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Starwood vs Marriott

bongo

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Hello! I've been enjoying the site...many thanks for sharing your experiences. I am considering purchasing a Marriott TS, but have been looking at Starwood, as I am familiar with their resorts having worked for their hotel division previously. After comparing the two, why Starwood over Marriott? Thanks for your feedback :)
 

tomandrobin

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Both are good systems. Both have great resorts in great location. Marriott has a ton more resorts, but not all of them are "stars". I would make your decision based on where you want to stay, not the system.
 

Cathyb

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IMHO it is Marriott over Starwood for customer service and choice of locations.
 

beachdiva

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I second the response to buy where you want to stay. Both programs will give their owners some type of preference on trading (in II for Marriott or SVN for Starwood). At the end of the day, there's no perfect system, so buy where you want to travel most. Both systems have beautiful properties. Personally, I prefer Marriott's wider choice of properties. But Starwood has a resort that is one of my favorites. So I own both :)
 

pointsjunkie

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before i bought mega amount of starwood resorts , i went to aruba to look at a marriott property.

and this is what i found (only from the presentation and talking to owners) they do not have a numeric value for each unit so it seemed to us that they devalued their own properties. the studio side had no value to them. which seemed wierd. they rate them and was told that if we were trading from orlando, arizona, new jersey we would probably never get to go to aruba or hawaii.

in starwood system an option is an option so at the 8 month mark anyone can trade into a resort if it is available.

both programs have their good and bad points. i just happen to love the starwood resorts.

good luck with your decision.
 

Henry M.

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I picked Starwood over Marriott too because of the specific properties I wanted to go to (mainly WKORV/WKORV-N over Marriott's Maui Ocean Club).

This year I traded with a Marriott owner at the Marriott Waiohai. After comparing notes, I am happy to be at the Starwood property. I feel like Starwood has a bit more flexibility and since they have properties where it interests me most, I don't mind that they have fewer properties than Marriott. This can make a huge difference in your preference so I can understand why the availability would sway others in the opposite direction that I went.

Two things struck me at the Waiohai:

1.) Even though I had a room next to the "Elevator Machinery" I was told in no uncertain terms that it was not possible to switch to a different room category even if there were rooms available in your own category. The manager didn't just say sorry, we're full and there are no rooms available (I would have believed her since it was July), she said he wouldn't even look at what was available since my room category was full and it was Marriott policy to provide only the category purchased. I was also told that Marriott Timeshares are not hotels so they don't try to do what hotels do when there is a room problem. At Starwood I would expect the front desk to do whatever it can to fix an issue with a room, including upgrading to something better, if that is all that they have. I know sometimes this isn't possible, but at least they will try and not categorically go by the rule book. My exchanger even got an OF unit at WKORV-N (I own IV there).

2.) After our respective stays, the person that I exchanged with tried to reserve her week at exactly 12 months out, 6 in the morning (or whatever time she had to call Marriott from California) and was unable to get the week she wanted. She only owns one week and apparently those that own multiple weeks get to reserve earlier than she can. Also, the owner preference period seems to be only a few days. I called about a month later and was able to reserve my weeks starting in July with absolutely no problem. Hopefully Marriott owners will chime in here. It just seemed to be much more difficult to get something at your own home resort than it is with Starwood, especially if you don't own multiple weeks.

3.) The Waiohai was strictly a timeshare unit. I don't know how other Marriott resorts are. They did not have anyone to help with the luggage and only if you got lucky could you find the carts to take your suitcases from the parking lot to the room. There were a lot fewer staff going around the property than at Starwood. tarwood also rents their rooms like a hotel so they seem to have more services avaiable to guests. There are many more people available to povide concierge services, the markets seems better stocked and less expensive. The front desk staff was friendlier at WKORV.

4.) The Waiohai doesn't have lock0offs. Thus, you have to use your week all at once and you couldn't stay two weeks in your unit. The availability of the lock-off makes a huge difference to me in the flexibility to plan my vacations. This might just be something about the particular resort so double check.
 

Pit

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They are both quality products, so don't fixate on brand name. Decide how you would use your ownership, before buying into either system. Example... you want to ski Park City, go with Marriott. You want to ski Colorado, the choice is Starwood.
 

dss

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I'm not well versed on the Marriott system but with reference to the above post concerning the reservation window. My understanding is that multiple week owners have the ability to reserve weeks 13 months out instead of at 12 months out. I don't know the details as to what qualifies for what, but I do know there are DOZENS of threads on this over at the Marriott forum, with most individual week owners a bit upset that they can't get their ownership week without significant hassle.

