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Monarch 2016-19 4-Year Special Assessment/Refurbishment, etc [Update]

Fairwinds

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SA aside; if I were to find myself in the market for another week it would be at Monarch.
 

l0410z

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The choice was a one time fee or spread over 4 years. I trust that no matter how they account for this, it will come out of the MF after the 4 year time period. If not, it will be questioned. In general, I am happy with the HOA and the balance they strike between MF and improvements.

On a side note, posted on the Monarch facebook group page was an entry from someone who stopped by the Monarch. They we told that the renovation schedule for both the exterior work and interior is still 18/19 and there will be no increase to cover damages from Hurricane Matthew. I will be happy when I get this in an owners update email.
 

l0410z

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Monarch

We look at year to year but I thought it might be of interest to take a longer term look. The Monarch Owners website has a link to a chart showing the yearly MF's from 1988 on. I have owned since 1995 so I thought I would dig deeper into my MF’s .

- In 23 years I have paid abo$19,900 in MF’s broken down as $12,700 Operating Fees (64% of MF), $5,690 Reserve Fund (28.5% of MF) and $1,510 in property Tax (7.5% of MF). There have bee 3 one time assessments totaling $650 and a current assessment of about 300 (2016/2017 of 150 per year). This is included in the reserve fund. Note we have 2 more years on the assessment.
- I think in the early years the reserve fee was a learning curve since this was Marriott’s first timeshare. The reserve fee was on par with taxes (about 10% of the total MF). It was way to low. I am going to compare 1998 to 2015. This takes out the learning curve in the early years and the assessment in 2016-2017. I am Trying not to skew the results. In 1998 my MF broken down was $341 Operating Fee, $100 for Reserve Fee and $40 for property tax for a total of $481. In 2015 it was $794 operating fee (increase of 232% over 1998), $304 for the Reserve fund (increase of 300%) and $103 for property tax (257% increase) for a total MF of $1,202 (increase of 250%).
- In 1998 the Operating Fee was 71% of my MF, the Reserve fee was 20% and Property Tax was 9%. In 2015 it was 66%, 25% and 9%. Again the percent of the reserve fee is understated in 2015 because of the current 4 year assessment.

So what does it mean…the older you get the more you spend on healthcare…. Gee, at 61 I am shocked.

My average cost for my week over the 23 years was about $865 per year or 123 per night for my stay. If I assume my week is now worth 0 this becomes my cost of 23 years of family vacations. This doesn't seem like a bad deal to me.
 
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bvogel7475

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We look at year to year but I thought it might be of interest to take a longer term look. The Monarch Owners website has a link to a chart showing the yearly MF's from 1988 on. I have owned since 1995 so I thought I would dig deeper into my MF’s .

- In 23 years I have paid abo$19,900 in MF’s broken down as $12,700 Operating Fees (64% of MF), $5,690 Reserve Fund (28.5% of MF) and $1,510 in property Tax (7.5% of MF). There have bee 3 one time assessments totaling $650 and a current assessment of about 300 (2016/2017 of 150 per year). This is included in the reserve fund. Note we have 2 more years on the assessment.
- I think in the early years the reserve fee was a learning curve since this was Marriott’s first timeshare. The reserve fee was on par with taxes (about 10% of the total MF). It was way to low. I am going to compare 1998 to 2015. This takes out the learning curve in the early years and the assessment in 2016-2017. I am Trying not to skew the results. In 1998 my MF broken down was $341 Operating Fee, $100 for Reserve Fee and $40 for property tax for a total of $481. In 2015 it was $794 operating fee (increase of 232% over 1998), $304 for the Reserve fund (increase of 300%) and $103 for property tax (257% increase) for a total MF of $1,202 (increase of 250%).
- In 1998 the Operating Fee was 71% of my MF, the Reserve fee was 20% and Property Tax was 9%. In 2015 it was 66%, 25% and 9%. Again the percent of the reserve fee is understated in 2015 because of the current 4 year assessment.

So what does it mean…the older you get the more you spend on healthcare…. Gee, at 61 I am shocked.

