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Marriott's Monarch 2nd week in Aug

samara64

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This will be our second time in Hilton Head. First time was in Grand Ocean. We did drive to Monarch and saw the grounds.

For people that own or use the resort, how nice is it. Worth taking the trade from II or should we wait for GO.

Also how attractive is the resort for kids and teens.
 
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MOXJO7282

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They will love being in Sea Pines and the bikes paths I believe. There is only 2 pools but the 2nd week in August won't be overly crowded so that will be fine. I think the beach experience is similar from both resorts.
 

TheTimeTraveler

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This will be our second time in Hilton Head. First time was in Grand Ocean. We did drive to Monarch and saw the grounds.

For people that own or use the resort, how nice is it. Worth taking the trade from II or should we wait for GO.

Also how attractive is the resort for kids and teens.



Monarch is a much smaller resort versus Grand Ocean, and I would think kids and teens would prefer Grand Ocean. The beach is nice in both places. Monarch does not have an "on site" bar and food, but Grand Ocean does.

Sea Pines is a very nice area.

Tough decision.....




.
 

bogey21

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When my kids were young we owned an August Monarch Week. Monarch Units are smaller than those at Grand Ocean. We were fortunate that our Unit was the Crown Suite which is spectacularly large. On premise you have the beach and pool. A real plus is that the bike trail is at the entrance to Monarch and you are about equi-distant from Harbour Town and South Beach. It is hot and humid but there is a lot of shade even over the bike trails...

George
 

Big Matt

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It's all about what you want to do at the resort. If it's just the beach and pools, then they are very similar, but Monarch is smaller in terms of buildings and units. If you want activities and more things on site, GO is much better. Location is better at Monarch if you want to be in Sea Pines. I personally like being close to Coligny Circle and what's available within walking distance from GO. Beds are singles at Monarch in the second bedroom, queens at GO. Monarch is more quiet whereas GO will be a mad house in August. I would take GO every time if it is available, but have stayed at Monarch several times and really enjoy it too.
 

AlmostRetired

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More than 4 adults, GO is better. I own at the Monarch (2 units) but looking to add another unit at the GO because at times I have 6 adults. Can't go wrong with either one. If I was offered both on a trade, I would take the GO. If the Monarch came up without a GO option, you should take it was no concerns.
 

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The beach in front of Monarch is one-and-the-same with the Sea Pines Beach Club, borders indistinguishable,
which is the location of the Sea Pines Public Beach Access. Not good!
The Beach Club area and clubhouse are beautiful no doubt, great in slower seasons, but in the summer the beach itself
will be wall-to-wall with bodies.
And I do mean hundreds of bodies you'll step over or around, coolers, umbrellas, pull-carts, people playing games and
hurling frisbees and kids playing soccer or throwing baseballs & footballs. We refer to it as "Woodstock".
It's similar to the beach up at the Coligny area, where that's the location of the "other" HH public beach access.
Much improved esthetically, sort of park-like, but very overcrowded in summer and during holidays.
It's where ALL the HH locals go, in addition to the folks staying in the immediate area at various condos, hotels, etc.

From Grande Ocean we used to walk south past the Monarch area, but it's become quite insane there. Nowadays we avoid it.
The beach at GO is always busy too, but it's a different type crowd. The Monarch pools are far smaller,
so the 100% full-capacity resort population keeps it crowded too.
At least GO has 3 mega-pools, well separated, and a more spread-out footprint overall, so it has a much less crowded feel to it.
In addition, GO has a wide, long new raised oceanfront deck (only 1-2 feet higher than the ground,
with 2 separated rows of chaise lounge chairs with small above-chair covered tops)
which is rather private, and quite lengthly running down the resort frontage and wonderfully overlooking the dunes.
The feel is that of being at ocean level.
Great ocean breeze there, Loggerhead Landing Bar immediately behind you, and the South Pool adjacent.
Large multiple fire pits and sanded area with lounge chairs present, beautiful and very quiet.
The grounds at GO are superb and quite superior to any other resort, well worth the stay.

