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Oxford, United Kingdom
October 3, 2009
From journal Less Obvious Orlando
February 4, 2004
Our villa was on the second floor of building #5. It had a verandah with a view of the lake with the waterfalls. It was great to eat breakfast there as we were always greeted with the beautiful view and sound of the waterfalls, making us feel that we were indeed on a much deserved vacation. We liked our villa a lot. It had two big bedrooms, two separate washrooms, a Jacuzzi in the master’s bedroom, a living and dining room, dishwasher, a laundry room with washer dryer, and TVs in both bedrooms and the living room. The thing we liked best about it is the fully furnished kitchen. We saved a lot on food because we were able to cook our own meals. However, the resort also has a deli/ restaurant and we got to try their hamburgers for lunch on the first day -- delicious! The resort also has a game room, fitness gym and a tennis court. We didn’t even get to try all of the activities the resort has to offer because of our busy schedule. We went swimming in the resort half of the time. The kids were very happy staying there. We had the greatest time and wouldn't mind to go back again someday. Sheraton Vistana Villages is situated in a good location on International Drive. It is near the theme parks, outlet malls, and grocery stores. It is better to have a car than to rely on the public shuttle, so you can move around faster and easier.
From journal Happy Memories in Orlando
by Mary Dickinson
January 13, 2004
The master bedroom is charming. An authentic reproduction of a very high solid maple headboard on the king-size bed, and the Jacuzzi for two with Victorian-design ceramic tiles on the wall around it, and two framed mirrors hanging from a heavy colorful cord above it is exciting to walk into. The carpeting is a green-and-tan herringbone check. The armoire holding the television matches the night tables, headboard and wood paneling around the Jacuzzi.
The bathrooms are spacious and color-coordinated with the other decor. 12-by-12 Mexican tiles are on the bathroom and kitchen floors. The second bedroom has two double beds similar to the one in the master bedroom. The armoire has a large television set as well. The kitchen has everything you need and the laundry is next to the kitchen and very handy. It is a gracious and pleasant environment to spend a vacation.
Landscaping on the grounds is exceptional. Outside on our screened-in balcony we could looked down at an Everglades pond surrounded by palm trees. Two bridges cross it to get to the gorgeous heated POOLS, spa and the clubhouse. The clubhouse is very Mediterranean with a red clay tile roof and stucco walls.
Inside the clubhouse is a Starbuck Café. With it is a small grocery/novelty store with expensive men’s shirts. Nearby is a tennis court and basketball court. People with children love the resort. Most of the activities are for children. The heated pools are the center of everything. One is for kids and adults who want to ride inflated plastic dragons. There is a waterfall in the center and the pool is shaped around it like a stream. The other is the quiet pool. It is round and has tall arbor vitae spaced evenly around it. Near it is the hot spa.
From journal Vacation In Paradise
July 19, 2003
We were in a one bedroom, which was pretty adequate for two adults and two children. It was still a bit cramped because of all the extras we have to bring for a two-year-old and a six-month-old. Still, the room was pristine. The partial kitchen is only partial in that it is small. It is still well appointed. The laundry units are just as large as the ones supplied in larger units. The bed is firm, but not terribly so. The dinette set is a nice touch. The jacuzzi tub is large enough for one.
The grounds are beautiful.
The timeshare presentation is not terribly intrusive. It really depends on how important you feel your time is.
I *think* there is still some construction going on. They did not readily supply luggage carts and when I asked the front desk for one, they were unable to retrieve one.
The pool area is magnificent, large, and unique. If driving to Disney, it is a fairly short drive. The resort is on a fairly isolated stretch on Int. Drive so there isn't too much traffic noise or congestion, yet the restaurants are still close enough to be condsidered convenient.
From journal December Trip to Disney/Vistana Villages
February 3, 2003
We planned to have six people in the 2-bedroom unit we traded for, but there were only two of us in the end. Obviously, the unit was extremely spacious for us, but I would say that it would be comfortable for six people without feeling too crowded, though I’m not sure how eight people would work out. [As a side note, we did take a look at one of the 1-bedroom units during our RCI tour and I remember thinking that it felt cramped.]
The master bedroom was the centerpiece of the unit, with a king bed, television, it’s own bathroom and a separate whirlpool tub (very relaxing after a long day of running around). The other bedroom was plain with 2 double beds, a television and its own access to the main bathroom. It was situated in the front of the unit though, so it might not be the best situation for light sleepers, or if you’re staying there during the busy season.
The kitchen was spacious with all the standard amenities you would need during your stay (refrigerator, microwave, flat-top stove, oven, dishwasher), in addition to a pantry for those larger parties. An "island" separated the kitchen from the dining/living room area, which was nice for breakfasts.
As for the dining/living room, things that stood out: a bar faucet, a large television, a VCR, and a stereo system with CD player. Off of the living room was a screened-in patio with table and chairs, lighting and a ceiling fan for those warmer days. It was the perfect place to have a meal, play a game or just plain relax. They said that some units also had a fireplace and washer/dryer, but ours didn’t so I can’t comment on that (the buildings were supposed to have laundry facilities though). Nevertheless, the accommodations were extremely impressive. I think most people would be equally impressed with them, though I would recommend trading for a larger unit if you have the option.
