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Old December 27, 2012, 06:20 AM   #1
markymark
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[ 2012 ] Former Westgate Planet Hollywood query

Since Hilton Elara has taken over the running of Westgate's Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas, I'm slightly confused - who exactly owns the resort? I mean I can still exchange through Westgate's resorts but I am paying Hilton Elara?? Moreover, in a take-over situation, shouldn't former Westgate owners have the right to exit their contract when a new company, with it's own timeshare packages, terms of use, pricing, exchange systems, etc., etc. will be running things that could be more favourable than Westgate's system (I'm not familiar with Hilton at all). I have read here, in other threads, about the likelihood of former PH owners absorbed into the takeover, that there exists a real danger of sidelining in favour of the new Hilton Elara owners buying since the take-over.

Surely this is a conflict of interest and makes resell of older packages even more difficult! Please correct me if I am wrong! The Hilton Elara takeover has been very unclearly documented or explained and, as a Westgate owner prior to the takeover and as one who is currently advertising one's timeshare, I can't help but feel seriously disadvantaged. There is no way I'd want a timeshare run by two companies so how could I possibly market a resale under that banner?

Westgate always said that they wouldn't resale timeshare properties because they considered such as action to be a conflict of interest. It certainly seems to be that the current management structure is a conflict of interest to the first Westgate owners. I would hate to think that there would be an 'us and them' culture created by this new arrangement between the Westgate and new Elara owners. Again, correct me if I am wrong, but surely that is going to be inevitable isn't it?

I just feel strongly that we (old Westgate PH owners) should have been allowed to either exit or upgrade! The current situation is confusing and arguably unfair to the first owners!
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Old December 27, 2012, 08:14 AM   #2
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I noticed that you've already posted in the "All Other Timeshares" forum, which expressly includes Westgate. Frankly, you are likely to get more relevant responses there than in this forum which is populated by HGVC owners.

Yes, Westgate owners at Elara are treated like orphans. You get to use your TS as you like and participate in activities. But that's about it. Otherwise, you ride in the back of the bus or to use a cruise analogy, "steerage." Unless you have a written promise to the contrary, Westgate is legally entitled to dispose of it's propperty... just as you are.
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Old December 27, 2012, 08:23 AM   #3
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Just in case you missed it, here's the HOA letter that was sent to Westgate owners (see below).

It was posted in January 2012 and can be found in this long thread regarding the move from Westgate to Hilton - http://www.tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=159389. This thread might help with some of your questions.

From post #40

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Originally Posted by Ernie View Post
I finally figured out how to scan the text off the letters. This is the letter from the new HOA.


LV TOWER 52
CONDOMINIUM OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC.
(FORMERLY PLANET HOLLYWOOD TOWERS BY WESTGATE
CONDOMINIUM OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC.)
GENERAL NOTIFICATION

Dear Member,

On November 21, 2011, LV Tower 52, LLC, an affiliate of Resort Finance America, LLC (“RFA”), a company with significant assets and experience in the timeshare industry, acquired Planet Hollywood Towers by Westgate, a Vacation Ownership Resort (the “Resort”).

Effective November 21, 2011, LV Tower 52 Management Co., LLC, an affiliate of RFA, has taken over management responsibilities for the Resort and the Association. In conjunction with the management change, the 2012 annual maintenance fee billing accompanying this correspondence will reflect new payment instructions. Please take note of these changes prior to making your payment. Also, please note that all payments relating to any outstanding mortgage financing pertaining to your timeshare interest will continue to be made as you have done so in the past. Current owners who purchased from Westgate Planet Hollywood Las Vegas, LLC (“Westgate”) should continue to make reservations for usage of their timeshare interests under the same process they have used in the past until further notice.

Effective December 15, 2011, the legal name of the Association has been modified from “Planet Hollywood Towers by Westgate Condominium Owners Association, Inc.” to “LV Tower 52 Condominium Owners Association, Inc.” This change was required as part of the shift from Westgate to LV Tower 52, LLC and the termination of Westgate’s licensing agreement with Planet Hollywood International, Inc. (“PHIl”). The licensing agreement with PHIl was terminated in conjunction with the execution of a Sales & Marketing Agreement with Hilton Resorts Corporation (“Hilton”), which will be responsible for future sales of timeshare interests in the Resort on LV Tower 52, LLC’s behalf. The Resort will also be rebranded as a Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare resort. Finally, the Association has entered into a new Association Affiliation Agreement with Interval International, Inc. (“Interval”) to ensure that all persons who purchased their timeshare interests in the Resort from Westgate will continue to enjoy their reciprocal exchange privileges at other Interval-affiliated timeshare resorts.