Also, re size comparisons, Monarch is a relatively small resort...property bought and converted by Marriott long ago.
Its grounds are beautiful and its location is great (excepting those times in summer & on holidays when the beach is over-crowded).
Close to everything in Sea Pines obviously.
Their recent renovation was great, and it's much improved. Monarch is a wonderful resort.
Still, a caveat----the villas are very small, and the second BR has two twins which limits the ability to include guests on occasion.
for a couple, or a small family, it's perfect. For couples, I'd say it's an ideal spot.

Grande Ocean, by contrast, is the largest of HH's Marriott resorts by virtue of the number of buildings (10 in all),
and its overall footprint is significant.
It has more pools and unique on-site "pluses" than any other HH Marriott resort, some of which were listed above.
The villas are the largest in square footage of any of the other HH Marriott resorts, and the experiential feel of that is noticeable.
.................The location as described BELOW in detail makes it about as private and quiet as a resort can get.
Its closeness to the Sea Pines community (a 45 sec drive)--- as distinguished by world-class bike trails, the Lighthouse, South Beach,
and nice private residences----make it a superb location too. Closer to being inside SP as any other place.
The BIKE ride into SP only takes a few minutes,
and the trail is nicely paved...... and since it winds in and amongst trees, it's safe, free and removed from traffic concerns,
and is a nice bike trail ride in its own right.
Frankly I see no difference or advantage at all in the trails when comparing that of Monarch (inside Sea Pines) to that
of GO (just outside of Sea Pines), since the ride into Sea Pines
is every bit as enjoyable, and actually passes a few beautiful ponds and lagoons not otherwise seen if you start at Monarch.

LOCATION:
GO is located in the middle between the two public beach areas, but far from either (Coligny & Monarch).
On its North side, the Coligny side, it's bordered by 0.9 mile of several small exclusive privately-owned gated condo complexes
(Ocean One, Beachwood, Shorewood, Seaside, Ocean Club, HH Beach Villas, & then Hilton's Ocean Oak Resort)---
----all of these located immediately adjacent to Grande Ocean's North side,
hence buffering GO well from the Coligny area.

On its South side, GO is by immediately adjacent to 1.8 miles of nothing but forests and huge private homes as it
blends down into the huge Sea Pines private residential community,
again still 1.8 miles from the Monarch entrance (a 5 min drive).
GO has FREE Sea Pines passes for vehicles (separate one for bikes), and for outside visitors currently it's $8 per vehicle.
You cannot bring bikes into SP on your vehicles, nor can you ride bikes into SP, even for a fee.

MAP of Monarch & Grande Ocean locations:
To view whole map, Remove the blue&white box to LEFT by clicking on little arrow at top right of box.
(Click & drag, or ZOOM to view the coastline alongside GO)

Whatever you do, enjoy Hilton Head.....it's a keeper.
 
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samara64

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Thank you all and the extensive review by @jme . We are looking forward to use some of the restaurants in your dining reviews once there. It was amazing last time.
 

5finny

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@jme
That is an excellent comparison and you obviously took time with it
May I suggest you post it as a review on BOTH resorts
 

jmhpsu93

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How are the trades via II into GO as far as views/units are concerned? Hit or miss? Any places to avoid?

We're staying there for 12 days in January ocean front - can't wait to see the place.
 

MOXJO7282

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The beach in front of Monarch is one-and-the-same with the Sea Pines Beach Club, borders indistinguishable,
which is the location of the Sea Pines Public Beach Access. Not good!
The Beach Club area and clubhouse are beautiful no doubt, great in slower seasons, but in the summer the beach itself
will be wall-to-wall with bodies.
And I do mean hundreds of bodies you'll step over or around, coolers, umbrellas, pull-carts, people playing games and
hurling frisbees and kids playing soccer or throwing baseballs & footballs. We refer to it as "Woodstock".
It's similar to the beach up at the Coligny area, where that's the location of the "other" HH public beach access.
Much improved esthetically, sort of park-like, but very overcrowded in summer and during holidays.
It's where ALL the HH locals go, in addition to the folks staying in the immediate area at various condos, hotels, etc.

