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Discussion in 'Vistana Signature Experiences (formerly Starwood)' started by yankeestom, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. yankeestom

    yankeestom Guest

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    Hello!

    I just returned from my first TS experience (at WKORVN - Hawaii is my new favorite place, ever). I'm not an owner and had never considered it before - we were just using options courtesy of my brother-in-law who owns at one of the Orlando resorts. But after the presentation I was SOOOOOOOO close to buying into Nanea, but just couldn't get past the hefty price tag. After getting home and finding this group, I'm really glad I didn't. We had such a great time that I'm now doing research into resale options, and I have a few questions:

    1. I am assuming that if I buy a fixed week at a mandatory resort, I can only use the options to book other resorts for that same fixed week. Is that correct?

    2. What is the advantage to buying at a specific resort? Is there any reason why I shouldn't just buy a week at a mandatory Florida resort and then just use the options to book in Hawaii every year?

    Thanks!
    Tom
     
  2. vacationtime1

    vacationtime1 TUG Member

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    WKORV-OF (Maui)
    WKV x3 (Scottsdale)
    Based on your vocabulary ("mandatory", "options", etc.), I infer you are looking at a Vistana resale. First, read the sticky: https://tugbbs.com/forums/index.php...-to-timesharing-or-starwood-start-here.63224/

    As to your real question -- whether you can buy a mandatory TS in Florida and use the StarOptions to reserve Hawaii -- the answer is conditionally yes. The conditions are availability eight months before check-in (not likely for summers or school holidays, otherwise yes) and whether you will have enough StarOptions (the Florida TS's don't come with 148100 SO's which is what one needs for a two bedroom unit in Hawaii). If a one bedroom unit in Hawaii works, then you will be fine; otherwise, you would have to buy two Florida units (and pay two sets of annual maintenance fees) to reserve a two bedroom in Hawaii.

    Full disclosure: we own mandatory Vistana units (Kierland) and frequently use the SO's to reserve Hawaii units.
     
  3. r1lee

    r1lee Guest

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    1. There is no such thing as a fixed week at a mandatory resort. Mandatory resorts are all floating weeks in their season (platinum, gold etc). You can see it on the staroptions chart. Fixed weeks are only for voluntary resorts, in which case you need to use II, RCI to trade.

    2. The advantage is that you get to book 1yr-8months out before it opens up to everyone else in the VS network. Basically you got first dibs in the season that you own. Who's also to say, that this trading doesn't dissappear down the road? Owning at a diff resort and booking Hawaii can be very difficult and limited during high season (Hawaii is always high season) but during times when people are more free to travel, think school time off.

    I was able to book Hawaii for next June, when school ends. But was only able to snag studio's. It was my first time, but possible to get 1bedroom. But you're competing against a lot of people.
     
  4. yankeestom

    yankeestom Guest

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    Maybe I misunderstood the listing. Someone had a resale offer posted for Harborside at Atlantis Phase 1 for "fixed week 4" and had 148,100 StarOptions in the description.
     
  5. vacationtime1

    vacationtime1 TUG Member

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    You are correct; there are a few (not many, but some) fixed, mandatory weeks. But if you are buying to trade, you care about the mandatory part, not the fixed part.
     
  6. yankeestom

    yankeestom Guest

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    Ok cool -- so buying "fixed week 4" at a mandatory resort with 148k options means I could reserve a 2BR at WKORVN any time of year, but only 8 months in advance. (so realistically, not during spring break/summer vaca/Christmas/etc when everything will be booked up earlier than that) Am I understanding that correctly?
     
  7. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    Harborside has some of the highest maintenance fees, so it's not a good value to buy there, for a Staroption trader.

    These 5 resorts are mandatory (have Staroptions on a resale) - Vistana Villages and Kierland are the most often recommend for Staroption traders:

    * Harborside at Atlantis
    * Vistana Villages (Bella and Key West phases only) - lowest purchase price - often less than $1,000
    * Westin St. John (Virgin Grand - Hillside only)
    * Westin Ka'anapali & Westin Ka'anapali-North
    * Westin Kierland Villas - lowest maintenance fees

    You cannot book Christmas and New Years week at all - they were sold as fixed weeks and you have to own them to book them.

    Other times of the year are possible, as long as you make your reservation exactly at 8 months before check-in.

    Specific holiday weeks, like Prez week, Easter week, and the 4th of July week may not be available at 8 months.

    Check-in is Fri, Sat, and Sun. Sat. gets booked up first, so if you are willing to reserve Fri. or Sun., you will find more availability at 8 months.
     
  8. yankeestom

    yankeestom Guest

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    Awesome, thanks!!
     
  9. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    One more point - with Staroptions, you can only book ocean front, and floating view (unassigned view.) However, it is really difficult to find availability for Ocean Front, so you are most likely to get floating view, which you should expect to be Island View/no view. If the view is important to you, you may want to consider buying at the Westin North or South on the resale market and buying Ocean View or Ocean Front.
     
    yankeestom likes this.
  10. vacationtime1

    vacationtime1 TUG Member

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    Exactly.

    You should price compare a 148100 SO Harborside unit against a 148100 SO Kierland unit (including projected maintenance fees) before purchasing.

    Denise's comments about view are important -- if view is important to you. You just returned from WKORVN, so you have an idea. You may wish to return and rent a unit with a specific view in order to compare before buying.

    (Don't worry; prices aren't going up while you research, contrary to what the sales staff may have told you.)
     
