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[merged]Westin Desert Willow (Palm Desert, Calif) opening March 2010

sjuhawk_jd

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Yikes -- $1776 maintenance fee already, when there's usually a developer contribution in the early years? No wonder there were no bids. :eek:

People are smart. In this low season, these weeks will be available as getaways for $500 or less, so why pay this MF. For trading, there are better values too!
 

jerseygirl

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People are smart. In this low season, these weeks will be available as getaways for $500 or less, so why pay this MF. For trading, there are better values too!

Agree -- and its voluntary. :( I think this is just a sign of things to come for even the newest, nicest Starwood resorts when it comes to the resale market. What a shame.
 

DanCali

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Just returned from a short stay at WDW for the holiday weekend and here are my impressions:

Overall, we liked the resort a lot. We stayed in the small one bedroom. Putting aside the "artist rendering", the room was very nice and everything felt new. I also thought things were very well designed in many ways. First off, it appears that the tried to maximize golf course views. In addition, we never once heard any neighbors even though the resort was allegedly full. Also, the balcony is designed in a manner that gives the appearance of privacy; we effectively used it as an extra room when using a computer (wireless is free for guests). I didn't find it depressing or claustrophobic in any way as some people got the impression from earlier photos. Limitation of the smaller 1BR: no DVD player in bedroom, no whirlpool tub, limited counter space in kitchen. The room did have the heavenly shower and two robes and even trash liners! The fitness center was also very well equipped (5 treadmills hooked to tv, 5 eliptical bikes, various weight machines, towels and headsets always stocked, cold water etc). In regards to building request, buildings 1 and 2 were closest to the pools, which makes a difference in a hot day. buildings 3 and 5 are not too far though (not sure where building 4 is...). We were on the third floor but I thought the patios also looked very nice.

The staff were also great and eager to help and please. There were a lot of activities by the pool for both kids and adults and people seemed genuinely happy. They some form of shuttle (more like a gold cart) moving people between buildings if they so desired (it was 95 degrees). Grills were cleaned at least once a day (they are located by the residence buildings - 2 by each building). They also offered guests staying over the holiday a 1pm checkout on Monday. They do enforce the 48 inches at the famous slides, and it's definitely a fun ride!

We did not attend a sales presentation (why ruin a short vacation?) but I talked to a few gusts by the pool and heard from one that there are no Platinum weeks available while another told me that they will sell you a Platinum if you also buy a Gold Plus. My understanding was that they are pushing mostly Gold Plus weeks but my guess if that if someone wants to buy only a Platinum they can probably do it via direct sales. Then again, why buy retail, especially at a voluntary resort? It's a nice resort but my guess is that in 5 years resale prices here will be as low as WMH because of the voluntary nature of the resort...

I did not take photos of the interior of the room, but here are some photos from my phone: the daily activities (scan), pool area, more pool area, back of building 3.
 

SDKath

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Thanks for the review and the pictures! I am glad to hear that the small 1br is not that small after all. We may try to stay for a few days in the Fall!

Katherine
 

DanCali

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Thanks for the review and the pictures! I am glad to hear that the small 1br is not that small after all. We may try to stay for a few days in the Fall!

Katherine

600 square feet is only 600 square feet - no getting around that. It had its limitations but for our family of 3 (two adults and a toddler) it was ok for a short stay. The difference in Staroptions between the small and large 1BR is not that big, especially if not Platinum season so get the large 1BR if it's available - I think you have a bit more SOs than me :)
 

J&JFamily

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Just returned from a short stay at WDW for the holiday weekend and here are my impressions:

Overall, we liked the resort a lot. We stayed in the small one bedroom. Putting aside the "artist rendering", the room was very nice and everything felt new. I also thought things were very well designed in many ways. First off, it appears that the tried to maximize golf course views. In addition, we never once heard any neighbors even though the resort was allegedly full. Also, the balcony is designed in a manner that gives the appearance of privacy; we effectively used it as an extra room when using a computer (wireless is free for guests). I didn't find it depressing or claustrophobic in any way as some people got the impression from earlier photos. Limitation of the smaller 1BR: no DVD player in bedroom, no whirlpool tub, limited counter space in kitchen. The room did have the heavenly shower and two robes and even trash liners! The fitness center was also very well equipped (5 treadmills hooked to tv, 5 eliptical bikes, various weight machines, towels and headsets always stocked, cold water etc). In regards to building request, buildings 1 and 2 were closest to the pools, which makes a difference in a hot day. buildings 3 and 5 are not too far though (not sure where building 4 is...). We were on the third floor but I thought the patios also looked very nice.

The staff were also great and eager to help and please. There were a lot of activities by the pool for both kids and adults and people seemed genuinely happy. They some form of shuttle (more like a gold cart) moving people between buildings if they so desired (it was 95 degrees). Grills were cleaned at least once a day (they are located by the residence buildings - 2 by each building). They also offered guests staying over the holiday a 1pm checkout on Monday. They do enforce the 48 inches at the famous slides, and it's definitely a fun ride!

We did not attend a sales presentation (why ruin a short vacation?) but I talked to a few gusts by the pool and heard from one that there are no Platinum weeks available while another told me that they will sell you a Platinum if you also buy a Gold Plus. My understanding was that they are pushing mostly Gold Plus weeks but my guess if that if someone wants to buy only a Platinum they can probably do it via direct sales. Then again, why buy retail, especially at a voluntary resort? It's a nice resort but my guess is that in 5 years resale prices here will be as low as WMH because of the voluntary nature of the resort...

I did not take photos of the interior of the room, but here are some photos from my phone: the daily activities (scan), pool area, more pool area, back of building 3.