From Grande Ocean we used to walk south past the Monarch area, but it's become quite insane there. Nowadays we avoid it.
The beach at GO is always busy too, but it's a different type crowd. The Monarch pools are far smaller,
so the 100% full-capacity resort population keeps it crowded too.
At least GO has 3 mega-pools, well separated, and a more spread-out footprint overall, so it has a much less crowded feel to it.
In addition, GO has a wide, long new raised oceanfront deck (only 1-2 feet higher than the ground,
with 2 separated rows of chaise lounge chairs with small above-chair covered tops)
which is rather private, and quite lengthly running down the resort frontage and wonderfully overlooking the dunes.
The feel is that of being at ocean level.
Great ocean breeze there, Loggerhead Landing Bar immediately behind you, and the South Pool adjacent.
Large multiple fire pits and sanded area with lounge chairs present, beautiful and very quiet.
The grounds at GO are superb and quite superior to any other resort, well worth the stay.

Also, re size comparisons, Monarch is a relatively small resort...property bought and converted by Marriott long ago.
Its grounds are beautiful and its location is great (excepting those times in summer & on holidays when the beach is over-crowded).
Close to everything in Sea Pines obviously.
Their recent renovation was great, and it's much improved. Monarch is a wonderful resort.
Still, a caveat----the villas are very small, and the second BR has two twins which limits the ability to include guests on occasion.
for a couple, or a small family, it's perfect. For couples, I'd say it's an ideal spot.

Grande Ocean, by contrast, is the largest of HH's Marriott resorts by virtue of the number of buildings (10 in all),
and its overall footprint is significant.
It has more pools and unique on-site "pluses" than any other HH Marriott resort, some of which were listed above.
The villas are the largest in square footage of any of the other HH Marriott resorts, and the experiential feel of that is noticeable.
.................The location as described BELOW in detail makes it about as private and quiet as a resort can get.
Its closeness to the Sea Pines community (a 45 sec drive)--- as distinguished by world-class bike trails, the Lighthouse, South Beach,
and nice private residences----make it a superb location too. Closer to being inside SP as any other place.
The BIKE ride into SP only takes a few minutes,
and the trail is nicely paved...... and since it winds in and amongst trees, it's safe, free and removed from traffic concerns,
and is a nice bike trail ride in its own right.
Frankly I see no difference or advantage at all in the trails when comparing that of Monarch (inside Sea Pines) to that
of GO (just outside of Sea Pines), since the ride into Sea Pines
is every bit as enjoyable, and actually passes a few beautiful ponds and lagoons not otherwise seen if you start at Monarch.

LOCATION:
GO is located in the middle between the two public beach areas, but far from either (Coligny & Monarch).
On its North side, the Coligny side, it's bordered by 0.9 mile of several small exclusive privately-owned gated condo complexes
(Ocean One, Beachwood, Shorewood, Seaside, Ocean Club, HH Beach Villas, & then Hilton's Ocean Oak Resort)---
----all of these located immediately adjacent to Grande Ocean's North side,
hence buffering GO well from the Coligny area.

On its South side, GO is by immediately adjacent to 1.8 miles of nothing but forests and huge private homes as it
blends down into the huge Sea Pines private residential community,
again still 1.8 miles from the Monarch entrance (a 5 min drive).
GO has FREE Sea Pines passes for vehicles (separate one for bikes), and for outside visitors currently it's $8 per vehicle.
You cannot bring bikes into SP on your vehicles, nor can you ride bikes into SP, even for a fee.

