Sheraton Vistana Villages Resort Villas
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Sheraton Vistana Villages is a beautifully-landscaped park-like resort located on the southern end of International Drive, 4 miles from the Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, Florida. All of the accommodations are 1- and 2-bedroom fully-furnished condominium-style villas. While the resort seems quite large when you first arrive, you will find that the three separate “villages” are all connected by lovely paved walkways and bridges on the resort interiors, minimizing pedestrian traffic in the roadways and parking areas. Once you’ve settled in, there is a feeling of being in a relaxed resort oasis, with all the comforts of a home away from home. Sheraton Vistana Villages has been named “Best Family Resort” 3 years in a row among all Starwood properties, and is a Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice 2014 Winner. Sheraton Vistana Villages is a Starwood Vacation Ownership property and also provides standard hotel services as part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
Every 1 or 2-bedroom villa offers a view of a water feature or a garden view, and includes a well-appointed and comfortable living room with a pull-out full-size sofa bed, a separate dining area, and a fully equipped kitchen or kitchenette with a full-size refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave oven, cooktop, oven (or convection microwave in some 1-bedroom units), coffee maker, blender, toaster and dishware, cookware and utensils. Standard room features include two or three HDTVs with cable channels, CD/DVD players, an in-room safe, A/C and ceiling fans, two telephones with dataports and voicemail, and complimentary wireless high-speed Internet. Every villa also includes an iron and full-size ironing board and a washer and dryer, along with a supply of dish soap and eco-friendly laundry soap. Complimentary Starbucks coffee and a variety of teas are also provided, as are bathing sundries such as shampoo, conditioner and lotion. Bedrooms are pleasantly furnished and feature Sheraton Sweet Sleeper™ beds with their signature white luxurious bedding. Each villa is uniquely decorated with original artwork making no two villas identical. All villas are 100% non-smoking. There are designated smoking areas in several outdoor locations around the resort.
If you are used to staying in a standard hotel room, you will find that the amenities of a villa make your stay even more enjoyable. A villa gives you space to spread out, bedroom privacy, and the ability to prepare your own food. Using real plates and silverware feels more civilized and relaxing than eating pizza perched on the edge of a hotel bed. Combining the comforts of home, like a washer and dryer in your villa, with the atmosphere of a luxurious resort, just makes vacationing less stressful. The cost is about the same as a moderately-priced hotel, but you get much more.
All 1-bedroom villas sleep up to 4 guests, with one king-size bed in the bedroom and a full-size sofa bed in the living room. Because the various Villages have been constructed in different phases and with slightly differing floorplans, the 1-bedroom villas vary in size and layout, but all are at least 500 square feet. While it is not possible to request a specific layout or village location in advance, you can be assured that all of the units are similarly well furnished and are a good value. There are a small number of larger (830 square feet) 1-bedroom villas that have larger living/dining areas and a full kitchen, which rent for a few dollars per night more when available. If you are staying in a larger or premium 1-bedroom villa, you can request a rollaway bed for $5/day to have room for 5 people.
The kitchenette in the smaller 1-bedrooms has almost everything you would want for making light meals, including a regular refrigerator, an electric cooktop, and a convection microwave. There is not much counter space in the smaller units. If having a real kitchen for serious cooking is important to you, our recommendation is to get a larger 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom villa. If all you need is enough to toast some bagels, cook a small pizza, make microwave popcorn, or do stove top cooking, the kitchenette will be fine.
All 2-bedroom villas sleep up to 8 guests, and offer a full 1,050 square feet of living space. There are two full bathrooms with separate vanity sink areas. The master bedroom is furnished with a king-size bed and an adjoining full bath with Jacuzzi style tub. A separate guest room includes two queen-size beds and the living room has a full-size sofa bed. All 2-bedrooms have three HDTV televisions, a private screened balcony or patio with a table and seating for 4, an indoor dining area which seats 6, and a breakfast bar that seats 2.
The 2-bedroom villas are an exceptional value, and well worth considering if you have a large family or just enjoy having room to spread out. The larger kitchen and dining area is a big plus if you plan to do significant amounts of cooking, and the larger living room allows everyone to relax together or watch a movie in comfort.
Sheraton Vistana Villages Resort includes three main villages: Bella Florida Village, St. Augustine Village (which includes Amelia Village) and Key West Village. All of the villages are easily accessible by foot or by car and navigation around the resort is fairly simple. Each village surrounds its own elaborate pool, with whimsical water features and playground areas. Each pool area includes a separate kiddie pool or zero entry pool area and heated outdoor whirlpool. The St. Augustine pool has a pirate ship and an extra fun water slide. Lifeguards are on duty everyday at the St. Augustine pool 9:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Guests have complimentary access to all of the amenities at any of the villages, including the pools, playgrounds, tennis, basketball, volleyball and shuffleboard courts, and the activities and fitness centers (guests must be age 18+ or accompanied by an adult to use the fitness centers). There are multiple outdoor barbeque areas, some with picnic tables, should you feel the need to throw your own steak on the grill. Both kids and adults can enjoy an impressive array of scheduled daily activities, which include staffed arts & crafts lessons, such as Bear Factory workshops, rainbow loom elastic band bracelet weaving and “make your own sky lantern” classes. At poolside, in addition to hair wraps, braiding and temporary tattoos, for an additional fee you can attend a SCUBA Academy for basic scuba instruction, or a unique “Mermaid Academy” where kids can swim with a full mermaid tail. On Saturdays, Gatorland brings some of their “friendly critters” to the resort for an educational hands-on experience. Wine-tasting, BINGO, movie nights and family campfire events are also available. Times, frequency and specific events may change by season, and, of course, some are subject to weather conditions. Upon arrival you will receive a printed calendar of specific activities and events for that week.
