• The TUGBBS forums are completely free and open to the public and exist as the absolute best place for owners to get help and advice about their timeshares for more than 30 years!

    Join Tens of Thousands of other Owners just like you here to get any and all Timeshare questions answered 24 hours a day!
  • TUG started 30 years ago in October 1993 as a group of regular Timeshare owners just like you!

    Read about our 30th anniversary: Happy 30th Birthday TUG!
  • TUG has a YouTube Channel to produce weekly short informative videos on popular Timeshare topics!

    Free memberships for every 50 subscribers!

    Visit TUG on Youtube!
  • TUG has now saved timeshare owners more than $21,000,000 dollars just by finding us in time to rescind a new Timeshare purchase! A truly incredible milestone!

    Read more here: TUG saves owners more than $21 Million dollars
  • Sign up to get the TUG Newsletter for free!

    60,000+ subscribing owners! A weekly recap of the best Timeshare resort reviews and the most popular topics discussed by owners!
  • Our official "end my sales presentation early" T-shirts are available again! Also come with the option for a free membership extension with purchase to offset the cost!

    All T-shirt options here!
  • A few of the most common links here on the forums for newbies and guests!

Help Needed -- Pls Send Starwood Resort Docs

j4sharks

TUG Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
83
Reaction score
0
Points
6
Location
Belmont, CA
Hi Guys,

I've had a couple calls from law firms re protecting our rights as Owners vis-a-via large, annual MF increases; lack of true Owner representation in the HOA's; lack of transparency re the financials of the Resorts; etc.

As the firms start to dig in and investigate the facts, they are requesting some key documents, and I am hoping you good folks can volunteer to scan and email the docs to me. Specifically, the request is for:

-- The sales agreements and other packet of docs given to Buyers when they purchased from Starwood directly;

-- The governing docs for the Resorts (e.g. Resort By-Laws, docs attached to your Deed, HOA bylaws, HOA rules, other Resort or HOA documents);

-- Starwood's actual management agreement with any of the Resorts or HOA's (if anyone has it).

I know there are lots of you who are very on the ball and keep great records. I only ask that you coordinate responses so I dont get 15 copies of each doc. So pls indicate for which resort and which docs you can scan and email the materials.

Pls email them directly to me at jnhyman@hotmail.com and indicate which docs you have sent in the body of the email.

Thanks!!!

Jeff
 

Lewis

TUG Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2006
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Location
Vancouver, WA
This could lead to further MF increases

I personally would not take any steps to assist with a lawsuit against Starwood for these types of "management issues" because I would be concerned that the defense costs by Starwood (not to mention a settlement payment to make a lawsuit go away) would ultimately be paid by the owners.

My owner experience has been at the Westin Kierland. I think the MF increases have actually been reasonable considering the quality level of the resort, service level, and maintenance. We always notice the excellent grounds maintenance when we are there. Our subdivision HOA fees have increased much more rapidly than the WKV fees.

I purchased my unit to vacation, not get involved with the HOA and resort management. However, if an owner wanted to run for the board I doubt they are barred from doing so by the ownership docs. Financials are sent each year with the MF billing. As far as I'm concerned, Starwood is doing a great job managing the property.

IMHO, I think lawsuits along these lines are a little bit similar to suing McDonalds for making the coffee too hot. The only ones to benefit will be the attorneys!
 

komosatp

TUG Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Messages
306
Reaction score
20
Points
378
Location
Washington, DC
I personally would not take any steps to assist with a lawsuit against Starwood for these types of "management issues" because I would be concerned that the defense costs by Starwood (not to mention a settlement payment to make a lawsuit go away) would ultimately be paid by the owners.

My owner experience has been at the Westin Kierland. I think the MF increases have actually been reasonable considering the quality level of the resort, service level, and maintenance. We always notice the excellent grounds maintenance when we are there. Our subdivision HOA fees have increased much more rapidly than the WKV fees.

I purchased my unit to vacation, not get involved with the HOA and resort management. However, if an owner wanted to run for the board I doubt they are barred from doing so by the ownership docs. Financials are sent each year with the MF billing. As far as I'm concerned, Starwood is doing a great job managing the property.