MAP of Monarch & Grande Ocean locations:
To view whole map, Remove the blue&white box to LEFT by clicking on little arrow at top right of box.
(Click & drag, or ZOOM to view the coastline alongside GO)

Whatever you do, enjoy Hilton Head.....it's a keeper.
Marty truly is the preeminent expert on HHI so this the best insight you will get. For me the bottom line would definitely be GO always as the first choice exactly for the reasons Marty so elegantly stated but if the GO isn't available I would never be disappointed with the Monarch. We own both and love what they both have to offer.
 

jme

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ChurchSt/Charleston x2
How are the trades via II into GO as far as views/units are concerned? Hit or miss? Any places to avoid?
We're staying there for 12 days in January ocean front - can't wait to see the place.

To all:
Traders into GO should realize that the villa assignments are always made according to the % of OWNERS occupying.
Therefore, in summer, a trader will bow to owners getting the largest percentage of the most popular villas
due to very high owner occupancy,
and the TRADERS have a higher-than-usual chance of getting the less popular villas (referring to "views" only).
But do not be discouraged!!!!!....all villas at GO are great.
"VIEWS" (or at least the so-called preferred top floor/ocean views) at GO are really not my priority at all.
Any view at GO is OK with us, especially the interior tree views on the North side lagoons. Very lovely there.

To jmhpsu:
But you'll be different as to your probable assignment!
Since you know you're going to be in an OceanFRONT villa in JANUARY, you'll be VERY happy.
It's off-season, so the so-called "worst" unit there & then is still very good....at worst a first-floor unit,
with a somewhat limited view, ocean blocked by trees a few yards away. But chances are you'll not get that.

(OceanSIDE villas are the ones with the most tree views. Some might be in the back buildings, but those back buildings are still
just a 3-minute walk to the beach, and the views might be from lower floors, but those are actually second-level floors
since the under-building parking is level 1...... Floor 1 villas are actually the second level above ground.)
A "tree view" is still very beautiful, and we frequently ASK FOR those units. We particularly like Royal Tern or Dolphin units
on the north side.
OceanSIDE units that are not tree units on the South side are Laughing Gull, Sand Dollar, Kingfisher, or Starfish units.
A couple of units have single palm trees blocking a view, but not "trees" in general. No problem, all are lovely.)

In January when you are going, plus being OceanFRONT, you have the highest chance of getting a very, very nice unit.
The % of owners occupying there at that time is the lowest, so your chances of getting a higher floor is almost assured,
and you'll enjoy a clear & direct view of the ocean.
FRANKLY, we much prefer Oceanside villas during the off-season (we go in both Jan & Feb every year)
because the views of the interior trees on the North side, or the interior pool on the South side, are so much more beautiful at night,
where you actually have something to look at rather than darkness.

Here's our view from last week's stay, overlooking the Southside pool, top floor of StarFish building.
A look to the right from the balcony sees the ocean during the day.

1579304974393.png
 
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jmhpsu93

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MVC Cypress Harbour (x2)
MVC Harbour Lake (x2)
Golden Shores (Mexico)
Our 12 night stay in January is with DC points so we'll be guaranteed something really nice. We live outside of Baltimore and have a lot of light noise here being near the city (like most of the East Coast north of say, Richmond). I'd love a totally dark night sky.

We're pondering some trades into GO Oct/Nov. Understand the risk of tropical weather but wow it's beautiful that time of year in the south if you don't get the tropical weather.

Thanks for the very thoughtful and detailed response. :)
 

jme

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@ jmhpsu93:
FYI, I hope you don't count too much on the DC points reservation as giving you an above-average priority of some sort as
to villa assignments.
Actually experience on TUG in general has been that it's "just another trade", and DC point bookings at GO have
historically received lesser assignments than you might think, and fall somewhere in the middle of the pecking order.
JIMinNC can vouch for that.
The only thing guaranteed to you is the OceanFRONT (Close to Beach) vs OceanSIDE (Courtyard View), which you paid for by virtue
of a higher points requirement, but again, that means nothing as to where you'll be in the actual OceanFront villas.
That said, being an off-season week, you do have an advantage there because it's not a high Owner Occupancy time period.