My average cost for my week over the 23 years was about $865 per year or 123 per night for my stay. If I assume my week is now worth 0 this becomes my cost of 23 years of family vacations. This doesn't seem like a bad deal to me.
Was it $865 per year just looking at maintenance fees? You should factor in the depreciation of the timeshare over the 23 years you have owned it as well. Otherwise, when you sell the timeshare you would technically take a big capital loss unless you expect the resale value to be larger than the price you paid, which would be a first for a Marriott timeshare.
 

l0410z

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Was it $865 per year just looking at maintenance fees? You should factor in the depreciation of the timeshare over the 23 years you have owned it as well. Otherwise, when you sell the timeshare you would technically take a big capital loss unless you expect the resale value to be larger than the price you paid, which would be a first for a Marriott timeshare.
I purchased my first one (Ocean Front) resale in 1995 for about 12K. My second one for 5K two three doors down called garden with a great ocean view. I purchased it from someone who wanted to dump it to get away from the MF. They are both summer weeks so I believe I can get more than I paid. I hope my kids will want them but if not I value them at 0. The last few years I rented one of them getting more than MF. If I valued them at 0 it is still worth owning them because it forced me to think about vacations every year. We usually took 2 week vacations and weekend trips to Boston, Philly and Baltimore (or washington).

Vacations are discretionary spending and for us it was instead of newer cars and a bigger house. We tried to have our kids understand this was our priority without passing judgement on what other people did. Jury still out on what they learned.
 

Monarch

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[Monarch upcoming renovation 2018 thread merged into this thread re the ongoing refurbishment/Special Assessment at Monarch <-- SueDonJ]

The current renovation at Monarch will include two structural changes, which most owners do not know about. We think many will be upset when they see the changes.

First is the removal and filling in of the “aquarium” corner glass window. All these aquarium windows held up during hurricane Matthew, yet management says the insurance is requiring them to be changed to be hurricane grade or removed. Estimates of $400,000 for the complex of 120 villas seemed too much for BOD, so all units will lose 20-25% of their view. We priced a Marvin corner hurricane grade window at $3000 each. Yet, the new front door at $4500 each will exceed that cost of the window replacement. Current doors are fire grade but management wants auto closers. Simple hinge springs or commercial closers at $50 would do the trick, but management says no.

Second is the replacement of the serpentine wall between the Master BR and LR with a straight wall. This is a loss of a design feature, which has won many awards. Building this type of wall is difficult and time consuming. To date we have talked with many owners and have never found one who does not like the artistic wall. However, management claims that they have complaints all the time about the curved wall. The money spent to straighten the wall could have been used to replace the “aquarium” with a new hurricane version. This change will “add” a few square feet to the LR but will make a dresser in the BR very tight to the bottom of the bed.

We feel the BOD is not as transparent as implied in the earlier posts. As owners we never hear or read anything other than the annual newsletter. We have gotten updates via owners meeting with management while on vacation but that information is slanted to give the best news and withholding anything we might find controversial. Our experience with BOD via Liaison is that it is a one way street. We never get a BOD reply, not even a thank you for your thoughts.
 
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l0410z

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I have supported the BOD second to none. If what you say is true, i would be disappointed that none of the information was communicated. I started a Monarch Facebook page and while there is not a huge membership, many of the members own at least as long as I have (20 years). None of this has been mentioned. I will call the GM today.

I am also going to cut and paste this on the Facebook page letting them know it was pulled off of TUG.

The window replacement was taking place unrelated to Matthew's because of constant condensation on the interior on many of the units based on age and proximity to ocean. The door while fire rated did not meet new fire code standards put your place. This was explained in 2015 before the special assessment was put in place.

I have never heard or read about the replacement windows decreasing window view or the curve wall being removed. Neither makes sense to me.
 

windje2000

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[Monarch upcoming renovation 2018 thread merged into this thread re the ongoing refurbishment/Special Assessment at Monarch <-- SueDonJ]

The current renovation at Monarch will include two structural changes, which most owners do not know about. We think many will be upset when they see the changes.

First is the removal and filling in of the “aquarium” corner glass window. All these aquarium windows held up during hurricane Matthew, yet management says the insurance is requiring them to be changed to be hurricane grade or removed. Estimates of $400,000 for the complex of 120 villas seemed too much for BOD, so all units will lose 20-25% of their view. We priced a Marvin corner hurricane grade window at $3000 each. Yet, the new front door at $4500 each will exceed that cost of the window replacement. Current doors are fire grade but management wants auto closers. Simple hinge springs or commercial closers at $50 would do the trick, but management says no.