IMHO, I think lawsuits along these lines are a little bit similar to suing McDonalds for making the coffee too hot. The only ones to benefit will be the attorneys!

While I generally agree with you in principle (that class-action lawyers are only really interested in helping themselves), I think our situation is different.

As a former officer and member of a condominium board, I've been quite surprised at how secretive the Starwood boards are: no meaningful meeting minutes, short notice for annual meetings, and no owner representation on the boards. It's like we're annoyance they have to deal with...until they need the bills paid.

I went into my ownership expecting the board at my resort to operate similar to the way condos everywhere operate: transparency in the financials and welcome (although often ignored) participation from owners. But that has not been the case. Even though we owners own the associations, Starwood acts like it owns the properties. It won't put owners on the board, nor is it the least bit responsive to legitimate financial concerns.
 

jarta

TUG Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2008
Messages
2,916
Reaction score
1
Points
273
Location
Chicago
komosatp, ... "Starwood acts like it owns the properties. It won't put owners on the board ..."

That dog won't hunt! Last September and October, I played golf in the SVOpens for Mountain Vista (just visiting) and Kierland (I own there). Both tournaments had owner/board members playing in them. I know. I was introduced to them and asked where (and where else) they owned.

In fact, my wife and I were paired with the Kierland board president and his wife in AZ. He's a very nice guy (even though he's retired IRS collection!) who's also a Five Star Elite because of his Staroptions.

It's OK to call Starwood high-handed, incompetent and greedy in its management of the properties - if that's what you feel and can back it up. But, try to get your facts right. There's enough that's true to complain about with Starwood without making a baseless charge that there aren't owners on the boards. ... eom
 

DeniseM

Moderator
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
57,992
Reaction score
9,543
Points
1,849
Resorts Owned
WKORV, WKV, 2-SDO, 4-Kauai Beach Villas, Island Park Village (Yellowstone), Hyatt High Sierra, Dolphin's Cove (Anaheim)
jarta - on some of the boards, there are only one or 2 token owners and the rest of the board is made up of Starwood employees, so his statement isn't baseless. In addition to that, Starwood screens the board applications and selects who is allowed to run for the board. We have Tuggers who have gone through the screening process and were not allowed to run. So we aren't saying there are no owners on any boards, but, there certainly aren't enough, and the whole selection process is completely manipulated by Starwood.

Have you been to a board meeting? The meetings themselves are a joke! At the one I went to at WKORV, NONE of the board members were even there and it was the big annual meeting! We had a tele-conference! Starwood rushed through the agenda with as little discussion as possible, and it was obvious that they were just going through the motions to meet the requirments of the law. There was no meaningful discussion - eveything was just rubber stamped and questions from owners were just brushed off. At the next yearly meeting at WKORV, it was canceled because the sales Dept. needed the conference room and owners were invited to listen to the tele-conference from the phone in their rooms. :rolleyes:
 
Last edited:

komosatp

TUG Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Messages
306
Reaction score
20
Points
378
Location
Washington, DC
In fact, my wife and I were paired with the Kierland board president and his wife in AZ. He's a very nice guy (even though he's retired IRS collection!) who's also a Five Star Elite because of his Staroptions.

That's nice. Did you lobby to have the meeting minutes reflect the issues debated by the board during it's deliberations?

Personally, I've had pleasant conversations with several very nice people at the HQ in Orlando. I'm sure that their children love them, they give back to the community, and they likely await a pleasant reception at the pearly gates.

But those nice conversations didn't result in these nice people taking actions that are clearly in the interest of Harborside owners. They are directly paid by Starwood, and indirectly by owners. They have an inherent conflict of interest in some situations that only negotiation (with the prospect of litigation) can resolve.
 

komosatp

TUG Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Messages
306
Reaction score
20
Points
378
Location
Washington, DC
It's OK to call Starwood high-handed, incompetent and greedy in its management of the properties - if that's what you feel and can back it up. But, try to get your facts right. There's enough that's true to complain about with Starwood without making a baseless charge that there aren't owners on the boards. ... eom
I've not made such a charge. What I said was:
As a former officer and member of a condominium board, I've been quite surprised at how secretive the Starwood boards are: no meaningful meeting minutes, short notice for annual meetings, and no owner representation on the boards. It's like we're annoyance they have to deal with...until they need the bills paid.