Personally, that is a deal breaker to me, you need to make sure that your individual unit owners have access to what they purchased first and foremost. Any other perks you want to award "elite" owners should not come at the expense of these core owners.
 

LisaRex

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I knew I wanted to buy Maui. I was torn between Marriott Ocean Club and Westin Kaanapali villas. I ultimately chose the latter for a few reasons:

1) Since I knew I'd buy resale, I was looking at the older section of MOC. They were converted hotel rooms and didn't have full kitchens. They also didn't have a washer/dryer. Those were big negatives to me, and would be even more important now that airlines are limiting luggage.

2) Since I only wanted 1 week, I didn't want to join a company that made me feel like a second class citizen. As emuyshondt said, Marriott multi-week owners can reserve a week earlier than others. I like the level playing field that Starwood offers.

Marriott offers three big upsides:

1) Numerous locations, including international
2) The Marriott priority window that exchangers get in II
3) Their view categories are not fast and loose. If you buy OF, you can bet you're going to get an unimpeded view of the ocean.
 

stevens397

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Well, I guess I have a different perspective (as usual!).

My first timeshare purchase was a Marriott (Fairway Villas) and we were naive and were sold a bill of goods about how easy it is to trade. We got lots of points, but we learned later that the redemption levels at Starwood was much lower (probably not as big a difference now). In addition, Starwood did not have "Anytime" rewards - with Starwood, if there is a room, it's yours. If no standard room is available, you can usually get a higher level room for another 1,500 points, rather than twice the normal amount with Marriott.

Now I realize these are mostly hotel issues. Our first Starwood purchase was Kierland. What grabbed me (and still does) was that I could split the lock-off and due to the layout, each week we would have a suite. With Marriott lock-offs, pretty much each one is a one bedroom suite and a "junior" suite. I love the timeshares because I love the bedroom - my wife usually can sleep much later than I can and one single room leaves me with no place to go.

All I can say is that I stopped with Marriott after one purchase and I'm still acquiring Starwoods.
 

ciscogizmo1

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Now I realize these are mostly hotel issues. Our first Starwood purchase was Kierland. What grabbed me (and still does) was that I could split the lock-off and due to the layout, each week we would have a suite. With Marriott lock-offs, pretty much each one is a one bedroom suite and a "junior" suite. I love the timeshares because I love the bedroom - my wife usually can sleep much later than I can and one single room leaves me with no place to go.
Interesting thought.... at Maui and the Princeville resorts the studio does not have a separate bedroom. Is this something special for Kierland and not at other resorts?
 

ciscogizmo1

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Really... or sadly I should say that you won't know what you like until you experience it. Unfortunately, it is an expensive experience. I own at DVC, Marriott and Starwood.

I've never had problems reserving any of my units at any resort. I question the above poster who said that a friend had trouble reserving at Waiohai at 12 months. I find that one hard to believe because I followed the reservation system online for the first 7 months of the year and none of them were booked on day one of the reservations opening up. Anyways.. all systems have their pluses and minuses....

I do not like Starwood for the following reasons:

1) you do not get to pick the week to deposit in II. Starwood picks the week which is a devalue of your unit.

2) The computer problems the Starwood system has is unacceptable. I made a reservation change yesterday and still have not received my confirmation via e-mail. So, now I gotta call back and give them another e-mail address to get a confirmation. You know, as much as I pay in MF I shouldn't have to call back. You cannot view your reservation online once it is made. There is no record of it except that e-mailed confirmation. Totally unacceptable in this day and age.

3) The whole voluntary and mandatory thing is just weird to me. I think it really devalues your unit and limits your choices.

4) While I love the quality of the units at Starwood I don't like the options of trading.. Very limited...

5) I don't like paying for the extras that I don't use like the bell services, pool towels exchanges-- whenever you want (a BIG WASTE OF MONEY), conceirage service, etc.. Those things aren't really important to me in a timeshare. So, any timeshare that has these things are just not my cup of tea.

Now, I have another laundry list of stuff that I don't like about Marriott and DVC but that's for another post.

Good luck deciding... I don't think it is an easy choice especially since you won't know what you like until you experience it. Definitely, buy where you want to stay. Maybe rent a unit until you've have decided.
 