A Special Meeting of the members of the Association shall be held on January 26, 2012, beginning at 9:00 am at the Resort, located at 80 E. Harmon Avenue Las Vegas, NV 89109. The purpose of the Special Meeting is for the members of the Association to ratify the 2012 proposed budget, a copy of which is enclosed herewith for your review. You may attend the Special Meeting in person and vote at the meeting or you may vote by proxy by submitting the enclosed Proxy Form to the Secretary of the Association (Clifton Dugas) at or before the Special Meeting. Instructions for sending the Proxy Form to the Secretary are included on the Proxy Form. Ratification of the proposed budget will be the only business conducted at the Special Meeting.

Our collective goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible while continuing to allow you to enjoy the full ownership rights and benefits associated with your original purchase from Westgate. Additional correspondence will be forthcoming to provide owners with periodic updates regarding operations and improvements to the Resort.

Sincerely,
William T. Phillips
President
LV Tower 52 Condominium Owners Association, Inc.

Last edited by alwysonvac; December 27, 2012 at 08:28 AM.
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Old December 27, 2012, 08:53 AM   #4
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The Wastegate Las Vegas Planet Hollywood Tower of Terror was from the very start a total nightmare in waiting. Despite at one time being touted as "the greatest timeshare in the world" by some outspoken boosters (who took an incredible bath if what they supposedly bought as a "deal" really occurred and it is largely believed that it did) it is only about 1/3 complete, is a design disaster, cost not only the poor buyers but the whole Wastegate evil empire a close brush with total collapse and now stands as a warning to all that betting on any timeshare vision or promise is at best a temporary thing you never want to rely on.

It has been stated many times that there are only two types of Wastegate owners. Those that are disgusted and want out and those awaiting their fleecing. Any satisfaction is fleeting and it is a virtual guarantee that an owner will reach the breaking point and want out at any cost before long.

Those poor suckers that got taken by this ultimate flim flam now find themselves orphans in an unforgiving wasteland. The few floors of garish units that actually got finished as Wastegate operations will now be regulated to a life of high fees, quickly deteriorating units, high cost trades and negative resale value. Although Hilton took over the majority of this mess they too want nothing to do with the poor souls that paid big and now have less than nothing to show for it. If there was any justice the Wastegate team would be spending all their time in jail and trying to figure out a way to repay those they flim flammed rather than quickly burning through tens of millions more of owners hard earned money for their gaudy and obnoxious "dream home" in Orlando.

Those who are stuck should be doing anything and everything they can to get out and forget they ever heard of the Tower of Terror. They are to be pitied as the victims of the most conniving and dirtiest of convicted timeshare operators who are incredibly efficient at separating the unsuspecting traveler from tens of thousands of dollars with a greasy weasel grin. Please feel for these people they were taken by the very best in a sleazy business.

Never, ever have anything to do with a Wastegate and you'll be much happier and never know the nightmare you avoided.
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Old December 27, 2012, 10:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by timeos2 View Post
The few floors of garish units that actually got finished as Wastegate operations will now be regulated to a life of high fees, quickly deteriorating units, high cost trades and negative resale value.
.
Although I agree with most of your posting regarding Westgate, I totally disagree with this statement. First of all have you ever stayed at this property?

If you have you are certainly entitled to your opinion and we all have different tastes. I have stayed here recently and think it is a great property and from what I could tell most of the tower floors were occupied and finished when I was there. The location is fantastic and although I had an exchange into a studio unit it was still much nicer than any hotel unit i have ever stayed at in Las Vegas.

