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Awful check-in experience at Marbrisa; need advice

Oscar923

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I am a HGVC member, and have stayed at Marbrisa (both Phases 1 and 2) in Carlsbad for about 10 times. Yesterday check-in at about 4:30 pm was the worst experience I have encountered so far within the HGVC system. It was not up to Hilton standard, reflects poor management practice, a complete lack of accountability, indifferent attitude to resolve a situation, and mostly worryingly, a total disregard of owner's right.

Here is the story: I reserved a 2 bedroom in Phase 2 at Marbrisa about 9 months ago (Room code 2BR). When my family (me, wife and 2 kids) checked in yesterday, there was no 2 bedroom in Phase 2 available. The front desk lady insisted on "upgrading" me to a penthouse in Phase 1. I declined because there were no elevator access and I specifically reserved a 2 bedroom unit in Phase 2. She said she understood and the management team was looking at the rooms and asked me to wait. After waiting for a good 20 minutes, I asked how much longer it would take, and then the lady started saying that the type of reservation I made was for non-lockoff units primarily in Phase 1, and blah blah blah... I told her that I have stayed here many times, I knew what I reserved, and the reservation I made indicated that the 2 bedroom would be exclusively in Phase 2 (or the Cove neighborhood, you can look it up.) They messed up and I don't understand why they would think insulting the intelligence of the owner is a good idea.

Of course they didn't have the 2 bedroom unit for me, and the manager sent someone (her name is Lynn) to talk to me. The next 10 minutes involved Lynn saying repeatedly "I am sorry" (but I am not really because I am not doing anything to resolve the situation). There is a problem with "inventory control" (frankly you can insert any excuse here). As an owner, I was actually interested in why such a situation would occur because I wanted HGVC to improve. I asked specifically why was there an inventory control problem, what exactly was the problem, and how they came to choose to not honor my reservation when there are many 2 bedroom units in Phase 2 and many other owners making reservations, probably at a later date than mine. She just said the same thing over and over again "I am sorry" "inventory control", etc... No honest answers from the management.

My wife and I have decided to seek legal counsel to possibly subpoena their internal records to see why they picked our reservation to give away. The conversations we had with the Marbrisa management reeked of discrimination, which is something I absolutely would not tolerate. I know it sounds serious, but that's how my wife and I feel.

Other than being extremely frustrated, I think the situation has serious implications about the rights of an owner. Let say you as an owner make a reservation for an ocean front unit at Ocean Oaks in HHI, and when you show up, your reservation is not honored. You are "upgrade" to another unit that you don't want. You should be really concerned because you make the reservation 9 months ago. I would think making a reservation as an owner is different from a hotel reservation. But the management just chooses to not honor your reservation, whatever the reason behind. What would be your recourse?

Any advice from Tuggers on how to elevate this issue? Thanks for reading.
 

tompalm

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The best way to handle a situation like this is to suggest a reasonable solution. It appears someone made a mistake and those things happen. You need to suggest something that they might be able to give you and kicking someone else out of a room is not going to happen. So what can they do to make you happy. Maybe put you in the room you reserved as soon as it come available and until then compensate you with Hilton points, free dinners at a local restaurant, etc....
 

alwysonvac

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I’m very sorry about your situation. I would be extremely frustrated as well.
No one wants to start their vacation pissed off. :mad:

But as Tompalm stated kicking someone else out of a room is not going to happen. I also like what he suggested about putting your family in the room reserved as soon as it becomes available and until then compensate you (HGVC Points for each missed day + whatever else would make you satisfied for the inconvenience).

I would also follow up with HGVC Management. I don’t know who runs the front desk operations at MarBrisa. It’s either Grand Pacific or HGVC but I agree with you that it’s unacceptable. I would also include the concerns you stated and how you were simply dismissed (see section below). The issue needs to be investigated so it doesn’t happen again and management needs to review the policy with inventory control on which reservation will be sacrificed in the future if the need arises.