The Flagler Station Bar and Grill is a full-service restaurant conveniently located near the main pool behind the reception building that’s open 8:00 am – 10:00 pm daily. It offers a casual atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating, and a complete menu of burgers, pizzas, various entrees, sandwiches, salads and appetizers or snacks as well as a full range of breakfast options. Gluten-free and low-calorie items are marked on the menu. We dined there several times, and always found the food to be very good and moderately priced. If you like onion rings, the “onion petals” are a specialty, and worth trying. You can order room service lunch or dinner from Flaglers Station Bar and Grill between 11:00 am until 10:00 pm daily.
The Pirate’s Cove pool bar offers lighter fare such as gourmet hot dogs or soft pretzels, and refreshing drinks, smoothies, ice-cold beer or cocktails. Hours at Pirate’s Cove vary seasonally.
The Village Marketplace is the resort’s grocery store, deli and Starbucks coffee shop all in one, located in the St. Augustine Village. It’s one of the best resort stores we’ve seen, and carries everything you could need: fresh fruits, prepared foods, groceries, sundries and drugstore items, a variety of gifts and souvenirs, and a deli that makes sandwiches to order.
There are many restaurants and shops nearby, including a Benihana just down the road and Bahama Breeze, Panera Bread and BJ’s Restaurant about 5 minutes away on Vineland Ave. If you plan to have most of your meals at the resort, you probably will want to stock up at the nearby Publix grocery store and Walgreens, both 2-3 minutes away on International Drive. The Orlando Premium Outlets on Vineland Ave. are about 3 minutes away. If you don’t want to drive, the I-Ride Trolley stops in front of the resort every 15 minutes from 8am to 10:30pm. Trolley fare is $2 per person.
The resort offers a full-service 24-hour front desk with express check-in/out, a tour desk, ticket services, baggage storage, ATM, currency exchange and concierge service. Luggage assistance to your villa is not normally provided, as this is an ownership resort and most owners tend to arrive with their own car or a rental car, park near their villa, and carry their own bags to their room.
Because the Sheraton Vistana Villages is a vacation ownership property, you may be asked at check-in if you are interested in hearing about the Starwood Vacation Ownership program. If you are not interested, “no thank you” is all you need to say; they will not ask again. If you are interested in ownership, you will be asked to attend a sales presentation, often in exchange for a gift of some kind. Presentations can last anywhere from one hour to several hours depending on your interest. You are not obligated in any way to attend a sales presentation.
When comparing the Sheraton Vistana Villages to other vacation ownership resorts and rates, keep in mind that many vacation ownership properties do not include daily housekeeping. Some charge a fee of as much as $60/day for room cleaning! The MouseSavers rates at Sheraton Vistana Villages include daily housekeeping. Also there are no resort fees, FREE parking, and FREE internet at the Sheraton Vistana Villages. Those fees can add up to $50/day or more at some Orlando hotels.
Having a rental car is a good idea when staying at the Sheraton Vistana Villages. The resort does offer FREE transportation to Walt Disney World, and transportation to Universal and SeaWorld for a small fee, but the times and dropoff points are not optimal. Driving yourself will be significantly more convenient. It’s about a 12-18 minute drive to the Walt Disney World theme parks, depending on which park you are going to. The resort is about 15 minutes from Universal Orlando, and just 6 minutes from SeaWorld.
Both Sheraton Vistana Villages and its sister resort the Sheraton Vistana Resort are an excellent choice if you are visiting the parks for more than 2 or 3 days and want room to spread out and the ability to cook or prepare your own meals.
Sheraton Vistana Villages is in a slightly better location if you’re headed to Universal, SeaWorld or other I-Drive attractions or outlet malls in addition to visiting Walt Disney World. The room sizes are slightly larger at the Sheraton Vistana Villages, and the 2-bedroom villas sleep 8 guests. If your primary destination is Walt Disney World, Sheraton Vistana Resort is a bit closer and will save you some driving time. The Vistana Resort is larger and has more dining and evening entertainment options than its smaller cousin. Either way, both of these resorts offer the same ‘home away from home’ feel and provide exceptional value for the cost.
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1-Bedroom Villas include a king-size bed in the master bedroom, and a full-size pull-out sofa in the living room. Maximum occupancy is 4. Larger sized or premium 1-Bedroom Villas allow up to 5 people with a Twin-size rollaway bed added for $5/day.
2-Bedroom Villas include one king-size bed in the master bedroom, two queen-size beds in the second bedroom and a full-size pull-out sofa in the living room. Maximum occupancy is 8.
*Rates vary based on availability. Rates listed do not include tax. MouseSavers rates are refundable/changeable and are subject to availability. Rates may have holiday rate restrictions during holiday weekends or periods. Holiday rate restrictions may include prepayment requirements, cancellation penalties, and/or minimum-stay requirements. MouseSavers rates cannot be combined with other offers. MouseSavers rates include daily housekeeping services.
Reservations incur a penalty of 1 night plus tax and applicable product penalties if canceled within 72 hours prior to arrival. No-shows incur a 1 night plus tax hotel penalty and applicable product penalties.
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