As for activities and amenities, we spent most of our time elsewhere so we didn’t make use of the facilities. From what we did notice, they had an Olympic size pool, an exercise facility, snack bar with "room service", playground and shuttle service (for a fee). I do want to mention that we were impressed with the low-key pitch of the timeshare sales staff and their efforts to insure that you didn’t feel pressured into purchasing a week from them.
From journal Driving south for the winter
March 17, 2003
This building is directly beside the pool, but it wasn't ready, but we decided to take that one and wait anyway--it only took another 10 minutes.
By the way, there are elevators in all buildings.
The grounds are also very beautiful--you wake up on a pool to one side and walk out your front door to cows on the other! Yes, cows! In Orlando!! We had such a laugh.
The Vistana Villages are also smaller as far as the number of buildings is concerned-- there are only eight buildings in all, which makes the resort so much nicer, what with there being less people and less traffic inside the resort area. Resort Experience:Our unit was incredible: the beautiful lime-green decor and real wooden furniture gave us a feeling of pride. The master bedroom was very large, with a corner jacuzzi right beside the bed. The shower was large enough for the entire family. This developer has put alot of thought into the Villages to definitely make it a home away from home.
At first we didn't want to touch anything as it all seemed so perfect but, once we moved in, it really felt comfortable. We had no problems--everything worked and we never had to call maintenance for anything.
The resort itself is very pleasant. The employees are very friendly and courteous; they make great smoothies at the bar and an excellent Caesar salad, too. Our daughter participated in many of the activities, like tye-dye shirt-making, Krazy pool games, sand bottle art, etc.
We enjoyed it so much here that we decided to spend only one day at the theme parks and enjoy our other six at the Villages. The pools and the hot tub are also open until 1am every night, which is nice if you're a night hawk!
At book said that local calls cost 75-cents but we made, I think, two calls, and were never charged for them. We liked it so much that we think RCI should let us go there again, and never mind the 1-in-4 rule!
It will be hard to beat this timeshare resort!
From journal Unforgetable Accomodations Orlando
February 11, 2003
The resort has: a quarter-acre swimming pool with waterfall; a children’s pool with fountains; two outdoor whirlpool spas; a pool bar, market, and deli; fitness center with sauna, steam room, massage, and tanning rooms; children’s playground; tennis, basketball and sand volleyball courts; shuffleboard; BBQ grills and picnic tables; pool tables by the main pool area; and game room. You can borrow equipment (volleyballs, basketballs, etc.) or rent/purchase pool toys (inflatables) poolside as well.
The resort is beautiful and relaxing and our kids felt right at home from the minute we arrived. We liked it so much, we purchased a timeshare there.
From journal Orlando Vacation
by Tony Crocket
April 6, 2002
We were also very impressed with the quality of the units, and how nicely decorated they were. The two bedroom units were spacious, and even included a screen balcony. Every day there was maid service, which was a very nice touch. Our two bedroom unit had a large jacuzzi bathtub in the master bedroom, which was a very luxurious touch! Front desk staff and service staff were very courteous.
There are plenty of activities here, and most are made for kids. There was the Ice Cream Sundae event, Silly Face Painting, Kid's Pool Games, and Board Games Extravaganza. I was completely satisfied with my stay here at the Vistana Villages, and I can't imaging being more pleased with the overall experience.
From journal Golf Trip to Orlando
January 31, 2004
There are 10 buildings that make up the condos, a large swimming and outdoor area, a fitness center, deli/restaurant and finally the main building/lobby. Everything, inside and out, is very well kept and nicely decorated.
The rooms are huge! A one-bedroom condo has a full kitchen with everything, a dining area that seats six people and a living room with a sofabed and a 27-inch TV, VCR, and CD player/stereo. The master bedroom features a two-person jet tube and its own 27-inch TV with VCR. There is a separate bath with shower and a third dressing room with its own sink. They all have screened-in porches with patio table and chairs. The décor is subtle in muted green and peach hues and a tropical theme featuring palm trees and fern prints. There were beautiful terracotta floor tiles in the baths and kitchen and it even had a small wet bar. One-bedroom units also have stacked washer/dryers.
The registration staff at the Sheraton was very accommodating. They provided us with everything we needed to know about the resort and Orlando attractions and they provided guest services which will get everything from park passes to Orlando Magic tickets.
The main feature of the resort is the pool with its large, walk-under grotto/waterfall. Almost three pools in one, it has a slope entry shallow pool on the south end for the little ones in while the north end has a volleyball net and a depth of four to five feet. Nearby is a section for lap swimming. Behind the grotto, there is a "quiet pool," but it wasn’t very quiet because children are still allowed. The quiet pool has a hot tub next to it and there’s another hot tub in the main pool, but one of the days we were there, there was a family of four sucking green popsicles in it. Eeew! So much for the no food or drink signs.
This was the first time we have used our timeshare and if all the condos in the Starwood Vacation Ownership family are like this one, then I’m there!
From journal Christmas in Central Florida
October 7, 2000
I was lucky, and had the whole place to myself. This was especially wonderful lying there listening to the rain at night with the volcano mumbling to itself in the background.
You won't see 'red lava' from the Observatory Lodge any more. For that you will have to get a ride into town, which can be expensive if you need to take a taxi. And in town you can also experience a natural hot spring, warmed by the volcano, at a very pricey spa. Very polished and touristy, so I didn't bother myself, but others seemed to like it.
From journal Spring in Costa Rica