My husband and I stayed at the Maui Ocean Club last year on MR points and attended a sales presentation for the Destination program. We ultimately chose not to buy at that time but instead purchased the Encore package, at which time we promptly booked at the Aruba Ocean Club for this coming September. Now that Zika is such a large concern and we are at the age where we'll be starting a family soon, I'm considering trying to switch to a different MVC resort, outside of the Caribbean or Florida. MVC owners - Any suggestions or favorites? It will just be my husband and I traveling. I want to go to a resort that he will fall in love with (and ultimately, hopefully agree to buy into the program:))
Thanks in advance for any advice/help!
My wife and I are sitting in the airport after a two week trip to Hawaii. We too, purchased an Encore package but when we were staying at Ko Olina on Oahu a year and a half ago. We have now stayed there twice and really like the location. We also stayed a week on Maui at the Ocean club before the second week at Ko Olina. The first time we stayed at Ko Olina we had a view of the golf course which was pretty entertaining when we were sitting on the deck toward evening as we could view the green and watch them finish up the hole. The club is situated on a nice strand of Lagoons with a new Four Seasons at the beginning and the Marriott at the opposite end. The lagoons are nice for swimming, and one over has decent snorkeling. Nothing like Black Rock on Maui, but reasonable. If you like snorkeling we went to one of the best spots we have ever been to. It's called Electric Beach and it's just up the road from the resort. We have also stayed on St. Thomas and St. Kitt's, both of which are nice, but the area is so poor it can be depressing when you leave the resort area. If you decide on Ko Olina be aware that one side of the resort has a view of a Marina and refinery type area which can be a turnoff for some people. The staff is great and there is plenty of daily activities on the great lawn. They were redoing one of the restaurants while we were there so it was closed. They were also doing construction in the only other restaurant on property which I thought was a little funny. We cook in our unit or grill every day for meals so it didn't bother us as we never went to the Longboards restaurant on this visit.
hibbarme, I echo classclown's recommendation of Ko Olina. That's where we bought, and it was an easy and simple process - no high pressure, and it didn't take more than the 90 min. we planned for. If you rent a car (which you really do need in Hawaii unless you plan to stay on the resort the whole time), there is a Costco and Target close by for groceries, etc. You will save a ton of money if you have breakfast and a few meals in your villa instead of eating out for every meal, and Costco has the best prices on staples such as milk and bread (both of which cost an absolute fortune in Hawaii, as you know if you've been to Maui!). If you do a sales presentation, ask for Patrick from Iowa. He did ours, and he was very laid back and low pressure. I am not in love with the lagoons as opposed to a natural type beach, but they are very safe and calm, at least if you don't venture too far out. I like Waikiki Beach even though it's crowded as well as some of the secluded long stretches of pristine beach on the Windward Side and you could drive over to those. A lot of people complain about Oahu because of Honolulu and all the tourists, but I like the versatility it offers. Ko Olina has fire dancers and a fun luau if you're interested in that, plus tons of on site resort activities.
Once the Zika threat passes or you are done having children, put Aruba back on your bucket list. Palm Beach has absolutely spoiled me for all time when it comes to beaches. It is that quintessential Caribbean blue color with white sand, and it's so shallow and calm - the light blue color stretches for miles. Just looking at the water makes a person feel instant bliss. And it's 85 degrees and sunny every day of the year, all year long. Aruba is very, very crowded and commercialized and the beaches are quite windy. But none of that bothered me enough to take away from the feeling I got from the fantastic beaches there. Plus, by Caribbean standards Aruba is very clean, safe and prosperous. And there are dozens of world class restaurants there, plus high end shopping.
We loved St. Kitts, too, even though it is a poor island. The locals were friendly, and the resort was expansive and uncrowded. St. Kitts is the opposite of Aruba - very undeveloped and natural, but no good shopping, restaurants are not as upscale, and lots of poverty. But tons of Caribbean culture and Calypso vibe that you don't get in Aruba which is very Dutch and South American in its culture. Again, for the bucket list once Zika is no longer a concern.
I have heard good things about the MVCIs in South Carolina, too, but I haven't been so I can't vouch for any of those. No Zika there, right?
Thank you so much for all the great advice! Hopefully you had a wonderful two weeks in Hawaii!
I'll look into Ko Olina for sure. We did Maui and Kauai last year and had the most amazing time (which is where we purchased on Encore package) and I'd love to check to now check out Oahu. I've heard wonderful things about Aruba so will definitely be a priority once Zika is no longer an issue. St. Kitts looks beautiful too!
Again, sincere thanks for the help.