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[2015] Ritz Carlton - St. Thomas

GregT

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All,

Happy Thanksgiving to my TUG family! We have much to be thankful for in our family, and I send glad tidings to each of you.

We are here at the Ritz STT in a 3BR (Lily 4204) that we rented through redweek. We were supposed to do an Aruba trip earlier in November and had to cancel, and this became an attractive alternative.

I reference two other postings that also detail the property, one from JimF, and one from Fluke. Fluke has pictures of the unit, which I will also hope to post when I return.

This property is a great addition to the Marriott Vacation Club. The timeshare units sit to the right of the hotel and have full access to the hotel pool and beach. You can also access the water sports (hobie catamaran, paddleboards, kayaks, windsurfers, snorkel gear) for a fee of $60/day, $165 for three day, or $260 for 5 day pass. We are spending ALOT of time on the hobie catamarans and I suspect any non-serious sailor will enjoy them too. We also did a day trip on Lady Lynsey (53 foot catamaran) to Jost Van Dyke and have visited local beaches (Coki and Magen's Bay) during our trip. St. Thomas is a great island and we are really enjoying our time here.

As noted before, the timeshare units are six buildings, two of which are referred to as Suites and the remaining four are Villas. The Suites lack a full kitchen, but have a free breakfast in to the Palazzo restaurant that sits in Building 6. The Villas do not get the free breakfast, but you can certainly go and pay, it's not private. The Villas are sized similar to the new units of Maui Ocean Club, and the Living Area is the same size as the Napili Villas 3BR living area (16 x 28 sffs). With respect to the suites, I understand that they have changed the second refrigerator in the Suites to now be a freezer, which I think is a positive, however I do not know how small the remaining refrigerator is.

It is important to understand the Suites, and to reference the pictures and comments from the linked threads above, as the majority of units in the Trust are Suites, and not Villas. There is a limited number of units in the Trust, and from watching over the last few months, they fill very quickly. It is similar to the booking pattern for any of the highest demand properties, which require booking right at inventory release. As I understand it, each Interval in the Trust consists of two Winter Weeks and one Summer Week, so there should be reasonable availability between November - April, and then again June - August. I think Marriott is releasing the first winter week 13 months out, and the second winter week 6 months out, but I am not sure. I note in the point chart that it blocks the other weeks (May, Sept/Oct), and I assume that MVC simply rents those weeks for their own business, or does whatever maintenance or renovation is needed.

There are many things to like about St. Thomas in comparison to Maui, which is our home resort. The water here is fantastic, likely 10 degrees warmer than Maui and clearer with that unique blue color that the Caribbean is famous for. The waves (if any) are gentle, reducing your entry/exit risk. The Ritz property itself, and its different water features noted above, have entertainment for all. Maui is much more accessible (from the West Coast) and it is easier to get around via car or via walking, and lacks the poverty that one sees frequently in the islands. And the mosquitoes seems less prevalent -- so advantages to both locations.

The timeshare sales team still pitch this as the Ritz Carlton Destination Club, but admit that it is really just MVC. They tell us sales are fantastic, as visitors come from the east coast, and buy 5,000 - 15,000 points with some frequency and with a 33% success rate. Our sales rep came from MFC, where he said he was closer to a 20% success rate, selling 1,500 - 3,500 points on average. While taking all of this with the standard grain of salt, I believe it, and now that the shock of the integration is over, this property would sell extremely well to well-heeled east coasters.

It is great for us that this property is now in the Trust, as the points chart is now fixed, and we benefit from the contractual access to the hotel. It is unfortunate for the original Ritz owners as they fund the MFs on the property that is now accessible to us ------ this is a little bit like the Harborside at Atlantis situation, where owners of HRA pay the freight for a unique property, and the system rules permit others to access the same property with their StarOptions currency.

I hope this is helpful, and I'm happy to answer any questions. I will hope to post pictures when I return.

