We returned a week ago from our second visit to The Retreat and are still finding it hard to settle in back home after such a fabulous stay. This time we had the absolute pleasure of staying at this gorgeous property for 5 weeks! We chose the Sunset Lakes location as it is only about a 25 minute drive from the airport, and close to all the Disney Parks, so minimal time needs to be spent in the car (no kids like spending hours in the car when they could be having fun in the parks or back home in the pool!). It is also only a short drive to the strip (the 192) along which you will find numerous restaurants and supermarkets. Our granddaughters loved the Disney themed twin bedrooms and soon made themselves at home. The pool and deck area were a great hit with them, as it was with the rest of the family, and once the girls had gone home we put the outside space to good use with some sunrise yoga by the pool, drinking in the magical view overlooking the lake. (Of course, later in the day a different kind of drinking took place!).
The games room was another big hit with all members of the family, and was also put to good use throughout our stay, as were the fishing rods!
The house is light and airy, extremely well equipped, and has everything you could possibly need – a real home from home. We were particularly delighted to find two children’s car booster seats in the games room, which we were able to use in our hire car and which saved us having to hire them for approx $90! There is also ample bedding, bath towels and pool towels. We can honestly say that this lovely property has everything you could possibly need. The beds in the two master bedrooms are enormous, and very comfortable, and the ensuite bathrooms are both of a very good size. The girls loved the Disney theme in their bathroom – a very nice touch.
All in all, we can highly recommend The Retreat. It is very aptly named, and is somewhere where you can truly enjoy peace and quiet, beautiful views, and feel perfectly safe, whether that’s at the end of a busy day in the parks, or just somewhere to go to recharge your batteries for a while. We were lucky enough to be able to do both! Our thanks to Brian and his family for opening up their lovely home to us once again.
Stayed 26th March – 30 April 2018
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!