Ken555

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Interesting thought.... at Maui and the Princeville resorts the studio does not have a separate bedroom. Is this something special for Kierland and not at other resorts?
Look at MSG resort floorplans for the resorts and you'll find all (or almost all) of the mainland resorts have 2, 1-bedroom units comprising a 2-bed unit. Hawaii resorts have a 1-bed & studio. This makes an impact on II trades as well, I believe, as they consider the small 1-bed as a "1-bed" and is an advantage. Of course, any Hawaii week should be a high trader (even a studio), but I'm not sure how easy you would be able to get a 2-bed for it.
 

DeniseM

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Use the search function (SEARCH THIS FORUM) to search this board for "Marriott" for lots of good info.

Also - see the chart in the Owner Resources sticky comparing the major hotel TS systems.
 

applegirl

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Now, I have another laundry list of stuff that I don't like about Marriott and DVC but that's for another post.

Since the OP was talking about both Starwood AND Marriott, I wish Cisco would give their Marriott laundry list. We all could learn.

Janna
 

SDKath

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We own mostly Starwood because I find that their TSs (and hotels) are nicer than the Marriotts. I like the StarPoint system too and I love having such luxury hotels as W and St.Regis right at my finger tips. With SPs and my Am Ex card, I stay at least a week for free at these hotels each year, which is not something I could afford otherwise.

That said, I recently bought an EOY platinum Marriott (at Shadow Ridge) because I wanted to round out my choice of TSs to exchange into. There are a few locations (Aruba...) where there are no Starwoods. An EOY ownership is cheaper (I got mine for $4100!!!) and gives me just the right amount of time to go someplace where Starwood would not take me.

We also have DVC. :) We are heading to Beach Club next month. :cheer: But we will like sell those points as the kids get older (they are 8 and 3 now).

Katherine
 

Cathyb

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emuy: In reference to your No. 2 -- try getting Harborside or St. John and see how difficult for non-hurricane season weeks there.
 

bongo

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Thank You

Many thanks for the great feedback...wish I could just buy both ;)
 

SDKath

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We'll be at AKV end of October. Take the kiddies to the MNSSHP, lots of fun!
Thanks Tom (and Robin) :D

I purchased tickets on line already for MNSSHP and the kids actually went costume shopping this weekend just to be prepared for this. We will be at BCV Oct 1-7th. :banana:

This stay is also "free" thanks to our developer points for buying AKV! I had one day on cash because it was not originally available for points. It wasw $350 per night plus tax! Fortunately I got it covered by points thanks to their waitlist system. So no out of pocket expenses (yet).

Katherine
 

SDKath

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Many thanks for the great feedback...wish I could just buy both ;)
If you purchase smartly, you can own both. Sheraton Vistana Falls are $500 on eBay right now. I used them to trade to WKV and WKORV for next year.

Marriott also is letting some great priced units go through their ROFR right now due to the bad economy. You can own great weeks at both for under $5000-$6000!

Katherine
 

bongo

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WOW! I'll take a second look at resales...would love to own both! I'm enjoying the info posted by all...literally worth thousands :D
 

Henry M.

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emuy: In reference to your No. 2 -- try getting Harborside or St. John and see how difficult for non-hurricane season weeks there.
I was talking about reserving at your home resort at exactly the beginning of your reservation window. She called exactly 12 months out early in the morning and couldn't get the week she wanted.

At WSJ you automatically get the week you own. I don't know about Harborside, but I've called less than 12 months out and have been able to get a reservation in the May/June timeframe as long as I was flexible with the week I wanted I don't know if owners there have any problem getting what they want if they call in when their home resort period starts.
 

Robert D

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One of the real benefits of Starwood vs. Marriott is that it's a lot easier to get the peak weeks. Starwood chooses the week that gets deposited to II and from what I can tell, they rarely give them the peak weeks. This is bad if you're planning to trade but great for the owners who want to use or rent their week. With Marriott, you choose the week that gets deposited and the peak weeks go fast. Frankly, I kind of like the way Starwood does it, but it's a two edged sword.
 

abdibile

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WOW! I'll take a second look at resales...would love to own both! I'm enjoying the info posted by all...literally worth thousands :D
But remeber that neither conversion to Hotel points (Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Geuest) or internal trading system with Starwood (at least for voluntary resorts) do not come with resale purchases.
 
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