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View Full Version : Gigha Villa 6 bedroom Windsor Hills pool home -- just back!


Mainebound
03-30-2007, 07:09 PM
Hi everyone,

We are home safe and sound, after 12 days at Gigha Villa in Windsor Hills (www.valhallavillas.com)

We had a great trip. For those who don't care to read my long winded summary below (hey, this is what happens when a humanities professor writes one of these things!), the brief review is: Windsor Hills is terrific, the villa was well equipped and spotless, with a great location. The owner of the villa and their management company (D.A.V.H.) were both pleasures to deal with, as was all the staff at Windsor Hills (gate guards, sundry shop clerk, lifeguards, front office folks, etc.). Proximity to WDW parks is great. I recommend both the resort and this particular villa enthusiastically.

The villa was a 2 minute walk to the playground, and a 5-7 minute walk to the clubhouse. It is due north facing, so not necessarily great for baking in direct sun all day, but plenty of sun for us. The villa pool and the main pool were both incredibly warm, much warmer than WDW resorts.

Windsor Hills has a feel very close to an actual resort. People walking, jogging, pushing strollers, biking all around all day. Pool filled with families and sun bathers. Lots of activity around the clubhouse. For our entire trip, the houses on either side of us, behind us, and across the street were filled. That has never happened before when we rented a pool home. Mostly folks were very nice, very considerate. Noise but not "noisy". My kids found other kids to play with at the playground and pool, which was great.

Of course, there is a slight downside... the gym doesn't open until 8:00am and when I tried to use it there was a line formed of several people waiting to get in. The big pool is a lot of fun, but it is huge (much bigger than the pool at AKL, which is the largest of the WDW pools), and there is only one lifeguard near the slide. Unlike at WDW resorts, all types of balls and floaties and rafts are allowed, which is fun, but I got sick of almost getting knocked over by college kids having chicken fights and getting socked in the head with water toys. I was glad we had our own "quiet pool" to retreat to!

Here's a shot of the big pool as it looked most of our stay:

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1536.jpg

Here's a shot of a group of (polite but rowdy) college boys lining up to use the slide, with the guard jokingly yelling "No slide for you!" at one of them (the one getting out of the pool at the back of the line -- he had back flipped in). Guess whose fearless 7 year old is at the front of the line? Yep, that's Mainebound jr.!

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1546.jpg

Here's a shot of the kiddie splash area:

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1545.jpg

Here's a shot of Gigha villa's "back yard":

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1582.jpg

Here's one of the owner's other villa, Jura, next door:

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1583.jpg

There was construction about 5 houses up the street. The only bad thing was occasional noise during the day, and also brown dirt in the pool blowing in.

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1579.jpg

Here's a shot of the street the other way. The playground is behind the fence on the left:

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1580.jpg

The villa itself was spotless. The beds were fine. I questioned the choice of furnishings, with suede (!) kitchen chairs, a large glass table in the den, and other non kid friendly features, but overall the 2 living areas and many places to curl up and read were great. The game room was great, and it had a fan, so we did not have to open the garage door like many neighbors.

The home was certainly adequately equppied, but not overly so. For example, no salad bowl, no placemats, no DVDs, one PS2 game, only 1 phone, 1 ceiling fan, etc. Not necessities by any means, but nice to have. There was a crib in our master bedroom, also a stroller and high chair in the garage. (My father in law eyed the crib and said, "Are you guys trying to tell us something?") Some pool toys were provided - some goggles, inflatable whale and alligator, and a few others. I think they could do with more towels... we were doing wash almost every night. Wireless was free but very spotty -- this was my biggest annoyance as I was trying to stay in touch with work while in Florida. I wonder if it had to do with construction? The free phone calls to anywhere in the world (except, puzzlingly, Honduras) were great.

We paid $140 a night inclusive of taxes and pool heat. At the time we booked, the owners' calendars for both homes were pretty empty. I checked recently for a friend and see they have filled quite a bit. I notice the owner has raised the deposit amount and security deposit amount too.

The townhomes are lovely at WH (we drove around and peeked inside), but I found this 6 bedroom home the same or only slightly more pricewise than those. Windsor Hills Reserve building (the construction seen in the above photo) is ongoing, and an absolutely enormous space has been cleared for new single family homes with tiled roofs, so I would think it is still possible to find new home owners wiling to discount.

The trip to WDW property took 5 minutes, all back roads. Never hit traffic once. Take a left out of WH, take a left at Westgate Villas, take a right before the booth, go straight acorss 192 on Entry Point Road which becomes Sherberth. Take a right onto Osceola at the first light. For Universal, go right on 192 (East), get on I-4 East, takes about 15 minutes - easy! Trip from airport was about 20-30 mins, same as to WDW.

