Orlando

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It all started last February when I called Hilton to make a change to my reservation for our stay at the Waldorf Astoria Rome Cavalieri. While that phone call didn’t go great, I was transferred to the Hilton Grand Vacations line at the end of my call. Apparently, Hilton randomly transfers people who call the customer service line to entice you to stay at one of their timeshare properties. Here’s my experience with Hilton Grand Vacations and my first ever timeshare presentation.

The Call
Parc Soleil Hilton Grand Vacations
Not bad for a free 3-night stay!

Aftering being transferred to the Hilton Grand Vacations representative, she explained that she was going to present me with an offer that I could accept or turn down, and I’d earn 500 points just for listening. Sure, why not? Basically, the offer was for a 4-day, 3-night stay in one of the Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare locations. My memory is a little fuzzy but I believe the options were Orlando, New York City, Washington DC, Las Vegas, and Myrtle Beach. I’d have to pay $199 plus tax now, but I’d be reimbursed (minus the tax which was about $20) upon completing the two-hour timeshare presentation. I also believe you could have up to 4 people come on the trip. You had to book your stay within a certain timeframe (I think 45 days), but the stay could be anytime within the next six months.

I initially said no, but I was intrigued since I was dying to go back to Universal to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. After saying no, the deal got a little sweeter. In addition to the free stay , we’d get a $200 rebate on our next Hilton stay in the US.

I had to say no again since I didn’t foresee us traveling to any of these places in the next six months. The rep then offered the option to travel anytime within the next year. At this point, I was envisioning myself in Diagon Alley and I gave in.

The Trip

We planned our trip for this past November over Veteran’s Day weekend since I had the Friday off from work. Since we booked about nine months out, they had availability at Parc Soleil, the timeshare property where the presentation would be held. Most people end up staying at the Hampton Inn or the Double Tree so it was nice to get to stay at the actual timeshare property.

All we had to do was book our flights, buy Universal tickets, and wait nine months!

The Property
Parc Soleil Hilton Grand Vacations
Better than a regular hotel, but not as nice as the two bedroom condo.

Parc Soleil was about a 25 minute drive from the airport and 20 minutes from Universal. While parking was free at Parc Soleil, we opted to use Uber/Lyft instead of renting a car. The property was very nice. There was a huge pool with a waterslide and some onsite eating options. It’s definitely a family friendly resort. The sound of kids screaming as we walked down the hallway to our room was somewhat off-putting. However, I was pleasantly surprised that once inside our room, I didn’t hear any noise from the hallway. We stayed in a studio, which is essentially a hotel room with a kitchenette. It was nice, but nothing special. I’ll talk more about the two bedroom condo we toured during the presentation in a little bit.

The Presentation

The next morning we headed to the sales center for our 8:15 presentation. We were sent upstairs to a waiting area with a continental breakfast. This was a very nice touch. Who doesn’t love a free (and unexpected breakfast)?

After about 10 minutes, a salesman came over and introduced himself. He led us to a desk where we sat for the next hour and half. The entire floor was filled with desks where couples were receiving their own presentations. Apparently, they do about 150 per day! You can tell Hilton Grand Vacations is doing well since they are paying for a 3 night stay for 150 couples/families per day not counting any extras they thrown in. Our salesman said the conversion rate is usually about 1 in 10 for new salesmen and 1 and 3 for sales veterans like himself. I’m not sure if this is true, but I definitely appreciated his willingness to discuss it.

Parc Soleil Hilton Grand Vacations
The sales center was easy to spot, located off the main reception building.

The presentation itself was good. He explained how the program worked. Basically, you buy a week for a certain size condo at Parc Soleil which is written on the deed. However, you receive points that you can spend flexibly through the RCI timeshare network. There are a few main benefits of Hilton Grand Vacations over other timeshare programs.

  • Regardless of the size of the condo you buy, you have the option to stay in a smaller one by using fewer points or a larger one by using more points.
  • You don’t have to stay at properties for a full week and there is generally an option to check in on most days of the week, not just Saturday.
  • If you don’t think you’ll use it that much, you can choose a biennial option where you get points every other year.
  • If you don’t want to use your points, you can stay at Parc Soleil and other properties at a very cheap cash rate. This as a very lucrative option if you travel frequently.

We also toured a two bedroom at Parc Soleil. The condo was beautiful with updated finishings. It was much more impressive than the studio we were staying in. It even made me feel bad about the small size of my apartment in Boston!

The Verdict
Parc Soleil Hilton Grand Vacations
The free breakfast was my favorite part.

