The Retreat was a beautiful home in a gated community. It was so close to lots of restaurants, shopping and the theme parks. This was a huge perk for us especially since we had small children. We were able to split the days up at the theme park and come home so our little guys could have a rest. We would absolutely recommend this place to anyone and we would definitely stay there again. Brian was very quick at responding to any emails or questions we had.
We stayed at “The Retreat” end of May - early June 2017 and, of all the Florida villas I have rented over the years, I found this to be the best.
During the booking process I found Brian to be the most accommodating guy to deal with. We booked, initially, in November 2015 for our stay and, although the main period of our holiday remained the same, we subsequently amended the exact dates I think 4 times as flight times and dates became available, and he was happy to accommodate us.
The booking process was really easy and informal and all the pre-stay instructions with gate and door codes etc came in plenty of time.
The villa is maintained to a high standard by Brian and his family on their trips to Florida and managed by a local management company. Since this is Brian’s own home away as well as a holiday let, it is well looked after.
We had a couple of issues, the main one being that the pool lining was a little rough and it was easy to scuff your skin on if you are fooling about in the water (which everyone does, even when you’re a grandad!) However, Brian is on top of this and apparently the pool is scheduled for re-lining next year as well as a complete new roof for the villa later this year.
All the rooms are clean, light, airy and spacious and the kitchen is well stocked with cooking utensils, crockery, cutlery etc. (But not a sharp knife to be found.) Since no two families would agree on what constitutes a “Welcome Pack” of food basics - there is no food in the villa. Most UK residents will arrive early evening and, despite the fact that you probably will not feel like it after a nine hour flight followed by the ridiculously stringent and time consuming US immigration procedure (which took our party 3 hours to clear), I would recommend dropping in to the Winne Dixie supermarket on your way to the villa and buying at least your basics for the first night and breakfast.
There are TVs in every bedroom, also one outside under the lanai and the main panel in the lounge is more of a mini cinema screen. I didn’t measure it but its enormous - just a shame that American TV transmission quality does not do it justice.
The outdoor cooking arrangements look fantastic with a built-in grill, cupboard units and built-in fridge. Everything was clean when we arrived (it has not necessarily been so with other lets) but, being a charcoal puritan, I was disappointed to find the grill is electric. However, we ate by the pool twice and I have to confess this electric grill cooked the best damn steak and burgers I have ever tasted on a home grill (barbecue).
Many reviewers have commented on the local amenities. Our favourite watering hole was “The Outback” grill. Great for families but also to pop in at a lunchtime, sit at the bar and down a couple of cocktails with a plate of Aussie cheese fries while watching a ball game.
Proximity to Disney is just as described and the shortcut to Disney’s “backdoor” via Funie Steed Road, Entry Point Boulevard and Sherberth Road is well worth taking and could save you half an hour at busy times. (Don’t be afraid to use the “dirt track” - its paved again in about a quarter of a mile.)
I could go on for ages but suffice it to say I would fully recommend “The Retreat” as great value for money.
We stayed at the Retreat over our Easter break this past April for an entire week. I brought my wife's family, total of 9 guests in our party. To get in the gated community and the home itself were very simple and easy instructions to follow that were sent ahead of time. The home was very clean and spacious, sleeps 10. The extras like the game room and patio pool at the Retreat were nice to break up the week of amusement parks and sight seeing. We did watch the Disney Parks fireworks from the pool one night while having a few cocktails and watching the patio tv. We did not get a chance to use the built in outdoor grill, but maybe next time. In the morning we used the large patio with numerous seating options and tables to have breakfast and watch all the different species of birds walk around by the lake that's behind the home, very cool. If you like to fish there is a nice sized dock next to the house and fishing equipment in the garage. There are many restaurants (Red Lobster, Bone Fish Grill, Buffalo Wild Wings) Walgreens and a grocery store minutes away. The Disney Parks and Disney Springs are close by in miles but still takes some time to get to as construction and traffic in the area were in full effect. Not much to say that is negative about the property. The only two complaints given by family were the driveway is a little small as we had 2 cars (mini van and SUV) and some elderly family members to unload everyday. The space was just a little too tight with 2 vehicles, unloaded the grey hairs then pulled the other car in the driveway. Not that big of a deal. The 2nd thing was a lack of enough toilet paper, but not a big issue as we went grocery shopping during the week and re-stocked. Overall we would stay here again as the communication, price, house size, amenities and location to the parks and attractions can't be beat. Our family feels like we got great value and had a great time at this property.