Views of the strip were fantastic and next time I go I will only stay in a 1BR
( not that the studio wasn't nice just that I need a real kitchen and dining area) at this property which IMHO is nicer than the 1BR at the Marriott Grand Château with a better location and a way better pool area.
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Old December 27, 2012, 11:03 AM   #6
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I noticed that you've already posted in the "All Other Timeshares" forum, which expressly includes Westgate. Frankly, you are likely to get more relevant responses there than in this forum...
Ironically not - still no responses which is why I posted that query plus the opt-out query here.

Just seems unfair because it has made a bad situation worse for owners trying to sell their former PH unit. Thanks for the updates!
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Old December 27, 2012, 11:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry View Post
Although I agree with most of your posting regarding Westgate, I totally disagree with this statement. First of all have you ever stayed at this property?

If you have you are certainly entitled to your opinion and we all have different tastes. I have stayed here recently and think it is a great property and from what I could tell most of the tower floors were occupied and finished when I was there. The location is fantastic and although I had an exchange into a studio unit it was still much nicer than any hotel unit i have ever stayed at in Las Vegas.

Views of the strip were fantastic and next time I go I will only stay in a 1BR
( not that the studio wasn't nice just that I need a real kitchen and dining area) at this property which IMHO is nicer than the 1BR at the Marriott Grand Château with a better location and a way better pool area.
It is basically a mirage. They only finished off about 10 - 12 of the 50 floors - the rest are empty and now will be done as a much more upscale & tasteful Hilton resort. The unfortunate owners of those few "Wastegate legacy" floors will be stuck in a time warp of sorts. These units were designed with a very questionable "taste" of the Wastegate operators and may be flashy but aren't of quality to hold up with tough use. Worse yet Hilton seems to plan only to maintain them as is indefinitely - they will not be done over to Hilton standards for years to come if ever. These owners an units will be orphaned as the remainder of the building is finished out as best it can be to a much higher standard of design & quality.

These poor buyers will be assigned these units for trade or use and are limited to super expensive trades within the poor Wastegate group or with II. Hilton does nothing but manage them for Wastegate. What a terrible spot to be in if you paid big money for what was promised to be a dream resort experience. And there is no resale value - who would pay ten cents to be part of that mess?

To make it all worse the resort has now taken on a reputation for hard partying and not being at all family appropriate. It is bad behavior even for Vegas standards and further drives away any potential guests. Best to avoid it entirely unless you get in as a Hilton guest / owner with the much better units or as a near freebie just to sleep in on the deteriorating Wastegate floors. There are plenty of far better options all around Vegas and to Wastegate's anywhere.
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Old December 27, 2012, 12:44 PM   #8
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Why wouldn't HGVC offer current Westgate owners a chance to convert to points for $399? They currently do that with Bay Club and the Florida Affiliates. Logically it makes sense, unless I am missing something? When I was in L.V, the sales presentation did not push Elara as a sales tool. They were very focused on selling Orlando Park Soleil.
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Old December 27, 2012, 12:45 PM   #9
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Worse yet Hilton seems to plan only to maintain them as is indefinitely - they will not be done over to Hilton standards for years to come if ever
Quote:
Originally Posted by timeos2 View Post
The few floors of garish units that actually got finished as Wastegate operations will now be regulated to a life of high fees, quickly deteriorating units...
If Hilton is managing the Westgate units arent they taking on the responsibility of maintaining the units to the satisfaction of Westgate owners? How is this any different than if any other management company was hired to manage the property? I wouldn't think that a major company like Hilton would neglect their responsibility as a management company.

I am not disagreeing with your comments, I am just curious as to how this will turn out for the Westgate owners.

Wouldnt a good business plan for Hilton be to eventually renovate the Westgate units to match the Hilton motif and quality? It is not like Hilton will be paying for it anyway - the Westgate owners will. That way Hilton could look to take the Westgate units in on trade for a HGVC unit (and have the Westgate unit they could then sell as an HGVC unit).
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Old December 27, 2012, 01:26 PM   #10
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If Hilton is managing the Westgate units arent they taking on the responsibility of maintaining the units to the satisfaction of Westgate owners? How is this any different than if any other management company was hired to manage the property? I wouldn't think that a major company like Hilton would neglect their responsibility as a management company.

I am not disagreeing with your comments, I am just curious as to how this will turn out for the Westgate owners.