  11. yankeestom

    yankeestom Guest

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    Yeah, the bit about views was a big wake-up. We had a great ocean view, and I definitely don't want to buy in just to look at the parking lot. Now I'm rethinking it and will probably just lurk around periodically for the best deal at that site. I'm in no rush considering I just got back.

    Big thanks to everyone who responded!
     
  12. tomandrobin

    tomandrobin TUG Member

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    Walking away was the right thing to do. Take your time and get educated on how everything works and if Vistana is right for you.

    If the view is important, buy resale at the resort you want to own.
    If looking to buy a resale mandatory resort, go with a platinum season Kierland unit. (my opinion the best)

    I have used Kierland for Staroptions since 2004 and have had amazing success over the years.
     
  13. Smithsingeneva

    Smithsingeneva TUG Member

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    There is a lot of great information on TUG about Vistana. Another resource for you to consider is Advantage Vacation in Lahaina. Syed Sarmad is a long time Tugger and has a lot of information on his website about the Vistana system (under Westin timeshares). He also has listings and was my broker for a WKORVN resale purchase. I highly recommend him in the event you want to move forward.

    We bought a 2BR lockoff OceanView in Maui because I was worried that the StarOptions might go away someday (I am a pessimistic lawyer). We also fell in love with the property (were there on a trip I won at a charity auction). I am now thinking about adding a StarOptions trader - focusing on SVV (Bella/Key West) and maybe Kierland. The Platinum units there are the best MF per StarOption bargain, but the purchase price is significantly higher than other seasons or SVV.

    We have been very happy with our ability to use the 1BR in Maui and convert the studio to StarOptions. We have stayed at Lagunamar and SMV (Spring Break ski season) as well as SVV (which is an easy place to reserve). The Westin properties are a level above the Sheratons, but all have been nice places to stay.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  14. echino

    echino TUG Member

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    If you are not prepared to pay for view, and not required to go on a school holiday, then the cheapest way would be to buy a 2br Platinum week at Sheraton Desert Oasis for ~$1,000 or less all in, and trade into Hawaii via II, since SDO does not come with staroptions. Maintenance fees are about $1,000. You will reliably get in, with a Vistana preference. Just not likely to get a high demand week.

    If you need a good ocean view, it will cost you. You will need to buy at WKORV/N for $20-30,000 and maintenance fees are ~$3,000 for a 2br. So it's a LOT of money to guarantee the view.

    Or, just rent!
     
  15. yankeestom

    yankeestom Guest

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    If you buy a biennial usage unit, do you pay the maintenance fees every year or just the years that you get access?
     
  16. EnglishmanAbroad

    EnglishmanAbroad Guest

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    Half the annual fees every year (it works out slightly more than half as you pay the full VSN membership for every year).
     
  17. rickandcindy23

    rickandcindy23 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    There is no guarantee using exchange to get into Maui Westins. The preference doesn't necessarily equal guarantee. If you want Westin, buy Westin.
     
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  18. echino

    echino TUG Member

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    The problem is, compared to a Vistana II trader like SDO, if you buy a Maui Westin, you pay tens of thousands dollars more upfront, and ~$2,000 more per week in mantenance fees, and guess what? You are still not guaranteed a week you want! You are paying all those tens of thousands just for an increased chance. You have to be at your computer at the exact moment inventory is released, and play the reservation game to try beating others who want the same week.

    In my opinion, the price premium is not worth it in this case. It may only be worth it if you buy a fixed week 51 or 52, then you know you are guaranteed the exact week and unit you bought without a need to play games.
     
  19. Denise L

    Denise L Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    My SDO EOY 2BED LOCKOFF MFs are about $600 every year, or $1200 for one week EOY. Maybe it's less if you buy an annual because I probably get some administrative fee added on for having an EOY. Figure in Interval membership fees ($89/year unless you buy a special or more years) and exchange fees ($164-189) if you are considering this option. You could deposit the entire 2BED and do an ongoing search for a 2 bedroom. You would probably get Nanea until they are completely sold out, and then it will be harder, but possible. If you only need a 1 bedroom, you could deposit the two SDO units (1BEDA and 1BEDB), and put in an ongoing search for a 1 bedroom and usually something off-season will match for WKORV. If you needed a 2 bedroom, you could pay an upcharge fee of $59-99 if one was available (very rare at WKORV or WKORVN but possible at Nanea until they sell out).

    Buy where you want to go if you need/want the view. I was just at Nanea on an exchange and had a "wall and pillar view" and never used the lanai except to dry out my booties, but the price was definitely right. But, I came home and looked at resale prices for OF and OV at WKORV, just for fun. We've owned at WKORV since the beginning and love our OV.
     
  20. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    This is true, but it's true at all top resorts with high demand - it's the nature of the beast, it's not just Vistana. Timesharing is an advanced planning game, and if someone is not into advanced planning, then they probably shouldn't buy a timeshare.

    *I have owned at WKORV since before it opened, and I have never had a problem getting the exact date that I wanted - at 12 mos. before check-in. Sometimes people tell me they aren't sure what date to reserve, so they don't make a reservation as early as possible. It's far better to make an educated guess and make a reservation, than to put it off because of indecision. If it ends up not being the date you want, you can always rent it, or change it. But it's always better to have a reservation in hand, than to wait.
     
  21. lizap

    lizap TUG Member

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    I completely agree with this.
     
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  22. duke

    duke TUG Member

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    Your best move is to rent an OF unit from an Owner. Compare all in fees for Maui and you can get close and guarantee the date and OF view. See Redweek.com
     

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