The Sheraton Vistana Resort Thread

Discussion in 'Hotel & Accommodations Reviews' started by bankr63, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. bankr63

    bankr63 DIS Veteran

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    WELCOME TO OUR DREAM!

    Not a very thread catchy title is it? But I didn't want anything as ostentatious as "we love" (we do) or "the ultimate" (it is). So that's it, a plain title for a thread that I hope will deliver the (generally) unadulterated truth about Sheraton Vistana Resort (SVR for short).

    Hi, I'm bankr63, long time contributor to the long running Sheraton Vistana Resort Questions thread. I admit it, I'm a Vistana junkie. My whole family is. When you put up with Canadian winters, it's great knowing that every March there is our home-away-from-home waiting in the warm Florida sun. Full disclosure here - we own a week at SVR. Am I prejudiced? Probably. But I consider myself pretty level, and can accept that Vistana has both its plusses and minuses. For us, the plusses far outweigh the minuses; and so far beat anywhere else we've stayed. And we've stayed at many timeshares. We own an additional two weeks at another Orlando resort, but we always trade those for other exciting destinations, or to bring family along on our Vistana vacations.

    So, why not just tack this post on to the end of the above mentioned thread? Well, first, there are going to be a few quick up front posts. This past visit we did a walk-through of the resort snapping pictures all the way. I've always wanted to show everyone how great it is, and some of the flavor of the different sections at Vistana. So in that sense it will be an independent review of the resort through our eyes.

    Second, that thread started way back in 2009, and a lot has changed at Vistana since then. In mid-2011 Sheraton completed almost 3 years of refurbishment of the Villas. If you start reading from the beginning of the previous thread, you'll read lots of comments about the old units that just don't apply anymore. In some ways we miss the old flavor as each section had a style all its own. Our Courts unit was stuck way back in the Miami Vice era from whence it came. Now it's nothing but soft muted tones, marble, and fresh ceramic tiling. So this is a chance to freshen and focus on the new.

    Third, I could never find anything on that thread. I would post useful links and other information, and within days they were buried so far back even I couldn't find them. So, my intent (hopefully my action will follow and keep up) is to keep a list of links to the most useful information right here on page one. So if you are looking for something specific, look down there. No not THERE (family board!) Down there
    vvvvvvvvvvvvvv
    Yeah, next post down.

    So hope you are all in for my views of the SVR, and I look forward to hearing yours. Hopefully you'll learn a little about a great place to stay, and maybe come to enjoy our little piece of paradise, very nearby to our Happiest Place on Earth. Come on along...
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
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  2. bankr63

    bankr63 DIS Veteran

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    This post is reserved for all of the most critical Vistana information. Think an important post is MIA? Please give me a little kick via PM.

    South Side Sections - Courts, Falls, Spas, Palms, Springs Cascades
    North Side Sections - Fountains I & II, Lakes
    Inside a Typical Villa (Spas)
    How/where to rent a unit

    Links to the Vistana site for more information:
    Sheraton Vistana's Resort Map (links outside of DIS) Click Resort Map tab.
    Diamond Lane Check-in Request: here
    Resort Villa Floorplans: here
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  3. bankr63

    bankr63 DIS Veteran

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    Okay, so here goes. On our most recent visit to SVR in March 2013, my DS and I spent an enjoyable couple of hours wandering about the resort with the camera trying to capture all of the various sections and amenities. There is a lot to SVR, so I am sure we missed more than a few key details; but I have yet to find such a photo log of the resort. Even Sheraton’s own stock photos often mis-identify what you are looking at. Hopefully, we won’t do the same.

    Although it’s not the order we walked the resort in, I think I am going to separate this out into the North and South side of the resort first. And then present the sections in the order they were built oldest to newest. Even this is a tough decision. SVR is a big resort built over about 30 years. Development started long before Sheraton got there, and the practice and design of timesharing changed dramatically. Originally, each section had a look and feel particular to the era in which it was built. As owners in the original Courts section, we originally lived with the Miami Vice pastel colors. Now, after a multi-year complete refurbishment of all units, it is difficult to tell one section from the next from the inside. Floor plans change a bit from section-to-section, but the look is very high class resort. Granite counter tops, high quality ceramics in the bath and kitchen, Sheraton/Weston heavenly beds. THIS is living.

