The month of May was a busy one for me and Mrs tef. We began in California at the Newport Coast Villas, then found ourselves stopping in on Nashville TN and tried out the Union Station Autograph property. We then finished up the 34th trip to the Indy 500 with a stay at the downtown JW.
The JW Marriott, once again, was just a great stay. This staff and management just know how to run a property. Classy, efficient, friendly and just a lot of fun to be with because they are so accommodating and nice to their guests. I'll certainly continue to stay here and enjoy their hospitality whenever I'm in Indianapolis.
The Union Station Autograph property was a pleasant surprise! We decided to try this place out and found we really made a great choice. The staff was 'over the top' friendly and offered us 20% discounts on any food or drink on property as a Platinum member. Just show the card and they take it off the bill before you sign for it. The location, an old train station, has retained its magnificent grandeur of old with stained glass windows and woodwork that just gives a 'wow' factor. The rooms were large and comfortable. We had a great view from ours. The hotel is very close to many attractions in Nashville and presents an easy walk from the property to most of them. We'll be sure to stay here again next time we visit Nashville!
Then, there was the Newport Coast Villas. We've stayed at this property many times before and have always been given a great villa with a nice view of the Pacific Ocean. Not this time. When I was given the villa location and key I asked what was going on with the villa location. Bottom tier as low on the property as you can go. Not even an elevator to get down to the 'dungeon'. I was told that they didn't have any better villas at that time. We went down and the place was so dark we hardly ever saw light. If we were there during the day, we had to have lights on. Thank goodness we spent very little time there. At a later point I asked from management what gives with the accommodations since we had been there so many times before and had never had a villa like this. Didn't tell him I was a MVC owner or a Platinum member with Marriott. I was told that because of all the requests they get they have instituted a 'pecking' order for guests since I was not an owner there. Really? We both decided that it would be our last stay at this property so as not to give them the chance to 'peck on us' again. There's too many other good properties to go back for a second stuff job.
Great to see you ,tef. Thanks for the info on the Autograph in Nashville. I've yet to stay at any Autograph properties, but the day is coming soon. That JW just sees you coming and rolls out the red carpet every year. It's great when properties maintain their high standards year after year.
The Villa thing is bad management, as far as I'm concerned. Shortsighted with the intent to dissuade folks from staying. Looks like they'll get their wish and then wonder why sales are down.
great write-up tef6178. I have been wanting to try out an Autograph property and that sounds like a location I might enjoy. I love recycling old buildings into something new whether it be a hotel or restaurant, etc...
Thanks for sharing this great information on all three areas of your last stays.
First of all glad to hear that your longstanding Indy streak is still intact, and that the JW Indy still shines! Good stuff.
About Newport Coast, I don't blame you one tiny bit. I've looked down on those buildings (as I'm sure you've done in the past) and thought to myself, why on Earth would anybody want to stay there? They are the same price as the buildings that have that fantastic ocean view, only these have a view of - nothing. And yes, with all of the trees, they do seem like they would be very dark inside. For actually less money, you could have a room with a balcony and an ocean view at Newport Marriott or Newport Bayview Marriott. I don't want to have to go hang out at a (crowded) main pool just to have an ocean view (and if you're sitting in a chaise lounge, you probably can't see the ocean anyway). That ocean view villa balcony for enjoying breakfast over as well as late afternoon drinks and nibblies is really the crowning glory of each stay. It's your own private open air CL with a world class view! I've heard about that pecking order you speak of. My parents own 2 traditional weeks there, and added one destination points week. So they are three week owners in the highest priced season (whatever season August falls in) and are supposed to be guaranteed a specific building (and they paid for it), but it seems like every single year in the past 10 years, they have had to do major battle to get a room with an ocean view in a building commensurate with what they purchased. Plus they have to be up and on the phone at zero dark thirty, on exactly 13 months to the day prior to their check-in date, and they still sometimes can't even get the week that they want. I really don't know what's going on with the folks there. I have heard a rumor, and it's just a rumor that a lot of rich folks from Saudi have purchased a bunch of weeks (doesn't really compute with me; if they have that much money - and I know some people do - why wouldn't they buy at Pelican Hills across the street, which is a lot nicer than MVCI NB (and a lot more expensive).