Best,

Greg
 
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GregT

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Marriott: Maui Ocean Club Lahaina Villas (3BRx5), Ko Olina, Shadow Ridge II, Willow Ridge, Aruba Ocean Club, DC Points HGVC: Flamingo, Sea World, I-Drive, Starwood Bella (x4), SDO, TradeWinds, Worldmark
They've also added grills, there are now three on the property. One of the grills is by Building 5 and 6, where the Suites are. Another is by Lily where I am, and not sure where the third one is.

Best,

Greg
 

dioxide45

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Greg, I always like reading your descriptions of the properties. You seem to look out for many of the same things that I always keep an eye out for. It sounds like a great place and hope you are having a great time. We will make it to St Thomas for a land based vacation one of these days. It is a great island and I sure would like to make it to BVI, even if for a side boat trip.
 

NYFLTRAVELER

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Thank you. Enjoy your trip. A couple of questions if I may as we are set to travel to STT (MVCI Frenchman's Cove) in a few weeks....

How close is this property to the MVCI Frenchman's Cove TS Resort?

As a MVCI DC owner, if we are staying at MVCI Frenchman's Cove TS Resort, do we have access to the Ritz (similar to how [i've been told] we can access all restaurants and amenities at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef & Morningstar Resort)?

Any suggestions for meals, activities, etc?

What offers (if any) are being pitched on the TS tour? What was the 'gift' for attending?
 

GregT

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Thank you. Enjoy your trip. A couple of questions if I may as we are set to travel to STT (MVCI Frenchman's Cove) in a few weeks....

How close is this property to the MVCI Frenchman's Cove TS Resort?

As a MVCI DC owner, if we are staying at MVCI Frenchman's Cove TS Resort, do we have access to the Ritz (similar to how [i've been told] we can access all restaurants and amenities at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef & Morningstar Resort)?

Any suggestions for meals, activities, etc?

What offers (if any) are being pitched on the TS tour? What was the 'gift' for attending?

MFC is about a 30 minute drive from here, but I do not believe that MFC guests can access the hotel amenities. The restaurants are definitely open to all, and I think the beaches are open to the public, but the beach is not a destination beach, there are others that are much better.

We ate on-site in either our room, or the hotel restaurant, and I was happy to see the addition of the grills. We ate out twice, and both times we actually just walked next door to the Elysian, where Caribbean Fish Market and Sangrias are (two different restaurants). We have fond memories of Elysian from previous visits, and so it was a combination of nostalgia and practicality. Other VI'ers would need to give genuine feedback on restaurants as my experience this week can not be classified as adventurous.

They were offering $200 in Ritz dollars for the timeshare tour. It was instructive, but no real new information available to us.

I hope you make it to MFC and/or the Ritz soon!

Best,

Greg
 

mjm1

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Greg, thanks for sharing your experience. We stayed at MFC for a few days a couple of years ago and enjoyed it, but didn't have a chance to visit the Ritz. Glad you enjoyed it.

Mike
 

GregT

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I'm responding to a question raised by Fasttr in a different thread, but leaving it here since this is more specific to Ritz STT.

The original question was that there are two different 2BR designations (Suites and Villas), but the search engine does not differentiate and give the option to the searcher to look for one or the other.

That is correct, and when I've searched for availability for a 2BR unit, it has sometimes shown me both units as available under the 2BR option. They were for different check-in dates, and I do not know if the system knows how to handle if both are available for the same check-in date. I will try to figure that out.

Separately, here are a few pictures of the kitchen (I was most interested in it because it was different from the full kitchen in our Villa).

Best,

Greg


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Old Hickory

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This property is a great addition to the Marriott Vacation Club.

Greg,

I'm confused. As an MVC owner, elsewhere, is this property available to me in both/either an exchange and/or destination points?

I'm a weeks owner who uses II to exchange. We are planning a return to St. Thomas for our 20th wedding anniversary in 2017. Having a choice is nice.
 

GregT

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Greg,

I'm confused. As an MVC owner, elsewhere, is this property available to me in both/either an exchange and/or destination points?