You can also get to a supermarket (Winn Dixie at Formosa Gardens) within 2 minutes, and a much better larger Publix (at Orange Lakes) is about 5 minutes away, if you head West on 192. 192 is chain restaurant heaven (or H E double hockey sticks, depending on your view). I cannot think of a chain rest. that is NOT within 5 minutes' drive.

We really liked WH, especially the clubhouse and resort "atmo". I think it is worth paying a bit more for this "feel" than developments located nearby. However, we only used the big pool a couple of times, and never used the gym or movie theater or arcade or transportation to the parks. So our feeling right now is that we would definitely return, but as long as we are interested in pool homes (as opposed to condos or townhomes, which are a different story), we would not pay anything crazy to stay there over its neighbors (Emerald Island, Oak Island, Windsor Palms, etc.). The main things for us are the home, the price, the owner and MC, and the distance to the parks.

(Note: There is construction on 192 east of Windsor Hills which at certain times of the day created real problems. Until that is completed, I recommend avoiding going east if at all possible on 192, and taking the Sherberth road to all WDW parks.)

I hope this review can help prospective renters. This is our third villa experience (we stayed in Emerald Island, in Emerald Footprints and The Bonita, the last two years) and all have been just wonderful.

We spent a few hours yesterday at AKL dining and shopping and for five minutes we thought, "let's stay here next year". But by the time we drove back through the lovely palm lined Windsor Hills entrance 5 minutes away, stopped to pick up the New York Times they were holding for us at the sundry shop, walked into "our" cool quiet house, Grandma sank into the couch for a snooze, kids were in the pool in 5 seconds flat, and I poured Diet Coke with lemon and watched them as I read, we changed our minds!

Any other questions about our stay? Please don't hesitate to ask!

5mins2disney
03-30-2007, 08:46 PM
Great review, and welcome back! Isn't it funny how, once you're there for a while, you realize that even though it has the coolest clubhouse and pool, you'd rather be in your own? hehe

It does somehow manage to combine the best of private pool homes though, with the resort type feel, to give you the best of both!

We loved it there so much as guests that's why we ended up buying a home there, really never been on vacation to a resort anywhere else quite like it, unless you count Disney resorts of course, but be prepare to pay 10x as much for much less of a home!

No more visits from any cranes? =p

mbb
03-31-2007, 07:05 AM
Ahhhh...great review!:surfweb: :surfweb:

Nothing better on a Saturday morning than a cuppa tea, and a great DIS read:goodvibes

We've wondered the same thing about Honduras ourselves:rotfl:
As DH said:
"Well, now I *really* want to call there...";);)

Mainebound Jr.:thumbsup2 Showing the big kids how a slide is done!:)

Thanks for the review!!
:sunny:

dougsmom98
03-31-2007, 09:21 AM
Sounds like you had a great time. Thanks for writing the review. That sounds like a great rate since it included taxes and pool heat! How did you hear about this villa? Did you put in an inquiry on the Windsor Hills site? We were really thinking about staying in Windsor Hills and this house sounds perfect for us, but then I heard about the 48" height minimum for the water slide. It's not worth listening to my daughter cry the entire week because she can't go down the slide and her brothers can. No matter how much I want to stay here, we are probably going to avoid Windsor Hills for a few more years. Oh well.

Mainebound
03-31-2007, 09:42 AM
How did you hear about this villa? Did you put in an inquiry on the Windsor Hills site?

Yes, we found this one on WindsorHillsrent.com. We put in a general inquiry (all sizes including townhomes and condos) and a max price. There was almost no correlation between size and price - some of the small condos were asking the most $$$$, even more so than 6 bed homes!

PrincessBelle39
04-04-2007, 10:38 PM
Thanks for your review Mainebound. I have been waiting for it having booked for Jura later this year. Sounds absolutely fantastic. So glad you had such a great time. Sounds like this is going to suit us really well.

snowbunny
04-18-2007, 09:15 PM
Did you happen to notice how late Publix is open at night?

Mainebound
04-19-2007, 08:20 PM
Did you happen to notice how late Publix is open at night?

I'm pretty sure they are all open 7 days a week 7:00am-10:00pm (used to live in Fla!).Pharmacy and liquor may have different hours.

snowbunny
04-19-2007, 10:47 PM
I'm pretty sure they are all open 7 days a week 7:00am-10:00pm (used to live in Fla!).Pharmacy and liquor may have different hours.