    The Vistana story starts in the 1970’s with a small tennis retreat on the South side of the current resort. The Courts section is the true heart of SVR; the units were more like homes than villas, the swimming pool was small (by today’s standard), but the tennis courts were plentiful. If tennis is your game, Vistana is a great place to be with 13 courts in both clay (1-9) and concrete (10-13). We have never seen all of the courts in use at the same time, so you are pretty much guaranteed to get your games in. I’ll get back to that in a bit with the amenities. The courts buildings themselves have two layouts. The lower Villas are a single level with 2BR’s. There is a King bed in the master 2 single beds in the second bedroom, and a sleeper sofa in the living room; so total occupancy is 6. The upper “townhouse” villa is a bit more spacious and is spread over two levels. On the main level you have a master bedroom and bath with King bed. The living area has a sleeper sofa as well. On the upper level is the second bedroom with 2 single beds and sleeping loft with a 2nd sleeper sofa. Total occupancy is 8. The living room area is fairly dramatic with a 2 storey “wall of glass” and high vaulted ceiling. This used to be an impressive single sheet of glass, but in the renovations it was replaced with two large stacked windows. Still fairly impressive.

    This is a typical Courts unit, front and back. The living room windows are a bit obscured by the tree:
    [​IMG]
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    And a second front view of our “favorite” unit:
    [​IMG]

    Next up in the resort development came the Falls section. Falls is possibly the quietest part of the resort, tucked away at the back corner. The property borders the nearby Marriot, with the parking garage and golf course on the other side of dividing wall. The landscaping gets an upgrade from Courts with the inclusion of ponds and walkways behind the villas. Falls units have only single beds in the 2nd bedroom, the same as Courts, so maximum occupancy is also 6. There are 4 units per building, and parking is generally very convenient to the front door:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The third section to be developed was the Spas section. This cluster of 2 and 3-storey buildings are on another quiet loop. Probably the biggest improvement in Spas is the inclusion of double beds in the second bedroom, boosting the occupancy to 8. Here are front and rear views of both 2 and 3 storey buildings:
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    One thing to note is that 3 storey buildings throughout the resort pretty much all have stair access at the back as well as the front. 2 storey buildings only have stairs at the front; Courts uppers had stairs at the back before they added screen balconies during the renovations, but those are gone now. Once you hit 4+ storeys, the buildings all have elevators at the front only.

    Another aside – I hope you don’t mind my use of the British storey and storeys. I’m pretty sure that it’s another one of those unique Canadianisms that may pepper through here.

    Development then moved to the “front” of the resort along SR535 (S. Apopka Vineland). Palms and Springs sections are very similar, with 3-storey structures of 6 units each. The floor plans are fairly similar with minor variances in bathroom configurations. Taking a look at these units we have Palms, then Springs:
    [​IMG]
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    Development moved next to the north side of the resort (next post) before returning to the south side for the final section completed some 35 years after the first construction started. Cascades consists of 17 multi-storey buildings with elevators. There are a variety of unit configurations including a native 2BR villa (sleeps 8), a large 2BR “lockoff” villa (also sleeps 8, but on 2 kings and 2 sofa beds). The 2 BR lockoff splits into two 1BR villas, both sleep 4, but the “premium” villa has the full kitchen from the 2BR, while the regular has only a kitchenette (mind you, with all the same amenities as the larger kitchen, just packed into a galley space. The smaller 1BR does not have a screened balcony. Finally, the native 1BR villa is somewhere between the two lockoff 1BR villas – it includes a balcony, but the kitchen is smaller than the premium 1BR. Confused yet? Let’s take a look at some of the Cascades buildings:
    [​IMG]
    Building 3 above is a smaller 4 storey, while below is building 6, the larger 5 storey:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    That’s my introduction to the units of the South side. Next up, we’ll take a look at the 3 North side sections. Later posts will show some of the resort amenities and I’ll show you the interior of a unit.
     
