Reviews of the timeshare industry by the owners...

Timeshare Owners Community

HARBORSIDE ATLANTIS - PONZI‏

Most consumers who are visitors to the Atlantis have been aggressively pursued by the timeshare sales personnel retained by the Starwood/Kerzner joint venture.  As you walk thru the lobbies of the Royal, Coral or Beach towers, the consumer will be approached by these timeshare sales people.  What these timeshare specialists don't tell you is that once you purchase this timeshare you will have a difficult time with making the reservation or enforcing your contractual rights for the unit you thought you purchased.   The Harborside at the Atlantis timeshare is a joint venture owned and managed by two entities located in the State of Florida - Starwood hotels and Kerzner International (the owner of the monolithic Atlantis resort).   Since this timeshare is run by two very reputable names in the travel service industry, a potential purchaser may feel that is sufficient due diligence in order to make the purchase.

I am an original purchaser of a timeshare at Harborside and purchased it from a drawing in December 2000 from Kevin Christie, the brother of the former Prime Minister of the Bahamas.   The Starwood/Kerzner joint venture has become an ever-expanding empire that includes erecting more and more buildings to sell to Atlantis vacationers or any other unsuspecting vacationer that tours the Atlantis property.

The maintenance of the earlier buildings has been deferred in order to build and furnish newer buildings as a result the earlier buildings (I am an owner in one of them – Building 7) are in deplorable condition.  The ever-increasing fee has gone from $1178.20 at the time of my purchase in December 2000 to an amazing $2510.27 today - an increase of over 100% in the last nine years!  Of course, one does not mind paying these fees IF you are getting the service that you paid for at the time the contract was signed,   What has happened over time is that because of the brisk sales of these units, Starwood/Kerzner has eroded the contractual rights of the original owners by not maintaining their units and changing the terms of the contract.   Instead of using the ownership fees to continuously maintain the units of the original owners, Starwood/Kerzner uses the fees to maintain the newer buildings to attract new buyers.   The Reverse Ponzi uses the funds of the original owners to attract new owners by building and furnishing new units.  Of course, the new units are in beautiful condition, but do not have the views of the original buildings which face the Atlantis marina.  The original owners are never paid back by having their units maintained and pleas to assist are completely ignored.  I sent letters to both Starwood and Kerzner in 2008 and did not even receive the courtesy of a response.


What should a potential purchaser/consumer beware of BEFORE purchasing at Harborside?
1.    Exorbitant Fees.  An increase of over 100% for the same structure with the same services is an outrageous increase.  Of course, since Starwood/Kerzner is always looking to expand their empire, they don't mind doing so at the expense of the owners
2.    Service Level.  Once you purchase, you are on your own if you have a complaint. 
3.    Change in contractual terms.   My contract clearly states that I purchased a two-bedroom lock-off unit in Villas 4712-4713 in Building 7 on the top floor (facing the Atlantis Marina).   Of course, Starwood/Kerzner developed a new "bait and switch" gimmick.  When you make the reservation, they tell you that you did not purchase a fixed unit and that they can assign you anywhere.  Of course, this claim is bogus and is a full breach of my contractual rights.  In addition, while my contract also included midweek full housekeeping, Starwood/Kerzner now has changed the terms to "tidy service" yet another breach of my contractual rights.
The way that Starwood/Kerzner operates Harborside Resort at the Atlantis is tantamount to fraud.   Once they have made the sale, good luck in getting them to observe your contractual rights in the maintenance of the property or in enforcing your rights  

Tourism at the Atlantis has fallen from between 20% to 50% during the global recession, Starwood/Kerzner will continue to erode the rights of their owners if they are not stopped.  At the very least, the unsuspecting vacationer/consumer should be alerted to the pitfalls of ownership.

 

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