I went into my ownership expecting the board at my resort to operate similar to the way condos everywhere operate: transparency in the financials and welcome (although often ignored) participation from owners.
I'll stand corrected on the "no owner representation on the boards". My experience at Harborside was that after writing to the board members directly, the only response I received was from SVO Corporate.
 

jarta

TUG Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2008
Messages
2,916
Reaction score
1
Points
273
Location
Chicago
Denise, ... I just stepped down (after serving for 6 years at no pay; some as president) from the HOA board where I live. No connection whatsoever to Starwood. In that 6 years the board fired and hired a management company.

I thought I was quite clear when I said that you can criticize Starwood for being high handed, incompetent and greedy. I said there was a lot that was true about Starwood that could be laid at Starwood's door.

What I responded to was a gross overstatement that Starwood would not allow owners on the boards of the properties it manages. Of course it does.

And, like any other property management company trying to retain its lucrative management contract, I assume Starwood sucks up to the board members, pampers them, makes it easy to be a board member, controls and keeps the flow of information to/from the board members about everyday management details/problems, prepares the initial budget (and includes a management fee that it likes) and, in return, hopes it will be retained.

As for participation by telephone, what do you expect from unpaid board members who probably live many hundreds of miles away? The laws of most states allow telephone participation by board members. It's not like they live where they vacation! Plus, most states allow preliminary budget discussions to be in executive session (and they usually are).

Moreover, in 6 years of being on my board, I never had an owner show up who had any idea what it took to run a residential development. Their only concern was that their own assessment not go up, but that maximum services be provided to them (usually personally). And, for the most part, in my 6 years, the increases were modest. But, assessments did go up.

I am grateful to TUG (and you) for all the great advice and hints posted here about rescinding, retroing, making reservations, taking of provisions, places to go, etc. However, I believe Starwood - overall - manages a great timeshare program. Starwood's not a perfect system. It is a complicated and sometimes frustrating system. But, why else would the secondary market for Starwood timeshares be so robust compared to the resale market for other chains (at least until the economy cratered)?

What bothers me most is that rather than enjoying some really terrific vacations at some really great Starwood timeshare places, the overwhelming tone on these Starwood boards by many TUG posters is aggressively downbeat.

Maybe I wouldn't be so bothered by it if disgruntled TUGers would every once in a while recommend a better overall timeshare program I should switch to. But, I don't see those recommendations.

BTW, you should have seen the look on the Kierland board president's face when I told him I was a TUG member. I thought he was going to cross two sticks or put on a garlic necklace! But, then he got to know me a little. lol! Seems like TUG's reputation for not liking Starwood (deserved or not) proceeds it.

But, is it OK to love you and other TUGers as much as I love using my Starwood timeshares? Besides, balance never hurt anyone. :)
 

DeniseM

Moderator
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
57,992
Reaction score
9,543
Points
1,849
Resorts Owned
WKORV, WKV, 2-SDO, 4-Kauai Beach Villas, Island Park Village (Yellowstone), Hyatt High Sierra, Dolphin's Cove (Anaheim)
As for participation by telephone, what do you expect from unpaid board members who probably live many hundreds of miles away? The laws of most states allow telephone participation by board members. It's not like they live where they vacation! Plus, most states allow preliminary budget discussions to be in executive session (and they usually are).

Except for the one token owner, the board members were ALL highly paid Starwood employees.....

We are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I think Starwood has a nice product, but I think their management style is a slap in the face to the many owners who have far more invested in Starwood than I do.

And yes, you may love me all you want....from afar... :D
 
Last edited:

fasha39

TUG Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2008
Messages
91
Reaction score
18
Points
368
Location
British Columbia
Resorts Owned
WKORV, WKV,
HOA Rights

I Googled Arizona HOA rules and there are several sites that provide an overview of what to expect from your HOA. One that caught my eye was:

Access to Homeowner Association Records, Meeting Minutes and Accountings

As a homeowner, you have the right to view all records, books, meeting minutes, etc. of the HOA. Upon your written request specifying which records you wish to view, the HOA must provide you access to the records within 10 business days. If you do not wish to view the documents on site, you may also request copies of specific documents. The HOA must provide the copies within 10 business days and may not charge you more than 15 cents per page. There are a few exceptions to this law, such as attorney-client privileged material, but the exceptions are rare.

