I stayed at the Hyatt Regency at Ka’anapali Beach in Maui this past February (report to follow).
Next door to the hotel is the Hyatt Residence Club. It is not a hotel, but a vacation ownership property, where you can purchase ownership or the right to visit the property for a given amount of time each year.
It is essentially a timeshare ownership but I was quickly and vehemently told that the Hyatt Residence Club form of ownership was better than a timeshare (as I’ll discuss later).
First, let me say this: Everywhere I went around the Hyatt Regency there were desks and kiosks devoted to advertising the Hyatt Residence Club. I sat down at one such desk near the hotel lobby and signed up for a tour. Here was the offer: attend a 90 minute vacation ownership sales presentation and receive your choice of the following: a $150 check, a $250 spa credit, 2 Luau tickets, 2 sunset cruise tickets or 15,000 World of Hyatt points. I chose the points (no surprise there).
The next day, at 11:30 a.m., we checked in at the sales gallery (which actually was within the Hyatt Regency not the Hyatt Residence Club). We went to a waiting area, where we could choose hot or cold beverages (I took a guava soda) (it was delicious).
Joe (or Bob or Bill), from Pittsburgh, got us and brought us down a hallway where he showed us photos of all of the Hyatt Residence Clubs, and a scaled model of the Maui Residence Club. He escorted us outside to a terrace where we sat around a small table. Before talking about the property, he wanted to get a feel for our travel preferences. He quickly caught on to my love for travel as well as Dave’s more reserved approach to travel.
He began by telling us how popular, desirable and valuable Maui is and went on to discuss the Maui Residence Club (but of course wouldn’t touch on the topic of price yet; that was for later). He knew my love for Hyatt hotels so he segued onto the ownership issue. He said Don’t use the term timeshare – If you want that, go next door to the Marriott! He explained that most of the property on Maui is owned by the Hawaiian families and only leased out – but the Hyatt Residence Club was special – it was owned in fee simple. Therefore, he explained that, if you purchased there, you’d become an owner in the real sense, which is much more valuable than just owning a timeshare.
He escorted us around the grounds. The lobby is welcoming and beautifully decorated. Overall, the property has a very sophisticated, elegant feel to it.
The pools are exceptionally nice.
There are one, two and three bedroom units, though the majority are two bedrooms. Knowing my affection for running and working out, Joe first brought us first to see the hotel gym.
and, check out the towels!
We then went to a model two bedroom unit (which we were told looked identical to all other two bedroom units). As expected, it was impressive (though not necessarily my style). Dave and I joked around about the use of the second bedroom – would it be his music studio or my blogging office? Joe liked that.
Time was moving on, and we were now escorted back to the terrace where we began. Now the books came out, and some of the pricing. It is presented in such a way that sounds totally reasonable. Joe said that the units were selling like hotcakes. We were told that Maui is so desired that you could trade one Maui week for multiple weeks at other Hyatt Residence Clubs or at other timeshare properties worldwide at a reasonable fee.
Here are the basics, though I’m sure there are more charges and details. For a two bedroom, for one week per year, the price was about $74,000, and you paid an annual fee for maintenance and other charges (much like an HOA fee) of $2,700.
If I had unlimited money and vacation time, this might be great. I’m the daughter of a CPA, so I started crunching the basic numbers. If the $74,000 price represents one week of a unit, then multiplying that by 52, means that the unit is $3,848,000? I asked myself, as nice as it is, is it worth nearly $4 million? Even if I was okay with that, I’m not sure I wanted to commit to $2,700 annual maintenance fee for one week vacation per year.
Overall, the sales pitch was assertive but not overly aggressive. I said I had to think about it, and of course, someone else, Vida, appeared out of the blue (how does that always happen?) to speak to us. Vida gave us an offer of coming back within two years for a visit at a modest price (no, a hefty price) (which would be applied to the purchase should we choose to purchase) along with a generous helping of World of Hyatt points. She followed up by sending this email the following morning:
So great to meet you both today. Here’s a re-cap of the Access package promotion I shared with you. It’s a one time, no obligation, 2 year trial program without the long term commitment of ownership. Simply more fun time in Paradise at the Hyatt Residence Club here in beautiful Maui.Here are the two Access package promotions to choose from;One 8-Day/7-Night guaranteed stay in a gorgeous 2-bedroom 2-bath OCEANFRONT villa at the Maui Hyatt Residence Club. Travel to be completed within 2 years. Availability throughout the year except major holidays.
- plus 100,000 World of Hyatt points (3-20 free Hyatt Hotel nights, no expiration date).
- plus Price/Incentive freeze on today’s ownership prices and part or all of the cost of the Access Program can be credited toward ownership *There is no obligation to purchase ownership
- $5045 + $249 processing = $5294 Includes taxes, resort fees, etc.
- Special 0% interest financing with no credit check.OROne 5-Day/4-Night guaranteed stay in a gorgeous 2-bedroom 2-bath OCEANFRONT villa at the Maui Hyatt Residence Club. Travel to be completed within 2 years. Availability throughout the year except major holidays.
- plus 60,000 World of Hyatt points (2-12 free Hyatt Hotel nights, no expiration date).
- plus Price/Incentive freeze on today’s ownership prices and part or all of the cost of the Access Program can be credited toward ownership *There is no obligation to purchase ownership.
- $2900 + $249 processing = $3149 Includes taxes, resort fees, etc.
- Special 0% interest financing with no credit check.
The Access program allows you to explore, on a one time trial basis, the benefits of the new floating 2-bedroom luxury villa week without a commitment to purchase ownership. Its a great opportunity to use concurrently or consecutively with your existing week or come at a different time of year. Some owners are using this in place of one of their weeks and exploring their other options, renting, exchanging, etc.As an additional bonus, if you choose to purchase an ownership during your stay, we can credit up to the price of this package to the down payment (a maximum of 10% of a purchase price) and honor price and pur
chase incentives offered to you on your sales presentation.
All we need to sign you up is $249 and the balance is spread out over 21 months at Zero, 0% interest.
(She also attached a PDF brochure of the property to the email but I don’t know how to attach it here. Let me know if you want me to email it to you).
The following day, I went to a pool on Hyatt Residence Club property. I spoke to a couple from Knoxville, TN who own two weeks there. They like timeshare ownership. They spend two weeks each January at a timeshare in Puerto Rico, then two weeks each February in Maui, then two weeks each March somewhere else (nice life, right?). They were thrilled with their investment and love returning to the Hyatt Residence Club each year.
So, there you have it. As much as I love Hawaii, I live to far to consider purchasing a timeshare there. Maybe someplace closer, who knows.
This week, like many others, I received an email from Hyatt with an exclusive invitation to visit one of the many Hyatt Residence Clubs in the country on very favorable grounds. Mine was for Maui (which I just visited) (Enjoy a 5-night Hawaiian escape at our oceanfront destination, Hyatt ResidenceClub Maui, Kāʻanapali Beach, including a 6-day Avis rental car, all for only $995. Plus, explore new possibilities with 7,000 Bonus Points). If it had been for Bonita Springs, Siesta Key or Key West, Florida, I may well have accepted the offer.