Sheraton Vistana Resort Villages
Like a couple of my other posts recently, I have to mention this straight away: read previous reviews; this venue is definitely NOT a hotel, it’s a resort/time-share and so, there is no daily service on offer and you will be bugged about buying a time-share. BUT: if you are not interested in owning an apartment there, it will not ruin your time there is you follow a couple of simple tips. Firstly you don't have to pick up the "welcome pack" upon arrival and check-in if you don't want to.
Secondly (and most importantly), as mentioned by a previous reviewer and the best advice I received before staying there, definitely unplug the phones the moment you arrive in your apartment otherwise you will be bugged with sales calls & presentation requests. You may see the red message-light lit up on your apartment phone and feel the unconscious pull to plugging it back in or wondering who it was that’s calling you…but it’ll just be the resort sales staff (I you’re not expecting anyone else that is!), so don’t bother.
Another important note when checking in; you don't have to settle with the building option they put you in. My original location was miles away from the reception/lobby and main road (I felt like I’d need a guide & a packed lunch to complete the journey) so travelling without a car as I was, it would have taken more time to get everywhere I wanted. The staff said they'd take me and my bags to the apartment block in a golf cart....to which I figured, anywhere that was that far enough that the bellboys needed motorised transportation to get there, was too far for me. So I asked for another building closer. I got a room in building 2, which is close to the main pool and one building away from the lobby. Either building 30 (in Amelia village, closer to the main road) or building 1 would also be good choices if you wanted to be closer to the main road.
As for the rest of the resort, the grounds are lovely and the pools are just excellent. The location of the property is down the SeaWorld end of I-Drive is well away from the central shopping, restaurants and entertainment spots BUT there's the trolley stop right in front that can get you there for a $1.50 (each way). It’s also very close to Premium Outlets Vineland Ave. You can take the trolley bus from the opposite side of the road of the Sheraton to get there or it's only about 3 minutes (or so) by car or 20 or so minutes on foot.
Another thing to note, the resort map given at check in is wrong with regard to the marketplace. Hopefully that’ll be changed soon. Sadly I only found this out though after walking to where it was meant to be on the map and being thoroughly confused. I wasn’t alone…I met a couple of other people along the way trying to find it as well. We ended up hailing down some security guys and asking them to give us directions and found it had been moved all the way at the back end of the property at end of the Amelia Village section. The good thing though, the market prices weren't as bad as I was expecting when I got there. So there was an upside to the drama after all.
As for the room, it’s the typical "Orlando-chic"; lots of tropical prints and pineapple wood carvings. Don't let that put you off! It was a great change staying in the apartment to living out of a suitcase in a hotel for a week prior to arriving in Orlando. Everything in the apartment works well, it’s very clean and you have all the amenities to keep it clean during your stay – it’s a little home away from home. The king bed, other than the lumpy pillows (a trait of many U.S. hotels I've stayed in) was very comfortable, the ensuite bathroom had everything you needed and the shower/water pressure & temperature were great (a definite plus compared to other places I stayed in on this trip). The sofa in the lounge room is a fold out...so really not all that comfortable to sit on as a sofa, but not too sure about the sleep quality though. The hassles noted by previous reviewers about Wi-Fi access in rooms are true. From building 2, I couldn't connect in the lounge or main part of the apartment but could easily connect in the bedroom and balcony area outside the bedroom. So, it wasn't that inconvenient for me. As noted before, the Lobby Wi-Fi is good & has strong signal.
I would stay at the Sheraton Vistana again but I would have a rental car with me next time. If you want to get anywhere like the theme parks (other than SeaWorld) you’re stuck with a poor/minimal shuttle schedule. For example, the shuttle to Universal Studios left only at 8.45am & you could only be picked up 7.45pm; nothing else. I’ve stayed at other places on I-Drive ad they’ve had at least 2-3 times to choose from. But in saying this, it’s just for $11 for the shuttle. If you don’t like it or don’t have a car (like me) you’re stuck forking out about $60 for a return trip in the “Sheraton-arranged” taxi shuttle service.
Even with all of the not so positive points above, it didn’t ruin my trip at all and I would recommend the property to others. Just know what you’re in for and you’ll make the most of what the Sheraton Vistana has to offer.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Report response as inappropriate
Thank you for your posting on Trip Advisor and on behalf of the entire Sheraton Vistana Villages team thank you for spending your Orlando vacation with us. We are glad to hear that you enjoyed the majority of your stay and would also like to thank you for taking the time to share your comments with us. We would like to sincerely apologize for the few inconveniences that you encountered but please be assured that your posting is being forwarded to the appropriate managers for review.
Please note that our Village Marketplace has recently moved and we are in the process of having our property maps reprinted. We would also like to express that there is no obligation to attend or participate in the Product Update; however, the 90 minute presentation is a useful tool which benefits users of the Starwood Vacation Network.
We look forward to welcoming you back to Sheraton Vistana Villages sometime in the future. Please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com once you have made your next reservation so that we can personally attend to your requests and needs, especially the selection of your villa!
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.