I recently had an unpleasant experience on a vacation in Orlando while using my Marriott points at the Marriott Grande Vista, a Marriott Vacation Club property.
The front desk staff (Kyle) told me that my Marriott Status (I'm a Platinum Premier) didn't apply at their property (I spent 75,000 points for 3 nights at this property) and 'the owner makes the rules" which included a 10:00 am check out time and late check out request was like 'begging for a favor".
I suppose the Vacation Club is only remotely affiliated with Marriott and they didn't care about Marriott's loyality program.
So fellow Marriott Reward members, beware, don't expect any priority with your Marriott status at Vacation Club properties.
As for myself, my response to the "the owner makes the rules" remarks is ``indeed, you owner can make all the rules you want, as a consumer, I can make the choice``.
good points, all. It's a shame.
to me, this is much more egregious than the conversation about treatment at the Ritz. This is a property with MARRIOTT in the name and it is treating PLATINUM members with disdain. I guess 2012 will be just like 2011 as far as Platinum treatment...... sad.
I am an MVC owner and I can very matter of factly state that MARRIOTT makes the rules in every aspect of the MVC properties. Yes, there is an elected "Board" of owners but they are nothing more than 'rubber stamp' robots who follow the direction, advice and requests of Marriott Management services..... the management arm that runs the properties. The only 'benefit' I get from being Platinum and an MVC weeks owner is that I get a call in advance asking what location or specific villa I might want to request for my stay....but no guarantee of getting it. Check out is 10AM for me every time I go and they are matter of fact about it.
If the 'owners' made the rules, I can guarantee my Association fees would not have gone from $480/yr to over $1000/yr during my time of ownership. I ask every year about the outrageous increases in fees and never get anything other than 'lip service'. I am pretty good with how the 'system' works since I am President of my Association Board where I live and during my seven year tenure on the Board have never increased dues or charged an assessment....and we've redone or replaced every 'common' element in our subdivision. The MVC folks think I 'don't get it'. I do. Unfortunately, the BIGGEST line of increase in fees every year is the management contract payment to Marriott. That says it all.
Sorry for the rant.
Thanks for the facts.
My wife and I sat through a 90 minute (a bit longer) presentation 4/5 years ago. We only needed to pay $199 for the weekend to qualify for the "tour". I will say that the two bedroom villa we stayed in was beautiful. The overall property was okay. During the sales pitch the agent kept emphasizing that all this came for just *** per year. I corrected him and said you mean week. He said no, you pay these dollars and fees per year. I said, well how long do I get to stay for the $$. He said one week. I said , so...what you're selling us is the right to stay for a week and pay over a years time. It's still just one week. He looked a bit confused.
As far as the fees go, if the MVC has 52 weeks worth of "owners" and there are 12(?) units per building and there are 10(?) buildings per location. Your $1000 yearly fee would allow them to rake in $1000 X 52 X 12 X10 = $6,240,000. Or $624,000 per building per year. IN FEES!!! They could tear down and rebuild the whole building every year. That's a sweet deal for management.
A very sweet deal indeed! There was over $19,000,000 collected in Association fees in 2010 (the last financials I received when asked for). Marriott management fee was almost $2,000,000. Unfortunately, the management gives no consideration to the expense load, the amounts used for needless projects like described below, or to the resulting increase in the amount of fees they charge each year. It just goes up and up and up and up. I stayed at one of my home 'resorts' (I have two weeks) and was in an absolutely beautiful room. No stains on carpets, no blemishes in furnishings, cabinets, etc. This 2 bedroom place was immaculate!
One can understand that I was shocked to find the next morning at an owners update that my building and unit were due for renovation within the next two months! I asked why (when it was time for Q+A) they would tear down and throw away a perfectly good unit when they could either update another, more needed unit or not do the renovation at all that year in that unit as it wasn't needed. I was told that they 'don't have the staff to manage that way'. Huh? They don't take the time to look at what needs to be done and what doesn't...they just do it when it's scheduled....needed or not. That's a great way to manage owners money and a perfect explanation as to why the fees increase so much every year. All I could say was 'wow'.
I'm not platinum (just gold) and so are my parents. I am not an MVC owner, but my parents are (3 weeks at MVC Newport Coast, where I join them every summer), and I can assure you that the owner does not make the rules. MVC makes the rules, and they rule the roost. Here's what I know for a fact about MVC. Since their "owners" purchase a week at a time, a week stay as an MVC owner always looks like this: you check in on Friday, 4pm, and check out the following Friday, 10am. There is no free breakfast. I'm not even sure Vacation Club properties have restaurants that serve breakfast (?) These properties of course have fully equipped kitchens in each villa (there are some single villas that have what I would call "half kitchens" - no oven, but small fridge, microwave and sink. Many people stay at these properties as "hotel" guests, but the check-in/check-out times are exactly the same as they are for "owners." I recently stayed at MVC Branson, MO. as a 4 night guest, and this was exactly the case. So ya, that is one down side to staying at MVC's. Your elite status doesn't buy you squat. I'll be staying at the MVC near Paris, and it's disappointing that there isn't any free breakfast, for instance, but I'm getting a super rate compared to staying at a Marriott in central Paris, so I shant complain.
