Back in 2019, we bought a Marriott Vacation Club Preview Package for five nights at Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club for US$799. We had to reschedule our dates for this trip no fewer than three times, but we finally made it here!
Here’s an overview of our experience and how we scored another deal for a future stay in Hawaii.
Why Book a Timeshare Preview Package?
These packages are marketing tools designed to entice potential vacationers into buying a timeshare. Some people may book for that purpose, but mostly people use them as a great way to score a heavily discounted vacation.
Hotel prices in Maui are insane right now. Currently, one night at the Maui Ocean Club in a standard guest room costs US$700 and up, so US$799 for five nights is a steal. We upgraded to a one-bedroom suite so it could fit my family of five for a total of US$1,098, with no resort fees or taxes.
To read more about timeshare packages, check out my previous article on the topic.
The Marriott Maui Ocean Club is located on Kā‘anapali Beach in West Maui. The location is quite central for exploring the north and south ends of the island.
If you look up Maui Ocean Club, you’ll find that the property is actually divided into two properties: the Maui Ocean Club – Molokai, Maui, & Lanai Towers, and the Maui Ocean Club – Lahaina & Napili Towers. The former is an older refurbished property that Marriott took over, and the latter is a newer building Marriott built from the ground up.
Both properties share the same facilities, but the accommodation options are more modern in the newer towers.
There are also subtle differences between the suites: the the new towers feature full kitchens rather than a kitchenette, and the one-bedroom suites of the older towers feature two bathrooms, instead of just one in the newer towers.
Most preview package stays are booked into the older buildings; however, you may be lucky enough to score one in the new towers. When I first arrived, my initial impression from the outside was that of a motel from the 1970s. I’m glad to say that that impression only got better from there.
The One-Bedroom Villa
Our one-bedroom villa was really two connecting hotel rooms; one was transformed into a living room area with a sofa bed, a dining set for four, and kitchenette, and the other came with a king-sized bed and arm chair that also converted into a twin-sized bed.
Each room has its own TV, closet, and full bathroom with a bathtub. Having two full bathrooms is quite convenient for families, especially if you have older kids.
The room with the kitchenette has a full-sized fridge, microwave, dishwasher, sink, toaster, kettle, and dining ware. There were also a couple of pots and pans, which I found amusing as there was no stove.
I later found out that there is a shared communal kitchen on the first floor, where several stovetops are located. There is also a shared laundry room on the lower level of the tower. Detergent for dishes and laundry are provided in your room.
There was no housekeeping while we were there. I’m not sure if this was because of COVID-19 restrictions or not, but they were more than happy to bring up new towels and bathroom amenities when requested. Garbage disposal is by the ice machine on each floor.
The décor is more on the traditional side, however they are in the process of renovating all the rooms, converting the carpet to wooden floors, and upgrading the furniture to look a little more modern. I was told that the renovations should be complete within the next two years.
The biggest appeal of this resort is their massive pool system. It essentially is a big loop that’s tiered with a couple of hot tubs and a toddler pool with a pirate ship play area. There are also basketball and volleyball nets set up in the pool.
There is a towel bar by the pool that lends out balls to play with, in addition to tennis, pickleball, and basketball equipment to be used at their onsite court. Beach chairs, umbrellas, and cabanas can also be rented out.
There is direct beach access from the hotel and there is also a booth onsite that rents out snorkel gear, paddle boards, boogie boards, water shoes, etc. Although some people find the beaches in Wailea to be better, I found the beaches here in Ka’anapali to be quite nice, although maybe not as picturesque.
For kids, there isn’t a kids club, but there is an Activity Centre which hosts an indoor activity daily.
They also run other games and program throughout the day. Most activities are complimentary, but parental supervision is necessary. There is a weekly bulletin of activities.
On St. Patrick’s Day, the resort served up green snow cones, gave out activity kits for kids to make their own candy, toy leis, and drawstring bags, and organized a scavenger hunt.
For adults, the property hosts daily fitness activities. There is a gym and spa onsite. There is also a concierge desk in the lobby to help with booking local activities and tours. On certain days, there are performances by the pool.
If you’re hungry, there are a few onsite venues that serve casual food, including a couple of poolside bars. Starbucks is only open till 3pm.
Walk next door to the Hyatt Regency and you can get some shaved ice at Ulani’s, which we found to be much better than the complimentary stuff at the Ocean Club.
Numerous BBQs are also located onsite if you wish to grill your own meals. There is a Foodland grocery store just a five-minute drive away. There are also plenty of restaurants within a 10–15 minute drive in nearby Lahaina if you want takeout or a sit-down meal.
Parking is available onsite. You can self park for a nightly fee of US$27 or do valet for US$30. We chose valet, and the bellhops were always very quick in bringing the car.
The Timeshare Presentation
Our presentation time was scheduled prior to arrival; however, they were very flexible with rescheduling it to a different day and time. It took place in their Sales Centre, which is located onsite.
The presentation was scheduled for 90 minutes, but took closer to 120 minutes. This was probably more my fault than theirs, as I genuinely did have some interest in their program and had a few questions for them.
Check-in was easy. We gave our names and they directed us to a cubicle.
Our sales agent came in shortly and introduced us to the program. He explained how their program has changed from a deeded week to a points-based program, outlined some additional benefits for timeshare owners, asked a bit about our travel patterns, and then proceeded to take us on a tour of one of the villas in the newer towers. The whole encounter was very casual.
After he was done, he invited a manager to come in talk to us about the numbers. Because it is a points-based program, he gave us the price for their entry level of 1,500 points, which at US$15.84 per point, would be US$23,760.
Maintenance would be $0.63 per year, and on average has been increasing at about a cent a year. As a signup bonus, they were willing to throw in another 3,000 points for the first year.
To put things into perspective, a one-bedroom villa in Maui at peak season could cost up to 4,500 points per week.
Then came the offers to sweeten the deal. They took off 10% off the price as a COVID special. Lifetime Marriott Bonvoy Gold membership was offered, but after realizing my husband is a Titanium Elite and I am a Platinum Elite, it was clear that wasn’t going to sway things for us.
Because we had stayed at another Marriott property in the last 14 days, they offered to take another $2,000 off the price. When they realized we weren’t biting, he asked if there was anything else they could offer that would change our minds.
At this point, we kindly declined. I thought at that point we were done, but we were brought to yet another agent who gave us an exit interview to rate our agent and presented us with two $25 vouchers that could be used towards our current stay or at select establishments in the area. This was a pleasant surprise, as it wasn’t part of our presentation offer.
She also offered us one last deal: another timeshare presentation package. The offer was five nights at the same property for US$1,295, good for the next two years. We weren’t sure when we would be back to Maui again, so we declined.
Of course, she had another offer up her sleeve: US$995 for four nights at any of their North American properties, including another property in Hawaii for a US$300 up-charge.
We were considering a visit to Kauai, so I did a quick price for four nights next winter and it was coming up at US$2,600 for four nights. We took her up on that offer.
Timeshare preview packages are a great way to score an awesome deal, especially in Hawaii, where prices have skyrocketed since the pandemic.
Our experience at the Marriott Ocean Club was by no means an aspirational one, but it was a pleasant one. It is a busy place full of families and kids. The accommodations are comfortable and the biggest highlights were the outdoor pools, activities for kids, and beachfront location.
I would never pay the rack rate to stay here, but for US$200 on a package, I most definitely would. And if you enjoy your stay, you could be offered another great deal to visit again.
For our last couple of nights in Maui, we’ll be heading to Wailea and staying at the Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, so stay tuned for that review in the near future.