No worries, as I've experienced the same with other resorts when booking with DC points---pretty standard resort policy---
and regardless, all GO units are nice, especially the ones in the OceanFRONT line-up.
 
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Big Matt

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I disagree Marty. I've been treated extremely well when I use points. I've received pretty much everything I've asked for and more. That includes GO. For example, I booked ocean side, but asked for Dolphin. I got one of the front units with a full ocean view. Couldn't have been happier. Definitely not the case when exchanging via II even with Marriott priority.
 

AlmostRetired

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The beach in front of Monarch is one-and-the-same with the Sea Pines Beach Club, borders indistinguishable,
which is the location of the Sea Pines Public Beach Access. Not good!
The Beach Club area and clubhouse are beautiful no doubt, great in slower seasons, but in the summer the beach itself
will be wall-to-wall with bodies.
And I do mean hundreds of bodies you'll step over or around, coolers, umbrellas, pull-carts, people playing games and
hurling frisbees and kids playing soccer or throwing baseballs & footballs. We refer to it as "Woodstock".
It's similar to the beach up at the Coligny area, where that's the location of the "other" HH public beach access.
Much improved esthetically, sort of park-like, but very overcrowded in summer and during holidays.
It's where ALL the HH locals go, in addition to the folks staying in the immediate area at various condos, hotels, etc.

I own two units at the Monarch and looking to buy one at the Grand Ocean because with six adults, the unit size does matter. I have traded one of my units for the GO the last 4 years. Outside of New Years 2000, I only go to HHI in the summer. Up until 2016, I only went in July. The carnival like picture you are painting has never been my experience at the Monarch since 1995 and certainty not since the Sea Pines Beach Club renovations that completed in 2014 (maybe 2013). There is no doubt that in front of the beach club is crowded, on weekends in the summer only. During the week, it is a lot less crowded. While you are correct there is no physical boarder there is clear delineation of where one begins and one ends and that line has never blurred. When I ride my bike on the beach, it is a pain getting by the beach club area but it is the same pain going from the Monarch towards the Grand Ocean or the Grand Ocean going towards the Monarch.

I will concede that on any given weekend day you might have a small spillover to the Monarch. I can say with no uncertainty that in general if one was to draw a line down the property end from the Monarch and the GO to the beach, the beach crowds are not all that different. In any case , I enjoy the beach club at lunch time and for drinks during the day and at night. The walk is a short walk and unlike food stands it is quality food.
 

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Dean

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I disagree Marty. I've been treated extremely well when I use points. I've received pretty much everything I've asked for and more. That includes GO. For example, I booked ocean side, but asked for Dolphin. I got one of the front units with a full ocean view. Couldn't have been happier. Definitely not the case when exchanging via II even with Marriott priority.
I can attest that historically and formally, a DC reservation is treated exactly the same as an II exchange reservation as a Marriott owner. They really try hard to make everyone happy and January is an easy time to do so but procedurally I wouldn't count on much else. This varies per resort but the info I have seen and heard suggests that the ways GO handles this is c/w the loose direction MVC has given the resorts. YMMV.
 

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I can attest that historically and formally, a DC reservation is treated exactly the same as an II exchange reservation as a Marriott owner. They really try hard to make everyone happy and January is an easy time to do so but procedurally I wouldn't count on much else. This varies per resort but the info I have seen and heard suggests that the ways GO handles this is c/w the loose direction MVC has given the resorts. YMMV.
I have to agree with Big Matt regarding this issue. Most of my MVC stays are now using MVC points and my experiences have been that I am treated more like a home resort owner than an II exchanger. It may help that I am Chairman, but I've had very good success with villa placement and have been told that points users are second in priority only to those home resort owners.
 

