Westgate Woes

Discussion in 'Orlando Hotels and Attractions' started by Belle1962, Nov 26, 2000.

  1. Belle1962

    Belle1962 DIS Veteran

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    Background: Two families staying at Westgate Vacation Villas (not Westgate Lakes) Sunday Nov. 19 for a week.
    Note: Westgate is a "resort of distinction" for RCI.

    Family one (mine): RCI members exchanged a red week two bedroom sleep 8 for a two bedroom sleep 8 at Westgate Vacation Villas. Arrived for check in about 4:15 pm on Sunday. It took over 30 minutes to check in. The check in people were rude and not willing to answer any questions. The reason for this is----after check in they assign a rep to you. This person drives you to your villa and goes over the amenities, activities, etc. about Westgate. While our rep was showing us around our home for the week I noticed that our unit did NOT have a jacuzzi in the master bedroom and was FAR from pools and other activities. I made the exchange in June of 1999 and had made several calls to both RCI and Westgate to be assurred there would be a jacuzzi. Our rep told us there was nothing they could do about it RCI assigns the units and to call RCI and see if they could switch us. If not, just spend the night there and maybe in the morning (Mon) they could move us. I am close to tears by now. I call RCI and they tell me that WESTGATE assigns the units not them but they will have someone call me back within 30 minutes. We just sit around the condo waiting on RCI to call us back. When they do call back they tell me there is nothing else available in Orlando and I have to stay where I am. He also tells me

    WESTGATE ROUTINELY ASSIGNS RCI MEMBERS TO THE OLDEST UNITS AVAILABLE AND SAVES THE NEWER UNITS FOR INTERVAL INTERNATIONAL MEMBERS. This is a sales ploy on their part to get you to buy into II and Westgate at the end of your stay.

    I am now BAWLING. I call back down to the front desk and explain the situation to them. They can't help. My rep tells me the same thing again--RCI assigns the units not Westgate and they MIGHT be able to move us tomorrow. NO. NO. NO. I want to see a manager we are moving TONIGHT. TWO AND A HALF HOURS LATER we are moved to a newer unit. Much larger than the original unit we were assigned and has a large jacuzzi in the master bedroom. During the week I noticed small things like mildew in the shower area, dust behind the furniture, etc. Also it was a sleep 8 unit but only had service and chairs (plates, etc. for 6.)

    Family Two OWNERS at Westgate Vacation Villas TOWN CENTER. Town Center is the newest area at Westgate. At this time only owners are allowed to be assigned there because only three buildings are completed and none of the amenities are in. They own a 4 bedroom sleep 16 at TOWN CENTER--the newest area at Westgate. At checkin they discover that they have been assigned a ONE bedroom sleep 4 unit in Westgate Villas--the oldest section available. Their rep told them the same thing--stay here for tonight and tomorrow we will try to move you. HUH? I am an OWNER at TOWN CENTER, I have 8 people with me and you want us to squeeze into a one bedroom? NOT. They were moved to a 4 bedroom unit in the Town Center section.

    To give you an idea on the quality difference between the units and what we ended up with--my nephew described our first unit as "ghetto".

    During your trip you will be invited to a maintenance check. This is where they will try to sell you a timeshare. I avoided this until check out simply by not returning the sales rep's phone calls. At check out our strategy was to have only me check out--they have to have both husband and wife available to sell you something. They will tell you twenty minutes but plan on several hours if you are not prepared. You will first meet with your rep and answer a few short questions, then another person will come over (who has to sign off on your form) and then ANOTHER sales manager will come over. Each of these people will try to sell you on owning timeshare at Westgate. They did not try very hard with us because I came straight out and told them I would NEVER consider owning at Westgate because:

    1. The mix up with my reservation could have been just a fluke BUT the people who OWNED there had the same problems and more. If that's how they treat their OWNERS they need a lot of help in the customer service department.

    2. I have never stayed at a resort that expected me to bag and take out the trash, run the dishwasher and strip all of the beds at check out. I am on VACATION---exactly what do the maids do???

    3. Thanksgiving morning they did a Turkey Trot around the complex. Nice for the runners and walkers BUT they expected the rest of us to stay put while they ran their course. We spent over 20 minutes trying to get out of the complex because Sam Security wouldn't let any traffic move--EVEN WHEN THERE WERE NO RUNNERS OR WALKERS in sight. We finally ignored him and went anyway.