Has anyone attempted to get meeting minutes or financials in writing and been refused?

I'm the president of an HOA (we call it a Strata in Canada) and the laws are pretty specific around publishing meeting minutes and financials and lawyers love to get their hands on Strata organizations that don't comply, I'd suggest that things are more "litigious" in the U.S. so I'd be very surprised if Starwood was doing anything that didn't comply with State law.

We are new owners (re-sale thanks to TUG) in AZ and HI so I'll take on the task of getting detailed financials and meeting minutes for each and see where it goes.
 

DavidnRobin

TUG Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2005
Messages
11,822
Reaction score
2,237
Points
698
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Resorts Owned
WKORV OFD (Maui)
WPORV (Kauai)
WSJ-VGV (St. John)
WKV (Scottsdale)
Not too disrupt whatever arguments are being made...

but my issue is simple - and that is the inability for Owners to have the contact with other Owners (as SVO and HOA can and do). This lack of equal access is counter to having open and fair elections for HOAs - and this in turn may result in a HOA board that is not representing Owners interests and perhaps only the interest of the corporation (SVO) - not too mention the potential for collusion.

I am sure that there are lots of upstanding and experienced HOA board members - but that is not the point. The point is lack of fair Owner representation on HOA due to communication that is not supported or endorsed by either the HOA board and SVO.

This (with Owner permission) is not difficult to request - and I will be fully supportive attempt a directive lawsuit solely against this alone (w/o major financial impact on the HOA).

The rest of the issues are what we signed (rightly or wrongly understood) when we purchased.
 
Last edited:

LisaRex

TUG Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2007
Messages
6,792
Reaction score
317
Points
518
Location
'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Resorts Owned
Used to own: WKORV-N; SVV - Bella
jarta said:
What I responded to was a gross overstatement that Starwood would not allow owners on the boards of the properties it manages. Of course it does.

See, the problem with that sentence is the word "allow." Starwood isn't supposed to have the authority to "allow" people to run for the board. That would be like the President of the United States interviewing and approving folks who want to run for Congress. That would be a clear conflict of interest, no? And therein lies the problem.

I've voluntarily given up Power of Attorney to Starwood with the understanding that the HOA board would represent my interests. If my Board are simply rubber stampers, then I have no meaningful representation. The checks and balances fails. And that leaves the door wide open for corruption.

Personally, I want to vote for the guy who's NOT hobnobbing with Starwood management at the SVO Open. So I'm going to fight for my right for representation, especially given the fact that I'm the one writing the check every December. Will I enjoy my TS in the process? Well, of course. Enjoying my TS and criticizing management are not mutually exclusive things and it's rather simplistic to imply that they are.
 

DavidnRobin

TUG Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2005
Messages
11,822
Reaction score
2,237
Points
698
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Resorts Owned
WKORV OFD (Maui)
WPORV (Kauai)
WSJ-VGV (St. John)
WKV (Scottsdale)
See, the problem with that sentence is the word "allow." Starwood isn't supposed to have the authority to "allow" people to run for the board. That would be like the President of the United States interviewing and approving folks who want to run for Congress. That would be a clear conflict of interest, no? And therein lies the problem.

I've voluntarily given up Power of Attorney to Starwood with the understanding that the HOA board would represent my interests. If my Board are simply rubber stampers, then I have no meaningful representation. The checks and balances fails. And that leaves the door wide open for corruption.

Personally, I want to vote for the guy who's NOT hobnobbing with Starwood management at the SVO Open. So I'm going to fight for my right for representation, especially given the fact that I'm the one writing the check every December. Will I enjoy my TS in the process? Well, of course. Enjoying my TS and criticizing management are not mutually exclusive things and it's rather simplistic to imply that they are.

Very well stated.

I am not looking to punish SVO or the resort HOA financially (which would only hurt us in the long run) - just ability to have fair Owner representation on the HOA.
 

calgarygary

TUG Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
1,025
Reaction score
0
Points
36
Denise, ... I just stepped down (after serving for 6 years at no pay; some as president) from the HOA board where I live. No connection whatsoever to Starwood. In that 6 years the board fired and hired a management company.

