Florida Guide > Accommodation
We're going to Florida, where shall we stay? (Part 2)
For our second trip to Florida although there were only four of us, Mum, Dad and 2 kids aged 10 and 12 we decided that we needed more space than we could get in either a hotel room or suite so we decided to book a three bedroom villa. We booked through a tour operator which did involve us paying a hefty “under occupancy” supplement but the home we were allocated was beautiful. It was well maintained, beautifully appointed and a credit to the owners and management company. We had a fantastic holiday and decided that in the future all our holidays would be spent in villas rather than cramped hotel rooms.
When the time came to book the following year we went back to our local travel agent and explained that we would like to stay in the home we had rented the previous summer. This is where the problems started. The travel agent contacted the tour operator and explained the situation, even though we had the address they said they were unable to take reservations for a particular house, all homes were allocated on arrival. They assured us that all their homes were of the same high standard and we might even find out that we preferred the home we were allocated this year to the one we stayed in last year.
We decided to go for it, it would be no different from the year before, we would know which area we were staying in before we left but we would be given the details of the actual property when we arrived in Orlando. Well we finally arrived and collected our envelope with the directions to our villa from the tour rep. As she handed it to me she announced “we’ve run out of three bedroom homes so you’re in luck, you’ve been upgraded to a four bedroom”.
When we arrived at the villa it was huge, we couldn’t wait to get inside and explore. The house was large and did have four bedrooms and a pool but I don’t think any of us felt as though we were lucky to have been “upgraded” because it was very basic, there were none of the little extras we had found in the previous home just the bare essentials. The kitchen was poorly equipped and there was barely enough crockery for the four of us let alone the ten people this home was supposed to sleep. The pool furniture was sparse and two of the sun beds were actually broken so we couldn’t use them. Were we disappointed? Definitely! Did it spoil our holiday? Yes initially, although after a few days we got used to it but we couldn’t help comparing it to the previous home.
This experience taught us a very valuable lesson, although we booked exactly the same package from the same brochure for our second villa holiday as for our first what we actually got in reality were two completely different ecperiences in every respect. What would we do for the following year? We still wanted to stay in a villa but we weren’t willing to take a gamble on the home not being up to the standard we wanted. We decided to go it alone and book a home directly with the owner. To find out what happened see We're going to Florida, where shall we stay? (Part 3)
Author: Steve and Julie Roach
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