As an owner, I was actually interested in why such a situation would occur because I wanted HGVC to improve. I asked specifically why was there an inventory control problem, what exactly was the problem, and how they came to choose to not honor my reservation when there are many 2 bedroom units in Phase 2 and many other owners making reservations, probably at a later date than mine. She just said the same thing over and over again "I am sorry" "inventory control", etc... No honest answers from the management.

Sorry for the rough start... Try to enjoy your vacation :)
 
Last edited:

chriskre

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I had an issue at Marbrisa too once, because I reserved a unit in a building that had no elevators and we needed a walk on unit because of disability issues. That was early when HGVC took over the resort from GP so things weren't perfect. I assume it's gotten much better now that they are in total control of the resort. Luckily they were able to move me but we got there late so had we arrived after 9pm which at the time they did not have 24/7 check-in, we would have had a major problem. I only reserved a studio so they were able to accommodate me.

This is one resort that I think it's essential to call in and make sure that a vacation guide helps you choose the room and make sure you get exactly what you need.

I'm not sure what race you are and why you feel you were discriminated against but since you have been there 10 times already do you think a legal suit is really the way to go? I mean I totally understand your frustration at not getting what you wanted but in their eyes they offered you an upgrade even if you couldn't use it because of the elevator situation so not sure you'd get far with a law suit.

I think you'd be much better off putting your efforts into getting them to comp you with HH points, maybe even refund you your entire points reservation and a free meal or tickets to Legoland or whatever they offer to the tour people. Maybe a gift card so you can buy groceries or tickets to whatever the reason is you are there.

I've had good success in getting my points returned when things weren't right with my other ownerships. Luckily with HGVC there has not really been a reason yet to claim my points back but that is probably the way I would go and I am sure they have the leeway to do it to make an owner happy. That way your vacation is free and I'd ask them to put it in next years bucket so that you have plenty of time to use it.

So far Wyndham and Disney have done this for me when things were not as they should be. I always speak directly to the resort manager in private in their office and negotiate the return of my points. In Disney's case they even reimbursed me my MF's but I bought direct from Disney so they will go above and beyond to keep a direct purchase owner happy.

Good luck and let us know how it ends. Enjoy your vacation. It's such a nice area.
 

alwysonvac

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...That was early when HGVC took over the resort from GP so things weren't perfect. I assume it's gotten much better now that they are in total control of the resort.

This is not true.

This property is a Fee-for-service arrangement with Grand Pacific (GP) and also sub-managed by GP (see quote below).

2010 Press Release - https://www.businesswire.com/news/h...acific-MarBrisa-Resort-Hilton-Grand-Vacations

From pages 50 & 51 of HGV’s 2017 Annual Report http://investors.hgv.com/~/media/Fi...orts-and-presentations/annual-report-2017.pdf

As of December 31, 2017, our resorts included the following locations and units:

Property Name / Ownership(1) / Location / Units
HGVClub at MarBrisa(3) Fee-for-service Carlsbad, CA 196​

(1) Fee-for-service and collection properties are properties that were funded and constructed by a third-party developer. Collection properties are properties that were contributed by a third party during Hilton’s joint venture with Grand Vacations or prior to the spin-off. A developed property is a property that was funded and constructed by Hilton Grand Vacations. Hilton Grand Vacations also manages the operation of the developed properties.
(3) Property sub-managed by a third party.
 

Tamaradarann

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I am a HGVC member, and have stayed at Marbrisa (both Phases 1 and 2) in Carlsbad for about 10 times. Yesterday check-in at about 4:30 pm was the worst experience I have encountered so far within the HGVC system. It was not up to Hilton standard, reflects poor management practice, a complete lack of accountability, indifferent attitude to resolve a situation, and mostly worryingly, a total disregard of owner's right.

Here is the story: I reserved a 2 bedroom in Phase 2 at Marbrisa about 9 months ago (Room code 2BR). When my family (me, wife and 2 kids) checked in yesterday, there was no 2 bedroom in Phase 2 available. The front desk lady insisted on "upgrading" me to a penthouse in Phase 1. I declined because there were no elevator access and I specifically reserved a 2 bedroom unit in Phase 2. She said she understood and the management team was looking at the rooms and asked me to wait. After waiting for a good 20 minutes, I asked how much longer it would take, and then the lady started saying that the type of reservation I made was for non-lockoff units primarily in Phase 1, and blah blah blah... I told her that I have stayed here many times, I knew what I reserved, and the reservation I made indicated that the 2 bedroom would be exclusively in Phase 2 (or the Cove neighborhood, you can look it up.) They messed up and I don't understand why they would think insulting the intelligence of the owner is a good idea.