Second is the replacement of the serpentine wall between the Master BR and LR with a straight wall. This is a loss of a design feature, which has won many awards. Building this type of wall is difficult and time consuming. To date we have talked with many owners and have never found one who does not like the artistic wall. However, management claims that they have complaints all the time about the curved wall. The money spent to straighten the wall could have been used to replace the “aquarium” with a new hurricane version. This change will “add” a few square feet to the LR but will make a dresser in the BR very tight to the bottom of the bed.

We feel the BOD is not as transparent as implied in the earlier posts. As owners we never hear or read anything other than the annual newsletter. We have gotten updates via owners meeting with management while on vacation but that information is slanted to give the best news and withholding anything we might find controversial. Our experience with BOD via Liaison is that it is a one way street. We never get a BOD reply, not even a thank you for your thoughts.
Well, I guess you and I have had very different experiences at Monarch.

Last year in the fall, a few weeks before Matthew, we were there for TS Julia, and the aquarium window admitted literally gallons of water into the unit. Not the first time I have experienced leaks, but certainly the worst. Perhaps the windows survived Matthew without being blown out, but they have been leaking for some years. Water incursion is an existential threat to a structure.

The notion that the unit will have a view reduced by 20-25% I guess depends on how and where one takes that measurement. Since the entire wall facing the patio/balcony is glass, removing a 12-15? inch glass panel hidden behind curtains won’t matter much to me, and will greatly reduce the likelihood of future water incursion problems with ‘aquarium’ glass joints.

Monarch units are small by Marriott standards and the curved wall arguably (1) wastes space in both the bedroom and the living room, and (2) limits furniture selection to pieces whose size matches the areas around the curve. Whether the ‘straight’ wall will reduce the size of the BR or LR or neither (by splitting the difference) remains to be seen, but the interior decorating options available to efficiently use space in furnishing the units greatly expands.

Finally, although I have only been going to Monarch for about 10 years, I have found the management to be responsive to questions and comments. The information in your post certainly was not news to me. (If you want to be informed, the best venue is attending the weekly owner update, which I do for every week I am present.)

You should also note also that the sliding glass doors also will be replaced, the soffit between the kitchen and dining area will be eliminated, all the soft goods will be replaced, a closet in the guest BR may become a ‘california closet’ or its equivalent, the area adjacent to the entry door may have a built in bench with storage, among other potential improvements.

The oldest timeshare in the Marriott family is about to become one of the newest by virtue of the mammoth renovations contemplated in the next two years. I told Birgit that my view was that ‘doing it right will produce a better result than doing it cheap.’ (And yes, I own multiple weeks there, so it will cost me.)

Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.
 

jme

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Monarch is well located but it has a small footprint, and is old. The units are also very small by Marriott standards, maybe the smallest on the island among the 8 Marriotts. (Toss-up with Harbour Point/Sunset Pointe regarding size.) Despite the greatest of renovations pending at Monarch, the units will remain small----too small for me. They can alter the walls somewhat, but they cannot stretch them. We've rented there occasionally, just the two of us (by choice) with no family or guests, getaway type spontaneous weekends, and we felt claustrophobic each time, won't do it again.

Those that love it, love it. No problem at all, that's fine. Loving a particular place is very special and we all have preferences.
I like the spacious villas at the Big 3 by far. I will say that the long overdue improvements at Monarch will enhance the place ten-fold, and a "quality" renovation is definitely extremely important going forward, as mentioned, and nothing less. For those that love Monarch now, the assessments will be worth it.

In this discussion of Monarch's future, two oft-heard refrains have a bearing on my final analysis:

Yes, "Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten," but "Size matters."
 

MOXJO7282

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For us the location on the beach and within Sea Pines more than makes up for the disappointing lack of views and the smaller rooms.