Oh - wait. I'll add this. My first night at the MVC in Branson (which was a separate reservation - I moved from a single to a villa the following day), I did request a late check-out, which they actually did grant me due to my "elite" status. Unfortunately housekeeping "didn't get the memo," as the doorbell started ringing at about 9am and didn't let up. I was completely exhausted (I put on a wedding the day prior, which went late into the night) and couldn't help being just a tad cranky with the help for it. I don't know if the "late check-out" was allowed because it was during the winter and the property wasn't too busy, or what. Anyway...
we have never had that problem at the Marriott vacation club property since maids usually come very late in the day even on checkout day but there are numerous Robo calls go to all guests telling them that because of the crowds anticipated they must enforce the 10 AM checkout time.
In all the years we have been Marriott Vacation Club owners, it has been made very clear that 10:00 hours is the fixed checkout time and no free breakfast is offered to Elite members.
Whilst we might have wished otherwise, we have always known this to be the case and so I guess accepted it.
I can understand that one might feel aggrieved if this came as a surprise, I do believe it is fairly well communicated though.
It is worth noting that these are Marriott Vacation Club "Resorts", with their own villa kitchens and I am fairly sure some do not even have the facility to offer breakfasts (especially where not co-located with a hotel)
We have been Vacation Club members since 2007, and it has always been made completely clear that there are no free breakfasts, or late check outs.
I noticed that recently they have started taking a much tougher line on the check out time - especially at Club Son Antem in Spain. They will politely suggest that you register for a late check out, but in my experience it has never been granted. (although this could be because we always travel during school holidays because of the children). Son Antem has started offering to sell you a 2 hr extension to the checkout time, for an outrageous amount!
Having said all this, we have had extraordinarily wonderful times at all the European Resorts and Grande Vista in Orlando. The staff are unfailingly polite and courteous. When they get things wrong, they are very swift to offer a bottle of wine or something else as compensation, and they are happy for you to stay and use the Resort facilities after checking out, which (let's face it) is pretty reasonable.
I guess they need to take a tough line because villas are larger and take longer to clean, and they don't want to leave them dirty, empty (and not earning) for an extra day which would just put up the annual maintenance charges for owners even more!
It's down to the local management (under pressure from owners) to reduce unnecessary and excessive refurbishments.
More beneficially, let's put our heads together to work out how to get Marriott to charge a sensible annual increase in the management contract payment to them, and agree this 3 years in advance.
"don't want to leave them dirty (and not earning) for an extra day which would just put up the annual maintenance charges for owners even more"
Just a little tidbit: MARRIOTT gets the revenue from ALL the units that are empty and rented through the hotel system. In addition, is anybody aware that MARRIOTT has contracted to BUYBACK units where the maintenance fees are not paid for an amount that is less than owed and less than fair market value. They then OWN the unit; do not pay a maintenance fee; rent it and collect the revenue. I have looked at and asked many, many times where in the financials and how MARRIOTT reimburses the owners for the fees incurred to clean a unit after being rented through the hotel booking system. The timeshare OWNERS pay the cleaning staff (and every other staff and expense) and Marriott rents the units they sell through their booking system...but yet NOBODY has been able to explain to me how the timeshare owners are re-imbursed for the cost of a Marriott rental (wear and tear, cleaning, and on and on). I just get lip service (we have a formula is the commentary) OK, if so, show me where and on what line item or category on the financials it shows up in is my next question.......and then silence ensues.
Bottom line: Using them when they're empty COSTS the owners more money and increases the maintenance charges more than having them empty.
I agree we need to somehow get these ridiculous increases in annual maintenance fees to be controlled, but the Boards are hand picked and the Boards are rubber stamps for the Marriott mantra. If you apply for a Board position because you want to change the status quo, you will never make it to the ballot. Your application will be circular filed. Take it from someone who knows. The Board members at the two timeshares I own have never changed (not one person) in the many years I have owned them.
Until more owners get angry about the fees, nothing will change.
