I think the resort itself determines the worth of “shoulder” season. In the ski resorts you can’t ski in a Bronze week and you’ll have poor conditions in a Silver week. HHI is a little chilly for swimming in January, although there are lots of other things to do. Ocean Point and Beach Place towers have great beach weather almost the entire year. At OP the Silver season is the month of May and September through mid December. The weather is great for swimming in the ocean in these months. Oddly the Platinum season runs from mid December through April. Mid December through mid February are not good months for spending a day at the ocean. Of the eight weeks you’ll probably see only three with temps consistently above 75 f. and you’ll almost certainly get one with temps in the 30’s.
When we bought at OP we took a platinum 2bdrm OS and a Silver 3 bdrm. I’ve since picked up two 2 bdrm OF’s in Silver season. The platinum was the only one I regret. I use it to trade and it is a great trader but if not for that I would have sold it by now. When I go to a beach resort I want to look at the ocean, not the building next door. This year I traded the OP platinum for a 2bdrm at Frenchman’s Cove in the exact week I wanted ( 3rd week in Feb). As long as it has that power I’ll keep it. BTW the II rep told me when I first asked about the trading power of an OP platinum week “Any week at Ocean Pointe is a good trader.” We’ll see. In 2010 I’m going to see if I can do the same with a Silver OF week.
Take a look at what your L/O can get you at OP. The getaways do not seem to be particularly attractive. The L/O will pull a 2 bdrm in Platinum season. You probably won’t have OF though.
You're incorrect about the weather conditions and ocean conditions in S. Florida Dec thru April. This is prime high season snow bird season from the north. The ocean waters are fine all year round and the weather is great.
I have looked at what my Studio will get me. Not only at Ocean Pointe but throughout the I.I. system. That little silver season studio trades very well anywhere I want to go.
So, back to the original question of "Who in their right mind would purchase if using shoulder season?" For one, I think you can easily say Ocean Pointe owners who want a 2 or 3 bedroom ocean front unit. While I can get ocean view units pretty easily, we want that ocean front unit and we want to be higher on the list for placement when we ask for a high floor and/or a particluar building.
We have exchanged into Ocean Pointe using other units we own. The original time we did this, before we were owners, we were place in a first floor unit all the way to the back of the building. Most would consider that the worst location at this resort (although it's still very nice).
Yes I have seen a few three bedrooms when I look to exchange my studio week back into Ocean Pointe. I have learned what a two bedroom ocean front unit looks like online (6/6 vs 6/8 sleeping capacity) and they just don't show up all that often. Plus, lower floor ocean front units don't really see the ocean due to the palm trees (anything lower than the 4th floor at least).
Now, this might not be the case with all Marriott shoulder season weeks at all of their resorts. On the other hand, those owners may own those weeks to trade up and, that studio unit Silver Season week does trade up pretty well. Owning shoulder season isn't the way to go for everyone but it does work for some of us and we were in our right mind when we purchased. That shoulder season week is one of two I would not consider getting rid of if it ever came to a point where I had to sell off some of my timeshares.