Ok thanks...we're getting in after that so I'll have to figure something out for that night (kids bedtime snacks) and the next morning...was hoping to avoid a restaurant breakfast, they just pick at it and it ends up being a big waste of $ versus a bowl of cereal at the townhouse.

Mainebound
04-21-2007, 05:54 PM
Ok thanks...we're getting in after that so I'll have to figure something out for that night (kids bedtime snacks) and the next morning...was hoping to avoid a restaurant breakfast, they just pick at it and it ends up being a big waste of $ versus a bowl of cereal at the townhouse.

Well, WH has a sundry shop with milk and cereal and other stuff. Not sure exactly when it opens in the morning. (it was slightly erratic)

Also there are many gas stations with that type of stuff on 192 that you woudl drive by.

karenv
01-12-2008, 09:40 AM
Does anyone know if the resort pool at Windsor Hiils has life preservers for kids.

JMLBrats
01-12-2008, 09:52 AM
Which of the homes that you've rented in the past few years would you recommend the most for a family w/3 small kids- 7, 5 and 3? They are extremely active children and having a pool to ourselves would prob be great. Thanks so much, BTW, I never even considered renting a house until reading your review. It just sounds so wonderful and relaxing. opps, just realized how old this thread is....

Mainebound
01-12-2008, 02:36 PM
Which of the homes that you've rented in the past few years would you recommend the most for a family w/3 small kids- 7, 5 and 3? They are extremely active children and having a pool to ourselves would prob be great. Thanks so much, BTW, I never even considered renting a house until reading your review. It just sounds so wonderful and relaxing. opps, just realized how old this thread is....

We have been happy with all the villas we have rented and I can honestly say they are all great for the ages of your kids. I prefer Windsor Hills with the younger kids right now because the playground is super. And so close to Gigha and Jura villas (and many other homes), and the main pool area has zero depth entry and some water features good for the youngest kids. In that sense it has a slight edge over the other place we've stayed, Emerald Island. But honestly, the kids will be so busy and happy with the backyard pool at any community and the parks that these are pretty small details.

JMLBrats
01-12-2008, 07:38 PM
We have been happy with all the villas we have rented and I can honestly say they are all great for the ages of your kids. I prefer Windsor Hills with the younger kids right now because the playground is super. And so close to Gigha and Jura villas (and many other homes), and the main pool area has zero depth entry and some water features good for the youngest kids. In that sense it has a slight edge over the other place we've stayed, Emerald Island. But honestly, the kids will be so busy and happy with the backyard pool at any community and the parks that these are pretty small details.

Thanks, Sounds like a good place to start looking at. My only thing is I get paranoid about roaches-I wouldn't even care if I saw a couple in the house while there, (although that wouldn't thrill me) but I'm afraid of "bringing them back home" to Maine (yes we're in ME too:) )
That's one of the reasons that we usually stay on property-just cause I know they really keep the roaches in check but I really would love to try a house.

Mainebound
01-12-2008, 09:34 PM
Thanks, Sounds like a good place to start looking at. My only thing is I get paranoid about roaches-I wouldn't even care if I saw a couple in the house while there, (although that wouldn't thrill me) but I'm afraid of "bringing them back home" to Maine (yes we're in ME too:) )
That's one of the reasons that we usually stay on property-just cause I know they really keep the roaches in check but I really would love to try a house.

We moved to Maine from Florida and my experience in our Fla. condo was a weekly visit from the exterminator to prevent any infestation. I have never seen a roach in a rental home (we rent newer homes in higher end developments, that may be part of it), and I would guess these communities practice the same pest control methods.

Still, Florida is subtropical, sea level, etc. and it is impossible to be 100% bug free at all times when indoors. Even the WDW hotels have been known to host ants, mold, etc. just check otu the resorts board!

JMLBrats
01-13-2008, 06:48 AM
Right, that's what I was thinking-stay w/the new developments. Thanks for your help :goodvibes BTW, we were hoping to keep the cost down to about 700-800 for the week-do you think that's doable w/ a private pool? I wouldn't care if it was a 2 bedroom but it Seems like for that price we may only be able to do a condo which would be okay. I just thought it would be so awesome when the kids are bugging us at 8am to go swimming to be like "okay here you go", just open the door, sit down and relax w/a cup of coffee and watch them swim while I'm still in my PJ's. :cheer2: We go to Disney every year and we have a lot of fun of course, but w/little ones it's sooooo much work too. I just told DH wouldn't it be nice to feel like you had an actual VACATION when we got back!

