Friday, August 28, 2015

Massanutten Resort in McGaheysville, VA - The Good, The Bad and the Lying

I realize this is off topic for a reality TV blog, but I want to share my experience at Massanutten Resort in Virginia.

Before I embarked on a journey to Massanutten, I'd not-so-affectionately nicknamed it 'mass of nothing'. The trip was less than voluntary (family vacation) so I was hardly looking forward to it. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised in many ways, but wasn't thrilled about many others.

The good:

There are lots of activities for kids. There were a lot of parks, and there were several pools. One of the pools had a kiddie pool attached to the adult pool, which was nice because you could go between the two. Kids were allowed in both the adult and kid pools, which was nice, although I think if I'd gone without kids, I wouldn't love that.

The Massanutten water park is pretty great. I don't necessarily enjoy water slides, but I do like wave pools, hot tubs and lazy rivers, so this was cool. Plus, all of the kid attractions allow adults to join the kids, so those were nice, not-too-scary water slides. There was also a nice area for little kids.

There are a lot of activities on the resort, so you can spend a lot of time doing things. Many were geared towards kids, but if you like to golf or swim, you can definitely do that.

The spa was nice. My family member thought it was overpriced, but because I'm from an area where things tend to be overpriced, it didn't bug me too much. It's a resort spa - I thought it was fair. A massage or facial will run you about $95 each, on average.

Mini golf was enjoyable. They have two courses to keep from getting too busy. That's cool.

Luray Caverns are nearby and are nice. I recommend that if you plan to go offsite. That's good for kids, unless they enjoy screaming in enclosed areas. Note: that happened a lot while we were there.

The bad:

You cannot properly utilize this resort without a car. To get to the rec center (which has arcade games from the 80s, half of which are broken), it was a two mile drive from our site. The ski lift, mini golf and family adventure parks took a while to drive to, as well. There are no shuttle buses, so if you plan to go to pretty much anything, you need a car.

Everything is expensive. The pools and gym are included with the price of your stay (including a water aerobics class), but activities cost a bunch. Golf cost $70 per person, a tie dye class is $15, Zumba is $5. The water park was $40-something. The shows all have fees, too. This can really add up. You can pay $99 for an activity card, which will give you discounts, but unless you do a lot of stuff, it's not worth it.

The lying:

A family member decided that instead of paying for four water park tickets, we should go to the sales pitch and get the talk in exchange for the free passes. Here's where things started to break down.

When booking the sales pitch, the family member was told that it would take 2 hours.

During the way-too-early reminder call, the family member was again told this would take two hours.

When we arrived at the absoutely average free breakfast (you can also choose lunch), we noted the two hours, and the guide said upfront, I think this will take more than two hours. At this point, my family member was livid, so we told this person that she'll make sure it stays under two hours. We fill out a long questionnaire. I ask about pricing and she says the manager will handle that; she's just here to show us around.

We toured a couple of resort properties (apparently we were listed as timeshare owners, even though we were using a friend's timeshare, so we saw pricey places), then went to the meetup area, where we neared our two hour limit. Our guide (who had walked really slowly through all of the housing areas) said the next step was to find a manager because he had to sign off on our visit. We waited. And waited. The two hour mark came and went. She spoke briefly to another salesperson and, as she said, texted a manager to come over. We wait and wait...she says there's a long wait because this is the time everyone wants to see a manager. Bad planning. She gives us a talk about how Massanutten has some of the lowest maintenance fees in the industry, and shows us a pricing sheet for buying a place. The quote we see is $45,000, and we're told those units are sold out. So wait - you can't tell us about pricing, but you really can? And why are you showing me something sold out, anyway? Then we were told something about how you can become a diamond member and get first priority over others, even if they want the same vacation time you do. And after that, we learned about weeks versus points...in the end, I understood nothing about timeshares except that they make no sense.

Note that the resort talked about having the lowest fees, yet when I did some research, it seems like their timeshares are way more expensive than others. Anyway, back to the story.

The manager comes by and signs off on our papers, but not before stepping aside with our sales rep and probably talking about what snarky people we are. I got that impression when another sales rep walked by and made the 'cut the throat' motion to our salesperson...maybe he had a difficult group too. The point is, I saw it...and I probably wasn't supposed to.

Our guy signs off and we're escorted to another woman who asks us what the lowest price we were quoted was. UM, HELLO? Are you blatantly telling me you're quoting people different prices? She gave us some weird quote of $4,500 - which I guess is a week once versus buying long term - I have no idea - and walked us to a final person, who we stood around for until she handed us the water park tickets. After all was said and done, we were there for 2.5 hours, and we made our salesperson rush like crazy.

So yeah, that was my experience. Have you tried Massanutten? What did you think?

1 comment:

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