    4. The first unit we were given (in addition to not having a jacuzzi) had newspapers from FRIDAY in the closet of the master bedroom, cracks in the ceiling, blinds that didn't work and if you moved the lamp in the living room DIRT--not just dust--under it. Our "newer" unit had mildew in the shower--just a little but still enough to see, not enough place settings in the kitchen, no extra trash bags for the kitchen and again blinds that did not work.

    5. The phone at the Town Center unit did not ring--you would only leave voicemail messages--even when they were in the unit. Their vcr also did not record.

    I'm not sure who was telling the truth--RCI that Westgate assigns the unit numbers or Westgate that RCI assigns the unit numbers. Either way--someone has to get the ghetto units--it might be you.
    I would NOT recommend
    Westgate to anyone--unless you REALLY don't care what type of unit you have.

    [This message was edited by Stevesmom on 11-26-00 at 08:09 AM.]
     
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  3. Eeyorestail

    Eeyorestail Moderator/Proud American

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    Sorry you had such a difficult time on your trip...Hopefully, there was enough fun to be had elsewhere that there wasnt too much of a damper...

    I will echo what you say--that your problems had to do with the Westgate Lakes Vacation Villas, and not the Westgate Lakes Resort. I have seen many positive posts on Westgate Lakes, but this is the only post of any kind on the Vacation Villas.

    Sounds to me like the people at the Vacation Villas need to get their act together. They may not be Disney, but by opening up a resort in Disney's backyard, they agreed to play by the same guest service rules.

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  4. chloesmommi

    chloesmommi Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for the info on Westgate. We just recently purchased a timeshare at Smuggler's Notch, Vermont, and were possibly considering an exchange at Westgate for a trip to WDW in the near future. Reviews like yours save travelers from a lot of heartache. Sorry you had so many problems.
     
  5. Belle1962

    Belle1962 DIS Veteran

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    Eeyorestail:

    Just to confirm. I am talking about Westgate Vacation Villas (off of 192). Westgate actually owns three properties in the WDW area: Westgate Vacation Villas, Westgate Towers and Westgate Lakes.

    We had stayed at the Westgate Towers about four years ago and other than the blinds found it to be ok. All of the Westgate properties have vertical blinds instead of curtains--it's sometimes hard to keep the light out with just the blinds. At the towers the parking lights could be seen through the blinds. But it was clean and well kept.
     
  6. jeff968

    jeff968 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the review. It was kind of scary. I hope you still had a good time overall. My family and I are staying at the Sheraton Vistana resort in February. It is our first time staying at a villa and it is great to learn of the things to watch for. What is RCI? I know it is something to do with the timeshare. Are you happy to be a part of it? Does it save you money? Thanks
     
  7. San

    San Earning My Ears

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    We stayed at Westgate vacation Villas back in August of this year for 2 weeks. We did stay in an older unit, but we had a jacuzzi in the master bedroom. There were 5 of us - 2 adults, 2 teenagers and a 6 year old, and we were assigned a 2 bedroom, sleeps 6 condo. The rooms were clean, well furnished and well equipped. We has no timeshare hassles at all - we weren't even visited by a rep! Our check-in took about 3 mins, and we were shown to our villa by a rep in a golf buggy who allowed the children to ride with her. We were given a bottle of wine on check in, and found all of the staff courteous and polite. I would recommend Westgate Vacation Villas to anyone - we would certainly stay there again (if we could afford it!). The location was ideal for WDW - 3 mins from the gates of MGM!
    As for housekeeping - well, I didn't mind loading the dishwasher and stripping the beds on departure, nor do I mind carrying my own rubbish to conveniently located collection points. There were 10 swimming pools on the complex, and we were quite close to one of the smaller ones, although we only had the opportunity to use it once.
    Our check out was just as speedy as check in- and I told the lady on Reception how wonderful the resort was, and how much we had enjoyed our stay! I even filled in a visitor's slip to say how carefree our stay had been! We also left a box of Bud for Geoge the maintainance man, as a thank you for fixing our blocked toilets (twice)!
     
  8. Belle1962

    Belle1962 DIS Veteran

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    RCI is a timeshare company. In theory:
    You deposit the week you own and exchange for a week wherever you want to go (that someone else has deposited).