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  5. bankr63

    bankr63 DIS Veteran

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    Let’s start this post off with a little orientation to the overall resort layout. This map if Sheraton Vistana Resort is my most recent map from March 2013, reflecting the new Snack Shack, Tacky Tiki Bar and other recent updates:
    [​IMG]

    Now, note that the road across the bottom of the map (SR535) is actually running North-South (not East –West as it might look). So the 6 sections on the left are the South Side, and the 3 sections on the right are the North Side. Meadow Creek Drive runs between the two sections, and is outside the resort. It is very simple to use the facilities on either side; just remember to bring your room card to flash to the security guards at the entrances. Also note that Meadow Creek is another one of Orlando’s roads to nowhere. It is a big wide street, with almost no other traffic than the resort traffic; walking is not a problem.

    The map above is hosted on Photobucket. The resolution is a bit restricted; I need to play with my dropbox a bit, but will try to setup a link to a higher resolution image in the future. Check future posts for that.

    So, to the South sections. Fountains I and II carry on the tradition of the 6 unit, 3 storey walk-ups from Springs. Units still sleep 8. The biggest difference between I and II is that the whirlpool tub in the FII units is in the master bedroom. Some folks hate this, some love it. This feature carries over into the larger units in Lakes and Cascades as well. Here’s a view of a typical Fountains building:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The third section developed on the North side was the beginning of the more classic Vistana look. These 4 to 5 storey buildings are very similar to the units built in Cascades and most of the units at the sister Sheraton Vistana Villages resort. The layouts are basically the same as described for Cascades above native 1 and 2BR units, and 2BR lockoffs with their component 1BR LO and 1BR Premium LO villas. Looking at the outside of the units:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    For those who want to be REALLY close to the pool, this is about as good as it gets…
    [​IMG]
    Just remember that the pools are open late, so Building 1 in Lakes ISN’T appropriate if you are seeking peace and quiet.

    Next post, well take a look inside one of the units.
     
  6. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thank you, bankr63! :worship:

    Great idea to start a whole new thread. Us first-timers very much appreciate all the time and effort you are putting into educating us all on everything we need to know about SVR!
     
  7. c4alymom

    c4alymom Mouseketeer

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    SOOO Excited to see you're doing this and updating all of the information! I have been waiting, since we are going in Oct for the first time. popcorn:: Keep it coming!

    THANK YOU!!!!
     
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  8. bankr63

    bankr63 DIS Veteran

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    So now that we’ve walked around the resort and looked at the outside of the units, what do they look like inside? The following photos are the inside of a Spas lower unit. The finishes are very similar throughout the resort. The clutter is not – sorry but these were taken after a few days there, and we aren’t exactly big on tidying up when we’re rushing around to the parks.

    We have noticed that even the decorative items like prints and vases can be found throughout the resort, any villa is going to have the same vibe as this. What changes inside the villas the most from section to section is the size of the beds in the 2nd bedroom, the bathroom configurations. Since the remodel, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between any sections just based on the photos. This unit is a lower unit, so the ceilings are flat; in many sections the top floor units will have some vaulting in the living area, and occasionally skylights as well.

    In many of the villa configurations, you will walk into the dining and living room area. This first view is the living area, setup with a sofa, 2 comfortable chairs, entertainment centre and coffee tables. Lounging teenagers are not included. There is a fairly large (40ish inch) flat panel TV, DVD Player (DVD’s can be borrowed at the resort), and Bose sound system. Remember to pack an audio cable if you want to hookup your MP3 player or phone to listen to your own playlists. Beyond those curtains is the screened in porch.
    [​IMG]

    Looking back towards the front door, you can see the dining area. There is space (and chairs) for 6 comfortably at the table. A console table and mirror near the door is our collect all for cell phones cameras etc.
    [​IMG]

    Walking past the entry door, you are in the kitchen area. There is a small raised breakfast bar with a couple of stools for quick dining plan members. Note the nice granite counters and cherry look cabinetry. The kitchen is well equipped with flat top stove, microwave oven, coffee maker (uses standard filters, bring your own), double sink with garbage disposal, dishwasher, full-sized fridge with ice maker. Note that one bedrooms with kitchenettes have the same appliance complement, but they are apartment sized units.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The kitchen is pretty well stocked with plates, cutlery, and glasses. There are all the common utensils, pots and pans and casserole dishes. We do usually bring along one sharp knife and wine opener of our own – the quality of the stuff in the units is serviceable, but not chef grade by any stretch! There are charcoal BBQ grills throughout the property, but if you want BBQ utensils you’ll need to borrow them at the Marketplace or bring your own.