Dean

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I have to agree with Big Matt regarding this issue. Most of my MVC stays are now using MVC points and my experiences have been that I am treated more like a home resort owner than an II exchanger. It may help that I am Chairman, but I've had very good success with villa placement and have been told that points users are second in priority only to those home resort owners.
My info is specific to GO and I know for certain they've formally placed exchangers and points reservations in the same category over the past few years. If it's changed it's been since last July. We are Chairman's and Titanium.
 

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My info is specific to GO and I know for certain they've formally placed exchangers and points reservations in the same category over the past few years. If it's changed it's been since last July. We are Chairman's and Titanium.
I haven't had any experience at GO, but this policy doesn't really make any sense. MVC is trying to sell MVC points so why would they treat II exchangers the same way as they do points owners. There would be no incentive to buy points. I have spoken to several GM's at other resorts and they indicated that MVC points users are second in villa assignment priority to home resort owners, and this has been my experience. We typically don't stay during the highest season (except Canyon Villas), so this may help us.
 

Dean

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I haven't had any experience at GO, but this policy doesn't really make any sense. MVC is trying to sell MVC points so why would they treat II exchangers the same way as they do points owners. There would be no incentive to buy points. I have spoken to several GM's at other resorts and they indicated that MVC points users are second in villa assignment priority to home resort owners, and this has been my experience. We typically don't stay during the highest season (except Canyon Villas), so this may help us.
I understand but I can tell you 100% this is the way GO has done this the last 6-7 years at least through last July. I haven't had any contact since on the subject but will in a few months. I've also seen this at other locations including Aruba.
 

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I understand but I can tell you 100% this is the way GO has done this the last 6-7 years at least through last July. I haven't had any contact since on the subject but will in a few months. I've also seen this at other locations including Aruba.
I think I will stick with Surfwatch and Barony. I've had excellent villa assignments at both when using points. Thanks for the information.
 

Dean

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I think I will stick with Surfwatch and Barony. I've had excellent villa assignments at both when using points. Thanks for the information.
Here's some examples. Over the past few years we've had at least 4 trips with a combination of owned, exchange and DC points weeks. They were always able to group them but in every case both the exchange and points weeks were first or second floor and each time we were told they were treated the same and that they would be lower (first or second) floor.
 

AlmostRetired

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Grande Ocean Platinum, 3 x Grand Chateau 3 Bedroom (annual, EOY Odd, EOY Even).,
In my last 3 II trades and 5 out of 6 last II trades I got what I would consider good assignments in one of the two building (4 -Star Fish or 1 - Sand Castle) I requested. I would love a view of the ocean, but I do not expect it. 2 of the trades they were on the 4th floor was a view of the ocean. The other 3 it was a low floor with a nice pool view which I also enjoy. One year I did not get what I requested at first. I needed two beds in the second bedroom instead of a sofa for medical reasons. We made no request of building. I think it was the Sand Dollar lowest floor but it has a sofa in bedroom 2. They moved us one unit over in the same building same floor and that was fine. I was told at the GO that owners have the highest priority, followed by DC points, Marriott HHI Owners that traded via II from one resort in HHI to the GO, Marriott to Marriott in II, Rentals and finally II. I have no clue if this is right . I often think it has to do with what day ones checks in. I seem to do well on Friday or Sunday checkins. This year I traded into the SurfWatch and got a 3 bedroom 3rd week August. I was overruled by family and did a retrade into the GO for a week earlier. The family enjoys Sea Pines that much willing to give up some privacy.
 
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hcarman

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This is an old thread but my Mom and her friends are staying at Monarch next week. She lives in the Hilton Head area and is a Marriott owner so has been doing staycations with her points. Any suggestions for building/view - I know owners at this resort get first dibs which is only fair. They likely won't do any pool sitting this time of the year - more walking on the beach and shopping visiting restaurants. Also, is it typical that you have to pay the entrance fee to get in the first time - then they give you a pass after that? She has a friend that lives in the development and can get her in - but it seems odd that if you pay healthy maintenance fees to Marriott Vacation Club that they would ask you to pay an entrance fee to get in? Just curious.
 
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