We went into it knowing we weren’t going to buy a timeshare and despite the “great deal”, we stuck to this. We were offered a one bedroom biennial timeshare at Parc Soleil for about $14,000. They also offered 7 bonus nights as an add-on for buying today. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad offer, but you do have to pay HOA fees and resort fees for certain stays so there are additional costs on top of the initial payment. Also, Hilton’s financing option was downright scary with an APR of 17%. Part of the deal was to lower it to 12%, which is still pretty scary. The scariest part of all was that they were having people sign up for the Hilton Honors no annual-fee card from Amex to put the initial payment on it. I could see people getting themselves into a pickle with these financing options…We got to see the Hilton Grand Vacations machine at work as we saw a couple signing the papers on our way out.

Final Thoughts

Despite the crazy financing option, I do think the presentation overall was a positive experience. The salespeople were very nice and not at all pushy. If you are genuinely interested in a timeshare, I think Hilton Grand Vacations is a great option. For us, we are too focused on points and miles/free hotel stays to be locked into a timeshare. If you’re offered a stay through Hilton Grand Vacations and you don’t mind paying your way (or redeeming your way!) to the property, I definitely recommend checking out the timeshare presentation. It’s a great way to get a free weekend getaway and if you actually want a timeshare, you may be able to get yourself a decent deal.

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “My Experience with Hilton Grand Vacations Timeshare Presentation”

  1. Thanks for the great review. How long was the presentation supposed to be? Did the sales rep wrap up at the expected end time? I’m always concerned that they’ll drag on the sales pitch beyond our committed time and give trouble that we didn’t complete our requirement for the free stay.

    1. Thanks for the comment! The presentation was set for 2 hours and they ended at about 2 hours, but it could have been a little under. After we said no, they sent another rep over to see us out and it was kind of another chance for them to get us to say yes, but again, they weren’t overly pushy. After that, we headed to a separate check out room where they provide you with whatever incentives they promised. I think once you get to the check-out process, you will successfully have completed the requirements for the free stay and shouldn’t have any issues. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  2. I attending HGVC presentation in vegas. if you tell them upfront that you are not buying, they will treat you with disdain, but will let you out after 20 minutes. We were out in 20 minutes.

    Why timeshare is a horrible proposition?

    You lock yourself into a perpetuity of payments. That’s it. They have to PAY YOU, so you pay perpetuity of payments – certainly not the other way around.

    1. That’s nice that they didn’t make you sit through it! Our representative started off by saying “I know you and most of the people here didn’t come here to actually buy a timeshare…”, yet we were there for 2 hours!

  3. We LOVE timeshare presentations (not the actual presentation, but the freebies from it). We’ve done them in NYC and Orlando. We actually have an upcoming one in Orlando for Hilton for Hilton Grand Vacations. Why did you choose this property for a Universal trip?

    1. They’re the best, aren’t they? The main reason we chose Parc Soleil was because the representative said it usually isn’t available for timeshare presentation guests so I thought this might be our only chance to check it out. It was also convenient that the timeshare presentation was taking place onsite so we didn’t have to travel to a different property just for that. Luckily, the uber ride to Universal wasn’t bad at all!

      1. We went the other way with location. I locked down the Doubletree across the street from Universal for our hotel so we can walk to the park, but will need to Uber to the presentation. Reviews suggest we’ll get free breakfast with Gold (I’ve never stayed at a Doubletree that didn’t provide free breakfast for Gold/Diamonds).

        We also got a $200 voucher for future stays. When I locked in our reservation I asked them to switch the cert for ‘Hiltons’ to ‘Doubletrees’. I’m going to book the very next night after our timeshare stay, pay with cash, and mail in the certificate to get reimbursed. I’ve really enjoyed your blog and Instagram. My account is chubby_wanderer if you’d like to take a look.

        1. That’s a really good plan. I got to choose which hotel brand (Hilton, DoubleTree, etc.) as they were issuing the voucher so you should have no problem there!