Do the MFs come down when these assessments are completed?
 

windje2000

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Moxjo,

My understanding is that there is a multi-year (3 or 4) special assessment that we are currently in the midst of. MF should decline by that amount when that period of years is complete.
 

l0410z

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Sorry but I find it funny when I read some comments on the Monarch so I can't help but try and be funny in my response. I remember what my grandmother used to say...."Opinions are like butts, everyone has one and no one thinks theirs smells." The Monarch units are small but they are still 1200 sf and 1200 sf is not an opinion. It's about location, location, location and Sea Pines is a pretty good location, so to be on it or have easy access to it is kind of nice. Just like non alcohol near beer is not beer, near beach is not beach. These are the reasons we stay at the GO if we sleep 8 or slum it at our home Resort if we need to squeeze 6 or less.
 
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l0410z

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All of us own where we do by choice. I thought I might post why the Monarch may not be beautiful to some, kind of cute to many but pretty to me.

Sea Pines
Monarch is the only Marriott Oceanfront HH property in Sea Pines. Sea Pines has 4 golf courses (including the infamous Harbour Town Golf Links) and 15 miles of bike/walking trails maybe the nicest plantation in HH that houses timeshares. It is close to Harbour Town (long walk or short bike ride) and South Beach (Bike from by trail or beach). It is across the street from the Sea Pines Golf Club (2 -18 hole golf courses, putting greens and a driving range). It is adjacent to the Sea Pines Beach Club. In fact the Beach Club just went through massive renovations and has a catering hall, restaurants and a bar most facing the ocean. The Monarch doesn't have a food concession on the property. You must walk 150 feet to get to the beach club. When you walk along the beach for 5 minutes moving away from both the Monarch and Beach Club crowds, you pass beach front homes valued in 7 figures. You are now almost in a private beach setting if you want

Monarch
It is Marriott's first timeshare but it was not built by Marriott. This says two things, it is older and will not have the Mariott look and feel. It was actually architected to fit into Sea Pines. The landscape architect (Robert Marvin) was well known for his low country designs. The landscaping has a central courtyard nestled between the four buildings with tall pines, gardens, walkways, boardwalks, fountains and reflecting pools giving it more of a tropical feel. Can you imagine how odd the big three would look in Sea Pines. The Sea Pines Association would not have approved it. The builder was not Marriott marketing savoy and maybe the reason they had to sell. They thought in terms of black and white...you are oceanfront or not. Attached is my garden view. My oceanfront unit is three units closer to the ocean without the garden in the way. It is much smaller (122 units) than the "normal' Marriott giving it a cozier and friendlier feel. It has less concrete than the typical Marriott properties. It is mostly fixed weeks (all but 15 units) so this means you often see the same families. It offers 130K (summer) Marriott points every year. At one point that meant a lot.

Warts...
It is an older resort. It needs to have a knee or hip replacement every now and then so yes buildings and windows do get repaired/replaced. I do not believe anyone would argue that the quality of building in 1985 for the most part is better than newer ones. Lets see when other resorts require knee replacements. The units are about 1200 sf and the 2nd bedroom has two single beds. The unit only sleeps 6. This might be its biggest drawback. It was designed when two cars per unit were not the norm so the 144 parking spaces can be a challenge. Second car passes can only park in certain areas and when that is full a second car pass must park at the beach club lot that is separated from the Monarch parking lot by a 50 foot walk past a some tall trees. The Monarch has no movie theater. It has no indoor pool but it does have the typical Marriott activities.

The Monarch units seem to have a steady stream of people wanting to rent and it trades well. I think i'll keep it.
 

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bogey21

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Agree with previous post. The reasons stated are the reason that I kept my Monarch Week long after bailing out of my other Marriotts.

George
 

Pathways

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I am a one year 'new' Monarch summer owner, a second week ready to close shortly. I haven't actually been on the property since I first stayed there in 1996, and I can't wait to be back!

From my research, I would back the board decisions I have seen so far. From the two schools of thought, I go against the grain and would much rather have a SA for certain upgrades and keep the lower fees.

After attending board meetings at numerous resorts, the overriding theme seems to be "we have this much money in the reserve fund, what upgrades shall we make? Or "We still have X dollars left over, what else can we come up with to do?" Too many times a nonsense idea from an 'outlier' board member gets approved just because there is reserve money left over, and the rest of the board just capitulates so they can move on.

If a SA is required, the board seems to focus much closer on what is really 'required' and strives to get the best bang for a buck.
 

SueDonJ

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I am a one year 'new' Monarch summer owner, a second week ready to close shortly. I haven't actually been on the property since I first stayed there in 1996, and I can't wait to be back!