Of course they didn't have the 2 bedroom unit for me, and the manager sent someone (her name is Lynn) to talk to me. The next 10 minutes involved Lynn saying repeatedly "I am sorry" (but I am not really because I am not doing anything to resolve the situation). There is a problem with "inventory control" (frankly you can insert any excuse here). As an owner, I was actually interested in why such a situation would occur because I wanted HGVC to improve. I asked specifically why was there an inventory control problem, what exactly was the problem, and how they came to choose to not honor my reservation when there are many 2 bedroom units in Phase 2 and many other owners making reservations, probably at a later date than mine. She just said the same thing over and over again "I am sorry" "inventory control", etc... No honest answers from the management.

My wife and I have decided to seek legal counsel to possibly subpoena their internal records to see why they picked our reservation to give away. The conversations we had with the Marbrisa management reeked of discrimination, which is something I absolutely would not tolerate. I know it sounds serious, but that's how my wife and I feel.

Other than being extremely frustrated, I think the situation has serious implications about the rights of an owner. Let say you as an owner make a reservation for an ocean front unit at Ocean Oaks in HHI, and when you show up, your reservation is not honored. You are "upgrade" to another unit that you don't want. You should be really concerned because you make the reservation 9 months ago. I would think making a reservation as an owner is different from a hotel reservation. But the management just chooses to not honor your reservation, whatever the reason behind. What would be your recourse?

Any advice from Tuggers on how to elevate this issue? Thanks for reading.

You don't say why you needed a unit with elevator access. Did you make this clear to the resort management? If this is a disability issue the resort management did need to extend themselves further than they did. If it is due to a luggage or grocery transportation issue, I am sure that management would have made staff available to accommodate you.

We actually have had problems with 2 BR units that we were assigned at RCI resorts that were not HGVC since they had 2 flights of stairs that had to be negotiated without elevators with our numbers of heavy suitcases and food for 6 people. In one resort they offered a ground level unit as the alternative. In the other resort they had a young strong gentleman meet us at move in to help us..

While I understand your frustration with not getting the specific unit you reserved, there could be extenuating circumstances that made you desired assignment not possible. The room could have had damage that needed to be addressed before occupancy and it was taken off line. Another similar unit could have had damage that needed to be addressed and the occupants had to be moved to the vacant unit that you desired. The resort management was not going to move those occupants again, therefore, they were giving you an upgrade to accommodate you.
 

holdaer

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Oscar923,

What a major bummer! Yes, reserving a specific unit type and then not getting it is so frustrating. Couple of thoughts:

1. Marbrisa management should offer you bonus points as compensation to use on another vacation.
2. Upgraded unit is a reasonable offer since no other 2BR in Cove was available.

Tip:

I usually call the resort 1 week before check in to request a building or floor. Since you've been to Marbrisa numerous times, next time, call 1 week before check in and request a building in The Cove and request a floor. They will put it in their notes and do their best to accommodate your request. No guarantees but I've had a lot of success doing this.

Wishing you joy and happiness on your next HGVC vacation.
 

presley

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I think sloppy management created the problem. I had a problem there several years ago and they had to put me in the wrong room and move me the next day. The manager didn't seemed bothered by it at all, like she didn't care one way or the other if they gave us the right room. I actually don't think she ever said "sorry" about anything.

I wouldn't bother with the people at the resort at this point. Just call owner services and escalate on the phone with HGVC directly. Maybe ask for a supervisor before you even start to tell the story. If you genuinely feel discriminated, share that with them. Be clear on what it is that you want. They may feel that offering you the penthouse was enough. You need to be clear and forceful that it was not what you wanted and you expect to be compensated for it.

