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Reviewed February 19, 2006

A friend let us use her timeshare at this resort, unfortunately on the day we went we could only get a studio (she has a 2 bedroom/2 bath unit) although we booked 5 months in advance... The grounds are great - really top notch, gorgeous pools and golf course, front desk very attentive... we were feeling pretty good as we drove into the resort and checked in. Our mood changed a little once we got a look at our room. I had researched this hotel and knew from others on Trip Advisor to request a refurbished room, which I did. The room's decor looks like it had been refurbished but in the core areas, such as the bathroom, it did not look like it was gutted and refurbished. The tub leaked when you take a shower the bath mat on the floor got saturated- not for lack of my closing the curtain - there was a leak in the tile grout which poured water out when you showered- I notified them of this condition after our first use- someone came in (while we were out) and looked like they caulked around the tub but this did not fix the problem. The bathroom floor showed the many months/years of leakage as there were water stains in the corners and up the wall. It was not as clean as I expect a 4-5 star resort to be - As evidenced by the bathroom door which had a dozen or so hairs from previous guests sort of "glued on" with various layers of hairspray-funk. The room did not smell fresh and clean. We asked for towels every day(you have to call and ask) and were promptly acommodated. I guess the worst part of staying in the studio unit is the fact that the room ajoins a larger unit and is only blocked by a double door. So let me see, in our week there I heard the 5:00am wake up call and the subsequent arguement by the couple staying there as they got ready to go to the airport, then after they left a family w/ some really boisterous kids who liked to watch a lot of tv - LOUD. What can I say, we really only used the hotel to sleep and we had a bit of a time trying to do even that. I'm sure for those that are able to get a large 2 bedroom unit that has been totally refurbished the experience would most likely be more positive. I, however, won't be visiting again.

  • Stayed: February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
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22  Thank paws101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2006

We just came back from a 2+ week stay at the Grande Vista. There were 7 people and we shared a 2 bedroom villa plus the adjoining suite. The set-up could not have been better. The main key-locked entrance to the rooms led to a tiled entryway and there were two key-locked doors inside - one leading to the 2-bedroom villa and one to the suite. We propped open the two inner doors and wound up with a lovely three-bedroom suite with two king bedrooms for the adults and one queen bedroom (with two queen beds)for the kids. The entrance foyer was large and great for all our shoes and stuff.

I don't think that we were in a recently renovated suite but I was told all the suites have been renovated over the past 2-3 years. The suite is very spacious and is exactly like the pictures. This is not a 5-star Las Vegas hotel with all marble and glitz but it is very comfortable and has lots of room. The applicances were older but all worked well (since we had a seperate fridge in the suite we were able to crank it up and use it for a beer fridge). The beds were comfortable and the pillows were down and feather. I am picky about beds and pillows and I slept like a log every night. The views from the balcony (we were on the top floor) were really nice.

The grounds are wonderful. There are four pools but our favorite was the Copa Loca pool. The lunches and drinks were great there and the kids had their choice of two pools (one with water cannons). The main pool is also lovely but it got shady there much earlier than the Copa Loca. The other pools are smaller and we used them mainly for late night swims and hot tubs.

Housekeeping was daily although I must admit they did the bare minimum and were perhaps not as thorough as some hotels. We kept the room pretty tidy so it really was not an issue.

The dreaded time share salespeople were a non issue. In fact we were only contacted 3 times at the beginning and offered $300 to attend. In reading the past reviews I figured they would pester us and offer more but to my surprise we did not hear from anyone in the last week of our stay.

The golf course is fantastic. You need not worry if you did not bring your clubs or balls as your equiptment rental includes 2 sleeves of balls and some really nice clubs. Lunch after at Nick's Grill was great. We put the kids in the Kid's club at the hotel day (it ran from 10:00 - 3:00) and they had a great time playing in the large maze and making crafts.

We were no more than 10 minutes from the gates of Disney World and Universal. Don't use the I4. Instead head down International (left from the hotel) and turn right onto the 536 - this leads you right there. You can walk to Sealand from the hotel.

Overall the experience was great. I always find it odd when people complain about this kind of resort. Like I said if you are expecting the penthouse at the Belagio, you will be disappointed. But if you want a place with large clean rooms, comfortable beds and nice ammenities, this would be a good choice.