    I've never had any problems getting the areas I want but I plan early. The key to a successful exchange is to do it early (more than a year in advance in may case).

    They also have some long complicated way of assigning a "value" to your exchange (how early was it, are you trading a red, whie or blue week, how popular is the resort you are trading vs where you want to go and other criteria)and your request is filled based on that need. For instance, if you turn in a "regular" unit and someone else turns in a Gold Crown unit of the same size (say a 2 bedroom)around the same time. and you both want the same exchange, the Gold Crown person will have higher priority.

    But like I said, I've never had problems getting my requests and this is the very firt time I've ever had a substandard unit.
     
  9. All Aboard

    All Aboard Por favor mantengan se alejado de las puertas

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    This is an example of why I personaly would NEVER consider timeshare ownership. I hear too many horror stories.

    _____________________________________
    Por favor mantengan se alejado de las puertas
     
  10. dajim

    dajim Earning My Ears

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    Just back from Westgate Vacation Villas, and had none of the problems Stevesmom reported. Checkin was painless, and the room was ready at 1:30. The room was clean and very well furnished. Any problems were promptly addressed. And as for taking out the trash and loading the dishwasher, a minor inconvenience that is normal and expected when renting a timeshare. In short, do not let Stevesmom scare you off. While I would not buy any timeshare, it was a great place to rent.
     
  11. jesse

    jesse Mouseketeer

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    Dajim, I'm glad had a good experience but Stevesmom had a terrible experience. It is not a matter of "letting stevesmom scare me off". Her info weighed against other trip reports can help me make an informed decision. I for one, appreciate her taking the time to post her report.

    [This message was edited by jesse on 03-25-01 at 01:01 PM.]
     
  12. mrsstats

    mrsstats <font color=blue>Sure sister's cat is as big as a

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    I am sorry for the problems you experienced at Westgate Vacation Villas. I own 2 units there and can tell you that the staff is always courteous and helpful.

    As far as the stipping of the beds etc, I have stayed in many timeshares in the past 10 years and each one has there own way of doing it. Sometimes just strip them or put them in the tub. Each place asks you to run the dishwasher. Really, not a big deal, put soap in and turn it on. As far as the trash, all they ask is that you carry it to the curb.

    Yes, the check in can be long. And they do take each guest to the Villa to show you how to turn on the lights etc.

    Again, sorry for your problems
     
  13. DisneyMom92

    DisneyMom92 DIS Veteran

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    We are owners at Westgate Lakes, a property we purchased 2 or 3 years ago and upgraded last year. We have stayed with them several times, 2x at Lakes and 1x at Towers, 1x at Villas. As an owner you can exchange your week for one at any other resort. We actually own a 4 bedroom, and only need a 2 bedroom at this time, so we can get 2 weeks in 2 bedrooms instead.

    That said, check in usually is a hassle if you go at prime time (4 p.m. local time). But if you go later it's better. Staff is always helpful, but English is usually a foreign language and sometimes that's a problem.

    We have never experienced less than clean rooms, minor problems have always been quickly and courteously addressed....even a shortage of place settings, which we did experience once. We didn't care for the restaurants at any Westgate property offering one either.

    As an owner of a Timeshare, we feel that we save money, time and effort. I never have to worry about a place to stay, anywhere I travel, which especially at Disney leaves me more time to plan.

    I too, have heard the horror stories of timeshare ownership, but Westgate (CFI) has awesome creditials in the business.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  14. BedKnobbery

    BedKnobbery Earning My Ears

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    Just wanted to make another post to provide some balance for people who are considering a Westgate resort.

    We visited there in January, on one of their special deals that included taking the timeshare tour. Please keep in mind, I was TOTALLY COMMITTED to NOT purchasing when I made the ressie, and checked in.

    We stayed at the Westgate Lakes resort. My mother joined us for the first half of the week, and the rest of the time it was just my 2 sons and I. We had a 2 bedroom unit. It was spotless and gorgeous. My kids were simply agog--52" screen TV? VCR? TV in their bedroom? Their own bathroom? They loved it. I loved the spacious unit--we had family over for a meal, and the dining table seated 7 of us comfortably. I liked having a full kitchen, and a washer and dryer right in our unit. The screened in patio with Lake view was awesome, too.

