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At the Grand Waikikian & not overly impressed.

dougp26364

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We checked in this weekend to a 1 bedroom premier unit at the Grand Waikikian. We choose this unit for a few reasons, none of them really very good. We had excess points that needed to be used, it was what was available when we wanted to book (exactly9 months out), we like to see different units/timeshares when we can and, it had a washer/dryer combo in the room.

I have to say, after having stayed in the Lagoon Tower a couple of years back, my opinion is the extra points required to stay in the GW just aren't worth it. The unit is smallish (I'm thinking 800 to 900 sq. ft). The view is nice but, it's a high rise view. I'm not enjoying the location and don't find it convenient compared to the lagoon tower. The kitchen isn't very functional and doesn't have a lot of things with which to prepare meals. Finally, I find the dining table to be somewhat uncomfortable to use. Of course, this is all just one persons opinion.

I think what bothers me the most is the increased number of points HGVC requires for these units. They are very nice for the most part but, I just don't find them to be worth double the points (rough estimate since I'm not looking at the web site). HGVC could have done better by it's owners if they'd had kept the points totals closer to the Lagoon Tower but, I guess they needed the increased pricing that comes with selling more points to make the profit they needed. As far as reservations go, I think I'll either stick with the Lagoon Tower or try the Kalia Tower next time.

I have started to post pictures of the unit and the resort to our Webshots page. You can view them by clicking the link in my signature below. The album is still a work in progress and I'll be updating and tweeking it for the next week or two. I also have an album on the same page from our Lagoon Tower stay in 2009 on the same page for comparison purposes. I do not have pics of the lack of kitchen cookware but will try to get some taken and posted before we leave.
 

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I've always thought 800-900 sq. ft is rather huge for a 1BR.
 

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Doug, I agree with you. GW isn't worth the extra points. I haven't stayed there but have seen several units. As far as I'm concerned, the only advantage over Lagoon and Kalia is having a washer/dryer in the unit instead of down the hall.
 

dougp26364

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I've always thought 800-900 sq. ft is rather huge for a 1BR.
My sense of space is probably way off. Thinking about it, the first timeshare we ever purchased was a 2 bedroom at Polo Towers and, if memory serves me correctly, the entire 2 bedroom unit is a little over 900 sq. ft.

The one bedroom portion of our Polo Towers unit has larger kitchen than the unit we're in, it has enough room in the living area for a couch and a chair, this unit does not. It also has enough space for a small table with 4 chairs. This unit has a indenture in the wall with a small table and a bench for sitting. However, this unit has a larger master bedroom/bathroom than the Polo Towers unit.

It very well could be that this one bedroom is more in the 600 sq. ft. range. At any rate, the only one bedroom we've stayed in that is either comparable or smaller would be the unit we stayed in at Marriott's Custom House in Boston. For the cost in points, this unit is very small and not worth the extra points spent. It's probably the reason I can see this type of unit more frequently than almost any other unit at HHV. Expensive, small and not the best location.
 

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I have the same issue with Kingsland. Nice to stay but kind of small and not worth the extra points.

However the big problem that I see, is that owners here get more points, book the lesser point Lagoon tower and Kalia tower units, and still have points to spare. Heck that is what I would do.

However, the unplanned ramifications are that it used to be possible to book HHV now it is nearly impossible without planning at exactly 9 months out. They get snapped up quickly.

So instead of having an upscale product, you have a larger pool of people trying to book the cheaper units, at the other locations.
 

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Doug,

I agree with you -- I've toured Grand Waikikian (not stayed there), and I wasn't very impressed with the view categories, and the rooms themselves didn't seem to warrant the points premium.

Since I bought Hilton with a keen interest in its 1BR's, I've studied them a little bit. I noted that there is only a single 1BR on the Diamond Head Side (which it looks like you're in!) and four 1BRs on the Ewa side (which seems less desirable due to the blocked view from that building and the proximity to the road -- Ala Moana?) I figured the odds were very high that I would be on the Ewa side if I booked a 1BR.....

I'm sorry that it's not exactly that you'd hoped for.....

All the best,

Greg
 
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I agree with the majority.
have stayed in all the HHV towers, and the Waikikian is my least favorite.
I would stay there again, but only if it was in open season, and that was all that was available.
(open season rates are the same regardless of what tower you stay in).

pacman
 

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The extra points for the newer properties was annoying enough, but us Lagoon tower owners got a triple dose of pain -- the second of which is utter lack of availability of our preferred location.

