Owners at MVC Desert Spring Villas 1 in Palm Desert recetly received notification that they will no longer have access to the facilities at the adjacent JW Marriott Resort beginning today. After extensive negotiation to renew the agreement, the hotel owners (not Marriott) rejected their proposals.
I had planned to exchange into this resort next spring, but the resort access was a key contributing factor. I believe the hotel owners will live to regret their decision as they experience significant lost revenue from DSV1 owners and guests.
"no longer have access to the facilities at the adjacent JW Marriott Resort beginning today"
That statement merits clarification. It appears to contradict correspondence from the president of the DSV-I board, which states that Desert Spring Villas I owners and guests will have access to the facilities at the JW Marriott Resort as of January 1st on an "a la carte" basis.
Desert Springs Villas II successfully extended use of the JW Marriott tennis courts through 2010.
Based on the comments on TUG, it appears that DSV1 guests will no longer be able to use the pools at the JW, and can only use the spa facilities or spa fitness center by paying a fee. Previously, they paid $46 in yearly maintenance fees to enjoy these resort facilities. Owners are very upset. I think we would feel the same way if we were no longer able to use the Marriott World Center resort facilities as owner at Royal and Imperial Palms. If I recall correctly, I had read your review of Desert Villas I and your description of the JW resort facilities convinced me to include it in my future vacation plans. It now will be lower on my list.
As mentioned earlier, DSV-II owners/guests pay a la carte access fees. So now, DSV-I and DSV-II are on a level playing field.
Btw: The Palmeras pool complex at DSV-II is superior to the pool at the JW Desert Springs. There's 3 pools, 2 hot tubs, table games, restrooms, fresh towel bins, a pavillion with a grill and fresh prepared items, a separate pavillion with a bar and hundreds of lounge chairs. The fitness center at the DSV clubhouse is cozy but convenient. If I were at the JW, I would prefer going to the Palmeras pools.
The spa at the JW is very luxurious but not as nice as Camelback, IMO. Use of the facilities is free provided you receive a treatment like a massage or facial. To have access to the spa facilities' lockers, fitness room for $46/year doesn't really sound cost-effective. The spa and health club is located at the most remote spot on the JW property and quite inconvenient to get to.
To compare Orlando with Desert Springs is like apples and oranges. Orlando hotels have to compete with the theme parks, a condition which does not exist in Desert Springs. Also, when the villas at the Lakeshore Reserve open, owners/guests will not have access privileges to facilities at the Ritz either. It will be a la carte.
The spa facilities (w/o treatment) at the JW Desert Ridge had a $25 per day fee, but it was waved for platinum members. We enjoyed using the pool, fitness center, and steam/shower facilities on a daily basis when we stayed in the Canyon Villas. Do you know whether the fee is waved for platinum members at the JW in Palm Desert?
We enjoyed the spa once on a complimentary basis w/o treatment when we stayed at DSV-I. When we moved to DSV-II, we only went to the JW in the evening to dine in the restaurant. (The spa is closed in the evening). With the Palmeras Pools across the street from our villa, we would come back from the JW and enjoy a refreshing evening swim.
To escape the brutal heat, our days were spent sightseeing in the mountains were temperatures were a very comfortable 68 to 70 degrees compared to 110 plus in the desert! Idllywild, Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead are among the places we visited. What I most enjoyed is the thrill of hairpin turns going up into the San Bernadino Mountains in an SUV.
With temperatures hovering in the low 100's in the early afternoon, staying poolside or at a spa probably presents a significant health risk. With a new cost structure in place, all the more reason to engage in other activities while vacationing in Desert Springs.
I recently bought at Desert Springs I after staying there for years on exchanges -- reason I bought was use of the spa at the JW...I am very perturbed about the increased cost ($!75 a week instead of $46 in main. fee (and by the way -- it's STILL IN OUR MAIN FEE..so that's $46 for NOTHING!!!)
Keep writing...I hope we get "big Marriott's attention"!!
Re-reading your comments compelled a 'peek' at the 2010 operating budget for DSV I on MVCI.com / my-vacationclub.com where they are available for download for all MVCI resorts.
The recreational fee component of the MF was $46 in 2009. For 2010 it was raised to $50. Did owners have to pay this or was it struck from the budget?
We had to pay it -- and also pay $160 per week if we wanted to use the benefits we'd had before from our ownership.
This year the association is "trying to decide" whether to refund the $50 or put it toward reserves...but we've lost a valuable benefit (that I thought was ours in perpetuity -- or I'd never have bought there)