Someday I will inherit my parents deed, but honestly, I refuse to attach an ugly battle to the beginning of my vacation. If they throw me in the dungeon absent the battle, I'll probably just ditch it all, like you. Besides, my sister just bought a place in Newport off of San Joaquin Hills, and she's already designated guest room assignments! Seriously, all of this has taught me to beware of timeshare ownership. I feel your disappointment.
P.S. Since I recommended this property to bpelican in another post, I think it would be fair to alert him to this post as well, in the interest of full disclosure. Bpelican, though I am sure you're aware, just in case, not all villas are created equal. I think it's fair to say that you have a better chance during the off season of getting an ocean view.
Well, I'm done with this property. Nobody should have to suffer the aggravation of a 'pecking' order that management has apparently decided to institute. No place is worth a second bad stay! The Mrs actually wants to give the Montage a shot. That Indy JW is absolutely superb! And...I got a nice e-mail from the GM after this stay thanking me for the continued stays!
I am very sorry and surprised to hear about your bad experience at Newport Coast. I have been a Gold owner there for several years and have always had great experiences at this property. We've always been assigned a villa with an excellent ocean view, including our recent visit a few weeks ago. Since we own multiple MVC weeks at other resorts and are Premiere Plus, we are probably high in the pecking order, but your stay was not in a typically high demand season. I've been told the order of priority for villa assignment is NCV resort owners, multiple MVC owners at other resorts, those staying on Destination Club points, Interval exchanges, followed by those renting through Marriott or using MR reward points.
Were you exchanging, using DC points or renting from Marriott? This has become a very popular resort for using Destination club points, so the competition for views has become more challenging. I am fortunate to be an owner and hope that I continue to receive excellent views.
I exchanged....but it shouldn't matter when Marriott KNOWS in advance what my status is in the program with thee number of nights I stay at their properties and the timeshare weeks I do own. Quite frankly, this stay was so bad I'm seriously contemplating dumping my timeshare weeks and cutting my aggravation before I run afoul of this 'pecking' system elsewhere!
I definitely understand your frustration. Although I have had good experience at Newport Coast Villas, I've had bad villa assignments at Canyon Villas and Ocean Pointe even when using my owned week or DC points. There is inconsistency in priority between properties. The DC point system is also creating a lot of problems due to the short stays which reduce the number of villas to be assigned on any given check in day. Additionally, there are a lot of multiple week owners at NCV and Ocean Pointe who have priority and stay for several weeks at a time. Overall, I am happy with my timeshares and prefer them over the hotels/resorts that keep going up in cost($ and points) and additional fees (parking, resort fees, etc).
I find that it also helps to send the villa assignment manager (or GM if I know them) an email about five weeks prior to my stay.
Thanks for the helpful reviews. I look forward to trying the Union Station Autograph Hotel in the near future. I always enjoy staying in/ visiting classic train stations such as those in Cincinnati, Kansas City, and St. Louis. I was disappointed to not have the opportunity to stay in the STL Union Station hotel when it was a Marriott, although I had stayed there severaly years ago as a Hyatt.
You are always a pleasure to share your travel stories with us, especially your train trips!
If you do get to KCMO, their station is very special, and there is a wonderful RI and FF nearby, and they have a free shuttle.
Very good places to dine in or nearby. Jack Stacks is very good and a short walk, here is another one:
That Pierpont's to my left is a very good steakhouse at the KCMO train station!
Thanks for the tips. I actually used the KC station several times when I lived their and agree with your Pierpont's and Jack Stack's recommendations. Pierpont's is a great place for an adult beverage before boarding the train: Boulevard on tap. There is also an enclosed walkway from the station to the neaby Westin and Sheraton (formerly Hyatt) hotels.