I'm a weeks owner who uses II to exchange. We are planning a return to St. Thomas for our 20th wedding anniversary in 2017. Having a choice is nice.

Old Hickory,

As Fasttr has noted, it is available from MVC via Destination Points, however availability is spotty. It is definitely worth exploring, because it is a great property, but I wouldn't count on it.

Best,

Greg
 

GregT

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Old Hickory,

As Fasttr has noted, it is available from MVC via Destination Points, however availability is spotty. It is definitely worth exploring, because it is a great property, but I wouldn't count on it.

Best,

Greg

I was just able to book a 2017 reservation (which was an experiment) and it required 56% of the points to be Trust Points. A minimum of 2,775 Trust Points for a 4,925 reservation.

We may see this as a requirement for this property, 13 months out. Elected points will likely work closer to check-in, but availability will be spotty.

Best,

Greg
 

Superchief

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I was just able to book a 2017 reservation (which was an experiment) and it required 56% of the points to be Trust Points. A minimum of 2,775 Trust Points for a 4,925 reservation.

We may see this as a requirement for this property, 13 months out. Elected points will likely work closer to check-in, but availability will be spotty.

Best,

Greg

Thanks for the tip. I own 1500 trust points per year and can bank the extra two years, so I will hold my trust points for those difficult weeks that are trust heavy.

Some of the RC properties look very nice and are a good value during the off season weeks. Our sales person on a recent tour in Oceana Palms pointed out some great value opportunities in Vail RC. We typically like summer mountain trips, so this is on our future list to try.
 

TravelTime

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I was just able to book a 2017 reservation (which was an experiment) and it required 56% of the points to be Trust Points. A minimum of 2,775 Trust Points for a 4,925 reservation.

We may see this as a requirement for this property, 13 months out. Elected points will likely work closer to check-in, but availability will be spotty.

Best,

Greg

Hi Greg, I know this is an old thread. However, is it still true that some destinations require a certain number of trust points? I thought that has changed.
 

Steve Fatula

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Hi Greg, I know this is an old thread. However, is it still true that some destinations require a certain number of trust points? I thought that has changed.

For my reservation in a month, I just looked and I used 2750 elected points, 600 plus points, and, 50 actual trust points.
 

TravelTime

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For my reservation in a month, I just looked and I used 2750 elected points, 600 plus points, and, 50 actual trust points.

So I guess that means you do not need any trust points anymore to stay at the Ritz St Thomas. This is good to hear since we have been told elected points are the same as trust points.
 

Steve Fatula

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So I guess that means you do not need any trust points anymore to stay at the Ritz St Thomas. This is good to hear since we have been told elected points are the same as trust points.

Yeah, I didn't use the trust points because it made me, I used them because they were expiring first.
 

Dean

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I had something weird happen today. I don't think it's related to trust vs other points but I can't be sure though I suspect it's related to the website and it's issues. There was a unit online and when I went to book, it said I didn't have enough points. Clearly I had plenty that were applicable at the time needed. So I called in and the rep saw the same thing and also thought it weird since the points were there. He was able to bypass and force the reservation though I'm not sure how. I don't recall seeing this particular glitch reported but might have missed it. The other thing I've seen the last week or 2 is when I search it looks like there is availability when there is none. For example, one search says "We have found 1 of 1 resorts that may have availability" but then when you check availability there is none. It's a non lockout resort so it's not that. I'll be glad when IT gets past the current integration and it's above and beyond issues.
 

GregT

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So I guess that means you do not need any trust points anymore to stay at the Ritz St Thomas. This is good to hear since we have been told elected points are the same as trust points.
Travel Time, I really don’t know. I can sight weeks but because I have Trust Points maybe that overcomes a filter. I do notice that it often allocates Trust Points favorably over elected Points but I’m able to get Marriott to recycle the points and put in the Elected Points.

So not really sure - but I think it is possible to favor Trust Points when inventory is released.

Best,

Greg
 
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