Hey, I'm JP - Host

Member since Jul, 2018
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Colin R
Nice villa let down by furnishings and noise of neighbourhood

I will firstly set the scene for this review, this villa is on a new estate and is priced at the very top end of villa rentals in Florida, having paid a premium for it I had high expectations and in the whole the villa itself didn’t disappoint. There are a few things though that would prevent me from returning here, some well within the control of the villa owner and others down to the luck of who’s staying in the neighbouring villas while you’re there due to how close they are. After finally managing to get Executive Villas (the management company) to acknowledge that I had indeed paid the full amount for the villa (a needlessly stressful time caused by poor administration by Executive Villas), we arrived at Windsor at Westside. Having stayed at communities along and around Westside for quite a few years I was keen to see what this new one was like. Here’s the first thing to point out – while Windsor at Westside itself is pretty complete as a community, there is building working going on all around it – this meant that on more than a few days I was woken up around 06:30 when building work started with a deep rumble and vibration through the whole villa or loud banging. It would have been nice to have been notified of this at the time of booking. Windsor at Westside itself have two entrances, weirdly the first one you come to is unmanned and intended for use once you’ve got a pass, don’t turn into this one as you’ll just have to u-turn out and proceed to the next, main, entrance where you’ll find the guardhouse, tell them you’re registering and they’ll direct you to the clubhouse carpark where you’ll go in and get a parking pass and gate pass. The gate pass is a printed barcode that, in theory, allows you to simply scan it at the first entrance to open the gate, after a few days of trying and giving up the guardhouse advised quite a few people were having problems with it and to simply press the call button at the gate and show the pass and they’ll let you in. This worked fine, although it makes me wonder why they’ve bothered installing a barcode system that doesn’t work. Once registration is done you’ll make your way to the villa. The villa itself is nicely laid out, opening first to the kitchen and then the main lounge. Downstairs there’s also the master suite with bath and walk-in shower, a separate toilet and a laundry room as well as access to the garage. Here’s another disappointment and, in my opinion, not really acceptable at the price this villa charges – most villas have created a games room in the garage, this only takes a few hundred dollars to stick a pool table and foosball table in there but this owner has chosen instead to leave it as a completely empty, and therefore unused, space. Out of the back of the villa is the pool area which can be summed up in two parts, one part is under the lanai (covered part), here you have a swing seat, a 6-seater table and two loungers. This is a great area for eating breakfast, however it doesn’t get any direct sunlight so if you want to sunbathe on the loungers you’re out of luck here. The other half of outside is not covered (other than the bug screen), this is all directly open to the sun and is pretty much 100% taken up by the pool (there’s no room to move those loungers out here if you wanted to) – the pool, while nice, isn’t particularly big so you won’t be swimming many lengths in it, it is however alright for a splash around and the built-in spa makes a nice place to sit and enjoy the sun. The biggest problem with the outdoor area in general is the proximity of other villas, this estate has spaced villas very close to each other, much closer than I’ve seen on other communities, and that means it’s pot luck if you have peace and quiet to relax in or if you give up and go indoors because the family next door are constantly shouting and screaming – we experienced both about 50% of the time so if you’re looking for a peaceful villa to enjoy a break, this may not be the best choice for you, it’s worth noting that we could also hear the shouting even when in the lounge with the door shut and the TV on and this wasn’t just during the day either, some nights there was partying and noise until 01:30am. There’s also no view with this villa, other than the back of the villas each side and a fence and then the tops of rows of other villas. Again, a more peaceful option may be to opt for a villa which backs onto a nature reserve or a lake if that’s what you’re looking for. You can see what it’s like in the pictures on the listing so judge for yourself. Moving upstairs there is a large open area with sofa and TV, another master suite with en-suite which included a walk-in shower, two smaller rooms each with bunkbeds and a shared bathroom with walk-in shower in-between them, and two other double rooms again with a shared bathroom in-between them although this one had a bath with a shower over it. While there are ample bathrooms, there are only two baths (one in the downstairs master and one upstairs), this was fine for me as I prefer a walk-in shower anyway but families with small children especially if multiple families are sharing this villa, should be aware. There’s also not really enough towels provided for the size of the villa, so depending on how many people are staying be prepared to wash them regularly. You also won’t find any accessories in the bathrooms, no toothbrush holders, soap dishes or even towel rails anywhere near the sinks – again, cheap and easy to provide but the owner has chosen not to bother. Another thing to note regarding the bedrooms is the lack of storage, this is an absolute fail by the villa owner as far as I’m concerned. Not one of the bedrooms had any kind of drawers in it, despite all having the space. Every other villa I’ve ever stayed in has provided sets of drawers in pretty much all of the bedrooms. Add to that the fact that only one of the bedrooms has a walk-in closet (there’s just small sliding door types on all the others) and you’ll find that there’s a big shortage of storage space here. We managed to find just about enough hangers to hang most things up but there were only two of us – more than that staying here and you’ll be living out of your suitcase which, at the price this villa charges, is not what people should expect to have to put up with. Other things worth pointing out is that the wifi provided here is not great. It’s ok when it works but it’s pretty patchy, especially when sitting around the pool area. Rubbish collection is daily (except Sundays) from a plastic bench in the front porch – you lift up the seat and put bagged rubbish in there and they collect it, as long as its bagged – we’d put a large plastic water container out and it wasn’t taken for a few days, it was eventually taken though, probably when they realised I wasn’t wasting a plastic bag just to put that in. Also be aware there’s no phone in this villa, most provide a landline with free international calls – this one doesn’t even have a phone for local calls. In summary, it’s a nice villa on a new estate so there’s no signs of wear and tear yet, but the owners have scrimped in the furnishings and facilities which is an annoyance, especially at the price paid for this villa rental. The closeness and annoyance of noisy neighbours can’t be changed, so you take your chances on that but putting in a games room in the garage, some sets of drawers in the bedrooms, more hangers and more towels are all very minor and relatively inexpensive things to do so I can’t figure out why they’ve not done it. For me, these relatively minor issues, along with the annoyance of how close neighbouring villas are mean that I won’t be returning to this villa, or probably any others on the Windsor at Westside estate, they’re all priced at the high end of rentals and I don’t feel the layout of this estate justifies the cost.

Sep, 2019

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