From the moment we received our welcome letter and comprehensive directions/useful information from the owner, we had a good feeling about our impending visit to The Retreat, and we were not disappointed. Access to the property via a unique entry code was straight forward, and despite being tired following our transatlantic flight, and shopping en route, we felt at home the minute we walked through the front door. The whole house had a light and airy feel to it, the soft furnishings were luxurious yet homely, and the extra large king bed in the master bedroom on the first floor was oh so comfy (can't vouch for the other beds as there were only the two of us, but they all looked to be of similar high quality). The Disney themed twin bedrooms and family bathroom are a lovely touch and will surely delight any children staying at the property. The house very much felt like a "home" due to all the extras we found such as books, CDs, DVDs, games etc as well as a plentiful supply of towels, pool towels, bed linen etc and a fully equipped kitchen. The outside space and pool were an absolute delight, along with the games room which was also well equipped and great fun. We opted to have the pool heated for the week and found it to be lovely and warm (especially if kept covered when not in use). As if all of the above was not enough, the location of the property is perfect for access to all of the theme parks, and within very easy reach of numerous food outlets situated along the US 192. It is situated in a very safe and peaceful gated residential community with amazing views across the lake - just the perfect setting to return to after a full on day at the parks! To summarise, we found the photographs and description of the property and facilities to be accurate, and the owner to be extremely easy and friendly to deal with. We would not hesitate recommending The Retreat to friends and family, and, in fact, have already booked to take our children and grandchildren back for an extended stay in 2018!
I was traveling to Florida on business and decided to attempt to piggy back a family vacation. With the late planning, we half expected "all the good ones to be spoken for" and then we came across The Retreat on tripadvisor. How lucky did we feel when we arrived to discover that the online photos and comments were completely accurate? This spacious home has a wonderful layout to allow everyone to get their own privacy when in need, along with open floor plan for the kitchen and living space providing a central area to share and interact. The kids got great use out of the game room (converted garage was a great idea!) and I am glad we opted to add on the heating for the pool, as this became our nightly ritual, to decompress a bit each night after a long day of sightseeing and theme parks. Although we didn't always make it home in time to view, it was a real treat to spot the end of the night Disney Fireworks display from the comfort of The Retreat's back yard!
The location was ideal for everything we has on our "to-do" list, I was 15 minutes from the Gaylord Convention Center for my work function, and it never took more than 30 minutes to get to our theme park visits. The home was stocked nicely with the needed tableware, cookware, towels and linens. On the day we drove to Clearwater, we were very grateful there were so many beach towels available that we were stocked for afternoon chillin' on the beach. Had I not had to work our first few days there, I would have loved to just spend an entire day taking in all the home and the neighborhood had to offer. We never had a chance to fish off the dock, although it was so neat that poles were made available to guests. I would have loved to take advantage of the back yard kitchen and grill! And it was on my wish list every day to take a long bubble bath in one of the two very spacious bath tubs. The only reason this didn't happen was because our days were so packed, but if we are so fortunate to return in the future, this will be a must for me. I did however, thoroughly relish my morning shower in a space larger than my actual closet in Minnesota!
Although not one issue came up during our stay, Brian was so responsive with the pre-arrival correspondences, I felt confident that had I needed any guidance he would have been attentive and accommodating. The family had a very useful and thorough binder prepared with house instructions and FAQ's. My children were very grateful for the Wi-Fi, because after a long day of unplugged activities, they would chill out before bed catching up on the happenings in the rest of world.
I highly recommend this vacation home and hope we will have the opportunity to return soon!
We greatly enjoyed our vacation at The Retreat. The house itself is beautiful and well equipped and feels very tranquil and safe. The location was excellent for visiting both Disney and Universal and there was a wide range of stores and restaurants a few minutes drive away. We especially enjoyed the pool and deck area, which overlooked the lake, and the spectacular Disney fireworks show we could see from there every evening. The children also enjoyed fishing from the dock! I would definitely rent the house again if we return!
Lovely home, rented 3 times previously with different owner..Brian very nice to work with. It was myself, husband and two 22 yr old sons. They caught and released 38 bass. Would like to have had Leftover supplies from prevoius renters...so you do need to buy e everything. (FOIL, BAGGIES, DISH SOAP)...house was clean and ready for 2 hr early check in... thanks brian!
Close to stores and parks...we did sea world and universal. Just wicked traffic on I-4. Donated fishing lures,books and rafts for pool for the next guests.
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