Mainebound
01-13-2008, 08:06 AM
That's what you would pay for a condo in one of the newer, closer developments (Windsor Hills or Emerald Island, for example). You may also be able to get a townhome in WH for that if you get lucky (off season, desperate owner, or some other reason). They are 3 beds and have a private "splash pool".

You would be able to get a home with a pool for $700 in an older Kissimmee neighborhood, for example Chatham Park or Lindfields. Go to www.vrbo.com, search for Kissimmee, and "sort by neighborhoods" and you will see what I mean.

You can rent a new pool home for $800 by searching in further out areas like Davenport (do the same search as above, and look at a neighborhoods like "The Sanctuary at West Haven").

Anyway, since we are way off topic, and this forum is for reviewing off site lodging anyway, I suggest you will get more and more helpful replies by asking over on the Orlando board.

Happy planning!

Good luck!

GentleOceanWind
11-03-2008, 09:29 AM
Thank you for the helpful review and info! :goodvibes

We are about to send PayPal payment in full for an upcoming vacation, and I was wondering if you or anyone else could help ease my concerns that this owner does not require any sort of contract? I have read nothing but positive reviews but it's still a lot of moolah, yk?

Thanks so much! :lovestruc

Mainebound
11-04-2008, 12:15 PM
I can't recall now -- you shouldn't send $$ until you get the question answered to your satisfaction. I personally like a contract because it protects me as a consumer.

FYI: We recommended this home to our friends and they stayed in April 2008. They had a great time, too.

PrincessBelle39
11-04-2008, 07:22 PM
We stayed in Jura next door owned by the same owner. We had no contract which suprised me at the time as I was expecting one. We had absolutely no problems at all. The owner was fantastic and a few times phoned me (in Australia) to answer my queries. I would rent from him again without hesitation.

GentleOceanWind
11-10-2008, 10:10 AM
Thanks so much, I appreciate your replies! :goodvibes The owner has called several timjes from Scotland and we felt comfortable enough to go ahead with the reservation. Hopefully I'll be back with a glowing review, too! :hippie:

DisnLuvr
02-05-2009, 10:14 AM
Hi everyone,

We are home safe and sound, after 12 days at Gigha Villa in Windsor Hills (www.valhallavillas.com)

We had a great trip. For those who don't care to read my long winded summary below (hey, this is what happens when a humanities professor writes one of these things!), the brief review is: Windsor Hills is terrific, the villa was well equipped and spotless, with a great location. The owner of the villa and their management company (D.A.V.H.) were both pleasures to deal with, as was all the staff at Windsor Hills (gate guards, sundry shop clerk, lifeguards, front office folks, etc.). Proximity to WDW parks is great. I recommend both the resort and this particular villa enthusiastically.

The villa was a 2 minute walk to the playground, and a 5-7 minute walk to the clubhouse. It is due north facing, so not necessarily great for baking in direct sun all day, but plenty of sun for us. The villa pool and the main pool were both incredibly warm, much warmer than WDW resorts.

Windsor Hills has a feel very close to an actual resort. People walking, jogging, pushing strollers, biking all around all day. Pool filled with families and sun bathers. Lots of activity around the clubhouse. For our entire trip, the houses on either side of us, behind us, and across the street were filled. That has never happened before when we rented a pool home. Mostly folks were very nice, very considerate. Noise but not "noisy". My kids found other kids to play with at the playground and pool, which was great.

Of course, there is a slight downside... the gym doesn't open until 8:00am and when I tried to use it there was a line formed of several people waiting to get in. The big pool is a lot of fun, but it is huge (much bigger than the pool at AKL, which is the largest of the WDW pools), and there is only one lifeguard near the slide. Unlike at WDW resorts, all types of balls and floaties and rafts are allowed, which is fun, but I got sick of almost getting knocked over by college kids having chicken fights and getting socked in the head with water toys. I was glad we had our own "quiet pool" to retreat to!

Here's a shot of the big pool as it looked most of our stay:

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1536.jpg

Here's a shot of a group of (polite but rowdy) college boys lining up to use the slide, with the guard jokingly yelling "No slide for you!" at one of them (the one getting out of the pool at the back of the line -- he had back flipped in). Guess whose fearless 7 year old is at the front of the line? Yep, that's Mainebound jr.!

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1546.jpg

Here's a shot of the kiddie splash area:

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1545.jpg

Here's a shot of Gigha villa's "back yard":

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1582.jpg

Here's one of the owner's other villa, Jura, next door:

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1583.jpg

There was construction about 5 houses up the street. The only bad thing was occasional noise during the day, and also brown dirt in the pool blowing in.