    The one last common area to look at is the screened porch/balcony. This is a great spot to unwind when the day is done. Or in our case, a great place for the wet swimsuits to hang out… The screening keeps those love bugs on the outside where they belong, along with the lovely Florida Palmetto’s (what a nice sounding name for a flying cockroach!) The screened room has access from both the living room and the master bedroom.
    [​IMG]

    You may even get a closer view of the local wildlife – on our most recent trip one of the water birds from the pond was minding a large nest of eggs just beyond the screen.
    [​IMG]
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    Moving to the bedroom areas, just past the kitchen is the 2nd bedroom, in Spas case with 2 double beds, and another flat screen TV.
    [​IMG]
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    Just outside the bedroom is the main bath, nicely done out with ceramic and granite. Lots of fluffy clean towels are provided. Paper products and soap are included, but the resort doesn’t include the little shampoos etc. Remember that this is a timeshare resort; most owners don’t want to pay for stocking those items; but you can always grab some at the marketplace.
    [​IMG]

    Across from the bath is a stacked washer and dryer in a hall closet. You can see the iron and board there too. Again, no laundry products are provided, but they can be bought at the marketplace. Better to just bring along a couple of the tide pucks and a couple of dryer sheets from home if you plan to do a load or two.
    [​IMG]

    Finally, let’s head down the hall to the Master Suite:
    [​IMG]

    A little closer now; please excuse the unkempt bed! It is a very comfortable King size heavenly bed with LOADS of pillows.
    [​IMG]

    Nice dresser and another flat screen TV. Note the door to the screened porch:
    [​IMG]

    Backing up a bit towards the bedroom door, there is a large double closet with lots of space and your room safe. A nice vanity area just outside the bathroom makes it easy for two to get ready in the morning:
    [​IMG]

    Through the next door to the left is the Master Bath, with big jetted tub:
    [​IMG]

    Vanity and shower (and that shower is much larger than it looks in the picture):
    [​IMG]

    Okay, that concludes our interior tour of a typical 2BR villa. If you have any questions, post away!

    Next up, I think we’ll go back outside to visit the pools and some of the other amenities.
     
  9. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    A question for the experts.....(lol, bankr63, that's you :thumbsup2):

    Will Sheraton allow you to have a parcel shipped to the resort, and hold it until you arrive? With the resort being so large and having so many guests at any given time, could it potentially get lost in the shuffle? Has anyone tried this before?

    There were a few things I was going to order from Dicks and Kohls and have delivered to the resort to save me the silly ship fees to Canada, but I won't bother if its going to be problematic for the front desk staff.
     
  10. bankr63

    bankr63 DIS Veteran

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    Well now, that's something I have never tried. I would call the resort and ask to be sure, but I expect it wouldn't be a problem. I do know that the Bell staff is very good, and their manager is a real hoot. I would certainly trust them with a package before arriving at the resort. They have a secure area for parcels and luggage in the welcome centre. In the interest of keeping the information on this thread correct, please post back if you try it and let us all know how it goes...

    Getting excited yet Gina?!?
     
  11. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Ohhhhh.....I am!!! ::yes:: I can hardly contain myself.....we arrive 2 weeks from today! :hyper:

    Thanks for the info. I will give them a ring to clear it in advance :thumbsup2 (might ask about my Diamond Lane submission, too, just to be sure it arrived in good order). The parcels won't be anything large (just some beach towels and sportswear) so hopefully they won't mind accepting them and holding them until we arrive.
     