From my research, I would back the board decisions I have seen so far. From the two schools of thought, I go against the grain and would much rather have a SA for certain upgrades and keep the lower fees.

After attending board meetings at numerous resorts, the overriding theme seems to be "we have this much money in the reserve fund, what upgrades shall we make? Or "We still have X dollars left over, what else can we come up with to do?" Too many times a nonsense idea from an 'outlier' board member gets approved just because there is reserve money left over, and the rest of the board just capitulates so they can move on.

If a SA is required, the board seems to focus much closer on what is really 'required' and strives to get the best bang for a buck.
That isn't how I know either Barony Beach's or SurfWatch's boards to operate, despite the fact that they both collect appropriate Reserves in anticipation of well-planned refurbs. So while it's okay to have a preference for either method of collecting funds for refurbs (as needed in the form of SA as is being done at Monarch OR proportionally in advance as has been done at Barony and SurfWatch,) it's not okay to assume or intimate that any or all boards will be irresponsible with proportionally-collected funds. I honestly can't remember a TUG discussion about any Marriott board being that irresponsible.

By the way, I am in the camp of preferring SA's in the event that repairs/refurbs become necessary following a natural disaster such that the catastrophic insurance deductible kicks in. That's what happened when Hurricane Matthew blasted through Hilton Head last fall and I don't have any problem with them having had to increase the 2017 MF's to cover it. In such cases a board is simply unable to predict when or even if they'll need such funds, and I don't want them sitting on any monies that aren't specifically earmarked for a certain item at a certain date.
 

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View from my current unit at Grande Ocean, where we are spending the next 3 weeks:
(I feel like I can step onto the sand.)



View from Grande Ocean unit in 2016, where we also spent 3 weeks:



Ummmm, I think I'll stay at Grande Ocean.
 
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Pathways

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That isn't how I know either Barony Beach's or SurfWatch's boards to operate, despite the fact that they both collect appropriate Reserves in anticipation of well-planned refurbs. So while it's okay to have a preference for either method of collecting funds for refurbs (as needed in the form of SA as is being done at Monarch OR proportionally in advance as has been done at Barony and SurfWatch,) it's not okay to assume or intimate that any or all boards will be irresponsible with proportionally-collected funds. I honestly can't remember a TUG discussion about any Marriott board being that irresponsible.

By the way, I am in the camp of preferring SA's in the event that repairs/refurbs become necessary following a natural disaster such that the catastrophic insurance deductible kicks in. That's what happened when Hurricane Matthew blasted through Hilton Head last fall and I don't have any problem with them having had to increase the 2017 MF's to cover it. In such cases a board is simply unable to predict when or even if they'll need such funds, and I don't want them sitting on any monies that aren't specifically earmarked for a certain item at a certain date.
I agree with you except with the characterization of a board being irresponsible. I find very seldom do they cross that line and put funds into a project that is clearly a 'waste'. But it is rare that when bids come in low, that an entity uses the leftover monies to 'refund' back to the originators. I was at a meeting this week where the project bid came in at 41Mil with 50 Mil budgeted. Trust me when I say there was no discussion of refund, return, lowering of a bond or anything like that with the extra 9. However, what the extra money was then earmarked for I would not say was a 'waste' or 'misuse' of funds, (others might) just 'enhancing' the original specs of the project.
 
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l0410z

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This is our view from our July oceanfront unit at the Monarch. Fixed week gives us the same view since 1995 when we purchased. The second picture is my August unit which Monarch considers a Garden View. Just for the record, I enjoy the GO when I traded into it. Last year we stayed in Starfish and had a view of the pool. Loved it. I enjoyed the Heritage when I traded into it for a week of golfing and have no remembrance of my view. I can say with no uncertainty the view from the unit has a very small impact on enjoying my vacation. I have not tried the other Marriott resorts on HHI because I prefer Sea Pines but I have no doubt as Marriott's the units are nice.
photo_4 (1).jpg
IMG_0556.JPG
 
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hangloose

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l0410z & jme - Great photos. You should post them in the "View from Balcony" thread. I would take any of the three views! The Monarch Garden view appears to be more of an "Ocean Side" view classification that you see at many others MVC resorts.

