My husband, myself and our two children, ages 9 and 11 stayed at this property from 11/23 and will be here until 11/30. I am writing this review from our villa.
First of all, I am really shocked to see such great reviews about this property. It is at best "average" by any standards, but by a Marriott timeshare owner's "standards" (we own at Grande Vista), it is no where near what we have come to expect from Marriott.
We have been owners now for over six years. We own a one week, two bedroom, but because we have a lock off feature, we have been able to split our two bedroom and trade it in for two weeks , thus enabling us to take two Marriott vacations every year. We have been to over 15 Marriott timeshare properties across the US, and this one is definitely at the bottom of our list.
The reason we chose this property was because of all of the great reviews from Trip Advisor. I am a big fan of this site and the reviews are usually "right on the money", but not this time. The only reason I can think of why this "resort" (if that is what you want to call it) got such great reviews, is that most of the reviewers have never stayed at another Marriott property so they are not really comparing apples to apples. Don't get me wrong, not everything here is terrible. This property may be considered "beautiful" compared to other timeshares but if you are used to what Marriott usually offers in the way of their timeshares, you will be very disappointed if you chose to stay here.
I knew after staying at Lakeshore Reserve last year (Marriott's newest Orlando timeshare), that it would be tough to compare any other Orlando property since Lakeshore was wonderful, but I certainly was not expecting to walk into a room smaller than some hotel suites we have stayed in. I was also shocked to see how poorly maintained the grounds were, which is something else that Marriott normally excels at.
Here is the good, the bad and the ugly:
The good: If you are someone who does not like an "expansive" property, then this is definitely the place for you because it is small. The good part of that is that everything is compact; the two pools are right aross the "street" from one another, a very short walk, and all of the buildings are close to the pools. There is also a fairly nice size lake adjacent to the property. The only problem is that Route 4 sits right along side of it so as you are looking at the lake from your room (if you are fortunate enough to stay in one of the lake view buildings), you are also getting a clear view of a major highway and all of the cars that are on it. This might not bother some, but if you want to call a view "beautiful", the highway definitely spoils it. The pools are also "decent" if you have kids. Even though my two children were too old for the pirate ship, they definitely enjoyed the slide at the pirate pool. The rest of the "good" lies in the daily activities that are geared towards kids. They are daily and there are plenty of them.
The bad: This resort is just way too small. As I mentioned above, most Marriott timeshares offer beautiful, expansive grounds, even in Orlando. For those properties that are not quite as large as others, the grounds are still kept in near "perfect" condition with beautiful foliage and green grass. This property's grounds were flat out "ugly". There was a patch of "dirt" next to our building that was full of nothing but dirt and weeds. It looked terrible. I can understand if the owners didn't want to invest the money to maintain this, but then fill it in in with rocks or something. It is just an eyesore. I also mentioned above that the size of the villas at this property are much smaller than any other Marriott timeshare we have stayed at. Most (if not all) of the properties we have been to, have some type of "foyer" that you walk into before you reach the kitchen and living room area. Not here. When you open the door, you walk right into a "tiny" kitchen with very little room. If two people are trying to make breakfast in it (as my husband and I do for our kids), you are constantly bumping into each other. Normally, most Marriott timeshares also have a fairly decent size counter that separates the kitchen from the eating area. There is usually enough room to have several barstools in this area and then the kitchen table sits beyond the counter. The counter space in this kitchen is on the side, with room for only two barstools. This crowds the "walking area" from the kitchen to the bedrooms. Don't get me wrong, I am not expecting the kitchen to be the same size as someone's home kitchen, but the kitchens in these units are no bigger (in fact, I think they were smaller) than some of the lMarriott "Residence Inn" kitchens. Beyond the kitchen is a tiny eating area that has a diner style booth, along with a table and three chairs. This "booth" backs right up to the kitchen sink. Beyond the kitchen is a small sitting area with a couch and two chairs. The other thing that bothered me about these units is that the washer and dryer are Much SMALLER than other Marriott timeshares. There is also no separate wash room. This one sits right on top of the kitchen so you literally have to wash your clothes in the kitchen. Finally, we stayed in a rennovated unit. Although the counters were changed over to granite and the decor was very tasteful, you could tell that nothing was rennovated in either bathroom. The old formica counters were kept and the master bathroom was so small that there was only one sink (something else I have never experienced at any other Marriott). Again, this is not a big deal to some, but it's these "details" that Marriott usually gets right. Not here.
The Ugly: Aside from the ugliness of the resort itself, it seems like very little at this resort was maintained properly. When we first got here, one of the two elevators in building 12 was "Out of Service". It is now day four of our visit and it is still broken, with no sign that someone will be working on it soon. Then, two days in a row, my husband tried to use the outdoor grills. On both days, they weren't working. I do have to say the one good thing that the manager of this resort did was treat us to dinner since they could not get ANY of the resorts grills to work the first night we were here. However, that dinner was not automatically offered. My husband had to complain first and then (and only then) was it offered. We also had to have maintenance come and fix our hot water. It ran out after my son took a shower. No hot water? Really? Aside from the one elevator not working, the one that was working, was filthy. It smelled so bad that when we took it up to our fifth floor villa, both my daughter and I had to cover our noses so that we wouldn't get nauseous. Although I only swam for a brief time in the pirate pool, I noticed that the bottom of the pool was dirty. I mean that the floor was actually covered with a black grit. I didn't swim in the pirate ship pool, but my 11 year old told me that it smelled...UUUGGHH!
I know that it seems like I am ripping this resort apart. Normally, if you read my other reviews on this site, I usually give good, if not great, reviews but I just couldn't find much good in this resort. I guess that if I hadn't expected it to be so wonderful (as all of the reviews suggest), then I probably would not have been so disappointed. Also, if you are the type of person that is never in your villa (i.e., you leave first thing in the morning for the parks and don't return until the late evening), then none of this would probably bother you or affect you; but we are definitely the type of people that made an "investment" in Marriott so we want to enjoy not only the resort itself, but also our villa too. If you are more like us and want to enjoy your surroundings (both inside and out), I would definitely NOT stay here.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.