  4. Despite blocking the HGV phone number, they still managed to get through to me on my business phone number. When I resisted the offer of a cheap stay at a Hilton in Myrtle Beach or Orlando, they piled on enough perks for me to arrange to do some business in Myrtle Beach. I was offered my choice of HGV properties in the city, though they were pushing the DoubleTree. I made the reservation in August of 2017, and was told it was “too early” to confirm, and that I should call back in November to a specific extension. When I called in November, the phone extension was not working. In March of 2018 HGV contacted me to confirm my stay and told me I was booked into the Doubletree. When I stated that my first choice had been another (premier) property, I was told they could fit me in, but I would have to pay $60 per day valet parking (which had NOT been mentioned in the “you can stay in any of these hotels” pitch). It was a clear Bait-and-Switch. I then opted to stay with the Doubletree. The property is a dump—room dirty, linens of poor quality, maid service cursory at best, room service food arrives in a take-out box at standard Hilton prices. I had to leave the patio doors open 24/7 to alleviate the smell in the room. Moldings were broken and the institutional furniture was chipped and in bad condition. I had political graffiti scrawled on my car in the guests-only covered garage two nights in succession. I received a “you must attend the sales meeting” message from HGV three nights in a row at 1:15 a.m. Following instructions to delete the message from the system did not work, and although management assured me it would be removed, it was not. I was waked at 1:15 a.m. by a buzzing phone EVERY NIGHT.
    The sales presentation—stated in writing on my reservations contract not to exceed 2 hours—is rigid and personnel deliberately obfuscate prices. When I told the rep exactly what portions I would be interested in, she repeatedly told me I had to go through the entire written script. I told her I had a recent knee injury and would find the walking tour difficult, and she again said I had to participate. Keep in mind if they don’t mark you as released, you automatically pay full rack rate for your stay. I was told there was an elevator—yes, but after having to go down stairs to get to the street and walk across to the building. The rep apparently thought she was portraying herself in a positive light by saying that she had made an elderly woman who could hardly walk take the tour by “walking real slow”.
    The cost of the median program in approximately $51,000 (with closing costs) with a minimum down payment of over $11,000. The yearly HOA—which increases a minimum of 1% per year—amortized over 30 years is an additional approximately $39,000. If you bring this up, you receive additional obfuscation or “I’m not a numbers person” comments.
    After you tell the sales rep “no”, they bring in a manager (again, they don’t release you). The manager pulls another hard sell. After remarking that the HGV presentation resembled a Scientology pitch, I tried to get out of it by saying I was not interested at this time, maybe next year. HUGE mistake. I was then taken to a British woman who presented a bogus “Price freezing” plan in which HGV takes $1800 for 7 days stay at one of a limited number of resorts in return for a “price freeze” for 18 months. After REPEATEDLY saying NO and being argued with and again comparing the badgering to a Scientology pitch (twice), I then had to argue for the exact benefits I had been promised. All told, I was kept 3 ½ HOURS. I had been the only single female in the group—which I do not find coincidental;the parking lot was empty when they finally “released” me. The final hour of badgering to the point of abuse has not only turned me against HGV, but has turned this lifelong Hilton Honors member completely against the hotel chain.

  5. Hilton 1, me 0.

    So, I fell for it…I heard the to-good-to-be-true offer for $149 and paid for the trip. With tax, the bill came out to $171. I factored in a 2 hours presentation so I thought I was prepared to handle it. When it came time to book, I called Hilton on three separate occasions to request five different dates. It turned out that all the weekend dates were “booked” so the Hilton agent suggested I come during the week. While this would off course cost me my wages, I wont factor lost wages in to the total price of this package. I waited patiently for the agent to search in the future and found a weekend five months away was available. I reluctantly said yes to this arrangement and quickly learned that the cost of parking was my responsibility. The cost for parking at the three hotel options were either $49, $50 or $55 per day. Let’s assume I didnt use the valet and pay the tips. Quick tally – my $149 package now costs me $285 for two nights (includes tax). Then, the agent told me the only available presentation was scheduled for 1:30 on Day 2 of the visit. So, check-in time is 4p on day 1. Then, the presentation is 1:30 on Day 2 so I guess I have 1/2 day to do my own stuff before I need to arrive back at the hotel for the 1:30 presentation. The presentation would supposedly be over by 3:30 so I have another portion of my day to get back out to sight see. Once has to wonder why the presentation needs to be scheduled in the middle of the day. On Day 3, check out time is 11a. So, the cost (not including food, gas, tolls, miscel) to stay is $6.95/hr for the 41 hrs I’m in DC. I get to stay at the Hilton for 8 hrs on Day 1 (4p-midnight), 22 hrs on Day 2 (excludes 2 hour presentation) and 11 hrs on day 3 (midnight to 11a). I’m fortunate I can afford to purchase a Hilton vacation package if I chose to. But after this experience, I simply plan on cutting my losses at $171. In the end, another company will earn my dollars. I’m left no choice but to vote with my wallet. Bye bye Hilton.

  6. We had our presentation on July 12th. However, we never received a tour. We just sat at a desk for 2 1/2 hours. They wanted us to purchase a timeshare in turn we would receive points every year. There were HOA fees yearly. You also have to pay reservation fee for booking every trip. Not to mention resort fees. Bye bye Hilton chain.

  7. Pushy sales staff on the phone who abruptly hung up on me after a five minute conversation without saying goodbye or thank you.
    No thanks, you can sell this to someone else if this is the attitude of your sales staff.
    Bad first impression.

  8. Hello – So I just booked our $149 stay to the Hilton Seaworld, Monday-Thursday, with an 8am presentation on Tuesday. I’m not interested in the Timeshare, and my question is to anyone who can answer it: If we don’t go to the presentation, what is the penalty? Would we owe anything other than the initial $149+taxes?

    Just trying to weigh my pros and cons of actually doing this or cutting my losses.

    Thanks

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