Been to HHI many times, but never at either of these resorts. We're always at Barony or Surfwatch. While I like both, each has their pros/cons. I bet MGO would be our preferred HHI resort, given it's many pools. In time, I'll visit both. We're off to a 3 bedroom at Surfwatch late summer!
 

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Well, I guess you and I have had very different experiences at Monarch.

Last year in the fall, a few weeks before Matthew, we were there for TS Julia, and the aquarium window admitted literally gallons of water into the unit. Not the first time I have experienced leaks, but certainly the worst. Perhaps the windows survived Matthew without being blown out, but they have been leaking for some years. Water incursion is an existential threat to a structure.

The notion that the unit will have a view reduced by 20-25% I guess depends on how and where one takes that measurement. Since the entire wall facing the patio/balcony is glass, removing a 12-15? inch glass panel hidden behind curtains won’t matter much to me, and will greatly reduce the likelihood of future water incursion problems with ‘aquarium’ glass joints.

Monarch units are small by Marriott standards and the curved wall arguably (1) wastes space in both the bedroom and the living room, and (2) limits furniture selection to pieces whose size matches the areas around the curve. Whether the ‘straight’ wall will reduce the size of the BR or LR or neither (by splitting the difference) remains to be seen, but the interior decorating options available to efficiently use space in furnishing the units greatly expands.

Finally, although I have only been going to Monarch for about 10 years, I have found the management to be responsive to questions and comments. The information in your post certainly was not news to me. (If you want to be informed, the best venue is attending the weekly owner update, which I do for every week I am present.)

You should also note also that the sliding glass doors also will be replaced, the soffit between the kitchen and dining area will be eliminated, all the soft goods will be replaced, a closet in the guest BR may become a ‘california closet’ or its equivalent, the area adjacent to the entry door may have a built in bench with storage, among other potential improvements.

The oldest timeshare in the Marriott family is about to become one of the newest by virtue of the mammoth renovations contemplated in the next two years. I told Birgit that my view was that ‘doing it right will produce a better result than doing it cheap.’ (And yes, I own multiple weeks there, so it will cost me.)

Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.
well windje2000 maybe you don't look out the corner window much, but a corner as two sides and the aquarium window over all in approved 6ft by 5ft or 30 sq ft which offer substantial light and to some a very positive view. So if you had only one living room window which leaked your solution is to replace it with a wall. [Deleted.]
 
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okie

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well windje2000 maybe you don't look out the corner window much, but a corner as two sided and the aquarium window over all in approved 6ft by 5ft or 30 sq ft which offer substantial light and to some a very positive view. So if you had only one living room window which leaked your solution is to replace it with a wall.
"do it right is not replacing a window with a wall, replace it with a window that does not leak.
 
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okie

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well windje2000 maybe you don't look out the corner window much, but a corner as two sides and the aquarium window over all is about 6ft by 5ft or 30 sq ft which offer substantial light and to some a very positive view. So if you had only one living room window which leaked your solution is to replace it with a wall.
"do it right is not replacing a window with a wall, replace it with a window that does not leak.
Why can we spend $6,000 on a front door that good be fixed for much less but we can't afford to replace aquarium window with another window. The problem is that not all units have a positive view from the aquarium window but that is not a reason to throw the baby out with the bath water. Replace the windows with a view or are a good light source and only wall up the rest.
I disagree with your assessment of the curved wall which by the way one several architectural designs, you will be spending money we can't afford to add some square feet to one room while robbing square feet from another. By the way this is in violation of the "master deed" which states that to "substantially change the original plans and specifications of the condominium property requires 75% approval by the owners.
 
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okie

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Why can we spend $6,000 on a front door that good be fixed for much less but we can't afford to replace aquarium window with another window. The problem is that not all units have a positive view from the aquarium window but that is not a reason to throw the baby out with the bath water. Replace the windows with a view or are a good light source and only wall up the rest.
I disagree with your assessment of the curved wall which by the way one several architectural designs, you will be spending money we can't afford to add some square feet to one room while robbing square feet from another. By the way this is in violation of the "master deed" which states that to "substantially change the original plans and specifications of the condominium property requires 75% approval by the owners.
Also windje2000 you might want to open your curtain, may be you would be surprised by the view.
 

windje2000

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Also windje2000 you might want to open your curtain, may be you would be surprised by the view.
Welcome to TUG. .
 
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