  12. sportsduck

    sportsduck Earning My Ears

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    I have ordered stuff from Amazon in the past and they have held it. How I received it has varied. Once they brought multiple large boxes (aka, lots of diapers, wipes, etc.) directly to the room but usually I have gone to the main check-in and picked it up. That being said, I have not always been notified that a shipment arrived so I had to initiate picking it up.

    Overall I have been very happy and will continue to ship things as needed to SVR, particularly since unlike Disney's timeshares, SVR does not charge for receipt.
     
  13. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the excellent first-hand feedback :thumbsup2 . I am glad to hear that the resort doesn't charge a fee to receive a package. That was one of my worries.

    Unfortunately, my plans to purchase and ship went sideways yesterday when I learned that two of the retailers from whom I wanted to order won't accept a Canadian credit card for billing :headache: . So It may end up being a non-issue after all.
     
  14. sportsduck

    sportsduck Earning My Ears

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    Keep in mind that you are going to be located right by a major outlet mall has what you're looking for (maybe go there before check-in) and the Walgreens right by SVR has a large assortment of beach towels. We had an opportunity to buy at either SVR or Orange Lake via resale and we ultimately chose SVR not because of the amenities but because of its location for stuff like you listed. I know Orange Lake is near Target but there's more variety and better quality at the outlets.
     
  15. erinch

    erinch DIS Veteran

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    We are in our second week at SVR right now!


    We've been coming every other year for 15 years. I rent from someone on the Timeshare User Group, and have paid anywhere from 700 - 950 for a week. This year I paid a nice lady (from Canada! Gina) 900 for one week and 950 for the other, as she could guarantee both weeks in the same unit.

    We used to stay in Springs, which also had the Miami Vice colors, when the kids were smaller. It has a smallpool and arcade right there. We've now moved over to Fountains 1. Where, for the teenage daughter, there are many young males to appreciate.

    You can see my other post about checkin this time. They had granted all my requests, 3rd floor, water not pool view. But we were in building 6, directly overlooking the basketball court and the snack shack outdoor seating. We are now in what is my new favorite location, building 36.

    One thing to add to this running information is that some sections are only for Friday checking, some for Saturday, and some for Sunday. They are indicated on the map by red, green or black numbers.

    SVR worked hard to regain Gold Crown status, and customer service has been fabulous. The only downside we experience is that on the beds the lower sheet is not fit. So it can come untucked and get a little rumpled without remaking.

    Other than that, once we outgrew one room on property, we love staying at SVR. We like the mature landscaping, , the ponds, and the no traffic hassle to easily get to Disney or any other destination.
     
  16. rapunzel3

    rapunzel3 Earning My Ears

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    Hi! We just got back from a one week stay at Sheraton Vistana. I was excited to stay here because of the good reviews, the extra room (two bedroom villa), the pools, and the decent price. It was okay... only a 10 minute drive from Disney and served it's purpose.

    However, I was disappointed by a few things!

    1- We checked in, drove to our room 5 min drive away from front desk, only to find that in the 2nd bedroom it was 2 twin beds ( I reserved 2 double beds in the 2nd room)... called, and was put on hold for ten mins... drove the entire family back over, where they demanded to see an email specifically saying that I reserved that. They have poor cell service there, so that took a while to find the email with "proof". Not sure why they didn't have this in their system themselves - they needed proof from ME that we reserved a room with a king and two doubles. Finally we showed them the email and they gave us a new room. Another long drive back to a room that we should have gotten 30 mins earlier.

    2- They called our room a lot and left us messages a bunch of times asking us to come to the "welcome" breakfast for time share info etc. offering us $100 cash for a 90 minute breakfast. It was borderline harassment. Every day there were 10 prerecorded messages about this and offering a 5x7 family portrait.

    3 - We asked that we didn't receive full housekeeping, just towels replaced. We didn't want our bedspreads put back on, and had a lot of pillows next to my daughter's bed so she wouldn't fall on the floor. They kept re-making the beds with the comforters etc. for a few days ... I had to leave a note for the maid every day to specifically request what I wanted and did not want done. Because my requests to the front desk were being ignored. That was annoying. Furthermore, the few times that week that we were there around dinner time, a person from housekeeping opened our door and walked right in without knocking, to "check" to see if housekeeping was done yet. It would have been nice to knock... and why would they need to come a second time to check if it was done?

