Construction is Under Way on Marriott's Time-Share Property

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BY KRISTIN O'MEARA

Reed Travel Features

PALM BEACH -- Construction began on Marriott's Ocean Club, a new time-share property adjacent to the 413-room Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino here.

According to a spokesman for Orlando, Fla.-based Marriott Vacation Club International, which operates time-share properties, the 218-unit Ocean Club will build on the framework of the incomplete Beta Hotel project, which has sat untouched for more than five years.

Marriott Vacation Club International, which took over the property in 1996, will open 90 units as the first of three phases in December 1998, the spokesman said.

The second phase will include the addition of 28 villas, and the third will add 90 villas; no timetable has been established for the opening of phases two and three, the spokesman said.

When completed, the property will feature one- and two-bedroom villa units, tennis courts, a pool and a restaurant.

Villa owners will have the option to include their units in a rental pool, which will be available to transient guests, the spokesman said.

Agents will be able to book these units through Marriott, he said, and the commission is the same, although the villas will have a higher nightly rate and therefore will offer higher income potential.

Hotel and time-share guests will have access to the facilities of both the Ocean Club and the Marriott hotel, and reciprocal signing privileges will be offered.

The spokesman said shared facilities will be beneficial to both properties.

"Having our property adjacent to the hotel allows us to share services," he said.

"Our 218-villa complex, running 100% occupancy, will be feeding business to them and, in turn, we will share amenities and features that would be cost prohibitive to do on our own," he said.

Similar hotel time-share arrangements exist at Marriott's Kauai Beach Club, part of the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club; in Palm Springs, Calif., at the Desert Springs Villas, which are adjacent to Marriott's Desert Springs Resort and Spa, and in Orlando, Fla., with three time-share properties adjacent to Marriott's World Center.

According to the Marriott spokesman, the completion of the original Beta Hotel project fell through due to a default on financing.

About 30% of the project was completed when Marriott took it over last year, he said.

Aruba's ban on new construction of hotels continues; the construction of the Beta Hotel project already was under way at the time the ban was set, as was the building of the Divi Phoenix time-share, which is slated to open this summer.

The Ocean Club is Marriott Vacation Club International's second property in the Caribbean region; the first is the Bahamas Marriott's Paradise Island Beach Club.

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