Wouldnt a good business plan for Hilton be to eventually renovate the Westgate units to match the Hilton motif and quality? It is not like Hilton will be paying for it anyway - the Westgate owners will. That way Hilton could look to take the Westgate units in on trade for a HGVC unit (and have the Westgate unit they could then sell as an HGVC unit).
Yes, they have a contracted responsibility to operate and maintain those units BUT only as an agent for the Wastegate Group that these poor owners remain tied to. As they don't take particularly good care of the resorts they actually still control - they spend only when they think it will help sales - now that they have no sales presence in this resort they have no incentive to keep them up or improve them. Hilton has 40+ floors of the existing building as well as the design for the 2/3 that wasn't even started yet (who knows if that will ever be done now) so they have no need to add more inventory to sell - it will take a decade or more to simply sell what they already own. They also would need the permission of Wastegate to "upgrade" those existing owners (and Wastegate gets the fees so they don't want them to bail) - it just isn't a good situation.

So Hilton is a twice removed third party operator to the owners / Wastegate Management that has no direct responsibility to the Wastegate owners stuck there - they just point them back to the notoriously unresponsive Wastegate Weasels for answers which will likely never come.

I really do feel bad for those owners. They paid BIG money for these worthless units. It does have some small use value and even less trade or rental value but they could have got that for pennies of the purchase dollar through rental or trades with cheaper resorts. They got shafted and have little recourse or ways to get out. Really sad.
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Old December 27, 2012, 02:29 PM   #11
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It is basically a mirage. They only finished off about 10 - 12 of the 50 floors - the rest are empty and now will be done as a much more upscale & tasteful Hilton resort. ....
Really? Do you have some info to back this up? I am not saying you are wrong, but I just wasn't aware that the tower for the most part is empty.
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Old December 27, 2012, 03:14 PM   #12
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Really? Do you have some info to back this up? I am not saying you are wrong, but I just wasn't aware that the tower for the most part is empty.
Well I don't have photos but this has been widely reported (that the vast majority of the tower is empty and will will require build out to complete). Interestingly there are a few shots of the unfinished floors in the recent movie about the fall of the Siegel "empire" - but of course they do not total how much was ever completed and how much stands unfinished.

At one time I heard they had mostly finished about 12 floors but where I saw/heard that I'm not certain. If that is so that leaves 40 floors for Hilton to finish & market before they even have to consider what to do with the few sold Wastegate floors.
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Old December 27, 2012, 07:45 PM   #13
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They also would need the permission of Wastegate to "upgrade" those existing owners (and Wastegate gets the fees so they don't want them to bail) - it just isn't a good situation.
I can't say for sure about mortgages but Hilton Elara is getting the maintenance fee - not Westgate! Westgate only retain the owners' rights to exchange their week/s within the Westgate resorts. That's as far as my relationship with WG goes nowadays. I even need to sign up to create an online account with Elara if I want to be able to access my unit info online without having to speak to a customer service agent! My WG account number is only valid now for internal exchanges within Westgate.

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Old December 27, 2012, 10:11 PM   #14
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Hilton collects the fees on behalf of the HOA. Presumably the HOA is Westgate employees who make the decisions about how the money is spent. Your best bet would be to try to get involved in the HOA so as an owner you can have a voice. Don't know if they will allow it as Westgate may own enough of the units to keep control of the board.

On the bright side you can still sell to those who are already in the Westgate system and want to add to what they have.

On the other hand you might be able to sell to someone who sees the Hilton name on the resort and thinks they are buying into a Hilton affiliate.

I think the two things that are the most against you and the value of your resort is the Westgate name and reputation (but there are some who like them and you need to seek them out when/if you sell). The other thing is Westgate's policies to write contracts that substantially punish resale owners by restricting there reservation windows and restricting there ability to trade within the Westgate internal system.

