It pays to be a Villa fan ... FANCY A FAMILY BREAK IN FLORIDA THAT'S CHEAPER AND BETTER THAN A HOTEL? GILL WILLIAMS PICKS HER TOP DOZEN HOLIDAY HOMES.
WHY cram the family into a tiny hotel room when you could take over a whole villa with its own pool for the same money?
Although you might associate them more with Spain, it's around Orlando in Florida where some of the finest family villas can be found. There are 26,000 holiday homes in gated communities in the area, many with their own bars, restaurants, spas and shops.
They are all within screaming earshot of the big theme parks. And, as you get almost two dollars to the pound, it's fantastic value when you get there...
1. CALABAY PARC
HIKING and biking trails wind through the woodland around Calabay Parc yet you're only a 20-minute drive south-west from Walt Disney World Resort. You're also on the doorstep of the Greg Norman-designed Champions Gate golf course. Calabay is an estate lined with four-and five-bedroom houses, each with en suites, posh kitchens and private pools. It's five minutes away from bars and restaurants if you get bored with barbecues.
HOW MUCH? A week's rental through Travel City Direct costs around pounds 550pp when eight share, based on flights departing the UK August 28. Price excludes pool heating but who needs that in mid-summer? Go to www.travelcitydirect.com or call 0871 911 2415.
2. LAKE BERKLEY, KISSIMMEE
SUNBATHE on a sandy beach miles from the coast when you take over a holiday home at Lake Berkley. The gated estate in Kissimmee is just a few minutes' drive from Walt Disney World Resort. The villas are built around a large, spring-fed lake with its own beach. Each holiday home has a private heated pool (so you're not restricted to midsummer) and a deck with lounge chairs.
HOW MUCH? A week's rental next month costs around pounds 575 per week through www.villasfortravel.com.
3. FLORIDA LILLY'S PAD
A DISNEY-themed kids' bedroom and games room make Florida Lilly's Pad a family favourite. The villa sleeps 10, so it works well for extended families. There's a covered swimming pool to cool off after a day at the parks - and you're only 15 minutes from Disney World and 25 minutes from Universal Studios and SeaWorld. The estate has a clubhouse with a gym, tennis and volleyball courts as well as a play area for tots.
HOW MUCH?A week's rental between September 4 and November 6 costs around pounds 625 (pounds 62.50pp based on 10 sharing), extra nights pounds 85. Midsummer price goes up to around pounds 690per week and pounds 95 per night. Go to www.holidaylettings.co.uk/rentals/kiss immee/40474
CHALLENGE the kids to a few rounds on the putting green when you take the family for a holiday at the Solana resort. It's a short hop down Highway 27 from the theme parks and has a games room, shopping arcade, gym and communal pools. Each four bed villa also has its own large swimming pool. They sleep eight in four bedrooms with two bathrooms.
HOW MUCH? A week's rental from August 21 costs around pounds 845 (pounds 150 pp if eight stay) or buy a package including flights for around pounds 1100pp. Book through www.jamesvillas.co.uk
5. SILVER POOL VILLA
A SUPERSIZE American fridge is waiting to be packed with sodas and all the trimmings for a barbecue when you stay at the family-friendly Silver Pool Villa. It's within splashing distance of SeaWorld. A big living room has an enormous telly and there's a private pool with sundeck.
There's a master bedroom with en suite and two other bedrooms for the kids.
The total price for a family of four (two kids up to 11 years) for two weeks in a three-bedroom villa with flights from Gatwick with BA and two weeks' car hire is be a Villa fan ... be a Villa fan ... Villas at Emerald Isle have private pools The five-bed villas at Bass Lakes sleep 12 Southern Dunes is set within a golf course Windsor Park villas are set in woodland around pounds 3,500. Book through Premier Holidays on www.premierholidays.co.uk.
6. CRYSTAL PALM, WATERSONG
ELEVEN friends or family can take over the lakeside Crystal Palm in the gated Watersong community. Each villa has its own 30-foot pool and guests have free use of Watersong's internet cafe, clubhouse, gym, community pool and spa and children's play area. The villa also has free wireless broadband and telly in all five bedrooms. It's also only 15 minutes from Disney World.
