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!