The third is massively increased Maintenance Fees. The new pool area is nice I suppose, but my fees have DOUBLED over the course of the past 5-6 years and it's all to pay for Grand Waikikian additions. I for one don't consider it a fair trade.

And I still can't believe NO-ONE reviewed the pool design plans to see that the two slides slammed into each other. Sheesh! Maybe if they had iPads they could've opened that "PoolDesign.pdf" attachment? :)

What really chafes my hide though is how HGVC personnel either live in Stupidland or assume that's where I reside. I asked them repeatedly over the past few years why my MF's went up so much and they never had an answer, much less THE answer.

Ditto when I asked why there's never any availability for HHV. They just say "it's really busy". How can it be any "busier" than the number of weeks sold?

Oh and as to the quality of the Grand Waikikian itself, I agree it's "nicer" than Lagoon tower -- but not by much. Where you really see the difference is in the 2BR & 3BR units.

Oddly, my favorite tower to stay is Kalia because they have both the gym and the Starbucks. :)

Finally, please don't take this the wrong way -- I'm still happy with my HGVC ownership. It could be much worse (friends always tell me of Starwood horror stories). But HHV certainly is pushing things...

Cheers,
ALF
 

dougp26364

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Doug,

I agree with you -- I've toured Grand Waikikian (not stayed there), and I wasn't very impressed with the view categories, and the rooms themselves didn't seem to warrant the points premium.

Since I bought Hilton with a keen interest in its 1BR's, I've studied them a little bit. I noted that there is only a single 1BR on the Diamond Head Side (which it looks like you're in!) and four 1BRs on the Ewa side (which seems less desirable due to the blocked view from that building and the proximity to the road -- Ala Moana?) I figured the odds were very high that I would be on the Ewa side if I booked a 1BR.....

I'm sorry that it's not exactly that you'd hoped for.....

All the best,

Greg
As I understand it, the premier units are the units with views towards Diamond Head, which is why I spent the extra points for a premier unit. I didn't want the view towards the city and the potential for street noise.

Don't get me wrong, the unit is very nice and the view is OK. If it took the same number of points to book a GW premier unit as a Lagoon Tower plus unit, I wouldn't feel nearly as bad. But wow, this unit is twice the points of Lagoon Tower? HGVC got greedy on this one IMHO. As a result, the rest of HGVC membership got the shaft.

As mentioned in a post above I can see why this particular unit was easier to get than the Lagoon Tower. I can see owners in GW buying the points required to stay in GW but trying to get a lower cost unit in LT.
 

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As I understand it, the premier units are the units with views towards Diamond Head, which is why I spent the extra points for a premier unit. I didn't want the view towards the city and the potential for street noise.
Yes, you are correct -- the only units that are 1BR Premier are the Diamond Head side units, and it looks like approx the top 12 floors are the Premier Units.

Good luck, I hope you are enjoying Oahu!

Best,

Greg
 

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I really doubt if people are buying GW to trade down to the other towers, people buying from the developer are not that savvy yet and TUGers go after locations with lower mfs. Lagoon is close to sold out, I think the low vacancy is due to home week owners using them. I always book my lagoon at the 12 month mark due to the high demand and low number of units (I own the OF).
 

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I really doubt if people are buying GW to trade down to the other towers, people buying from the developer are not that savvy yet and TUGers go after locations with lower mfs. Lagoon is close to sold out, I think the low vacancy is due to home week owners using them. I always book my lagoon at the 12 month mark due to the high demand and low number of units (I own the OF).
1) I don't think "trade down" is a proper characterization...certainly by the likes of this thread, it's a trade up.

2) I agree, many if not most GW buyers may not be this savvy, however, it doesn't take long for one to figure out that you can vacation for longer or more often if you stay in the cheaper point resorts. As that happens, it will be harder and harder to trade into the better value towers at HHV. The sheer volume of points being sold at the GW and KL means it won't take that many savvy owners to start to swamp the system. Hopefully the introduction of the lower point units at KL will alleviate the issue on the Big Island, but who knows what will happen with the new towers at HHV.