I don't think an attorney can do anything for you unless you can prove it is discrimination and not a room inventory issue.
 

chriskre

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This is not true.

This property is a Fee-for-service arrangement with Grand Pacific (GP) and also sub-managed by GP (see quote below).

2010 Press Release - https://www.businesswire.com/news/h...acific-MarBrisa-Resort-Hilton-Grand-Vacations

My bad.
I don't follow the GP resorts since I rarely stay there.
Thanks for the correction.
So it's an affiliate?
Or is it a hybrid situation where GP and HGVC own different phases?
The front desk at the time told me that HGVC was building newer
buildings with elevators because of course I voiced my displeasure
that a brand new resort had only stairs in this day and age and she
said that the HGVC buildings would have elevators so it wouldn't be
an issue in the future.

I thought since you can book it online that it was a true HGVC since
the affiliates you have to call in to book which is a pain in the behind.
 

taterhed

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.....
I'm not sure what race you are and why you feel you were discriminated against but since you have been there 10 times already do you think a legal suit is really the way to go? ....

First: @chriskre I am absolutely NOT picking on you. Really.

Who said anything about RACE. Since when is RACE the only discrimination factor?

Second: I don't care or want to know why the OP felt discriminated against--that's their business and their issue. It's definitely a 'you had to be there' issue anyway. If they were made to feel 'second class' in any way....then that's what they feel and should make CS and MGT aware of the issue so it can be addressed or at least reviewed. I sincerely hope that no one carries this issue further...as it is political and sensitive etc.... It is what it is. Let it lie.

Third: For the OP: I agree with the other posters. I would work on a positive approach that makes you feel like your issues have been addressed and you are being respected as an owner and a guest. I can not imagine that HGVC wouldn't want you to be a satisfied and valued customer. While a legal approach may produce more concrete and actionable results, is it really worth that much effort and angst? We experienced a similar issue with MVC and an ADA room, but in the end, they were quick to find an amicable situation that made us feel like valued owners.

I hope you find a path to resolution, and thanks for taking the time to address this--not just for your stay--but for the other owners and guests to come.
 

tk25

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law suit is ridiculous and frivolous with much more stress created and minimal if any potential payback. No lawyer will take this case unless you pay them. Do you really want to do that? If what you say is true I'm sure resort will compensate you in a fair way with many reasonable suggestions already noted above
 

PigsDad

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I think there is a pattern here with their "inventory control". We stayed there over a year ago, and while we had not problem at check in, the day before we were scheduled to check out we get a knock on the door in late morning asking when we would be cleared out of the room. What? Our reservation was until the next day, and I checked online and confirmed I was not mistaken. Well, I had to go down to the front desk and even though I was showing on my phone that I was correct, they kept insisting that my check out day was that day. I had to get them to call the HGVC office to confirm that I was correct. The whole process took close to an hour to get straightened out. Quite frustrating!

Kurt
 

chriskre

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First: @chriskre I am absolutely NOT picking on you. Really.

Who said anything about RACE. Since when is RACE the only discrimination factor?

Second: I don't care or want to know why the OP felt discriminated against--that's their business and their issue. It's definitely a 'you had to be there' issue anyway. If they were made to feel 'second class' in any way....then that's what they feel and should make CS and MGT aware of the issue so it can be addressed or at least reviewed. I sincerely hope that no one carries this issue further...as it is political and sensitive etc.... It is what it is. Let it lie.

I understand but for me race IS the first thing that comes to mind
for me since I am hispanic heritage and have experienced it first
hand in some areas of the country.

Obviously it would not be an issue in California but it's happened to me
here in my own state of Florida when some have heard us speak Spanish.
This is the south after all once you go a few hours north of Miami/Ft.
Lauderdale it can be an issue, especially if you are stopped by a cop.

I was definitely not trying to make any political statements.
I hope it didn't come across that way but apparently some might
see it that way. So just wanted to clarify that I too have been a
victim of being a "spic" and discrimination so it was coming from
my personal experience. Yup people still use that term in some
parts of my state.
 