Tips/Opinions:
-There is a Pizza Hut and grocery store on site
-There are two large malls within 10 minutes of the hotel (plus a Publix and Walgreens)
-Don't go to Busche Garden unless you are a complete Roller Coaster nut. Animal Kingdom is a much nicer park for animals and the roller coasters at Universal are almost as freaky. Shakira (the roller coaster that has a straight down free fall) is amazing but not nearly worth the 3 hour total drive it took us to get there and back (I chickened out)
-Parks say you cannot bring food or water but they don't confiscate it so we always brought stuff in
-If you rent a locker at Universal make sure you have your stuff out right at closing. We hiked back from the other end of the park and 10 minutes after closing they had already emptied the locker (dispite the fact the park was still full of people).
-Don't go to the Rainforest Cafe - The food is OK but Very expensive for what you get. We had a MUCH nicer meal at Wolfgang Puck's for much less
-Use the fast passes. You cannot get a fast pass for another ride until 5 minutes after your current fast pass becomes valid. Before you go on the current ride, get your fast pass for the next ride. This saves lots of time.

  • Stayed: January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
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33  Thank Stay2646
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2006

We just returned from our vacation at Grande Vista. The Grande Vista from the outside is absolutely beautiful. The check in was smooth and fast, everyone was courteous.

But i was not impressed with the room at all, it had a really bad smell, like it had been a smoking room a long time ago. Not pleasant. The air conditioning didnt seem to really work. we left it on the whole week we were there and it never cooled down in the room. The rooms were not clean by my standard, i noticed this easily on the tiled and linoleum floor. The bed was very worn out and soft and so were the pillows.

We had an adjoining room (they all are)and the people who rented the other unit were very noisy. As another reviewer mentioned owners get the refurbished rooms. Not so. We were listed as owner and got a very tired old room.

The pools and grounds looked magnificient and its located way off international drive so its very private. I dont know about the pool but the hot tub wasnt very warm and had alot of dirt on the bottom.
We had breakfast at Nicks where there was a family of four adults eating with their four kids, the kids were screaming and running around the restaurant, into the bar and the kitchen. The manager was very upset but didnt have the guts to tell this family (who looked like they had alot of money)to keep their kids corraled. We didnt go back.

  • Stayed: February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
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18  Thank NorthStar10452
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2006

We are very satisfied Marriott timeshare owners at Ocean Pointe in Palm Beach Shores, FL and have been staying at the Grande Vista Resort in Orlando annually for quite a few years for the PGA Golf Show every January. The convenient proximity to the convention center, fine apartment style timeshare units and beautiful pools have been well documented here at Trip Advisor. I have not seen much commentary about the golf ammenities which are first rate.

One of the nicest practice facilities anywhere is on the resort grounds. There is a huge driving range and numerous practice putting greens though some of them are reserved for instruction only. Individual and group lessons are available through the onsite Nick Faldo golf academy. A very fun and well maintained 9 hole "short course" meanders around the living units--although the final hole is over 400 yards so it is not that short--there are no par fives.

Finally, the Grand Pines Golf Club is located right across the street on International Drive. Marriott purchased the existing International Golf Club and closed it for a year as architect Steve Smyers and his team turned it into a real gem. The greens fees are a bit pricey but you can get two free greens fees by attending the Marriott timeshare sales presentation--way more valuable than $100 Marriott dollars or even 15,000 MRewards points--if you are a golfer! FYI: The timeshare presentations are very informative and low pressure per Marriott's professional standards.

  • Stayed: January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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10  Thank Mayhem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2006