    4 - No cold water from faucets. All week from every sink - all lukewarm water, all the time. If we wanted cold water to drink we had to get bottled water and keep it in the fridge.

    5 - pools... had to get in the car and drive 5 mins to get to any pool. Then we could not locate clean towels anywhere. The pirate ship pool in the photo on the website? Not there, that's in the villages only they told us. (False advertisting). Also, there are no lifeguards in any pools. Doesn't seem safe... not sure why they can't afford to have teenage lifeguards. There was zero staff at some of the pools. One pool had a waiter coming in and out of the area only.

    6 - internet is only free for ONE device. If you need it for more devices, they charge $14.95 per day. So we only had internet on one laptop. My son was upset that he couldn't use his ipod all week when I told him he would be able to.

    Will add more later if I remember!
     
  17. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    So, I called the SVR main number, chatted with a super nice young lady, and they seem totally okay with me shipping a parcel or two to the resort. Have been impressed so far with how friendly and accomodating thet staff have been by phone :thumbsup2 .

    Also got my Diamond Lane confirmation today via email. As I expected, it doesn't say anything really specific, but it was still fun to receive and its nice to know our requests have been noted. 11 days to go! :banana:
     
  18. bankr63

    bankr63 DIS Veteran

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    So just to keep the information complete; is it advisable to call first so they know it's coming, or just go ahead and ship to the resort? Presumably they're used to matching up packages to guest reservations?

    Good conversation here, I'll summarize and post when I think we have all the details figured out.
     
  19. bankr63

    bankr63 DIS Veteran

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    Hi Rapunzel,

    I really am sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your vacation at Sheraton Vistana Resort. I did want to comment on a couple of things that you experienced just to set some perspective.

    Marketing calls; someone should be fired for calling you 70 times during your stay. That's once per hour during business hours, and that is totally unacceptable. These calls do occur, but a normal volume of calls would be one call per day with the resort activities (not a sales call, the activity director sends an update to the entire resort once a day), 2 or 3 calls per week about the "resort photographer" (which I have been told is NOT an attempt to get you to a timeshare presentation; but I still wouldn't go), and at most one call a day for timeshare (although if you are firm enough at check-in, you may not get any). That would be a normal volume based on many stays personally and by friends and family.

    Now one spot that this would fall down is for people who have a booked a heavily discounted stay at the resort. In the fine print of the deal will be a requirement to attend the timeshare presentation. The developer is paying to have you there for the presentation, and they do expect you to attend. They will be VERY insistent that you attend. Even then, once an hour does border on harassment, and I would certainly have raised this with the resort management.

    Housekeeping; your experience is unusual in that most stays at the resort only include a mid-week tidy. You must have been there on a hotel stay to get daily housekeeping. The cost difference between with and without housekeeping is about $20/day, and personally I prefer not to have housekeeping anyway.

    Cold water: not really a Vistana issue, but just a general comment. I have always found tap water in Florida pretty tepid. As I understand it, that is because most of the water is sourced from the underground aquifer (one of the worlds largest) that is a very constant and tepid temperature. Add to that the proximity of the supply pipes to the surface (they don't have to bury deep like we do in the north) and you get warm tap water. Personally we also don't like the relatively soft (mineral) taste of the water. Our solutions are to keep a jug in the fridge and use Mio to mask the taste, or to use bottled water for fresh drinking.

    Pools: when I finally get to posting the pools will be my next update. The resort is about 0.6 miles across diagonally. We walk this occasionally on our morning walks in about 15 minutes. Now we have NEVER driven to a pool, but that is an option. We consider the distances to be fairly short, but everyone's expectations differ. Lifeguards are not provided because it is a timeshare resort. Even student lifeguards are fairly expensive and this is a service that the owners do NOT want to pay for. Keep in mind when staying at ANY timeshare that the owners are paying for the services and if an average owner wouldn't pay, then it probably won't be there. Pirate Pool, hopefully this is already fixed. I went to the Sheraton site and couldn't find any pictures of the Villages pool being attributed to the Resort. Sheraton isn't great about identifying their promo photos properly, but 3rd party sites can be even worse.

