Great for Members, Not so Much for Regular Guests
I’ll apologize in advance, this review will be long. But I feel it’s necessary to let people know what they might be getting if you are considering booking at the Historic Powhatan Resort.
We decided to take a trip for our daughter’s birthday. After looking all around Williamsburg, and since we only had about a month left, we ended up at Powhatan. The Deluxe Downstairs Condo was perfect with the two bedrooms, king bed, two singles and sofa bed for all the family we had staying with us. We had read through many of the reviews and learned that it is a timeshare property and that many of the rooms/condos were either renovated or under renovation. After booking our trip through the Visit Williamsburg website, I called the Powhatan Resort directly and requested a renovated room as many of the reviews suggested. The clerk I spoke to told me we would have a renovated room which included a whirlpool jacuzzi tub. I also requested something special for my daughter’s birthday (that I’d be happy to pay for, either a sign or something small like a little basket of candy waiting in the room, to surprise her with. Again, I was ensured it would be taken care of.
Upon check in, we were immediately ushered to the “concierge” to receive our coupons and then told we were booked into a meeting at 8:30 am on Saturday morning. We knew immediately that it was a meeting to buy into their timeshare program. I didn’t want to attend but DH was interested and said he thought we had to go, so we agreed. They told us we had to give them a $20 deposit to make sure we would both attend and promised us gift cards as well as an additional 2 night stay for sitting through it (they promised it would be no longer than an hour to an hour and a half). We even had to promise not to come drunk to the meeting (apparently that’s a big problem?). They then gave us a bag of coupons and books for signing up.
After all that we were finally able to go to our condo. We immediately realized there was no sign or basket to surprise my daughter for her birthday. Clearly, the woman at the main desk either lied to me or just said yes (the power of yes is a big thing with Diamond Resorts) or they put whatever it was in a different room. We also were not given a renovated room but didn’t realize this right away. We were in such a hurry to get out and enjoy our vacation that we didn’t ask to be moved and have to pack up again, but I must admit it was disappointing. If there were no renovated rooms available, it would have been quite easy to just let us know. It’s all about expectations after all. If you’re considering booking here, you most likely won’t get a room that looks like the ones on the website unless you are a member of the timeshare program or have a friend or family member who is. They don’t seem to care much about the rest of the “regular” guests from our experience.
As far as the rooms, we immediately noticed a musty, mildewy smell coming from the bathroom in the master bedroom that seeped into the bedroom. It seemed to get stronger every time the shower was used. The bathroom included a shower, bathtub, toilet and sink. The toilet ran constantly and at some point must have leaked because the tiles underneath were off coloured. DH shut the water off at night so it wouldn’t keep us up. There was an odd little room off the master bedroom that also had a door to the porch that was completely empty. It had pine panelling inside and no furniture at all. We thought maybe it was a sauna but later found out it had once a hot tub in it that had been torn out as part of the renovation process the resort is undergoing. There is also an ancient television in the master bedroom, the likes of which I haven’t seen in probably 10-12 years. The remote was broken and the back and batteries fell off/out every time we picked it up. I used a hair band to hold it together.
The combination living room/dining room had furniture that was probably older than the furniture in some of the houses we saw in Colonial Williamsburg. Perhaps that’s the “Historic” part of this resort, other than the Manor House? The dining table had mismatched chairs. The telephone was nearly impossible to use due to the static on the line. I had to call security about people parked in our assigned spot and check messages a few times (the timeshare people left two messages reminding us about the meeting and actually called us the morning of the meeting to ask where we were twenty minutes before the scheduled time – very, very annoying) and could barely hear anything. The living room had a fireplace, not gas, but it included no logs or kindling, so there was no way to use or enjoy it. But the absolute worst was the living room furniture. There was no way to sit on the sofa and be comfortable. The cushions were absolutely flattened and sloped to the front because of the sofa bed underneath, so you felt as though you were falling off every time you sat down. None of the furniture matched and every single piece was old and worn out.