As to the GW, I couldn't agree more with the sentiments of this thread. We stayed 3 nights in a 1 bedroom (not premier) and were very unimpressed. The furnishings are great, but that's about all the GW has going for it. Small units, HORRIBLE views for the non-premier units and a premium on points. That combined with the overly dense and claustrophobic feeling HHV is getting, really turned us off.
 

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1) I don't think "trade down" is a proper characterization...certainly by the likes of this thread, it's a trade up.

2) I agree, many if not most GW buyers may not be this savvy, however, it doesn't take long for one to figure out that you can vacation for longer or more often if you stay in the cheaper point resorts.
You are so correct.
 

dougp26364

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Yes, you are correct -- the only units that are 1BR Premier are the Diamond Head side units, and it looks like approx the top 12 floors are the Premier Units.

Good luck, I hope you are enjoying Oahu!

Best,

Greg
I'm pretty certain the premier units are the top 12 floors beneath the Penthouse units, meaning the premier units really aren't the top 12 floors. In looking at our unit loction when standing outside, we're about midway up the building. I don't believe our unit is quite as high as the penthouse units of the Lagoon tower.

It's a nice unit with a nice view. I just can't say it's worth the extra points HGVC requires to reserve this unit/view over the Lagoon or Kalia units. Of course I'm saying that never having stayed in the Kalia tower.
 

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I'm pretty certain the premier units are the top 12 floors beneath the Penthouse units, meaning the premier units really aren't the top 12 floors. In looking at our unit loction when standing outside, we're about midway up the building. I don't believe our unit is quite as high as the penthouse units of the Lagoon tower.

It's a nice unit with a nice view. I just can't say it's worth the extra points HGVC requires to reserve this unit/view over the Lagoon or Kalia units. Of course I'm saying that never having stayed in the Kalia tower.
You are indeed correct -- it is the top 12 floors beneath the Penthouse Units. Thanks for the clarification!
 

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I really doubt if people are buying GW to trade down to the other towers, people buying from the developer are not that savvy yet and TUGers go after locations with lower mfs. Lagoon is close to sold out, I think the low vacancy is due to home week owners using them. I always book my lagoon at the 12 month mark due to the high demand and low number of units (I own the OF).
It's been a while since I've been to a owners update or sales presentation but, the last one we went on, the salesmen were selling the idea of buying one location with the intention of staying at others. I could see HGVC using the extra points to push the idea that a new buyer could buy GW and stretch those extra premier 1 bedroom points into 2 bedroom stays at the LT.

I know when we purchased in Las Vegas, one of the big selling points they were hitting on was buy LV with lower MF's and reserve in Hawaii. They were really selling Hawaii even though the deeds where in Vegas. When someone bought, I'd hear the salesman introducing the new buyers to his manager and then tell him, "and mr and mrs Jones are going to HAWAII!" Savy had nothing to do with it. That's how units were being sold.

Our original purchase was in 2002. At that time, reserving a unit in the Lagoon Tower wasn't all that difficult at 9 months. In the ensuing years it's become progressively more difficult. For this vacation, the only thing available at 9 months was this particular unit. The most expensive of the 1 bedrooms. I'm assuming (could be wrong of course) it's because of the pressure created when salesmen sell the ability to manipulate and stretch points based reservations (HGVC isn't the only sales force to do this).

When one of your pitch lines for Orlando and Vegas is buy here but reserve there, it's bound to create more pressure on inventory. I can easily see salesmen selling 1 bedroom premier units and telling the buyers that they can reserve the 2 bedroom units BUT pay the MF's of a 1 bedroom unit. The idea is planted long before an owner walks out of the sales floor and, it's a strong selling point for families who can't afford the larger 2 bedroom units or don't want to pay the MF's on the 2 bedroom units.

I'm sure there has also become a large degree of LT owners protecting there time in Hawaii by booking their home units. In my mind at least, I can't see owning a LT unit and paying the higher MF's to trade into Vegas or Orlando. I'd own to stay there.

I really think the difficulty in making club reservations for HHV has become a combination of how HGVC's product has been sold as well as owners who use home reservation priority can be important. That doesn't stop the salesmen from telling the point stretching story to sell a smaller unit when the buyer really needs a larger unit or, selling a different location when the buyer really wants to go to Hawaii.