I thought I was quite clear when I said that you can criticize Starwood for being high handed, incompetent and greedy. I said there was a lot that was true about Starwood that could be laid at Starwood's door.

What I responded to was a gross overstatement that Starwood would not allow owners on the boards of the properties it manages. Of course it does.

And, like any other property management company trying to retain its lucrative management contract, I assume Starwood sucks up to the board members, pampers them, makes it easy to be a board member, controls and keeps the flow of information to/from the board members about everyday management details/problems, prepares the initial budget (and includes a management fee that it likes) and, in return, hopes it will be retained.

As for participation by telephone, what do you expect from unpaid board members who probably live many hundreds of miles away? The laws of most states allow telephone participation by board members. It's not like they live where they vacation! Plus, most states allow preliminary budget discussions to be in executive session (and they usually are).

Moreover, in 6 years of being on my board, I never had an owner show up who had any idea what it took to run a residential development. Their only concern was that their own assessment not go up, but that maximum services be provided to them (usually personally). And, for the most part, in my 6 years, the increases were modest. But, assessments did go up.

I am grateful to TUG (and you) for all the great advice and hints posted here about rescinding, retroing, making reservations, taking of provisions, places to go, etc. However, I believe Starwood - overall - manages a great timeshare program. Starwood's not a perfect system. It is a complicated and sometimes frustrating system. But, why else would the secondary market for Starwood timeshares be so robust compared to the resale market for other chains (at least until the economy cratered)?

What bothers me most is that rather than enjoying some really terrific vacations at some really great Starwood timeshare places, the overwhelming tone on these Starwood boards by many TUG posters is aggressively downbeat.

Maybe I wouldn't be so bothered by it if disgruntled TUGers would every once in a while recommend a better overall timeshare program I should switch to. But, I don't see those recommendations.

BTW, you should have seen the look on the Kierland board president's face when I told him I was a TUG member. I thought he was going to cross two sticks or put on a garlic necklace! But, then he got to know me a little. lol! Seems like TUG's reputation for not liking Starwood (deserved or not) proceeds it.

But, is it OK to love you and other TUGers as much as I love using my Starwood timeshares? Besides, balance never hurt anyone. :)

I would not go so far as to say that there is a dislike of Starwood here. Most of us really like the product - as far as the resorts go. However, Starwood's business practices on the timeshare side of the equation is closer to the sleezy image that many of us have of the industry than a corporation such as theirs should be. Most of us here can share examples of the type of poor business practice that they employ, some small, some very large. Of one thing I am certain, if people here had spent the same $ that have been invested on the timeshare side of the business in Starwood hotels instead, they would be treated with a much higher level of respect and a much improved level of communication. For example, when I was travelling on business, Westin was my hotel of choice and when I stopped, I was contacted by some of their locations to see if they had done something to lose my business. That type of personal communication seldom occurs in SVO.

I would like to suggest that the Kierland HOA president's reaction is indicative of the problems that exist with communication. He indirectly acknowledged that issues with Starwood are raised here on TUG but I would like to ask, has anyone received a pm from Starwood management seeking to discuss the problems noted on the boards? An outstanding service company would use this great medium to resolve issues as they arise, not to hide in the bushes as they view what is going on here.
 

jarta

TUG Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2008
Messages
2,916
Reaction score
1
Points
273
Location
Chicago
calgarygary, ... I served on a HOA board for the last 6 years. While I was on the board I had a reassuring sense of control about what was going on with the 440 living units in our gated community and the $3M overall annual budget.

Now, I'm off the board (could have been reelected but "retired") and I am much happier with lesser responsibility for the place where I live. However, from time to time, I feel the loss of control about what is going on.

Timeshare, townhome and condo living are part of community living. If you buy your own ranchero, you can probably build a fence around it and keep everyone off. If you live in a townhome, the association probably prohibits fences (at least the one you really like). But, someone has to decide what fence to buy, from who and at what price. That's for the board, not the individual owners. It's a community!

