Uke Retreat Prep

Updated: Nov 18, 2019


My name is Marion Koleski. I’m the new event coordinator and travel agent for Craig and Sarah. I’ve spoken with most of you on the phone by this point, and even met some of you when I was in observation mode on the last Craig & Sarah cruise to Mexico.

I’m located just south of Kalamazoo Michigan. My number is 800-990-3614, but when I return your calls, it will pop up as 269-350-6059 so you may want to save me to your phone. Credit card charges should have MARIONKLLC as the company name. You can reach me at

It’s my goal to be authentic and transparent with you all, so let’s start with: I am new at this! I’m a ukulele player who became an agent for the specific purpose of working with Craig and Sarah, whom I admire and respect. While I’ve done tons of research, I am absolutely still on my learning curve. I really appreciate everyone’s patience as we experience our first land-based event together. In fact, a huge thank you goes out to those of you who were inconvenienced by the issues we had/are having with our payment processor.

I’m going to explain a lot here and then ask you to check some boxes to let me know what you’d like me to work on for you personally.


As you know, you’re on board for 5 days and 4 nights at the beautiful Hilton Spa and Resort on Mission Bay in San Diego. Our retreat starts August 30, 2020. Your package includes lunches on full program days, as well as breakfast on departure day. Your package also includes a beautiful limited edition Kanile’a ukulele in either a concert or tenor scale.


As you may have discovered via googling, it’s a bit early to start planning airfare, as many rates aren’t published this far out. We’ll be sending out airfare options as we get closer. (You aren’t required to go through me for any extra services, so if you are comfortable booking your own airfare, go for it.) Naturally, we won’t be worrying about airport transfers until we have flights locked down closer to the retreat.


Your package is nonrefundable, and you are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to purchase a travel insurance policy through me. I partner with Allianz through my host agency, CruisePlanners. Allianz travel insurance is based on “banded” age groups. If you are aging out of one band and into the next, please plan your policy around the age you will be at the time of the retreat.

You can insure *all* elements of your trip (gas to the airport, parking fees, airfare, airport transfer, hotel stay, package costs, dinners out, excursions, extra days) from the time you leave your house to the time you walk back in your front door, or you can pick and choose which elements you would like covered.

For example, someone who is 65 can insure $3000 of travel expenses for a premium of $256, or they can insure $6000 for $513.


  • Can I get a 5 or 6 string? Nope, sorry that isn’t going to be an option this time around.

  • Can I get different frets due to my allergy? No, sorry.

  • Can I refuse the instrument and get a discount? No, it has been built into the package from day 1 and the order is already in with the manufacturer. However, if you truly don’t want it and don’t want the hassle of selling it, we have arranged to donate any unwanted instruments to a relevant charity.

  • Can I get a case? You don't need to. Your instrument will come with a case!

  • Can you ship my new instrument home for me? Can I get a pickup installed prior to delivery? Can I get a Sarah Maisel strap and strap buttons? Yes, for a small charge. I’ll update when we get a little further down the road and those costs get established.

UPDATE: see here for instrument modifications


  • Can I use my loyalty points to pay for the room? Can I get points for my stay? No

  • Do I keep my other Hilton Honors Points perks such as free breakfast? Yes


You had the opportunity to prepay for your parking, and you can add it on later up to 30 days prior to the retreat, still at the discounted rate. There IS free parking available, but it’s a bit of a walk so if you have mobility issues, I’d get the pass. There are 2 handicapped spots in front of each building, but please note: Hotel policy states that if you are staying overnight you must have the pass *even for handicapped placard holders*.

Speaking of mobility issues, I partner with Special Needs Group and can provide assistive devices from shower stools to power chairs. Let me know if you might need something in this department.


I’m happy to book you for extra nights. Our contract allows us up to 3 nights prior, and up to 3 nights after the retreat. Costs, which are discounted for you and all inclusive of taxes and resort fees, are as follows:

· King Gardenview Room 260 per night

· Queen Gardenview Room 270 per night

· Queen Bayview Villa 300 per night

· King Bayview Villa 290 per night

· Queen Waterfront Villa 340 per night

· King Gardenview Studio 280 per night

· Queen Gardenview Studio 290 per night

· King Bayview Studio 320 per night

· Queen Bayview Studio 340 per night

· King Bayview Studio Firepit 355 per night

· Queen Bayview Studio Firepit 365 per night

· Queen Waterfront Studio Firepit 380 per night

· King Waterfront Studio Firepit not available

You can stay in the room you had during the retreat, or opt to change to another room category. Go ahead, schedule a fancy evening!


If you have any severe allergies, please let me know. As one member of our party has severe scent allergies, I’m asking that everyone forego their perfume during this retreat.

Another member of our party has severe peanut allergies - not just from eating them, but from having them in the area around them. Please, no peanut products during this retreat.

Please also know that this venue is dog friendly, so if you have severe dog allergies please let me know how I can help. I’ll be communicating any food allergies (or dietary preferences such as vegan) to the catering manager.


If you are adding a non-player roommate, you can do that at any time up to 30 days prior to the retreat. If you are adding a player roommate, we have a limited number of player slots left! I’d add them sooner, rather than later, as this program has a firm attendance cap.


Part of the fun with this group is that your feedback will help steer our non-core programming. Stay tuned for surveys here and there about dining in Old Town San Diego as a group, taking local tours, etc.

I know this is a LOT of information, and I hope I touched on everyone’s questions. If not, please remind me of your question or concern in the form that follows.

Aloha! Marion K.

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