One Familyâ€™s Vacation Club Journey
By Janet Brindle Reddick
An adventure in the Sonoran Desert with the whole family. A romantic Vegas getaway. A quiet snowbird holiday in the Florida Panhandle.
For Mike and Lauri Dahlem, these arenâ€™t just once-in-a-lifetime experiences or pipe dreams. Trips like these are annual holidays for Marriott Vacation ClubÂ® Owners. Whatâ€™s more, their experience of enjoying multiple excursions a year is shared by thousands of fellow Owners, who reminisce during an afternoon at the pool or over a drink at the resort bar.
But what makes this family feel like ambassadors for the product isnâ€™t just the frequency or the variety of the destinations afforded to them by their ownership.
For Mike, one of the most satisfying aspects of their ownership has been the fulfillment of â€śPromises made, promises kept.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s really facilitated two things for us: We get to go on vacation with our whole family, and we get to go on vacation for ourselves,â€ť Mike said.
FROM BONVOY TO OWNERSHIP
The Dahlemsâ€™ journey to vacation ownership with Marriott Vacation Club began long before their first contract in 2010. Before Mikeâ€™s retirement, he traveled extensively for his positions in healthcare and information technology. During those trips, he most often stayed at MarriottÂ® properties, quickly earning Marriott BonvoyÂ® points.
So, when Mike and Lauri began searching for a timeshare ownership program for them and their daughters, Alexis and Michelle, it was obvious that Marriott Vacation Club would be at the top of the list.
â€śEveryone had 100 reasons why theirs was the best,â€ť Mike said about searching for the right fit. â€śBut the Marriott [Vacation Club] difference was the location of all of the properties. And Marriott has a certain standard â€” itâ€™s a brand that exudes excellence.â€ť
In 2010, the family visited Marriottâ€™s Canyon Villas in Phoenix, Arizona. The resort offered something for everyone, like the sparkling pools, table tennis, and fitness center.
â€śWe wanted to know if it was possible for us to invest in something that would give us access to many locations and give us the chance to take family vacations over Christmas breaks as the girls got older and went to college,â€ť Mike said.
After experiencing the resort, they quickly found their answer. They purchased two weeks at Marriottâ€™s Canyon Villas and started collecting a lifetime of memories.
Itâ€™s been quite an adventure ever since. The Dahlems eventually added on to their ownership when the program switched to a points-based model. That gave them greater flexibility to explore even more destinations.
Theyâ€™ve enjoyed excursions to Marriott Vacation Club PulseÂ® at Custom House, Boston, Marriottâ€™s Crystal Shores on Marco Island, and an extended stay at Marriottâ€™s Legends Edge at Bay Point in Panama City, Florida â€” where they hope to be able to repeat a snowbird-like extended visit this winter.
One of the Dahlemsâ€™ favorite resorts is Marriottâ€™s Grand ChateauÂ® in Las Vegas, Nevada. They first visited the resort before they were Owners, so they were delighted to return.
â€śWe were just blown away by its proximity to the Strip and everything that it availed us of,â€ť Mike said.
Now, they had a place to call home, just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the shows and the excitement of Las Vegas.
While theyâ€™re at the resorts, Lauri enjoys the fitness classes and yoga and takes advantage of the resort tours. When enjoying a longer stay, Lauri said one of her favorite things is striking up friendships with other Owners at various events like bingo, arts and crafts, or social hours.
â€śWhen weâ€™re talking to other Owners during happy hours or activities, everyone has a story about how they got to Marriott [Vacation Club],â€ť Lauri said. â€śItâ€™s just so nice to mingle.â€ť
PLANNING NEW ADVENTURES
The Dahlems hope to expand their favorites list soon. The South Carolina Lowcountry awaits them at their reservation at Marriottâ€™s Grande Ocean on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
The Dahlems are eager to visit Marriottâ€™s Frenchmanâ€™s Cove on St. Thomas and some of the Marriott Vacation Club PulseÂ® properties in bustling destinations like Boston, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, South Beach, and Washington, D.C.
â€śThatâ€™s the thing about the Marriott [Vacation Club] properties,â€ť Mike said. â€śItâ€™s nice that thereâ€™s such an assortment [of resorts]. Everybody has their favorites.â€ť
CHANGE IS GOOD
Since they became Owners in 2010, a lot has changed, and the Dahlems have been to many Marriott Vacation Club resorts and properties. New resorts were added, and the ownership model changed to a points-based system.
But for the Dahlems, the subsequent changes, partnerships, and program additions have created exciting new experiences.
â€śYou have to take a leap of faith that youâ€™re going to see the same continued investment in customer experiences,â€ť Mike said. â€śThe options offered are even more than we could have expected when we became Owners.â€ť
Lauri said the one thing that hasnâ€™t changed is the commitment to quality.
â€śThe customer service level is so high,â€ť Lauri said. â€śThey just follow through with everything you need exactly when you want it.â€ť
Whether itâ€™s something simple like getting a couple of extra towels or receiving advice on the best local restaurants from the hotel Concierge, Lauri said itâ€™s nice to feel like a valued Owner.
That comes not just in the way they feel and the way theyâ€™re treated, but also in the trips theyâ€™ll continue to take for a lifetime, fulfilling that promise.
â€śIt has allowed us to do exactly what we wanted to do,â€ť Mike said.
To explore expanding your timeshare ownership with Marriott Vacation Club, contact Owner Services.
Marriott Vacation Club International and their respective affiliates and subsidiaries make no warranty, express or implied, as to the condition, capacity, performance, or any other aspect of the activities, events, or service providers listed herein. No inquiry has been made into the activities or events, or the qualifications or the quality of services offered by the providers.