We moved to Florida from Maryland and after bouncing around between resorts and hotels, we decided on the first day to stay here while deciding our next move (buy a house or travel the country). We ended up staying here for 3 months. "Now, I'm going to do something I like to call the "Compliment Sandwich" where I say something good, talk about where you need improvement, and then end with something good." (Stewie Griffin, Family Guy)
Something good, something good...
Awesome staff--front desk, maintenance, food service, housekeeping. Friendly and helpful. Shout out to Guy, Dan and Michele for keeping us well fed, and Carlos for keeping things well maintained (wondering if he ever got those screens replaced or the sink fixed, though :D). Jonas and Troy at front desk were very nice. We liked our housekeepers Jenny and Lima. Only needed them once a week.
Great location. We could walk to Target and Publix. Altamonte Mall a few miles away. Nice dining around hotel and in Heathrow, one stop east on I-4. Sanford is also at the same exit. There's another mall there and a zoo. Worth visiting historic Sanford, too. Beautiful lake, river walk and park. Speaking of parks, make sure you check out nearby Wekiwa Springs.
Beautiful, well kept grounds. Hotel was extremely clean and always smelled nice. And I'm a germophobe.
Nice, inviting and clean dining area with huge, warm fireplace and TV. Very nice lobby. Speaking of dining…
Food - loved the hot breakfast every morning (when I could get up). They serve dinner Mon - Thurs night, so we saved a lot overall on food. They provide guests with a monthly menu. It was fun to see what was for dinner each night.
Nice business center with everything you need--copier, 2 computers with large HD displays, a printer that works and always seemed to be stocked with paper!
Full kitchen with exception of stove. If you're gonna be here a while, bring or buy a convection oven. Kitchen also not equipped with some of the home niceties like a blender, strainer. We like to cook so that mattered to us. Also, our stove knobs did not match the actual heat setting. If it seems like ur stove doesn't work, just go low for high and high for low. :)
Comfy beds and pillows. Warm on those rare cool nights.
Good A/C units. The old ones were swapped out while we were there. Newer ones seemed a bit quieter, but we didn't run it often. Rooms were naturally comfy.
Very nice sink and counter area, though, outside of shower. Light granite and dark wood. Nice showers, good water pressure. TWO built-in soap dishes and enough space around the edge of tub for two girls to put all of their stuff. Good amount of towel racks, though we hung suction cup hooks in the shower to hold our scrubby gloves and shower caps.
Very nice TVs with good channel selection, but S-L-O-W changing TV channels
Now for the areas that could stand a little improvement...
A little dated - funky suitcase lamps; dressers not of good quality, drawers stick.
Would've preferred more drawer space in the bedroom. 3 drawers not enough for 2 people (2 double beds a good indication more space needed). 3-drawer dresser in living room a little inconvenient. Maybe move that to BR and add entertainment center or TV stand with storage space.
Speaking of doors, French doors to bedroom are a nice touch, but I don't like the magnets at the top. You have to push the doors with a little oomph to open or close them. Pretty disturbing when others are trying to sleep. You can't close them without audible noise.
Noise level between rooms fairly decent except for occasional noise above (maybe housekeeping at work) and the bathroom. You can hear the shower above you and it is LOUD! We couldn't believe it. Normally we stay on the top floor, but we had a dog, so unfortunately a top floor room wasn't an option. Except for the one guy who was on his cell in the hall one night, zero hallway noise at night. Very easy to fall asleep here.
Pool hours are a little on the late side. Would prefer they close the pool at 8pm. Some people here are long-term stays and we have work to do. The hotel is small and surrounds the pool, so voices carry. It appears shift change occurs at 11pm when the pool closes and so the noise can continue until 11:30. Note to staff: close the pool before you complete shift change or close the pool earlier. Some people like to be in bed by 11 and open the windows. Can't do that when you've got a group of kids out there shouting "Marco! Polo!" or throwing tennis balls against the doors.
Small but nice fitness center--elliptical, 2 treadmills, free weights, various sized weighted balls, yoga mats, exercise ball, and a scale to monitor your weight. Nice to have equipment AND TVs that work! And the remote control was always there. They even provide ear buds. They could be more conscientious about refilling water cups and wet wipes for equipment. If you don't feel like being inside, the area is gorgeous. Take a walk or jog outside. Note: People please be kind and use the provided wipes to wipe down machines when you're done.
