Those traveling to the San Diego area might find the Welk resort a good place to stay. What to avoid: Interval lists the villas as "one and two bedroom." However, many of the units are lock-offs, and the one bedroom may be one of them, not always. Secondly, since this resort was built on a mountainside, the bottom floor may be below ground level. While the patio looks out onto a ground level terrace, the entry requires going down 2 flights of steps. There are no elevators or ramps to get luggage down, so it becomes a back strain if the luggage is heavy. The resort is somewhat of a step back in time, but in good condition. The personnel are friendly, the rooms clean, except that while there in our lock-off we stepped on 3 small chards of glass, a sign that housekeeping didn't sweep thoroughly. The villas are quite expensive, and their big pitch, if one is a Marriott owner, is to trade in your Marriott weeks to buy their's. They do have an Interval rep on site, and if you buy and deposit, Interval will give up to 5 bonus weeks for a $40,000 two bedroom villa. Just remember, however, this is Interval offering this, not Welk, so the deal might be subject to change at any time.
Given the new points-based Marriott Destination Club launched last June 2010, my spouse and I are planning to hold onto our legacy weeks with Marriott Vacation Club and maintain our Gold membership with Interval International. Our hunch is that they will become even more precious and coveted, since Marriott is no longer selling resort-based timeshare weeks.
On an exchange in July 2009, we enjoyed an outstanding 2 weeks in Marriott's Desert Springs Villas. We are eager to explore more of southern California pending a 2br villa at Newport Coast.
Your post is well-timed. When we stay at a Marriott Vacation Club, the expectation is a memorable vacation and an unforgettable time with family and friends. Walking on shards of glass and being assigned a unit below ground is inconsistent w/that expectation.
Given the demand and lack of availability at Newport Coast Villas, we were also considering a non-Marriott exchange. Your post highlights the potential risk reinforcing perceptions that non-Marriott resorts are of lesser quality and poorly managed.
Thank you very much for the heads-up on your Welk experience. If you (or any other Insider) have any suggestions on SoCal resorts that merit consideration, do share. Btw, there are a number of Marriott Vacation Club owners who participate in the Insiders community, I hope you will feel welcome here and continue to post.
My neighbors will be staying at this resort beginning this weekend. I am anxious to hear their impressions. I noticed that the Timeshare User Group's resort reviews for this Lawrence Welk resort are higher than any of the MVC California timeshares. Since I own at Newport Coast, we usually stay there, but I agree with TJC that the new DC program may change our vacation strategies and open us to other options. Thanks for the review.
Hey Travel Junkie, Super Chief and TJC ---
My home is 12 miles west of the Lawrence Welk Mountain Resort and we know it well.
It is in a picturesque setting with mountains to the east. However, its western neighbor is the I-15 freeway from San Diego to Las Vegas and beyond. Which means a bit of traffic noise in the distance and an occasional truck air horn at night.
Among its plusses are the inland Southern California weather (mild winters and hot summers - similar to Palm Desert) and it is close to some San Diego tourist attractions such as the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park (formerly known as the Wild Animal Park).
Among the minuses - the Lawrence Welk Mountain Report is 20 miles from the ocean so the summer ambient temperature is normally in the high 90s to low 100s with no ocean breeze. However, like the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs, Palm Desert, etc.), your summer vacation plan could be to stay under the air conditioner during mid-day and confne outdoor activities to morning and evening.
We had exactly the same experience at Welk a year ago January. No ramps to get luggage to the lower level. Chards of glass on the floor. Wonder if we had the same room? Same sales pitch from Them, and they had no answer when I asked them what would happen to the great bonus weeks if Interval pulled the plug on them. Thought the furnishings in our villa could be improved, yet the model villa was spectacular. Welk is a good location, however, and we found it easy to navigate from there.