We went Jan. 8-15 for Home Builders Show and Disney. Of course, I read all the posted reviews first, for all the Marriott properties. We own at the Grande Ocean on Hilton Head Island and so we were looking for a similar resort to trade into. This seemed the most up to date and in a great location for us, with the Convention Center just down the road on one end, and Disney on the other end.
Entering the driveway, which is long , we were very impressed with the grounds, gated entry and buildings....so spread out and yet, walkable. This resort has many amenities...golf, pools, kids' activites, food store, 2 restaurants...beautiful well maintained grounds...what more could you want?
We called a couple months in advance and requested an upper floor unit in a new building by the new pool. Then, to back that up, I faxed a copy of our confirmation with a 2nd WRITTEN request the week prior to our arrival. Upon arrival, the lady at the desk acknowledged they received both the phone call and my fax. She said she could put me in bldg. #84...a new building by the new pool...but not on an upper floor...she only had a 2nd floor unit....(somewhat annoying since I thought I had done my homework and we are Marriott owners)...but I agreed to it because she assured me it had nice water views and it was new, after all...so that sounded good and off we drove to the Alicante building..an L-shaped building with one side facing the lake...the other side facing the pool...ours was an end unit on the 2nd floor...Upon entering, we were very happy with the villa itself...all new carpet, furnishings...in a Mediterranean theme with granite counters in kitchen and baths...spacious... and then I walked to the window and balconies...the view was not what the lady at the front desk had told me...glimpse of the lake if you went out on balcony and leaned to the left....and a partial view of the pool...most of our view was of the Coco Loco restaurant which was a few feet in front of us...well...all our luggage had been brought up by now...and after a 9 plus hr. drive, we were wiped out and I did not feel like driving back to the front desk at this point over the "view"...the villa was great...and I figured we would be at the theme parks most of the time anyway. But I have to say I was a bit disappointed that we could not have a good view to see the lovely resort features . Future advice: when faxing your request, tell them you are a Trip Advisor member and will be posting a review of your service and experience ....if you are Marriott owners...tell them this too....they are supposed to grant requests to owners if you give them notice.
After unpacking, we went to the pool, and then ate dinner at the open air Coco Loco restaurant...very close, as I said, and it was great... big Plasma tv on wall behind the bar, which had nice tall bar chairs and granite counter...enjoyed this area very much...service was good and friendly...we were glad we made this trade in spite of our "view"...looking around I would give this time share 5 stars on appearance....our villa too...I only saw the UN- renovated units in the older section from a window view...but they looked fine to me...just a bit dated...soft greens and coral colors with light wood furniture...certainly ALL the grounds and pools were in exceptionsl shape......with 22 buildings on the property, it will take some time to refurbish all the units...the refurbished ones do not have granite counters like the new ones...there was one building separating us from the new construction, but we did not hear any noise at all during our stay....only noise I heard were delivery trucks pulling up to the Coco Loco next to us.
We crossed a walking bridge over the lake to go to the main lobby, MarketPlace grocery store (a convenience store that also serves hot coffee and pastries), the on site Pizza Hut/ Edy's ice cream (across the courtyard from the store), indoor childrens Play Maze, video game room and fitness room...all a 3 or 4 mintue walk from our building....a daily newspaper was delivered to our door daily (USA Today), which was nice (except on weekends)
The villa was not quite as big in the living/dining area as the Grande Ocean, but I was very impressed with the guest lock-out suite, which was even larger than the master suite...it had a little kitchenette and a private separate entrance, bath and nice sitting area with queen sleeper sofa, table and chairs and private balcony. The living room also had a queen sleeper sofa and housed drawers in the armoire where the tv was in there...the master had a large circular balcony....ours was not screened...some were....a large jacuzzi tub for 2 with a granite counter/vanity area and wall mounted hair dryer across from the tub area...private bath with 2 doors...one to the entry hall...double sinks and shower...very spacious...the beds were very comfy foam...both king sized...kitchen was great too...nice granite counter with 3 bar chairs...washer/dryer in a closet...they provide you with little bottles of dish soap and powder for dishwasher, sponge, paper towels and coffee samples and enough Tide for one wash load.
If you exit the resort and turn left...go a mile...there is a nice Publix and Walgreens in a strip mall...Subway and Chinese takeout here as well...Disney parks are just a few miles further past the Marriott World Center...if you turn right exiting the resort, Sea World is only a stop light away, and the Convention Center and Peabody Hotel a bit further. (that's the hotel where the ducks walk through the lobby each day).
Best overall ride at Disney right now: "Soarin" over Califoria...located in Epcot in The land...kids will love it too....you really feel like you are flying like an eagle..over the state.
Most fun restaurant: Rain Forest Cafe in Animal Kingdom
best production show: Lion King in Animal Kingdom
tip: when going to Magic Kingdom with small kids, go to Fantasy Land FIRST...it fills up by 11:30....and lines can be long....from 9-10 is the best time.
Try to leave Magic Kingdom before park closes...it is a hassle to get on Monorail or boats to parking lot late at night...unless you are very patient...
We plan to stay at the Grande Vista next year again, when we go to the Builders Show, if possible...my 2nd choice would be Cypress Harbour, as it is in same general area and has similar amenities...got very good reviews...but get a refurbished unit ...those villas are even larger in the main living areas, but does not have the lockout feature. We caught a glimpse of Marriott Horizons when going down I-4...it is very close to the freeway and in a congested area...I would not want to stay there.....International Drive is a much more tranquil area...
All in all, we were very happy with this trip.

58  Thank sandrita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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