Looking at the Bachelor Gulch HOA Vote on Ritz-Carton Management

Bachelor Gulch votes for change.
Bachelor Gulch votes for change.

It isn’t everyday someone says “no” to Ritz-Carlton, but that’s exactly what the timeshare owners at the Ritz-Carlton Club Bachelor Gulch have done, voting out the Ritz-Carlton hotel and property management company. With this vote, the prestigious Ritz-Carlton name will be dropped from the ski-in/ski-out resort property. Replacing Ritz-Carlton will be Timbers Resorts as the new management company.

In a 5-page letter to its membership, date May 17, 2013, the RCC-BG Condominium Association, Inc. Board of Directors voiced how difficult the decision had been and how carefully they had considered their actions. The following is excerpted from the Board’s letter to the member/owners at Bachelor Gulch.

“As we have shared previously, members of the Board and our fellow members were completely caught off guard and surprised by MVW’s sudden announcement on July 17, 2012 regarding the overall direction of the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club (“RCDC”) brand. MVW stated that:

  1. The Abaco (Bahamas) and Kapalua (Hawaii) properties would no longer be in the RCDC system, and
  2. MVW would begin providing cross-access between the exclusive RCDC system and the 51 Marriott Vacation Clubs.

The Board felt that MVW’s announcement and its planned course of action would undermine the significant investment each of us has made in Bachelor Gulch. Instead of simply accepting the changes, we decided to seek measured, proactive solutions regarding the new Marriott Vacation Club affiliation and overall management of our Club. Through this process, our desire was to maintain our relationship with MVW. Members of the Board reached out to and met with the MVW executive leadership personally and shared our member’s interest in remaining a Ritz Carlton Destination Club. However, despite our repeated attempts for MVW to clarify their intent and to address numerous concerns raised by our members, we realized that MVW’s actions and positions were not consistent with that of an exclusive Private Residence Club investment and exchange experience. “

The Big Picture on Bachelor Gulch Resort

Bachelor Gulch is a 54-unit resort on Beaver Creek Mountain near Avon, Colorado, with some 650 owners. Those who bought ownership at the private residence club (which is essentially an exclusive timeshare) from Ritz-Carlton Destination Club paid hundreds of thousands for their ownership.

With this decision comes a rebranding of the resort as it will no longer carry the Ritz-Carlton name. (Note: The connected Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch hotel will retain the Ritz-Carlton name.)

The loss of the Bahamas’ Abaco Club at Winding Bay and of Kapalua Bay on Maui as exchange destinations was addressed twice in the Board’s letter, as was the point that the new management company of the former Ritz-Carlton Club Kapalua Bay is the Timbers Resorts. (Interesting note: this Timbers management agreement is a temporary 7-month contract.)

Two other resorts have been removed from the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, with the Bachelor Gulch decision becoming the third departure, leaving six Ritz-Carlton Destination Club remaining.

The Denver Journal quoted Ritz-Carlton Destination Club Spokesman Ed Kinney as saying, “The homeowners association has the option to not renew a contract if they so choose, and we certainly respect that. We would have loved to have kept the property but we understand it’s their prerogative to let the members vote.”

In response to concerns voiced by owners at Bachelor Gulch that Marriott Vacations Worldwide will be offering exchange privileges between the Ritz Carlton Destination Club system and Marriott timeshare owners, “Kinney said members could choose to not visit Marriott destinations, and that Marriott timeshare owners would need a “tremendous” amount of points to use a property such as Bachelor Gulch.” (source: The Denver Journal )

Nonetheless, the position of many Bachelor Gulch owners seemed to be summed up by this letter written by an owner to the BG Condominium Association, “So people that could afford to buy Ritz Carlton Destination Club for $200,000+ or so can now use a Marriott Timeshare that can be bought resale for less than $5,000.”

The member/owner vote on the decision to make this significant change was as follows:

  • 67.86 in favor of the change
  • 8.61 against the change
  • 23.53 non-voting

In a PDF document available from the Timbers Resorts the management company addresses the transition, saying, “Timbers Resorts is pleased to be the RCC BG Board’s recommendation from the Request for Proposal (RFP) submission for the property management, exchange services, & member benefits for the current Ritz Carlton Club Bachelor Gulch. We feel that we are uniquely qualified to assist in every facet of this project; real estate sales/ marketing, hospitality operations management, HOA management, and project repositioning.

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