In a condo, you can't even fence off your floor. With a timeshare, except for your own use, you can't even prevent anyone from destroying the existing fence - or the furniture in "your" unit.

Community living is not "every opinion counts." That would be chaos. The orderly administration of the property requires some sort of central decision making. Our legislatures give that decision-making power to HOA boards.

And, as I found out when our roofs failed long before they were supposed to and a (large) special assessment had to be imposed because the reserve fund had not yet been built up enough in these 8 year old units .......

Everyone has a brother-in-law who can "do it cheaper" and an opinion about what roofer to hire, what type of roof is best and what type of deck should be built on the roof. When they realize that the board will inform and consult them about what should be done, but - eventually - the board will decide whatever it concludes is best, the frustration engendered by the owners' lack of control gushes out and they can (and do) lash out verbally at the HOA board.

Some of that venting is going on here at TUG. Starwood has tens of thousands of timeshare owners it must keep satisfied. Maybe 25 disgruntled Starwood TUGgers post here on an average day. Should Starwood be concerned about the 25 disgruntled posters? I think they should, but only slightly. Starwood should not be sitting here holding TUGgers hands about every possible complaint. There's a company to run and properties to manage.

And, BTW, I read the complaints here and sometimes roll my eyes at the pettiness (like, a light bulb was out when I got back at midnight and I had to call maintenance). Throughout the Starwood timeshare system I find generally friendly employees who appear to be genuinely concerned about my enjoying my timeshares. If I call with a problem or question (and I have), it has been solved or answered quickly and courteously. Moreover, when I call Orlando with a problem or question, at the end I am offered (and accept) a switch to a telephone poll where I can rate the performance of the Starwood employee and leave a call back number if I so desire. To my way of thinking, that's Starwood SOP and it amounts to real service and responsiveness. Maybe I've just been lucky. But, those who disagree with me are entitled to their opinions, too. :)
 

calgarygary

TUG Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
1,025
Reaction score
0
Points
36
calgarygary, ... I served on a HOA board for the last 6 years. While I was on the board I had a reassuring sense of control about what was going on with the 440 living units in our gated community and the $3M overall annual budget.

Now, I'm off the board (could have been reelected but "retired") and I am much happier with lesser responsibility for the place where I live. However, from time to time, I feel the loss of control about what is going on.

Timeshare, townhome and condo living are part of community living. If you buy your own ranchero, you can probably build a fence around it and keep everyone off. If you live in a townhome, the association probably prohibits fences (at least the one you really like). But, someone has to decide what fence to buy, from who and at what price. That's for the board, not the individual owners. It's a community!

In a condo, you can't even fence off your floor. With a timeshare, except for your own use, you can't even prevent anyone from destroying the existing fence - or the furniture in "your" unit.

Community living is not "every opinion counts." That would be chaos. The orderly administration of the property requires some sort of central decision making. Our legislatures give that decision-making power to HOA boards.

And, as I found out when our roofs failed long before they were supposed to and a (large) special assessment had to be imposed because the reserve fund had not yet been built up enough in these 8 year old units .......

Everyone has a brother-in-law who can "do it cheaper" and an opinion about what roofer to hire, what type of roof is best and what type of deck should be built on the roof. When they realize that the board will inform and consult them about what should be done, but - eventually - the board will decide whatever it concludes is best, the frustration engendered by the owners' lack of control gushes out and they can (and do) lash out verbally at the HOA board.

Some of that venting is going on here at TUG. Starwood has tens of thousands of timeshare owners it must keep satisfied. Maybe 25 disgruntled Starwood TUGgers post here on an average day. Should Starwood be concerned about the 25 disgruntled posters? I think they should, but only slightly. Starwood should not be sitting here holding TUGgers hands about every possible complaint. There's a company to run and properties to manage.