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1579.jpg

Here's a shot of the street the other way. The playground is behind the fence on the left:

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/Maineblackbear/IMG_1580.jpg

The villa itself was spotless. The beds were fine. I questioned the choice of furnishings, with suede (!) kitchen chairs, a large glass table in the den, and other non kid friendly features, but overall the 2 living areas and many places to curl up and read were great. The game room was great, and it had a fan, so we did not have to open the garage door like many neighbors.

The home was certainly adequately equppied, but not overly so. For example, no salad bowl, no placemats, no DVDs, one PS2 game, only 1 phone, 1 ceiling fan, etc. Not necessities by any means, but nice to have. There was a crib in our master bedroom, also a stroller and high chair in the garage. (My father in law eyed the crib and said, "Are you guys trying to tell us something?") Some pool toys were provided - some goggles, inflatable whale and alligator, and a few others. I think they could do with more towels... we were doing wash almost every night. Wireless was free but very spotty -- this was my biggest annoyance as I was trying to stay in touch with work while in Florida. I wonder if it had to do with construction? The free phone calls to anywhere in the world (except, puzzlingly, Honduras) were great.

We paid $140 a night inclusive of taxes and pool heat. At the time we booked, the owners' calendars for both homes were pretty empty. I checked recently for a friend and see they have filled quite a bit. I notice the owner has raised the deposit amount and security deposit amount too.

The townhomes are lovely at WH (we drove around and peeked inside), but I found this 6 bedroom home the same or only slightly more pricewise than those. Windsor Hills Reserve building (the construction seen in the above photo) is ongoing, and an absolutely enormous space has been cleared for new single family homes with tiled roofs, so I would think it is still possible to find new home owners wiling to discount.

The trip to WDW property took 5 minutes, all back roads. Never hit traffic once. Take a left out of WH, take a left at Westgate Villas, take a right before the booth, go straight acorss 192 on Entry Point Road which becomes Sherberth. Take a right onto Osceola at the first light. For Universal, go right on 192 (East), get on I-4 East, takes about 15 minutes - easy! Trip from airport was about 20-30 mins, same as to WDW.

You can also get to a supermarket (Winn Dixie at Formosa Gardens) within 2 minutes, and a much better larger Publix (at Orange Lakes) is about 5 minutes away, if you head West on 192. 192 is chain restaurant heaven (or H E double hockey sticks, depending on your view). I cannot think of a chain rest. that is NOT within 5 minutes' drive.

We really liked WH, especially the clubhouse and resort "atmo". I think it is worth paying a bit more for this "feel" than developments located nearby. However, we only used the big pool a couple of times, and never used the gym or movie theater or arcade or transportation to the parks. So our feeling right now is that we would definitely return, but as long as we are interested in pool homes (as opposed to condos or townhomes, which are a different story), we would not pay anything crazy to stay there over its neighbors (Emerald Island, Oak Island, Windsor Palms, etc.). The main things for us are the home, the price, the owner and MC, and the distance to the parks.

(Note: There is construction on 192 east of Windsor Hills which at certain times of the day created real problems. Until that is completed, I recommend avoiding going east if at all possible on 192, and taking the Sherberth road to all WDW parks.)

I hope this review can help prospective renters. This is our third villa experience (we stayed in Emerald Island, in Emerald Footprints and The Bonita, the last two years) and all have been just wonderful.

We spent a few hours yesterday at AKL dining and shopping and for five minutes we thought, "let's stay here next year". But by the time we drove back through the lovely palm lined Windsor Hills entrance 5 minutes away, stopped to pick up the New York Times they were holding for us at the sundry shop, walked into "our" cool quiet house, Grandma sank into the couch for a snooze, kids were in the pool in 5 seconds flat, and I poured Diet Coke with lemon and watched them as I read, we changed our minds!

Any other questions about our stay? Please don't hesitate to ask!
Your review is great. Well the review is making us try this beautiful place. I would love to try it given a chance later this year

PrincessBelle39
02-05-2009, 02:17 PM
I said in a post above back in May that I would rent again from this owner. Well we have. We are booked in Gigha for September/October. I'm so excited. Its way more than we need as there are only 4 of us this time as opposed to 11 last time. But the pool and hottub were fantastic and I loved being so close to the playground with the kids. It was a nice walk to the clubhouse as well. Based on our last experience, we just couldn't resist going back, especially for the price.

largefamily
01-08-2011, 10:39 AM
Any one stay at the Gigha recently? We are considering using it for our upcoming visit.

PrincessBelle39
02-26-2011, 05:17 PM
Our last stay was September/October 2009. We are in the process of planning for August 2012 and based on our last stay will be contacting the owner again.