We just had our second of two stays in a at DS1 through a "getaway" with our timeshare exchange. Both were through the first week of September including the Labor Day holiday, in 2010 & 2011. We found the staff to be friendly, pleasant and accommodating.
The one-bedroom unit is a wonderful, large space. Well furnished with exceptional wood finishings on cupboards, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. We love the step-down living room with two large connecting sofas, where you can view the golfcourse and pond, or watch the large flatscreen TV. The spa tub is roomy for two people, and we bring candles & bubble bath to fully enjoy it.
Unfortunately, on this latest check-in, I initially kept running into invisable sticky spots. That is the only reason I am giving 4 stars enstead of 5. The underside of the refrigerator door handle, a spot on the floor in front of the fridge, splattered mirror, spots of food left on dishes probably after poor dishwashing, and dusty lampbases and shades. I would have called for housekeeping, but each time I was surprised to find another spot. I probably used about 1/8th of the paper towel roll taking care of these minor annoyances. On the good side, our unit (Bldg B, room 9115) was so lovely that I really didn't want to be moved to another unit. And I didn't find any other problems after the first evening. These things would have probably gladly been taken care of if I had called.
We were glad we went to the Monday morning welcome and orientation meeting. There were discounts and drawings for free stuff. Get there early for the drawing. Marriott has introduced a White Tiger yoga and fitness exercise program here and at a few of their other resorts. Being in the off season, we were able to participate for the whole week for $59. each, regularly about $25 per class session. The guy who put this program together definitely knows his stuff. It is very good to help get the kinks out and keep you physically healthy for your vacation, and generally not too extreme. Lots of gentle stretching including concepts of yoga and tai chi, also water fitness exercises. We didn't buy the extra exercise class videos and doodads available for taking home, but wouldn't have minded having them, as this is a program worth continuing as your morning routine. We were across the small street from the clubhouse, and enjoyed using that pool without other occupants between 7 and 9am.
Also new this trip is the Shadow activities building. We especially enjoyed viewing free second-run movies there. They have seating for about 20, and had movies that had come out within the last year. We saw "Soul Surfer", and "True Grit". Skip the chocolate tasting event if you are an adult. Just explanations about the gradations from white chocolate to bitter chocolate, and the tastings are of Ghiradelli chocolate chips. Might be interesting for children.
We attended the timeshare vacation program presentation as we wanted to know what Marriott is doing with their new points program. Our reward was $75 resort credits or two rounds of golf. We split it for one round of golf and $50 toward the spa at the Marriott hotel. It was worth it to us, we learned a lot about their program and they were pleasant at the end when we declined to join, and kept the whole thing to 2 hours, even with our questions and comments.