    Internet: I think I will be upset about this next time we go. I understand the free internet policy has changed somewhere between our March trip and now. It is unfortunate, because I think most owners also want full internet service for multiple devices - I certainly know THESE owners do (we'll generally have 5-6 connected devices). I would be interested in hearing back from someone who has recently tried "hotspotting" or sharing on the new single connection. This is technically possible, but you need to come prepared with the correct gear. Never a problem in our high-tech household.

    Again, I am not trying to be critical of your review, simply trying the add some context and perspective for others who may be planning a stay at the resort so they can avoid disappointment. Vistana Resort is not for everyone, and I really truly hope you find your own "special place" in Orlando. There are lots of options out there, I am sure the right one is there for you.

     
  20. erinch

    erinch DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2001
    Messages:
    1,784
    Hi Rapunzel, I'm sorry for your negative experiences as well.

    For other potential guests, this is stuff I've learned along the way.

    -- The water is lukewarm from the tap. There is abundant ice in the icemaker in the frig, and this is not an issue for us.

    -- The phone calls. In our unit, there have never been more than 3 that are activities or timeshare related per day. The positive thing is that all the promo phone calls do not ring on your phone. it goes straight to messages. If you listen to a message that starts "hello resort owners and guests" it will be about activities, photography or to pick up the welcome packet (which we didn't do.) if the phone actually rings, for us it has been customer service checking to make sure an issue (for us, light bulb, clogged drain, and missing bath mat over the 2 weeks) has been addressed. One phone call with a ring came with one invite to the owner's breakfast. Offered $125 after I declined. I said it would not fit into our schedule this year, and that was not going to change as my answer, and wished him luck. He hung up, and has not called back over the 2 weeks.

    -- the internet. The internet is outsourced to a 3rd party company (Sunventures, I think). This is actually not a bad thing, as the wireless is sluggish, but it is working, which has always been patchy. It is from the browser authentication that the information about one device, and otherwise 9.95 a day for 4 mbs up and downstream on 4 devices comes from. It says the free connection, is for one device per account, 1 mbs up and down. We figured there was nothing to lose. my hubby logged on with his kindle. I then logged on to the free account with my iPad. And then my son connected with his smartphone. I then connected my laptop. And for good measure my droid. So we had 5 devices running yesterday, with none being shut down. I'd say the 1 mbs is pretty accurate. It's sluggish. I connected to a youtube video and buffering took a while. But for light surfing, it has been fine, and works with multiple devices. You have to reauthenticate once per day. But not every time you want to log in. My son thought he'd connect his xbox for online gaming. getting an x box to emulate browser authentication is a strenuous matter of MAC addresses and network settings. Since the free speed would make Call of Duty or whatever he is playing surreal, I told him to bag it and read a book. Which he did.

    Housekeeping. One of the reasons we like the weeklong stay is no housekeeping, with a midweek (thorough) towel and tidy. This second week, I added changing the sheets in the master bedroom (an extra $20), since we found the flat bottom sheet was rumpled by the end of the week. I added by phoning guest services, and the message reached her, as well as the message not to make the beds in the teen's room, as it is impossible to even find the bed.

    Location-- for those not checked in, renting a week from someone who isn't locked into a specific section, we've never had a problem getting our requests through Diamond Lane. I've heard that renting as a hotel means you are more likely to get Courts or Palm, which can be further from a pool.

    Rapunzel, I do hope you complained about the harrassment regarding the double beds in the guest bedroom. I have the extension of the general manager, if you'd still like to make a call.
     
  21. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Messages:
    11,706
    She indicated that "guests have packages shipped here all the time", and just reminded me to make sure my name was clearly indicated on the shipping label so they would know who to hold it for.

    I would not worry about calling ahead....she seemed surprised that I would call and ask for permission to do so....but I also assured her it was only a small package or two. If you are shipping something larger, I definitely would call and give them a heads-up (and to get their blessing), just for courtesy's sake.

    PS: Can't wait for the pool pics! :thumbsup2
     

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