0% agreement needed. Marriott management suggests and sets the annual maintenace fee based on THEIR guidelines. Board rubber stamps it. Done deal. No input from owners...we just get to pay it. If there was a Board member that had any guts, they would ask and demand why certain line items are so dramatically increasing in the manner they do.....and a lot of other VERY pertinent questions as to the goings on inside that fee proposal. That's what Boards are supposed to do. Not here. It's just a rubber stamp deal. Owners can't vote a Board member off the island if they won't let anyone else run that's capable of making a real difference. Someone who could make a difference.... (meaning truly understands what it means to be a Board member in an Association setting where there are owners who pay the bill)....that got elected would gum up the Marriott mantra. They're never going to let that person onto the ballot.
There are some good points made in these posts, especially around transparency, Marriott own usage/rental charges...etc.
On the specific issue of maintenance fees, these are certainly very high and getting higher as I see only too well when I have to pay all my fees in January each year!
I should say though that for my resort ownership in Asia and Europe the Owner Boards do have some sway over Marriott and have successfully influenced Marriott and reduced some of their submitted fee increases.
(I have not seen the same success for my resort ownership in US and Caribbean unfortunately, so perhaps there is an international difference showing here?)
Seems to be a big difference emerging in a lot of the things we see with International properties. Like the open Concierge lounges and free weekend breakfasts....
In the International timeshare game the provider must follow very specific guidelines (country controlled)....and in a lot of places those guidelines have not allowed Marriott to convert their timeshare interest to the new Points program. Many International guidelines require a deeded document for a timeshare purchase and do not allow a timeshare purchase done with a purchase of points as is the makeup of their new Destinations program.
It's very unfair and one of the reasons timeshare has become such a 'scourge' to so many. When the promises made when we first got into the game were changed and the fees became wackily out of control it ruined the timeshare luster. Then, the 'accountants' moved in and Marriott spun off the timeshare business after seeing what their changes created for thir image and other factors. Now, they can just say 'we're not in that business any more so we didn't do that' even though they are.....and did. I think they call it 'smoke and mirrors'.
I'll be honest here, with an annual travel budget of less than $10K (unless I'm willing to forego other things like new furniture and home improvements and visiting family out of state less often), and not enough spare cash laying around screaming 'spend me frivolously,' I simply cannot afford a Marriott timeshare. Having said that, these are my observations of my parents experience as MVC owners.
About 8 years ago, they plunked down for two weeks at one of Marriott's newer and more highly desired Vacation Club properties (Newport Coast) during the peak summer season block and in a building with some of the most desireable ocean views, for the bargain price of about $70K (again, more than I'll ever be able to afford). Each and every year, thirteen months (because they own two weeks, otherwise twelve months) to the day and to the hour my mom has to get on the phone to make next year's reservation. It's madness, at 6am trying to get a call through just so she can get what she paid for (what they promised: the building that is delineated in her deed, and a room on the ocean side of the building.) Half the time, two minutes into the thirteen month period, she's too late. "We're sorry, none of those villas are available." She then has to elbow her way through the fiber optics to a supervisor and sell her case, blah, blah, blah, to get what she paid for. After being assertive and persistent, and on occasion unattractively aggressive, she is promised what she paid for, and the reservation is confirmed. Then upon check-in, they are assigned a completely different building with no view. More assertive persistence. More brick walls. More unattractive aggression and climbing the chain towards the GM, and then finally she gets the villa with the view in the building she paid for. Not how I would ever want to spend the first hour of my annual vacation. Ever. But this goes on almost every year. Okay, that's just to get what she paid for at her home timeshare. Enter the international timeshare swapping scene (which they've never done.) If it's that hard to get what you paid for within just one company, imagine how hard it would be to swap out your week to try to get a timeshare somewhere like in Hawaii or the Spanish coast or the Carribean, where you're dealing with a global pool of owners all trying for the best properties? Ya. Once when I inquired, a Marriott salesperson tried to talk me into purchasing a week at a really cheap property, like in Orlando or Palm Desert, with the proposal that I wouldn't ever have to stay there; I could just trade it for another property each year. Like Interval International (or whomever) is ever going to let me trade my Orlando timeshare for a Hawaii'an timeshare. Laughable. It's just not going to happen.
Recently, my parents purchased additional time onto their Newport timeshare with the new points system, and my mom is already disappointed and feeling that she made a mistake. She just doesn't think the new point system is a good value. So ya, all these things must be considered, and I haven't even hit on the issues associated with the annual owner's fees, which have already been well-expressed.
I guess what I'm saying is, for people who have enough money to purchase a timeshare at a place they know they'll want to return to annually year after year, and for whom money is no object and also who have additional cash to spend on additional vacations elsewhere, like my folks, then it's a viable option. Good for them. I don't fit into that category. I could take my piddly little $10K/year travel budget and tie it up in an MVC, but all things considered, I think I prefer have more control over it and spend it as I desire from year to year, and from place to place, and here's the key, largely HASSLE FREE.