There are several resorts that are managed by a group other than the developer and or have several types of owners under the same roof. There is a bluegreen property in Atlantic City. There are a few DRI and Wyndham resorts like this too.
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Old December 27, 2012, 10:38 PM   #15
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Wastegate employees ARE the HOA/Boards at most of the Wastegate Resorts. They have thumbed their noses for years at the mere laws that require OWNERS to be on the Boards & have control. They don't even make an attempt to hide it they just populate the Boards as they see fit. End of story. This is not an operation anyone wants to get involved with. The worst of a bad industry.
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Old December 28, 2012, 08:09 AM   #16
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I recently rented "The Queen of Versailles" movie through DirectTv. It was amusing and I really wanted to see what happened to the tower of terror. I'm telling you right now, if I was a Westgate Elar owner and saw David or his son in person, I woul kick their ass. If you own Westgate or want to see what happened to a greedy old man, his dumb trophy wife and the thievery of poor vacationers $, rent it.
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Old December 28, 2012, 12:50 PM   #17
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Well I don't have photos but this has been widely reported (that the vast majority of the tower is empty and will will require build out to complete). Interestingly there are a few shots of the unfinished floors in the recent movie about the fall of the Siegel "empire" - but of course they do not total how much was ever completed and how much stands unfinished.

At one time I heard they had mostly finished about 12 floors but where I saw/heard that I'm not certain. If that is so that leaves 40 floors for Hilton to finish & market before they even have to consider what to do with the few sold Wastegate floors.
So it appears that your information is at best second hand and may be outdated. I was there first week of September and they had two banks of elevators running all week. I was staying on the higher floors and they had way more than 11 floors and stopped at at least 20 or more floors to drop off or pick up passengers during the week that I was there. I don't know how many floors they stopped at during the week for the lower floors but again there were way more than 11 floors and peeple were waiting for the elevator bank the entire week that I was there for the lower floors. So currently I can say for sure there are way more than 11 floors that were occupied.

The week we were there included labor day week end and from the amount of people at the pool they appeared to be packed with just a few lounge chairs available by 11:00 AM.
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Old December 28, 2012, 12:59 PM   #18
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It is basically a mirage. They only finished off about 10 - 12 of the 50 floors - the rest are empty and now will be done as a much more upscale & tasteful Hilton resort. The unfortunate owners of those few "Wastegate legacy" floors will be stuck in a time warp of sorts. These units were designed with a very questionable "taste" of the Wastegate operators and may be flashy but aren't of quality to hold up with tough use. Worse yet Hilton seems to plan only to maintain them as is indefinitely - they will not be done over to Hilton standards for years to come if ever. These owners an units will be orphaned as the remainder of the building is finished out as best it can be to a much higher standard of design & quality.

These poor buyers will be assigned these units for trade or use and are limited to super expensive trades within the poor Wastegate group or with II. Hilton does nothing but manage them for Wastegate. What a terrible spot to be in if you paid big money for what was promised to be a dream resort experience. And there is no resale value - who would pay ten cents to be part of that mess?

To make it all worse the resort has now taken on a reputation for hard partying and not being at all family appropriate. It is bad behavior even for Vegas standards and further drives away any potential guests. Best to avoid it entirely unless you get in as a Hilton guest / owner with the much better units or as a near freebie just to sleep in on the deteriorating Wastegate floors. There are plenty of far better options all around Vegas and to Wastegate's anywhere.
Again I agree with most of your comments regarding Westgate but disagree about your comments of hard partying and not being family appropriate for at least the week that I was there (Which included labor day weekend). I also disagree with your comments about 10-12 floors completed, which was probably true at some time but see my post regarding floors that were open when we were there.

You still comment on how the rooms are not upscale but it appears that by not answering my direct question you have actually never stayed in a room there. If I am wrong by my assumption please correct it.

I also stand by my opinion that the rooms are at least as nice as the rooms at the Marriott Grand Château per my previous post. #5 above
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Old December 28, 2012, 01:49 PM   #19
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I have visited the units but never stayed in one. "Cheesey" is the look that comes to mind if one wants to be relatively kind. Grotesque if the truth be known fits the best. As for the floors finished I have verified with II sources that Wastegate completed 11 floors entirely and another 4 partially (notably the top Penthouse units that were sold as timeshares as well as those sold as full ownerships). Now Hilton has worked their magic on at least most of 10-12 additional floors that are up to Hilton grade, but those are not open to owners of the Wastegate units. So it appears that about 1/2 of the 52 stories have a least part of the units complete meaning there are hundreds left for Hilton to build out before they would even consider taking in the orphaned Wastegaters. It is actually the largest Hilton timeshare in potential unit count now and if they ever followed through on the original plans and built tower two and the many missing amenities that would more than double it again! Talk about unneeded quantity (but in line with the standard Wastegate approach that they never sop building new while basically ignoring what came before it).