    There were a lot of activities, a lot of pools, and everyone we encountered was very curteous. At the time of check in, we were assigned a time for our timeshare tour, and I never heard a word about it again until I showed up for it. By then (after staying a week), we were sold. My kids were ready to move in! I ended up buying a repo unit--at about half the cost of a 'new' unit. It was a 3 bedroom lockout for every other year, which means we could deposit it as a studio one year, and a 2 bedroom another. This year, I exchanged our studio for a one bedroom unit at the Vacation Villas--at no additional cost.

    So, to sum, we thought it was fantastic. This coming from a person who previously thought timeshares were a complete waste of money. Now, I truly feel like it was a bargain--we know every year we are going to stay in a place we adore.

    If anyone has any any questions about Westgate Lakes (Unfortunately, I don't know as much about the other WG properties!)
    , they are more than welcome to write me at Westgate Mom@aol.com ( I just created this email for this purpose :).
    Susanne
     
  15. Klineact

    Klineact Earning My Ears

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    I also stayed at the vacation villas last year and found them to be wonderul. Spacious, clean and attentive staff...We had a problem with our jacuzzi, called and within minutes someone was there to fix it. You have to expect not every unit is going to be immaculate and flaw free at any resort all the time. There are isolated incidents here and there but you have to deal with it and cant let it get to you and ruin your trip. Its a shame that you did not get what you were promised at first, that is a definite issue and the fact that you had to be hassled is really a shame. I had no such problems there whatsoever. I still think Westgate is one of the best places I have ever stayed down in the Disney area. I have stayed at the Towers as well and found them to be also very nice.
     
  16. DG-12

    DG-12 Mouseketeer

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    Just wanted to share a little sunshine about RCI. We had an almost identical experience with the Bonaventure in Ft. Lauderdale, we traded our gold crown two bedroom for a gold crown two bedroom. Although the resort advertised golf, tennis, spa etc... none of it existed (without fees) but anyway, right next door to our building was construction of a new unit. They were there at daybreak and there past nightfall. When we had no mid-week housekeeping (okay, I can handle not every day with a timeshare but I expect someone to come in midweek- I mean what do I pay fees for?) I called RCI. They told me that they would move us - but my husbands ship was being commissioned in Ft. Lauderdale so a move out of the area was just out of the question- we ended up staying there. I gave RCI an earful about how misleading the whole thing was etc... RCI refunded my exchange week and encouraged me to write a detailed letter of why the place was not a gold crown etc... They really did make an effort to accomodate us (They could not move us within the resort- only the resort can assign units- so of course we were farthest from everything and next to the construction-when you get your confirmation there's usually a little note saying that the resort will not change your accomodations blah blah blah) Anyway, RCI needs to hear from you about your experience because the place gets rated based on customer satisfaction etc. The whole point of owning a timeshare is to trade and if the Vacation Villas want to maintain their status with RCI they better get their act together- there are plenty of other resorts to trade into in Orlando... Sorry if this is really long but I had to share
    -(If you're ever trading to California I REALLY reccommend the Olympic Village Inn in Lake Tahoe)

    Dana
     
  17. Tiger926

    Tiger926 DIS Veteran

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    I can sympathize with Belle1962 because we had a similar experience with Clarion Suites Resort World last year. We booked through our Canadian vacation club, who booked through Interval. We had to pay a membership fee, plus a weekly fee of $400.00 U.S. to stay here and it was a joke! We booked months in advance and were assured of a 4 star resort (I am an English teacher and so I don't usually pay attention to fancy lingo or hyped-up ratings) with jacuzzi, restaurant, daily maid service, multiple pools, landscaped grounds and resort activities. That being said, when we arrived at noon, I spent the ENTIRE first day of our vacation crying because the vacation club, as well as the hotel lied to us about the location and the quality of the property. We noticed the same things as you: mold, dust, broken latches, broken closet, broken security lighting and restaurant was closed. We put in an emergency call to our vacation club (I have since been refunded my money after contacting the president of the marketing department) and they of course would do nothing! We then went to speak to the manger, who insulted me and accused me of lying! All in all, the resort was awful, and I agree with you, I am a busy professional and when I go on vacation, the last thing I want to do is clean-up my own room and throw out the garbage! After speaking with the "human resources" department (who were actually timeshare sharks in disguise), I became more confused because they couldn't even give us an answer as to who owned the unit and how they received our booking. The whole experience almost ruined my husband's first trip to Disney World, and we spent 6 months dealing with the issue - that is why I am taking him back this year! I am a VERY well informed travel (I love the DIS board) and do travel research as a hobby - so believe me, I researched and contacted the hotel, as well as the vacation club many times before arrival. I must say after experiencing this myself, and talking to other people who also had bad experiences with vacation clubs and timeshare properties (most of them seem far from "resorts"), I think that your problem is quite representative of this industry. For those who have had good experiences with timeshare resorts, you are lucky, but there seems to be too many horror stories to pass them off as isolated events. In my opinion, the entire timeshare industry is one predicated on lies and deception. I wish you patience and persistence in dealing with these concerns because you are going to need them!
    Tiger:jester:
     