Thanks for the review and photos! We're staying there for a few days with our leftover SOs next month. If we want to be close to the pool yet have a nice view of the golf course, what building/unit do you recommend we request (we are a family of four with a 7- and 9-year-old staying in a large one bedroom).
 

DanCali

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Thanks for the review and photos! We're staying there for a few days with our leftover SOs next month. If we want to be close to the pool yet have a nice view of the golf course, what building/unit do you recommend we request (we are a family of four with a 7- and 9-year-old staying in a large one bedroom).

Unfortunately, I didn't keep the resort map we got at checkin. If I recall correctly, buildings 1 and 2 are closest to the entrance and pool complex while building 3 and is about 600 feet away (or 300 feet if you shortcut from building 3 to the pool via the golf course). Buildings 4 and 5 are probably 100-200 feet further away. The resort is quite compact at this point.

The "back of building 3" photo was taken from nearby the pool complex so it gives you an idea of the distance and balcony views you'd get from there. Buildings 1 (and 2, I think) were right behind me when I took that photo so they are even closer. Not sure about the views from those buildings, but it looked in general that most if not all balconies were designed to face the golf courses so I doubt you can go wrong with either of those.

I wish I had kept the map but hopefully this is somewhat helpful. I'd give the concierge desk a call and ask one of them, just to make sure. They'll probably call you anyway a few days before you arrive...
 

J&JFamily

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Unfortunately, I didn't keep the resort map we got at checkin. If I recall correctly, buildings 1 and 2 are closest to the entrance and pool complex while building 3 and is about 600 feet away (or 300 feet if you shortcut from building 3 to the pool via the golf course). Buildings 4 and 5 are probably 100-200 feet further away. The resort is quite compact at this point.

The "back of building 3" photo was taken from nearby the pool complex so it gives you an idea of the distance and balcony views you'd get from there. Buildings 1 (and 2, I think) were right behind me when I took that photo so they are even closer. Not sure about the views from those buildings, but it looked in general that most if not all balconies were designed to face the golf courses so I doubt you can go wrong with either of those.

I wish I had kept the map but hopefully this is somewhat helpful. I'd give the concierge desk a call and ask one of them, just to make sure. They'll probably call you anyway a few days before you arrive...

Thanks Dan, that is very helpful. I like the idea of calling the resort and asking the concierge desk. I'll probably ask for bldg 1 or 2 in an upper floor.
 

arosa1016

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Map and pictures of Desert Willow

We stayed there in April. I would suggest Building one or two. The closest to the pool. The resort is lovely but wouldn't stay there in the summer until the foliage matures. We had the small one bedroom in building one and it seemed very dark and very cheaply put together. The pools and the view plus the staff made us enjoy it so much. Attached is th website with some pictures and a map of the resort.

http://gallery.me.com/rosa1016#100264
 

SDKath

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Great pictures! Thanks so much for sharing!
 

DanCali

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This is great - thanks!

It does look from the map like all the backs of the buildings (balconies) face the golf course. I thought that was very smart planning.

We certainly didn't feel the same about the small 1BR though. The inside felt to us not much different from a Westin hotel suite (last one I was in was in Chicago - River North). It even had the robes, heavenly shower etc - stuff long gone on Maui - I just wish it had a King bed. I imagine the large 1BR has similar furnishings + 200 extra square feet which would feel roomier in the living area and kitchen (and it will have a king bed + whirlpool in bathroom + stove in kitchen).

As for "dark" - I find hotel rooms in the US dark in general... For some reason the US is not big on lights in the ceiling and just put lamps around the rooms. 94 degrees and sunny helps mitigate the darkness issue a bit :)
 

J&JFamily

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We stayed there in April. I would suggest Building one or two. The closest to the pool. The resort is lovely but wouldn't stay there in the summer until the foliage matures. We had the small one bedroom in building one and it seemed very dark and very cheaply put together. The pools and the view plus the staff made us enjoy it so much. Attached is th website with some pictures and a map of the resort.

http://gallery.me.com/rosa1016#100264

Thanks, that is very helpful. We are going in July and recognize that we are in the minority (most folks wouldn't think of going to Palm Springs in the middle of summer with temps well above 100* F). However, our kids live such busy lives (school, baseball, softball, soccer, gymnastics, basketball, etc....) that they really enjoy those "do nothing" vacations where we just swim during the day, go to the movies when it is really hot, and go to nice dinners before finishing off the night in the pool. And besides, this is just a small vacation prior to our real vacation at WSJ in late July/early August. :whoopie:

You do bring up a great point about the foliage, which is well depicted in your photos. We debated between using our leftover Staroptions at WDW or WMH and chose WDW because we wanted to check out the new resort (we've stayed at WMH 5 or 6 times). The mature foliage at WMH really does help during the hot summer and I'm thinking that it will be a while before the same can be said at WDW. Anyway, this is not meant as a mean (or unfair) criticism of the resort as I recognize that it does take a while for the plants and trees to grow. It is just that your pictures depict a different feeling than one gets at WMH. Oh well, we'll have to check it out for ourselves. Thanks again for the great pics and advice. I'll be calling tomorrow to request bldg 1 or 2.
 

DanCali

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WDW Map

So I was able to find the map and scan it... (I knew it was somewhere).

Denise, feel free to add to owner resources.

WDWMap.jpg
 
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DeniseM

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Done! - Thank you! :hi:
 

daviator

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Because the map above is painfully old and out of date, and because the Vistana FAQ links to this post for the map, I thought it would be useful to post an updated property map. There are currently 12 buildings containing villas (as opposed to the 5 on the map from 2010.) There is still room for 5 more buildings and another pool area, which I hope will be built one of these days.
Screen Shot 2022-08-02 at 2.26.39 AM.jpg
 

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