Yes there really is a MacDonald at the helm of MacDonald Hotels and Resorts, according to an article published in Caterer Magazine. Donald Macdonald is executive chairman of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts. He established the group in 1990 and has expanded it to become the UK’s largest privately owned hotel group. It operates more than 45 hotels across the UK, and ten resorts throughout the UK and Spain. It employs more than 4,000 staff and operates in excess of 4,500 hotel rooms.

Donald Macdonald was born into a crofter’s family on Harris in the Outer Hebrides. Plans to become an accountant were abandoned when a summer job with Turnberry Golf Resort wooed him over to the hospitality industry and he joined British Transport Hotels as an apprentice. Macdonald made his name as managing director of the Stakis Hotels group at 33 but left age 42 in 1989.

Donald MacDonald

In 1990 he formed Macdonald Hotels with colleagues and investors, which was subsequently floated on the stock market in 1996. The situation was reversed in 2003 when Macdonald led a management buyout in a £590m deal which took the hotels into private ownership, in a deal underwritten by the Bank of Scotland.

Now in his 70s there is no denying that Mr MacDonald has worked hard to build his empire but one has to wonder if he is completely aware of what happens in some of the enterprises he is the owner of. Perhaps he has bigger worries, the Daily Telegraph reported in November 2019 the following:

“The sale of one of Britain’s biggest privately owned hotel chains has fallen through, leaving it just weeks to find new owners or refinance almost £200m of loans.

Macdonald Hotels said in June that an unnamed private equity investor would buy 27 of its 45 sites, with the proceeds going to repay £195m of loans from Lloyds Banking Group.

However, The Telegraph has learned that the sale has fallen through.

The company has now decided to sell two hotels that will “substantially reduce the group’s borrowings”. Neither the prospective new owner nor the hotels in question have been named”.

Perhaps Mr MacDonald and co are looking towards the timeshare side of their business to be the goose that lays their golden egg.


Ask anyone in the know and they will easily be able to associate the MacDonald Resorts name with a string of resorts in both the UK and Spain. They will also tell you that the MacDonald Resorts have one of the worst reputations in the way they treat their owners.

Recently we picked up on a story that will not only tug at your heart strings but also beg the question “does Donald know this is going on?”

The story in question has been published on the consumer website Inside Timeshare ( and we feel that it is so shocking, that it is very important to share the plight of these unfortunate Macdonald Resorts owners and add our weight to their very difficult situation.

A couple now in their 80’s originally owned a fixed week of timeshare that they purchased in Spain, this was converted to points, which as many of you may remember was advocated by a number of resorts and timeshare groups as being “the best thing since sliced bread”

The couple approached MacDonald Resorts requesting to terminate their contract as they can no longer afford the £500 per year maintenance fees. It is also a fact that they are unable to use their timeshare due to the excessive cost of travel insurance due to age and hiked flight costs.

Their sole income is their pension credits which as we know is very low and £500 is a huge amount to cover.

The response from MacDonald Resorts is what we have come to expect from this company, they may be able to “buy” themselves out in September 2020, but the cost will be over £2000 plus this year’s maintenance fees!

They explained that they could not afford this and so MacDonald Resorts were not interested.

Somehow they have managed to budget monthly payments for the maintenance but they have no way of being able to raise over £2000 by September to cover the termination payment, which equates to more than 4 years maintenance fees.

They then received a letter from MacDonald Resorts who have changed the conditions, now they want all the money to be paid by the end of April to “cancel” the week. The only problem is MacDonald Resorts may not accept the “request”.

Timeshare Consumer Association has highlighted this in the past, there is no guarantee that MacDonald Resorts will allow the termination even if this money is paid. That leaves the question, would they get their money back if it is not accepted? Probably Not.

The couple have always paid their maintenance fees even when it was never used, a letter from pension credits was also sent to MacDonald Resorts to show exactly what their income is each month. Once again MacDonald Resorts attitude was that couldn’t care less and all they want is the continued payment of maintenance fees.

All this is taking its toll on their health and they are now at their wit’s end.

Once again we see MacDonald Resorts showing their true colours and contempt for their “members”, their greed seems to know no bounds.

Most timeshare resorts have an “unwritten” rule that if an owner is over 75 years of age, they will normally allow a cancellation free of charge. Obviously MacDonald Resorts seem to have missed this act of goodwill.

Empathy – experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

As we mentioned earlier Mr MacDonald is now in his 70s so not a too dissimilar age to the couple in our article. Is it fair to ask the question as to whether Donald has any empathy with the plight of this couple? Given the amount of borrowings associated with the business we can only conclude that every £500 pounds of maintenance will assist the corporate balance sheet and if it can be stretched to £2,000 so much the better, even if it has to be taken from octogenarians who cares?

We hope you are reading this Mr MacDonald because being the son of a crofter no doubt you know all about hard times, think back to those days and reflect. Like the couple in our article they are now experiencing hard times but unlike you, they do not have the benefit of a multi-million enterprise to pay their bills.

Given that our couple have paid their annual maintenance religiously, even to the point of scrimping and scraping to get this years’ fee together, all we request Mr Macdonald is that you step up to the plate and do the honourable thing and whilst you are at it, maybe it would be a good idea to review your timeshare exit strategy in general. The draconian way that your organisation treats owners is out of step with the industry and is well overdue for an overhaul.


If you own at a UK resort and would like to have your voice heard, The Timeshare Consumers Association is going to be yours and many others voices by actively lobbying Parliament into introducing fairer legislation for UK timeshare owners. If you want to see fairer treatment in relation to:

  • Abolishing Perpetuity Clauses in timeshare agreements
  • Allowing timeshare owners to freely exit their contracts without penalty
  • Review the legislation around the future sales of timeshares in the UK

The Timeshare Consumer Association will be launching this petition in the coming days, please keep an eye on our website for details:

We ask you to help support this campaign, your vote counts and remember:

Posted on: April 3, 2020

For more information regarding this article or assistance in any other timeshare related issues please contact the TCA on 0203 519 3808 or email:

Subscribe to our newsletter to get timeshare industry news, updates and more direct to your inbox!

Follow us on Social Media