HGVC Lover

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law suit is ridiculous and frivolous with much more stress created and minimal if any potential payback. No lawyer will take this case unless you pay them. Do you really want to do that? If what you say is true I'm sure resort will compensate you in a fair way with many reasonable suggestions already noted above

I agree. We are at Marbrisa now with family and we were at the counter the other evening when some people were checking in and said they were not happy with the situation.

I am not sure if Marbrisa is a true HGVC or a hybrid but we had no problem with the staff and front desk and they gladly accommodated us in a room in the Cove area with pool view upon request at the counter even though we originally had been assigned a room in a different part of the resort.

We have been with HGVC for 18 years (own 28,000 HGVC yearly points) and we know that in the HGVC system you can only be guaranteed a type of room and not necessarily location of the room or what floor you want. If you get to know the staff at different resorts over time they will do everything they can to accommodate your request but it may not happen.

It might be a guest who is more use to RCI system. Anyway....I do not think they have a case for any type of suite and were just being unrealistic and unaccepting of the situation IMHO. I am for Team HGVC!!!
 

taterhed

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Again...this is NOT political.

There are many factors that can be discriminated against...and most if not all are simply wrong.
Please, lets not lock the thread.
 

alwysonvac

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...I am not sure if Marbrisa is a true HGVC or a hybrid but we had no problem with the staff and front desk and they gladly accommodated us in a room in the Cove area with pool view upon request at the counter even though we originally had been assigned a room in a different part of the resort.
OMG, I simply don’t understand. How do you get a room in the Cove section when the OP booked a room code (2BR) which guarantees a room assignment in the Cove Section (see image).

D7F9FB04-55F6-4C42-90A5-F1AFEB08416D.png
 

HGVC Lover

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OMG, I simply don’t understand. How do you get a room in the Cove section when the OP booked a room code (2BR) which guarantees a room assignment in the Cove Section (see image).

View attachment 7131

There are way more factors that go into getting a HGVC room other then type of room booked. Availability, length of stay, HGVC status, timing of check-in, interaction with front desk staff, etc.

So don't blame me for what I got and someone else did not. I am sure the Marbrisa staff have an entirely different story on what the issue was....I am not aware anywhere in the HGVC policies that anything is "guaranteed!" Also, The Cove Neighborhood does not necessarily mean near the pools.
 

brp

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Again...this is NOT political.

There are many factors that can be discriminated against...and most if not all are simply wrong.
Please, lets not lock the thread.

Agree completely, and also not going to get political. However, for something to be discrimination, the actions have to be done based on some defined characteristic (race, gender, orientation, identification, for example), and not specific to an incident of poor inventory control. So, for one to assume discrimination, presumably there is some characteristic that they feel was the cause of the discrimination. Since the OP specifically mentioned this, seems reasonable to ask about it.

As reference, MW specifically says, for discrimination: "the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually." https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discrimination

Cheers.
 

Oscar923

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OMG, I simply don’t understand. How do you get a room in the Cove section when the OP booked a room code (2BR) which guarantees a room assignment in the Cove Section (see image).

View attachment 7131

Thanks for pointing it out. I reserved specifically for Phase 2 (2BR) so one would expect to receive a room in Phase 2. All buildings in Phase 2 have elevator access.

As an owner, I would like to better understand the issue. So I asked them specific questions and got no straight honest answers. That is the frustrating part. I am very low key and don't want to draw attention to me and my family. I am trying to understand what is going on.

1) what exactly was the inventory control problem?
2) How did it happen? Who is responisible for controlling inventory?
3) I understand mistakes do happen. Nonetheless, when a problem arises, whose reservations would get dropped first by the management? Let say you have 10 rooms and there are 10 reservations. Now the management messed up and they would have to drop one of the 10 reservations. What would be the process to decide which one to drop? Is it based on a priority (eg, hotel customer reservation, followed by owner reservation, and membership levels, etc.)? This is where I have the most problem with. It appears that the management picked mine to drop for no credible reasons (eg., maybe I have the lowest ownership level, etc.). Otherwise, why so evasive when I asked these questions. I think my questions could be legitimately asked by any owners.
 

taterhed

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@brp

Agreed......and if I felt that I was discriminated based on XXXXX while checking into my reservation, there is obvious reason to be upset and seek justice; depending on the discrimination, loss of use/enjoyment and legal/recognition status of the implied/alleged discrimination.

