed the slow drain. I manage real estate for a living, and it always seems to do the trick at home. I could not get the furnace to kick on, and figured maybe we only had an A/C unit, since we also had a gas fireplace. The pilot was lit on the fireplace, but it would not work. The maintenance guy thought it was odd, so he came by. The guy was either an idiot, or he knew it was broken. He actually tried turning the gas on and stuck a lit match inside by the gas valve. I thought for sure he was going to torch his arm. It did not light though. I eventually played with the thermostat the next day since no one returnd and fixed it, and got it to work. It was either a loose wire, or it was hung too uneven, not sure which and didn't care. They changed the sheets on and linens on Thursday. We must have got ones with pet hair on them, because when my girlfriend got up on Friday, she had pet hair all over her PJ's. Friday was also the only day our allergies acted up. That night we only used the sheet and blanket from the sofa. We had no problems on Saturday. The only thing nice I have to say was the bed was comfortable. Even with no problems, I would only rate this place a 2 star.
The great activity crew was seldom around. The first full day we asked for directions to a trail to hike. They could not tell us how to get there. It was basically across the highway from the front entrance of the lodge. Map Quest and other internet mapping software has a hard time with directions in this area. We were excited about the hey ride from 6 to 7 on Wednesday night. We thought it would be fun. The director was all dressed for Halloween, and we thought she was going on the ride. We were wrong. The ride lasted maybe 5 minutes. It took us around their grounds that we had already walked at least 3 or 4 times. Basically the downtown area of Payson is closed on Teusdays. The shops there in general are cheap garage sale type stores. Very little in the way of true antics. Most of the pictures of the trails and places we went to were very deceiving. A good example is Horton Springs. We hiked 4 miles to see very little water gushing out of the side of the mountain as the description said. We like to hike, and it was a tough hike. We were just disappointed in the final destination. Most of our hikes and scenic drives were this way. The indian ruins were the biggest joke. They took about 15 minutes to tour. They wer piles of rocks in circles that were supposedly the dwellings of ancient indians. No real artifacts or evidence that these rocks had been there for any period of time. We do not drink, but most of the bars and clubs in town appeared closed most of the time. We found several other cabin resorts (Christopher Creek) that appeared to be nicer. We thought about taking an adventure tour, but since the lodge recomended it, we felt it would be a waste of roughly $150.
In summary, I will never go back to Payson, Arizona. I probably will also decline to purchase a full membership from ILX. They are more flash than service oriented. We decided the following are the positives from our trip:
1. The natural bridge (only thing we had to pay for) was well worth the $3 per person. They warn you that the hike is steep and on rough ground. The stairs and trails are warn, but very manageable. Would highly recommend trying each trail. Walk all the way to the bottom under the waterfall.
2. No cell phones worked except for in Payson itself. Very relaxing since my girlfriend and I work 50 - 60 hours per week.
3. We spent time alone hiking and relaxing - was needed!
2 days is probably more than enough for Payson unless you want to sit around a lot.