Marriott has some superb properties, both hotels and timeshares alike. I love to stay at them and I feel that I receive a fair value, and that is why I am a member of their loyalty program and a proud Marriott customer. With my income, I just don't ever see myself owning a timeshare. Nothing is perfect. And to be honest, other than regretting her latest purchase with the new point system, and the annual reservation hassles, as well as the fee increases, my parents have been extremely happy with their Vacation Club stays, and seeing them enjoy themselves makes my heart joyful.
Glad to hear another point of view. I agree these are beautiful properties and when one stays they are magnificent. But, it pretty much ends there. The hassle your parents experience is pretty much the flavor of the day for everyone. I can tell you why they try NOT to give your parents what they paid for. Newport Coast Villas is the best property in the US as I was told by a Marriott Associate. It is NEVER available on a trade through Interval and NEVER available through an internal mechanism. Every available week is sold by Marriott through the hotel booking and they use the BEST units to do their timeshare (points) spin to whoever stays there, so they need those rooms available. The Marriott associate told me that he would get me into Newport Coast villas if I BOUGHT $35,000 of POINTS to become an elite points member.
I guarantee that whoever stays at a timeshare location and is NOT a timeshare owner will receive the best pitch on their phone (and the message will be left every day) ubtil they can get you to go to a presentation.
Stepping Stones.....I bet you got those calls when you stayed at Shadow Ridge!
I could write pages and pages about timeshare issues but all it will get me is my fingers worn out.
One of the worst parts about this is the original promise that I could vacation cheaply for a week when I bought it (at a $460 annual maintenance fee...now well over $1000). But, I can rent a unit for about $300 - $500/week through Interval or on a Red weeks program....what a great deal I have with the maintenance fees I pay to Marriott. I have also owned an Innternnational week onthe water in he Caribbean at a beautiful property for over 30 years. The property is every bit as nice as a Marriott. My timeshare fees thirty years later are about half of the Marriott fees.
I was not aware that the timeshare owners were getting raked over the coals on the rental of the timeshare units. This is disturbing! It does seem that it would be to our benefit to simply leave the units vacant if we do not receive the full benefit of the rental. If I am not mistaken, Marriott Hotels and Marriott Vacation Club are now separate entities. Maybe I am naive, but it appears that a third party is taking a "free ride" at our expense. The Board should be serving as the fiduciary of the owners and seeking to maximize our enjoyment of the properties at the best possible cost. It is entirely possible that the Board is doing everything in its power to hold down costs. Though this hard to tell from the budget statement that we receive along with our yearly maintenance fee. I would like to see more transparency and detail in the budget statement in order to better judge the Board's efforts on our behalf. If the Board is not living up to our expectations, we need to use the process to change the members.
I have no axe to grind with the exception of the maintenance fees. I am a loyal Marriott Rewards member and have always enjoyed my stays at Marriott properties.
Thanks for the reply. I wish more owners would weigh in.
A big issue is that Marriott rents the empty units and I do not see and no one can explain to me where Marriott re-imburses the owners for the expense of the lodging at the timeshare unit they are getting the revenue for. If we owners are paying the expenses, we should readily be able to see the costs for cleaning, etc. paid by Marriott for these units they sell through the hotel booking system.
I find it very hard to see that the Boards (at least in my two properties) are doing everything in their power to hold down costs when a Board Meeting for presentation and adoption of the budget and other agenda items are discussed, debated and actioned and the TOTAL time for the entire meeting was a whopping 38 minutes. I'm serious. Now, how much hard work is being done in a 38 minute span of time? I even wanted to ask the Board what items were brought up to the budget planners by the Board members about the budget process in a 38 minute span but the GM wouldn't let me talk directly to the Board members by e-mail or in any other manner. I even asked to send the e-mail through the GM e-mail and that a Board member could reply on the GM e-mail back to me with a signatory. Nope. He told me they 'worked hard' to get the budget right.........in 38 minutes!
There are serious issues with these matters and timeshare owners should be outraged at how this is being done. After all, we're the ones paying the bill!
Marriott Hotels and Marriott Vacation Club are separate entities, but they are still joined at the hip. The 'breakup' was one of convenience. After all, Marriott employees run the timeshare locations (Marriott management services); Marriott interchanges staffing between the hotels and timeshare locations (I have talked to many who readily discuss where they have come from and been at and where they intend to go next); Marriott employees still handle all the timeshare sales; Marriott employees still handle all the billing, and so on and so on.......
So, I would ask, just how separate are they really?
lorifleenor Feb 6, 2012 12:55 PM
It's so maddening when housekeeping comes before ck. out time, anyway. I've seen lots of small hotels have walky-talkies, but this doesn't seem to occur to the larger chains. I don't know why they don't have the money, courtesy, or organizational skills to do this.