By comparison, do a search for Orlando and Las Vegas units sometime. There always seems to be plenty of units in every size and view available. On our last update tour, that's how I got out of the presentation. They wanted us to buy a penthouse unit and my responce was "Why? They're always available to reserve online." HGVC has oversold the idea of buy anywhere or anything and reserve in Hawaii using the club reservation window. Thus easy reservations everywhere else and tough sledding to get the reservation of your choice in Hawaii.
 

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I agree with the clarifications, its point stretching not trade down. I agree also its how the sales people sell them, like trading from Vegas, its not such a good strategy now for Lagoon because demand is so high from owners and traders. I doubt if that will change even as they build more towers. The 2br OF are the best units at HHV imo.
 

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I agree with the clarifications, its point stretching not trade down. I agree also its how the sales people sell them, like trading from Vegas, its not such a good strategy now for Lagoon because demand is so high from owners and traders. I doubt if that will change even as they build more towers. The 2br OF are the best units at HHV imo.
This is why I always advise it's best to own where you want to go. In the past, the advice with HGVC were points are points. Buy where it's cheapest and reserve were you want to stay using the club reservations window. As we can see, that strategy maybe isn't so good now if you always want to go to Hawaii.

We originally purchased in Vegas because that's were we wanted to go. The salesmen couldn't tell the sales manager that we just bought and we were going to Hawaii. Hawaii was always a nice side benefit. As it is, we've owned since 2002 and have only traveled to HHV twice.
 

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Doug,

Any change in your views on staying at GW as the week has progressed?

Thanks!
 

dougp26364

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Doug,

Any change in your views on staying at GW as the week has progressed?

Thanks!
Not really. The building is slightly inconvenient compared to the lagoon tower. It's still a smallish unit. The kitchen still doesn't have adaquate supplies for cooking in the unit (IMHO). But the biggest complaint that won't change is the cost in points to reserve what I consider an inferior location.

We had an issue with the Phillips TV in the bedroom last night. When we went to shut it off, the picture went off but the sound continued. Maintenance had to come up and throw a breaker to get it to shut off and reset itself. This is the second timeshare vacation where we've had flat panel TV issues. We had issues with the 42 inch LG TV on our last Marriott vacation.

Don't get me wrong. The unit is typical HGVC quality and it is a nice view. If the premier 1 bedroom was all that was available and I had the points to burn, I'd reserve it again. However, if there was a Lagoon Tower 1 bedroom available I'd book it in a heartbeat over this unit. For that matter, when we come back, I anticipate looking for Lagoon Tower first, Kalia Tower second and Grand Waikikian only if nothing else is available.

It's not so much the unit, or even the location that turns me off. It's the number of points to book what I don't consider the best location or view. Sure the unit has upgrades over Lagoon Tower but, not enough to warrant spending the excessive amount of points HGVC charges to stay in one.

One thing I can say is I doubt I'd ever consider booking a standard one bedroom unit in GW. There is no way I'd want a lower floor, city view in this building. If those were the only units available, I'd go somewhere else for vacation.
 

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If the premier 1 bedroom was all that was available and I had the points to burn, I'd reserve it again. However, if there was a Lagoon Tower 1 bedroom available I'd book it in a heartbeat over this unit. For that matter, when we come back, I anticipate looking for Lagoon Tower first, Kalia Tower second and Grand Waikikian only if nothing else is available.
Doug, this is interesting, and consistent with my current views of HHV.

I don't think you're an Open Season guy, but if you were and were paying cash, and the cash was approx the same for the 1BR Premier in GW versus the 1BR+ in Lagoon/Kalia, would you still favor Lagoon/Kalia? (It actually would cost approx $100 more for the GW, but just curious...)

Thanks!

Greg
 

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Doug, this is interesting, and consistent with my current views of HHV.

I don't think you're an Open Season guy, but if you were and were paying cash, and the cash was approx the same for the 1BR Premier in GW versus the 1BR+ in Lagoon/Kalia, would you still favor Lagoon/Kalia? (It actually would cost approx $100 more for the GW, but just curious...)

Thanks!

Greg
All things being equal, GW would be my last choice. I say this not having stayed in Kalia. Take it for what it's worth but I'll take the unknown vs GW, even if I were paying cash.
 

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(It actually would cost approx $100 more for the GW, but just curious...)
Numerous times during opean season I have seen GW units cheaper than comparable LT units. My only guess is that they are trying to get bodies in the door to attend sales presentations.
 
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