And, BTW, I read the complaints here and sometimes roll my eyes at the pettiness (like, a light bulb was out when I got back at midnight and I had to call maintenance). Throughout the Starwood timeshare system I find generally friendly employees who appear to be genuinely concerned about my enjoying my timeshares. If I call with a problem or question (and I have), it has been solved or answered quickly and courteously. Moreover, when I call Orlando with a problem or question, at the end I am offered (and accept) a switch to a telephone poll where I can rate the performance of the Starwood employee and leave a call back number if I so desire. To my way of thinking, that's Starwood SOP and it amounts to real service and responsiveness. Maybe I've just been lucky. But, those who disagree with me are entitled to their opinions, too. :)

Jarta, I don't think you really need to go into the detail of your HOA experiences and compare them to Starwood, we are talking apples and oranges and many of us have had experience with Starwood's oranges. The fact is, an HOA, by definition should be representative of the homeowners. You can not point to one board within SVO that can honestly make that claim. The HOA's are representative of Starwood, and serve solely at the discretion of Starwood through their manipulation of the voting process. That in and of itself is a conflict of interest.

There may be some that post here about maintenance issues but I think those are best dealt with at the resort or in reviews. I never view those posts as an indictment of Starwood or its policies. I also recognize that we here at TUG are just a small percentage of owners - but I also believe that we are not unique and our experiences are representative of the whole. I am glad that you have been able to resolve small issues with Starwood and found them responsive. I too have typically found them responsive to the small things. On the other hand, I have had the misfortune of trying to have Starwood/PGA HOA resolve a major issue and they were totally incompetent bordering on negligence.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, if we are representative of the greater group of owners within SVN, and we extrapolate the number of known, serious complaints that have been raised here on TUG, how many issues is Starwood not dealing with?
 

komosatp

TUG Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Messages
306
Reaction score
20
Points
378
Location
Washington, DC
Should Starwood be concerned about the 25 disgruntled posters? I think they should, but only slightly. Starwood should not be sitting here holding TUGgers hands about every possible complaint. There's a company to run and properties to manage.
Just because only a few notice, doesn't mean that it's not a significant issue.

Personally, I've not once complained about fees or quality at Harborside. My beef is the lack of transparency in board deliberations and a poor decision made by the board that was clearly made to maintain a nice working relationship with Atlantis, rather than represent the obvious best interest of owners.

If you had provided as little detail about board activities when you were on your HOA board, you likely would have been sued and your indemnification justifiably severed.

It is just totally ridiculous how little the Starwood boards put in their meeting minutes, and how annual meetings are done to satisfy the letter of the contract, not the spirit. And just because only a few of us notice (or care) doesn't mean it should continue. This was a contract we all made. We keep up our end by paying dues/fees/assessments and our original purchase....Starwood should keep up its end by acknowledging they are accountable to owners, and should provide reasonable information about how the boards of directors operate and make decisions.
 

Cathyb

Tug Review Crew: Rookie
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
4,935
Reaction score
0
Points
36
Location
Carlsbad, CA
jarta: You asked for a timeshare that has better management -- Marriott. I own both in California desert: 1) Marriotts get about 100 owners at the annual meetings in Palm Desert where Starwood, 5 miles away, sends out their notices two weeks ahead and gets 3 because they don't want us there! (2) Marriott has out-of-town owner/board members who are always there at those meetings because the meeting dates are set a year in advance; (3) Marriott allows as much time as needed after the formal meeting to answer questions written down and submitted; Starwood disappears. Agree that Starwood properties are very nice, but their customer service suffers greatly and we are seeing more and more unhappy Starwood owners as they get their fees and rules changing dramatically! "What goes around, comes around" -- their time is coming.
 

jarta

TUG Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2008
Messages
2,916
Reaction score
1
Points
273
Location
Chicago
Cathyb, ... I have admitted that Starwood can be attacked for being high handed, incompetent or greedy. And, you may be right that what goes around comes around and Starwood's time is coming.

You have commented that Marriott timeshares have "better management." The examples you cite are all related to better communication with owners at annual meetings. But, how are the resorts run between annual meetings?

To me "better management" is ultimately measured by preserving my investment by keeping the property in good repair, watching operating expenses so that the MF rise only as much as they need to and making it easy for me to make a reservation.

I think Starwood keeps the properties in good repair. This year my MF for a 2-br at Kierland went down about $50. Mystarcentral projects that the MF for my 3-br at Harborside will also go down by about $50. The proposed budget I received with my notice of the annual meeting for my 2-brs at Lagunamar indicates a decrease of about $30 each. And, I have never found making a Starwood reservation where I bought and in my season a problem - as long as I keep the rules in mind and plan far enough ahead. Same goes for reserving at a non-home resort. The obvious exceptions are St. John and Harborside - but is it Starwood's fault that these resorts are so popular that they are hard to internally (without II) trade into?