On communication...Don't like paying for local calls, so we never used the phone. One gripe about Internet, we had to log on every single day. If you have multiple devices like we did, it can be a pain. The login splash screen didn't always come up when you got knocked off, so I had to do some finagling to get it up. AppleTV worked like a charm, though, thanks to Carlos. A necessity with a 3-month stay.
Still don't understand the slamming doors. Why can't hotels make doors that close quietly? The laundry room door has a soft close, so I know it's possible.
We ended up changing rooms after a couple of months because 1) the bathroom ceiling kept leaking and we could smell cigarette smoke coming through the bathroom vent. We were assured that we wouldn't smell smoke from the 4th floor room they gave us because smoking was only allowed on the 5th floor in rooms facing the rear parking lot. The third night in our room, I went into the bedroom and it wreaked of smoke. I called the front desk and was told there was really nothing that could be done. It was a housekeeping issue and they were gone for the day. The guy at the front desk wasn't allowed to call the room. There were no available rooms for us to move--not that we were going to move a second time. So we turned on the exhaust fan in the bathroom and the ceiling fan in the bedroom and sprayed air freshener occasionally. In this day and age, every major hotel should be smoke-free.
We're not smokers. Would be great if the outdoor ashtrays were further away from the doors, not that that stops inconsiderate smokers from loitering outside the door anyway. Coming from Maryland, we got used to smokers being away from common areas. I guess that hasn't been a priority in FL. We did not like that smoking is allowed in the pool area, which our room faced. If there were smokers out, we had to close our windows and couldn't enjoy the fresh air. Goes without saying it made it difficult to even enjoy the pool area itself. Smokers are also allowed right outside the dining room doors, so if you're going to/from breakfast or dinner, through the pool area, you sometimes have to walk trough smoke. The stench was so strong one day, we turned around and decided to take the long way through the building. Smokers should be sent 25 feet away from the building so that those of us who don't smoke and have no desire to get cancer from second-hand smoke don't have to suffer. More trashcans in the area, too, since some smokers seem to think it's okay to litter the beautiful landscape with their cigarette butts. How hard is it to take a styrofoam cup and put it in the trash when you're done?
If housekeeping uses bleach (ugh!) to clean, the smell is unbelievable. I was awakened by the bleach smell and it permeated the bedroom. Surely there is something as good as but less odorous than bleach.
Pool rules are posted for all guests to see. If guests at the pool are being loud and obnoxious, disturbing other guests, ask them to leave. If they're going to pick and choose which rules to enforce, why bother having rules? The side pool gate and the hotel door leading to the pool are never locked, so guests can be in the pool at all hours if they choose to.
Speaking of rules...They're a little wimpy (Disney must be contagious around here) when it comes to policy enforcement. We were awakened by kids in the pool at 8:30 when it opens at 9am. I'm a dog owner, but no dogs in the pool area should mean no dogs in the pool area, especially when they're running around unleashed and unsupervised, peeing and pooping. If the guest's room is being cleaned, tell them to take the dog for a long walk. That's no excuse for allowing a dog in the pool area. And they apparently have no breed restrictions. The dog looked like a pit bull mix. During Daytona Beach Bike Week, there was a group of loud, obnoxious folks in the room above us. They were stomping so loud our FLOOR vibrated! We had a convection oven and even the racks vibrated. I reported the noise at 11pm and had to call again about 35 minutes later. Apparently it was shift change, so I don't know if the guy who answered the first time did anything. Very annoying.
Don't go MLK holiday weekend. And unless you're on Spring Break, stay away from Florida the entire month of March (sorry Florida tourism folks). Really obnoxious folks (youth hockey team) from GA that let their kids do whatever they want. They shout at the top of their lungs and then treat staff and guests with disrespect when asked to quiet down. Small hotel, so no security on site. Cops came twice. Took a second visit to get through to these people. Very rude. They come every year at this time apparently. Hotel was also overrun with loud teen baseball team during spring break.
And now to close with something good...
We enjoyed our stay for the most part. It was the few obnoxious guests that ruined some of our days here. If the hotel was better at enforcing its rules, that would've made a difference. We're rating it a 4 instead of 5 for the reasons pointed out above. Bottom line: We would stay there again and recommend it to friends and family simply because the staff was so nice and helpful. They even gave us a card when we left. For long term, it's a great deal because utilities and meals are included. If you go, tell them we said hello.