The second bedroom had two very small twin beds and no television at all. If we had small children in that room, they would have to use the tv in the main room. The second bathroom only had a shower, toilet and sink, no bathtub. There was a small patio off the living room that had cheap white plastic furniture.
We were also awakened by the people upstairs all three nights. I don’t know if we just happened to have noisy neighbours or the floors/ceiling are just that bad but every time people walked above us it sounded like people were stomping or jumping off the furniture. All members in our party said the same thing. I’d recommend asking for second floor accommodations if you decide to book here.
All these little things could probably have been overlooked, especially when you see how beautiful the grounds are. They are very well manicured with ducks and geese wandering around. My daughter really enjoyed the pool and I joined her in the hot tub. The activities available looked like a lot of fun and the bar and grille looked nice as well, though we didn’t have time to enjoy it all. The Manor House looks beautiful and is supposedly haunted.
However, the timeshare meeting has turned us off this resort for good. We had to drive to the next resort over for the meeting at 8:30am after staying up for a ghost tour in Williamsburg until well after 1:00am. Our only other option for a meeting was 12:30pm which would have ruined our entire day. The first woman who talked to us was nice enough. We watched a video with the CEO who was on Undercover Boss. Then she took us to see a renovated unit, which just happened to be about 500 feet from our condo.
By this point we had been there nearly two hours and I was tired and anxious to get back to my vacation. The renovated unit was gorgeous and it was like day and night when you compared it to where they had us staying. I have pictures to compare the two units. She let it slip that they don’t usually give the renovated units to regular guests, they save them for members and guests of members. She also said that the resort was working toward not renting units to regular guests at all. It was pretty clear why we were stuck in such a bad condo. We took her to our condo to show her the difference and she told us she was going to call the front desk and maintenance to let them know the various things that were going on. Clearly that never happened because nothing was ever fixed or changed.
She then took us back to the timeshare office to show us the numbers. Of course, it was ridiculous. We don’t vacation regularly and to commit to a monthly payment that would be like another house payment while we are saving for college simply isn’t going to happen. The financial person sat down and immediately started the high pressure sales tactics, including insulting us for not taking our daughter on vacation enough and making enough memories before she goes off to college. She actually accused us of “depriving” her of the important things in life. At that point DH had had it. You don’t insult our parenting, especially strangers trying to sell something.
It seemed like they might have been trying to good cop/bad cop us. If we had been interested, we wouldn’t have a bought a thing from them because of the attitude of the financial woman. She apologized “if we were offended” by her comments but it was too late. By this point we had been there for over three hours and wasting our vacation time with their nonsense. They took us downstairs to their Corporate Gifting Office. We were introduced to another man who wanted to know how things went. When we told him what had happened he offered to give us X number of points at a discounted rate “to make it all better.” They were trying to sell to us AGAIN. I don’t know if they are that desperate for sales or what, but be prepared, they will do just about anything to get you to purchase a timeshare. We went to get our gift cards, Darden Restaurant gift cards and free movie tickets (no mention again of the free two night stay) and got the hell out of there. BTW we did get our $20 deposit back when we arrived.
You should also know that check out time is at 10:00 am. Seems to me, most places I’ve stayed are at least 11:00am. If we hadn’t had to get home right away, I would have called and asked (or more like fought for) for three more hours for what they stole from us at that ridiculous timeshare meeting. Also, they don’t provide regular housekeeping services unless you pay extra. You’ll have to take out your own trash to the dumpster. If we would have stayed another day, we would have been doing some towels and wash cloths in the laundry because we were about out.
All in all, we had a great vacation with our family, but it was in spite of the Historic Powhatan Resort. We loved Williamsburg and Busch Gardens Hallo-Scream was so much fun. We spent a lot of money for this resort and expected a little more than we received. We certainly didn’t expect to be insulted for not signing up for their timeshare program. It seems the staff will say yes to any question you ask them, regardless whether or not they have any intention of fulfilling your request, so be warned. Next time we will book much earlier and find a place that is not trying to sell us something while at the same time not appreciating us as guests because we are not members.