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Marriott's Desert Springs Villas II vs Embarc Palm Desert?

Discussion in 'Marriott Vacation Club' started by echino, Apr 1, 2019.

?

What's better choice with kids, 2br in December?

  1. Marriott's Desert Springs Villas II

    4 vote(s)
    80.0%
  2. Embarc Palm Desert

    1 vote(s)
    20.0%
  1. echino

    echino TUG Member

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    Exchanging into Palm Desert in December with three pre-teen kids. Two bedrooms are available at these two resorts for our dates. What's better choice: Marriott's Desert Springs Villas II or Embarc Palm Desert? Never been to either of these properties, or to Palm Desert. Opinions?
     
  2. jlp879

    jlp879 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I don't think you'd go wrong with either of them. I think they'll have more similarities than differences. Both are high end properties that get excellent reviews. Currently Embarc Palm Desert is ranked #1 on Tripadvisor and Marriott DSVII is #5. They both have amenities that serve families well like pools, tennis courts, movie theater, etc.

    They are situated almost next to each other across Country Club Drive but the Marriott property borders on sprawling with the two timeshares, golf course and the JW Marriott amidst it's lagoon while the Embarc is a condensed space with a more desert landscape.

    I've stayed at the Palm Desert Marriotts a number of times and my kids have always loved the stays. There is a lot to do on site and Marriott has good activity schedules for kids and adults. I've never visited Embarc Palm Desert yet I love the more desert-like look of their decor. For me I'd pick it just because I've never visited.
     
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  3. BJRSanDiego

    BJRSanDiego TUG Member

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    I only toured the Embarc. But I've stayed at DSV2 perhaps a dozen times. I think that the Embarc is smaller and only has two pools. The interior of the embarc unit that I saw was a bit "funky" with Saltillo floor tiles, bold Spanish colors and IIRC had a small refrigerator. If you go to the Embarc web site, you can do a virtural 360 degree tour. The members lounge seemed to be more set up for adults than kids.

    In comparison, DSV1 or 2 has something like seven pools. At the main pool complex, they have a restaurant/cantine and a children's splash pad. The also have a separate activity center that is well set up for children and children's activities during the day plus some movies (with popcorn). They also have an on-site convenience store that carries everything from snacks, icecream, the essentials that you forgot to bring as well as beer and wine. I think that they also make sandwiches.

    One thought - - if you find DSV1 availability, they have two queen beds in the lock-off portion (plus a king in the master). The couch in the main suite has a fold out couch (same as DSV2).

    If you see Shadow Ridge availability, I have read others opine that it is set up better for young kids. It includes a curving water slide plus a spash pad. Plus a couple of cantinas (pool restaurant/bar). They also have a whole bunch of childrens activities.

    Perhaps others will opine on Embarc versus DSV 1, 2 or Shadow Ridge (villages). Also, you could call any of the resorts and talk with their activities department regarding what the offer for pre-teen children.
     
  4. klpca

    klpca TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    We have stayed at both and I prefer the Embarc property because of the outdoor spaces in the one bedroom units (haven't stayed in a two bedroom so I am not sure if they are the same) but with kids I would probably lean to the Marriott properties. I don't recall a lot of kid based activities at Embarc, but there is always a ton to do at the Marriott.
     
  5. BJRSanDiego

    BJRSanDiego TUG Member

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    I looked on ii and the 2 BR Embarc is listed as sleep 4 privately and 6 total, plus "LK" (light kitchen).

    In comparison, the DSV2 is listed as sleeps 6 privately, 8 total, plus full Kitchen.
     
  6. echino

    echino TUG Member

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    Thank you for all your responses, very helpful! We decided we'll be staying at Embarc. We've stayed at many Marriotts and while they are great, they sometimes are too "corporate", lacking character. I am reading the reviews and it looks like Embarc Palm Desert has a lot of character and people are loving it. We stayed at Embarc Whistler before, and it's great.

    The II confirmation says LK - limited kitchen, but I think it will actually be a full kitchen by the time we stay over the New Year's. Here's a response to a TripAdvisor review mentioning limited kitchen:

    Response from EmbarcUWE, General Manager at Embarc Palm Desert
    Responded Mar. 15, 2017
    Dear Bargara H,
    Thank you for your review to the Trip Advisor community. I am thrilled to inform you we are remodeling all of our vacation homes at the moment. Everything in the vacation homes will be new and fresh, including Jenn Aire gas ranges and ovens, and new microwaves, which is much easier to use. We have completed 4 buildings in 2016, we have 4 more buildings in 2017 to do, and the final buildings in 2018. You will love the new look, feel, and efficiency.

    Kind Regards,

    Amy Kolk.


    So looks like it will be good.

    It's amazing that a New Year's week 52 was available in II, both at Embarc and Marriott. Is it really low season there? We hope to do some hiking at Joshua Tree.
     
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  7. klpca

    klpca TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I think that your assessment of the resort is spot on. We love the unique features of the Embarc property.
     
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  8. BJRSanDiego

    BJRSanDiego TUG Member

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    Joshua tree is great for hiking. There are a lot of great hikes. I enjoy hiking to old gold mines. Silver Bee is an easy hike (1 mile each way). Lost horse is perhaps 4 easy miles. But lots of other ones as well.

    It probably takes a week or more to do all of Joshua tree. There is so much to see.

    Another easy but interesting hike is the Coachella Valley preserve in 1000 palms.

    Places to eat nearby: Mortons Happy Hour in the bar, Sherm's NY Deli, Grill-a-burger, Papa Dan's Pizza, Kobe (grill in front of you Japanese), Mama Gina's, The Cliff House (higher priced but worth it).