But, I personally would not feel compelled to disclose to the general public the basis of my discrimination complaint. The sensitive nature of such complaints....race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender/identification, physical limitations related to body mass, illness, age, etc..... (just to touch on the subject) could be quite sensitive and private for many individuals.

I'm simply pointing out that it's not necessary to disclose to the whole wide world why you feel you were discriminated against.....in order to reflect your disappointment or discomfiture in the manner in which you were treated or accommodated. Again, I wish not to get into a sensitive or banned discussion area that discusses personal and private details of the OP's experience.
 

taterhed

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BTW: the last numbers I saw printed indicated that summer Marbrisa occupancy runs in the 90% range. Numbers were a few years old. Certainly, this is not a shockingly high number....not sure what the room composition at Marbrisa is... I hope they can make the customer happy in the end....
 

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when a problem arises, whose reservations would get dropped first by the management? Let say you have 10 rooms and there are 10 reservations. Now the management messed up and they would have to drop one of the 10 reservations. What would be the process to decide which one to drop?
I think it's unlikely that there is any "process" involved. Process would require a low level desk clerk to be trained for something that's not supposed to happen on any kind of frequent basis - either that, or have a policy manual that they have to pull up and consult - takes time, not efficient, time is $, so costs management $ from their point of view. It's more likely to be a SNAFU/random chance, or maybe based on who checked in when.
I had something similar happen with my flights to Hawaii last year on Alaska - paid for Premium Economy seats when we booked 9 months(!!) prior to our trip - when we arrived at the airport, it turned out Alaska had changed out the airplane a few months prior - different layout, and our seats were regular coach. Lots of Sorry, and refund of the extra $ we paid, but still brooding over who got our extra leg room seats! Hard lesson learned to recheck periodically between booking and travel to make sure someone else hasn't made a change that will affect us.
 

alwysonvac

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So don't blame me for what I got and someone else did not. I am sure the Marbrisa staff have an entirely different story on what the issue was....

Sorry HGVC Lover I wasn’t trying to place the blame on you. I should have worded the question differently.

What I should have wrote... “How could they assign you to a room in the Cove section when the OP booked a room code (2BR) which actually RESERVED a room assignment in the Cove Section”.
 
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tompalm

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law suit is ridiculous and frivolous with much more stress created and minimal if any potential payback. No lawyer will take this case unless you pay them. Do you really want to do that? If what you say is true I'm sure resort will compensate you in a fair way with many reasonable suggestions already noted above

I agree and unless you are an attorney and plan to do all the work yourself, it will be a waste of time and a big waste of your money. Never bring that up unless you are willing to spend $1000s if dollars that you don’t mind saying goodby too. I worked as an account manager for 10 condos one year and I got so tired of people saying I am going to take you to court, or my attorney says you had better pay or we will file a lawsuit. My response was always “go ahead” and not once did that ever happen. It just makes you look bad when you bring that up.
 

alwysonvac

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The room description on the HGVC’s member website has always indicated additional features (see sample list below) and these features are considered part of the HGVC reservation (and displayed as unique room codes on the HGVC member website and the online reservation system)
  • view type (i.e. oceanview, oceanfront, etc)
  • dedicated vs lockoff
  • bedding type (i.e two beds vs a single bed)
  • location (specific floors, etc and in Marbrisa case neighborhood)
Some examples from old TUG posts:

The general rule has been to reserve the exact room type description vs hoping for a change at check-in.

If the point requirements are the same and the HGVC resort has availability they will try to accommodate room requests but there is no guarantee that they can.
Of course there are exceptions to the general rule ....
Greg T reported a different room assignment than reserved but perhaps they took his two room requests into consideration as well - https://tugbbs.com/forums/index.php?threads/hhv-visit.187528/

A “preferred” room type that has been reserved (via a HGVC room code) should be honored. It sounds like this resort is not honoring the room code reserved. If this is how they operate then the room descriptions for each room code should be exactly the same.

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