Marriott was the first of the major hospitality brands to enter the timeshare market in 1984 and now have over 300,000 members who have access to Marriott's own resorts plus over 2,100 other destinations worldwide.
The Marriott Vacation Club resorts cover beach, ski, golf/spa and themed entertainment destinations and today they have around 46 Vacation Club Resorts (with over 8,000 villas) worldwide of which ten are in Florida.
Marriott operate vacation ownership under four different brands:
- Marriott Vacation Club International is the main vacation ownership brand
- Horizons by Marriott Vacation Club operate at the moderately priced end of the financial scale and cater more for family orientated vacations within entertainment complexes
- Grand Residences by Marriott provide up market fractional ownership
- Ritz-Carlton Club is in the luxury private destination club market
Marriott Vacation Club Resorts
Marriott have ten Marriott Vacation Club Resorts in Florida, of which six are in the Orlando area:
- Horizons by Marriott Vacation Club
- Marriott's Cypress Harbour
- Marriott's Grande Vista *
- Marriott's Imperial Palm Villas
- Marriott's Royal Palms
- Marriott's Sabal Palms
Elsewhere in Florida, there are:
- Marriott's BeachPlace Towers in Ft. Lauderdale *
- Marriott's Ocean Pointe at Palm Beach Shores *
- Marriott's Legends Edge at Bay Point which is in Panama City Beach *
- Marriott's Villas at Doral in Miami *
Resorts marked with an asterisk * are part of the Florida Club (see below).
Marriott also have resorts in Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia, Hawaii and at Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island (there is also Disney Vacation Club here) in South Carolina plus overseas resorts in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, the British West Indies, Aruba, England, France, Spain and Thailand.
The villa apartments range from studios to one, two or three bedrooms (900 to 2,095 square feet) and most come with full kitchens, separate living and dining areas and many have spa-tubs and a private balcony or patio. Most of the two bedroom villas will sleep up to 8 people.
With some of the larger villas that have two bathrooms, it is possible to use a 'lock-off' option (for a fee) which effectively divides the villa into two separate units allowing each to be used separately so you could stay in one half on one trip and the other half on another trip; effectively giving you two weeks.
Marriott Vacation Club Membership
Marriott offer both deeded and non-deeded properties; deeded properties can be handed down to family or friends and can be kept indefinitely but are subject to property (real estate) taxes.
Rather than a points system, Marriott operate fixed and floating weeks:
- fixed weeks guarantee availability year on year which may be important if you always want to be away for Christmas or New Year for example
- floating weeks allow you to choose a week within a season, rather than being tied to the same specific week every year, but are subject to availability
Either way, you can vacation at a different time of year through the exchange program and at some resorts you can split your week into two; i.e. a separate four night weekday stay and a three night weekend stay; fees apply.
Marriott have also started to introduce the idea of a floating check-in day which now allows you to check in and out on either a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
The cost to join the Marriott Vacation Club International today starts from about $7,900 up to $85,000 per week; the more you spend the more you get and the greater degree of flexibility in terms of size of unit and season of stay.
A week at a two bedroom villa at the Grande Vista resort in Orlando with a floating week in the Gold season (covers early May through early June and late August up to just before Christmas) would cost around $19,500 with just over $700 per year in annual fees.
You can exchange your week for a week at another Marriott Vacation Club or Grand Residence Club resort worldwide or at the 2,700 Marriott properties worldwide or in partnership with the timeshare exchange program run by Interval International, over 2,100 other destinations in 75 countries; fees may apply.
Marriott Vacation Club Seasons
Marriott do not operate a points system for timeshare booking but instead work on four levels of seasons if you buy floating weeks, ranked from Platinum which is the highest season, down through Gold, Silver and then Bronze which is the lowest season (not all resorts use Silver and Bronze).
Seasons will vary by resort as what is deemed the highest season in the Northern Florida will be different to the highest season in Central and Southern Florida.
Single week owners can make a reservation at their 'home' resort, up to 12 months in advance; for multiple-week owners it is up to 13 months in advance.
Some of the Florida resorts are part of the 'Florida Club' which allows you to make a reservation at one of the other participating Florida resorts without having to make an exchange, assuming your home resort is part of the club.
It is also possible with some of the Orlando resorts to do an exchange through Resort Condominiums International (RCI).
Marriott Vacation Club Perks
If you are unable to use your vacation week one year you can either:
- trade them for Marriott Reward points
- deposit them with Interval International (II)
- request a rental offer through the Marriott Rental Program
If you buy your membership through a Marriott affiliate, then one of the perks offered by Marriott Vacation Club International is the ability to exchange surplus weeks (every other year) for Marriott Rewards points which can be used on a variety of things including hotels, cruises, airline tickets, golf and car rentals. These points never expire, unlike some similar frequent flyer airline point schemes.