    Enjoy
     
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  9. bobpark56

    bobpark56 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Eat breakfast out on the patio in the mornings (very pleasant), and you will be able to watch the roadrunners run by. We have stayed at Embarc twice (2BR units) and very much enjoyed it. The ground floor patios are the nicest we have found anywhere. Embarc also had the least pushy sales force we have found anywhere. We were in and out in less than 20 minutes.
     
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  10. marmite

    marmite TUG Member

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    I am too late to the party but will add my two cents for reference since you haven't left yet! I have stayed at both properties several times. The pools are larger at DSVII, but I think kids aren't really big complainers when it comes to pools -- they will have fun no matter how grand or small the pool is. I happen to love the Embarc at Palm Desert, especially the ground floor units. Ducks used to come to my room in the morning hoping to be fed. Rabbits hop past, hummingbirds everywhere, great landscaping and lots to enjoy. Ralph's being right beside is very convenient too. Have a great trip.
     
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  11. Bill4728

    Bill4728 Moderator

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    I haven't stayed at Club Intrawest / Embarc in several years the only thing I did not like about it was the limited kitchen BUT it appears that they have corrected that problem with the new stoves.
     
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  12. marmite

    marmite TUG Member

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    The only thing I didn’t like were the sheets... I brought my own once I knew. I haven’t stayed in a while though so perhaps they’ve improved! Please report back @echino !
     
  13. marmite

    marmite TUG Member

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    @BJRSanDiego you make me long to get back there right now! Sherman’s is the first stop from the Airport for me. Even before checking in. Quintessential Palm Desert. Rancho Mirage Location of Tommy Bahama restaurant is sublime for happy hour or a meal. Love it.
     
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  14. BJRSanDiego

    BJRSanDiego TUG Member

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    If you are very young and like 3000 calorie dinners, then ignore this. Bit if you are older and find that you do fine on around 2000 calories per day - - the read on.

    We enjoy going to Mortons. We have eaten in the dining room (3000 calories plus), but we prefer going to the bar for the "happier hour" bar bites. We typically get a filet mignon trio for around $6 or 7, plus perhaps a wedge salad for around $6. Decent prices on a lower calory meal. We go there every time we're there. Check the website for which 6 days out of 7 that this works.
     
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  15. marmite

    marmite TUG Member

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    I laughed at the 3000 calorie dinner, I don't think I am young enough to do that unless being in your 40's is the new 20's. We love Sherman's, but we eat 1/2 there and take the rest back to the timeshare to have the next day. I wouldn't advise anyone young OR old to try and clean their plate there! Your Morton's choices sound perfect to me, I will definitely try it when we get an opportunity. At this point in our life, our trips are with our teenage daughter, so she can't eat in the bar area which limits what happy hours we can go to. Tommy Bahama's has Happy Hour in the bar area and will also let you order from the HH menu if sitting in the restaurant, so that has become the go-to place for us each trip. Her metabolism can definitely handle their amazing Pina Colada cake, and I can steal a bit when she's not watching. ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  16. PcflEZFlng

    PcflEZFlng TUG Member

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    I'm also late to the party but enjoying this thread. Concur with all of the above comments about Embarc. Going there next week and I'm really looking forward to it (stayed twice before when it was still Club Intrawest and loved it). Nothing more to add about it - you'll love it.

    You won't go hungry in the Coachella valley, that's for sure. Too many excellent places to visit. I have to re-lose the weight I've gained every time I get back home!

    The pina colada cake at Tommy Bahama's is great, and so are their dessert martinis. We always go back for the martinis. The last time I was there, I had what I think may have been the best French Dip sandwich I'd ever eaten.

    Steakhouses - Morton's (across the street) or Fleming's (at The River). I like them both, but DW prefers Fleming's so that's our go-to. Both are outstanding.

    Japanese steakhouses - we've eaten at Kobe (liked it a lot) and at Mikado across the street at the JW Marriott (liked it even more).

    Delis - you'll never go wrong with Sherman's. It's close by, we love it, and we've been going there for many years. But lately I've discovered TKB Deli & Bakery. You might want to check them out online. They're on the far side of Indio so it's about a 20-minute drive to get there, but for me it's worth it. In 2018, Yelp readers voted it the #1 restaurant in the United States. I'm not making that up.
     
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  17. BJRSanDiego

    BJRSanDiego TUG Member

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    I forgot to mention...if you are staying at a Marriott, they'll give you an activities card that you can use at Morton's. They give you a Creme Brulee with raspberries on it (free).

    I agree about Sherman's (and perhaps Papa Dan's) that it makes sense to get a container to take back to the unit for another lunch or dinner. Papa Dan's honors the Marriott card for a 10% discount.
     
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  18. marmite

    marmite TUG Member

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    I know I’m not the OP, but great recommendations I will use. How can I not want bragging rights to eat in the #1 rated yelper restaurant!?
     
  19. marmite

    marmite TUG Member

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    I will make sure I get one on my next stay — thanks!
     
  20. davidvel

    davidvel TUG Member

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    Kids can in in the bar area at restaurants in California, certainly can at this Mortons. Just cannot be seated at the bar itself.
     
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  21. PcflEZFlng

    PcflEZFlng TUG Member

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    The place is very unassuming-looking and is situated in a random industrial park. But their sandwiches are huge (as well as awesome). At least two meals out of them, just like Sherman's!
     
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  22. marmite

    marmite TUG Member

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    Great to know, some restaurants don’t have additional seating— I will give that location a try!
     
  23. davidvel

    davidvel TUG Member

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    Over the 15+ years, we often choose the bar area with the kids due to seating issues, happy hour only there, and sports on TV.
     
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