  18. Belle1962

    Belle1962 DIS Veteran

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    In defense of timesharing--in over 9 years of exchanging this was the first rotten experience. I heard such wonderful things about Westgate Villas from people that I felt confident accepting it as an exchange. From now on before accepting an exchange I will check to see how old the oldest section of a resort is and when they were last refurbished.

    Again--this was WESTGATE VILLAS NOT Westgate TOWERS or Westgate LAKES.
     
  19. Tiger926

    Tiger926 DIS Veteran

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    This is a good point Belle1962, but my question is, who are you going to check with? We checked with our vacation club, as well as the hotel, and they both lied to us. The brochure was misleading as well, and in fact, I am still convinced that it had pictures of other resorts in it! Timesharing is not a very big thing in our city, and so we didn't know anyone who had stayed at this particular property before. I guess your best bet is to talk to real people who have actually stayed there, and will give you honest opinions about the resort. We didn't have this opportunity, as we were basically told that if we didn't accept this property, we would have to cancel our entire trip because they couldn't find any resorts that were open - even though we had the entire summer to go on vacation since I am a teacher, and my DH's vacations are very flexible. We had a host of mishaps, and one very unhappy timeshare experience for our first time, and for this reason, we will never visit a timeshare again. Good luck next time you exchange.
    Tiger:jester:
     
  20. Lisa P.

    Lisa P. DIS Veteran

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    A very bad exchange experience was the reason that Bill Rogers founded TUG - Timeshare Users Group. He and his wife wanted there to be a place online where timeshare owners could review their exchange experiences so that other owners would not arrive to a great disappointment. Some people don't care much about staying in the creme de la creme Ritz but they do want an ideal location, cleanliness, good maintenance, security and quiet at night. Others care less about location but they want an immaculate, luxurious villa with upscale furnishings. With the excellent, varied TUG reviews, it's easier to make an informed decision when selecting timeshare properties for exchanges.

    Fortunately for the Rogerses (unlike for tiger above), their bad experience was not their first so they were not turned off to timesharing, just to going into resort exchanges at the mercy of commercial descriptions. For those of us who love the wonderful opportunities our families have had to vacation in great new places, economically and comfortably, due to excellent timeshare resorts, TUG is a necessity. Hope it helps others here as well! :D
     
  21. Tiger926

    Tiger926 DIS Veteran

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    You are right about the TUG board, Lisa P. We didn't discover this board until after our bad experience, because as I stated, our vacation club lied to us about this property actually being a timeshare property. It seemed to have helpful advice on it, although when I originally posted my concern with the resort, I was insulted by several readers who said that my expectations were too high (I'm not sure how being concerned with moldy bathrooms and being insulted by the hotel manger is too high). Like you said, timesharing offers different experiences for different people. Timesharing isn't that big here in Canada, and so we had a minimal amount of information to work with. For us, we would much rather stay at hotels where we don't have to pay high maintenance/rental fees that are non-refundable, and where we have flexibility and versality - with this vacation club, it was actually more restrictive because timesharing is based on weeks, points, etc... plus, financially, we just didn't see how it was worth it - especially since vacations had to be booked years in advance and were non-refundable in U.S. funds - where is the great value in this? Also, I don't know if being Canadian has anything to do with it, but once the hotel manager found out we belonged to a Canadian vacation club, he became extremely rude and ignorant to us! We are very happy with our decision to leave the vacation club because this worked out best for us, but I am glad to hear that some people have positive experiences with their timesharing/vacation club groups. I have to tell you, most of the people that I have spoken with have all had terrible experiences with timesharing resorts. Glad it works out for some!
    Tiger:jester:
     

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