In 2005, FTF's annual Top 10 survey of award-winners honored Marriott Vacation Club International as a Top Resort Chain for Family Togetherness and it's still a winner.
When FTF celebrated the 8th annual Top 10 Getaways awards, we acknowledged the latest trend — family-together vacations. We honored hospitality, timeshare and eco-tourism businesses that have made it possible for families to stay, play, relax, and learn together in a creative and enriching atmosphere.
Marriott Vacation Club International
The 53 worldwide resorts in the Marriott Vacation Club have one concept in common — deeded property purchase of a vacation villa for one or more weeks within a “floating time” system. This timeshare program allows owners to experience a repeat destination at a fixed price, along with flexibility to vacation whenever and wherever they want. As Vacation Club members, families can choose U.S. destinations from Lake Tahoe to Orlando, or from Boston to Maui, as well as properties in Aruba, London, France, Spain, and Phuket, Thailand. As of 2011, more than 400,000 families own units in more than 5,000 resort areas worldwide.
The Vacation Club structures a favorite family vacation with the luxurious Marriott touch, providing a comfortable, full-service (almost hotel-style) home base for adventures together in the surrounding area. Vacation rentals for short-stay guests grant temporary Vacation Club membership, and are a great option for those who don't want the commitment of owning a unit.
Other vacationers view this as an excellent investment that their families can enjoy for years to come. For multi-generational travelers and larger families, having the space and privacy of a multi-room condominium unit, with the amenities of a resort, is ideal. And owners may trade their shares to stay at other resorts when available.
Marriott Vacation Club Family Activities
Another beauty of Vacation Club properties for families is the range of locations and activities offered. Whether you’re a skiing family, a theme park family, a beach family, a family of golf fanatics or maybe all of these, you will probably be able to find a Vacation Club property at a prime location, often adjacent to a luxury Marriott Hotel. Vacation rental and timeshare purchase specials at the brand’s several Orlando properties often include theme park promotions. The sound of “Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club” conjures visions of watersports and playing on the beach, while "Marriott’s Streamside at Vail" — a very popular resort hotel — suggests hitting the slopes, donning snowshoes, taking a dogsled ride, or hanging out in Vail Village.
Individual resorts offer their own selection of family-friendly activities on-property: At the Marriott Grande Vista in Orlando, kids from 8 to 12-years-old and their families collaborate on building Tamiyas, or mini stock cars, together. These cars are powered by motors and batteries, and kids compete in weekly races. Marriott’s Desert Springs in Palm Desert, California offers talented families an opportunity to compete in its own version of American Idol and at Marriott’s Club Son Antem in Marjora, Spain, families learn mask-making, Flamenco and salsa dancing.
Activities for the tinier set include fireside story time, family movie night and making suncatchers at Breckenridge, Colorado; and sand dollar painting, story time, and a karaoke contest at Ocean Watch Villas at Myrtle Beach. Additionally, Vacation Club properties have an on-site Compass Kids’ Clubs with scheduled drop-in activities like pottery painting and T-shirt dying, as well as a playground, kiddy pool, and/or other established spot for family interaction.
Marriott Vacation Club Family Amenities
With a vacation club purchase or rental comes space and a kitchen setup. Instead of being crammed into a hotel room, MVC offers a range from studios to one-, two-, or three-bedroom villas including separate living and dining areas, a master bedroom with whirlpool bath, full kitchen, washer, and dryer. This makes them ideal accommodations for families, and even enables small reunion groups to stay together. Each resort's Marketplace convenience store and deli provides a quick place to grab food, while the full kitchens and dining areas within the units offer opportunities for more private family mealtime. Additionally, all of the resorts feature top-notch restaurants and lounges at their adjoining hotels.
Most properties have indoor and/or outdoor pools for recreation, but golf enthusiasts of all ages will want to pay special attention to properties in Palm Desert, California; Orlando and Marco Island, Florida; and Absecon, New Jersey, where the Faldo Golf Institute provides comprehensive lessons for different levels of skill.
Marriott stresses flexibility for individual trip-planning at Vacation Club properties. Yearly vacation ownership rates vary by property, week of ownership, and location. In contrast, traveling families can rent two-bedroom units by the night at most resorts and pay from $150/N and up, often a bargain when compared to booking several hotel rooms at the neighboring Marriott Hotel.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.