Going forward my guess is Hilton owners will be very happy to enjoy what can be a decent resort with quality units in a very good location. The fact that Hilton is a points club and owners get to pick & choose with each trip makes it a high value way to own any timeshare in that system. Hilton wins as they get to sell what they got on the cheap for their regular prices and sell it as "buy here - go to Hawaii / Orlando / Gulf Coast / where ever they have resorts and the buyers can actually do that at a reasonable cost. Plus they get to make money off managing the Wastegate units at no expense to them. They came out a winner.

The Wastegate owners, as expected, didn't do so well. The few units that did sell tended to be the grossly over-hyped & overpriced penthouse weeks or tiny regular units that have little use or trade value. They are stuck with the bad design, less than stellar quality and limited choices of units that Wastegate managed to complete with no future planned changes in sight. They still have to deal with Wastegate / II and now Hilton and we can see here by the questions posted it leaves them in a no mans land where nothing is clear (Que Barry Manilow "I'm back in te city where nothing is clear"). Despite the high retail prices they paid it now has virtually no resale value whatsoever. Wastegate was and is always a bad choice to purchase (Hey, I KNOW! I had one for 15+ years!) and this Tower of Terror was perhaps the worst of many bad choices. Hopefully over time owners can glean out some use and eventually dump the albatross to move on. But it has to hurt to have been sold such a line of bull by those snakes.

With the huge signs now gone and the Hilton name on the door they have made the best they can out of a bad situation. The former Aladdin property has been jinxed from the get go it seems and the Planet Hollywood/Wastegate debacles only added to the aleady poor and shady history. It was widely predicted that this was one to be avoided and unfortunately for those that got hooked that turned out to be the case. Time to close the book and let it slink into the night with it's trashy tail between it's legs. It won't be missed except as a very easy target of derision.
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Old December 28, 2012, 04:55 PM   #20
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Hi,
We traded our Starwood Sheraton Vistana Villages unit for Elara next summer through II. Does anyone know or guess if we will be assigned a newer Hilton room or one of the older Westgate units? Also, we are a family of 4, with 2 teenage sons. The comments of the pool area being a heavy party area makes me concerned and frankly a little nervous. Any advise?Thank you, Sue
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Old December 28, 2012, 09:17 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susgar View Post
We traded our Starwood Sheraton Vistana Villages unit for Elara next summer through II. Does anyone know or guess if we will be assigned a newer Hilton room or one of the older Westgate units?
Sorry, but you'll get a Westgate unit.
HGVC trades exclusively with RCI. Westgate owners trade thru II.
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Old December 28, 2012, 11:59 PM   #22
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I was considering an exchange into The Elara via HGVC. Is there really any substantial difference between the WestGate units and the HGVC units? I happen to like the food at Planet Hollywood and think the location is great. However, there is no question in my mind that the pools at HGVC on the Strip are far superior. I really miss The Las Vegas Hilton. Whenever we stayed at the Karen Ave. property, we had complimentary access to all The Las Vegas Hilton facilities.
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Old December 29, 2012, 03:58 PM   #23
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Staying at HGVC Elara second week of January. Will report back.
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Old December 29, 2012, 07:55 PM   #24
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I stayed there 3 weeks ago, booked through Hilton dot com, it was a Westgate room. I don't think there are HGVC rooms yet, they are just starting to convert the lobby. I posted a pic of the new design from a poster in the lobby.

http://tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=183746
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Old January 7, 2013, 02:41 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talent312 View Post
Sorry, but you'll get a Westgate unit.
HGVC trades exclusively with RCI. Westgate owners trade thru II.
.
What's confusing is that it is called "Elara, A Hilton Grand Vacations Club" in II now:
http://www.intervalworld.com/web/cs?...ResortCode=PHW

Which would make one assume one is renting a "Hilton" unit.

And there is no RCI equivalent resort at this time... Which is interesting since you can book RCI two years out I thought.
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