Are the Marriott properties prettier or better equipped? Do they have washers and dryers in every room? Does Marriott keep the properties in better repair? Are the MF at its resorts nearly flat this year? And, is making the reservation much easier? I don't know since I don't own at Marriott - but you do.

I hear Marriott has more places for direct buyers to vacation at. But, does Marriott have "mandatory" resorts where it's possible for 2nd owners to trade anywhere else in the Marriott system? And, if it doesn't, does Marriott allow anything similar to the Starwood "retro?"

I'd take a little arrogance from the home office (but haven't experienced it yet) in return for what I have found: friendly staff at the resorts; well-maintained resorts (Sheratons are generally poorly designed and equipped; Westins are much better designed and equipped); MF where my assessments for operating expenses, excluding property taxes which are beyond Starwood's control, generally keep pace with the CPI; and, as long as I don't get too greedy about it, I can get in where I want to go when I want to go there.

Starwood properties are not perfect. But, overall is there a better, more flexible timeshare system? I don't think so. But, you are entitled to your opinion that Marriott is better managed. :)

BTW, discontent is not limited to Starwood. There is quite a stir on the Marriott board about abrupt changes Marriott is making to its system: http://www.tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83687 ... eom
 

DavidnRobin

TUG Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2005
Messages
11,822
Reaction score
2,237
Points
698
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Resorts Owned
WKORV OFD (Maui)
WPORV (Kauai)
WSJ-VGV (St. John)
WKV (Scottsdale)
again & again - just want fair representation and in order to accomplish this - a system available that allows for accessable contact between Owners...

no one is talking about chaos - of course - any HOA board member would have to be responsive and accountable
 

tomandrobin

TUG Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2006
Messages
4,115
Reaction score
120
Points
448
Location
Bel Air, Maryland
BTW, discontent is not limited to Starwood. There is quite a stir on the Marriott board about abrupt changes Marriott is making to its system.

Heck, all of the different systems have members who gripe. Even us DVC (Disney) fans complain about changes to the system. DVC switched from II to RCI with less then a months notice, at the end of 2008. They do send out advance notice for HOA meetings, but the boards are all Disney employees.

I have to agree with a lot of what Jarta is saying. Starwood, even with its problems, is still head and shoulders above many. Further disclosure of financial details would be great and better communication between management and owners is a must do.
 

Cathyb

Tug Review Crew: Rookie
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
4,935
Reaction score
0
Points
36
Location
Carlsbad, CA
jarta: Touche', you made some good points; however hasn't there been some unhappy Starwood St. John owners on the lack of maintenance there? Sorry for my disgruntleness, but Starwood changed the ground rules after we bought at Westin Mission Hills when it was still mud. Voluntary and mandatory wasn't even in its vocabulary and a year after we bought they changed the rules which hurt our values immensely.
 

DavidnRobin

TUG Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2005
Messages
11,822
Reaction score
2,237
Points
698
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Resorts Owned
WKORV OFD (Maui)
WPORV (Kauai)
WSJ-VGV (St. John)
WKV (Scottsdale)
...the MFs for for WKV did not decrease.

Please check the MF thread for specifics - and the projections do not match reality...
 

jarta

TUG Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2008
Messages
2,916
Reaction score
1
Points
273
Location
Chicago
DavidnRobin, ... I have to apologize. You are right and I was wrong when I said the MF at Kierland decreased. The MF went up a little under 4% for 2009.

I had pulled up my account at mystarcentral before I posted. However, I was at work and rushed between meetings. What I missed is that I paid the SVO membership fee ($109) last year - but this year it was waived because I am now at a higher elite level. My gross payments made for the 2 years are $1,212.18 for 2008 and $1,148.76 for 2009.

Overall, my payment went down, but the MF (operating & reserve) portion of the assessment went up by about $42. (And, to be fair, the MF amount for 2007 was about 10% less than 2009 is.) :shrug: ... eom
 
Top