HOW MUCH? A week's rental costs from pounds 630 and a week high season from Aug 17 costs pounds 840 through www.holidaylets.net /prop/30545 Four-bed villas at Aviana have all mod cons
7. WINDSOR HILLS, KISSIM M EE
A PRIVATE water park with fountains, waterslides and to ddler pool takes Windsor Hills Resort villas way out of the ordinary. There's also a clubhouse with its own movie theatre. The villa complex is three miles from the theme parks. Each home has 2 bedrooms and a private pool.
HOW MUCH ?
Bon Voyage have a week's holiday in a two-bed villa with BA flights to Orlando, a hire car with satnav for around pounds 840 for adults and pounds 360 per child aged two to 11. The price is for holidays taken between August 22 and October 31. Go to www.bon-voyage.co.uk
8. EMER ALD ISLE
THIS is movie-set America, with avenues of palm trees, ornate fountains and grass as smooth as a billiard table. When you stay at one of these villas, you get to use the clubhouse which has shops, cafe, spa, tennis courts and a swimming pool. Each villa has its own pool. They sleep 10 in five be drooms with three bathrooms.
A week's rental costs around pounds 900 for a week (pounds 90 pp if 10 stay) from August 28. Go to www.jamesvillas.co.uk
9. BASS LAK ES, KISSIMMEE
FORGET the car and walk to bars and restaurants in Kissimmee when you stay at Bass Lake s, a development of five bedroom villas. Each sleeps up to 12, making them a good bet for extended families.
The estate has its own playground, a picnic area and fishing lake. And each house has a private pool. Fancy a bargain? Walk to nearby Super Wal-Mart store.
A week's rental next month costs around pounds 730 (pounds 73pp when 10 share) through villasfortravel.com
10. SOUTHERN DUNES, HAINES CITY
COMBINE the theme parks with a golfing holiday when you stay at South Dunes, a gate dcommunity within a championship golf course. The estate is south of Walt Disney World within easy reach of the Interstate 4 highway, which leads to all the big attractions. Each house has a private pool and there's a restaurant and bar within the complex. A 24-hour super-market is just a few minutes' walk from the gates.
A week's rental next month costs around pounds 500. Go to www.villas for travel.com
11. WINDSOR PARK, REMINGTON
YOU'RE ONLY 20 minutes from the Disney parks yet hidden behind oak tree woodland when you stay at Remington, a leafy estate in Central Florida. The three bedroom Windsor Park house has its own pool and there's also a golf cour se, community pool, gym, tennis courts and football pitches, making this a good choice for families with energetic kids. Shops are five minutes away.
pounds 500 for seven nights in August through www.villasfortravel.com
12. AVIANA, KISSIMMEE
YOUR own spa and swimming pools come with the keys when you check in to holiday homes at the Aviana resort. The four-bed villas have walls of home enter tainment. There's a resort clubhouse wi th a games room, volleyball courts and shopping arcade.
The villa sleeps eight in four bedrooms with two bathrooms and costs around pounds 960 for a week from September 2 (just under pounds 120pp). A package holiday with flights from Gatwick based on only four sharing costs pounds 1,150pp through www.jamesvillas.co.uk
What's the deal?
GETTING THERE: A return economy fare to Orlando for travel from August 18 until October 31 starts from pounds 529 including tax with www.virgin-atlantic.com. Return London-Orlando flights on BA start from pounds 415.
INFO: Go to www.orlandoinfo.com or call 0800 018 67 60 to order a free holiday planning kit.
1 Calabay Park is ideal for biking and hiking; 2 Lake Berkley has its own inland beach; 3 Lilly's Pad villas sleep up to 10 people; 4 Solana resort is close to the theme parks; 5 Silver Pool Villa is perfect for a big family; 6 Crystal Palm villas are in a gated community; 7 Windsor Hills has its own water park; 8 Villas at Emerald Isle have private pools; 9 The five-bed villas at Bass Lakes sleep 12; 10 Southern Dunes is set within a golf course; 11 Windsor Park villas are set in woodland; 12Four-bed villas at Aviana have all mod cons
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|Publication:||Sunday Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jul 27, 2008|
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