So you’ve decided to take the family on a trip to the US, and then you are looking at what type of accommodation to choose? Well, let me walk you through in more detail on why a private villa is better than a hotel when going on holiday to Orlando Florida. I’ve done both options of villa and hotel over the years, and love both of them for different reasons. Of course, many people visiting Florida are going to experience the theme parks that made the area of Orlando so famous. You can find an abundance of villas close by. So what I wanted to do here is give you some of my reasons a villa works better, and then I can look at hotels and particularly on-site theme park resort hotels and why they would be the best way to go.
This is the villa we stayed in Florida last month
To give you some background, we’ve been to Florida 12 times now, once before kids which was our honeymoon where we went to three different US states. We have also travelled to lots of different areas of Florida including Miami, Daytona Beach, Coconut Grove, Jacksonville and Cape Coral. Over the years we’ve stayed in hotels and apartments in Florida (including Disney Resorts) as well as villas. I do feel I have a good feel for what the advantages are for each of these options.
Now of course as with anything you could blow your budget when deciding on accommodation. What I can confirm though is when you are looking at an average hotel and an average villa, you will save money. In my experience, a villa would be around half of the price.
This, therefore, may leave you with more funds to pay for a longer stay, and its one of the reasons we prefer (if we can) to stay for more than 2 weeks. It also means, because a villa has usually a really well-equiped kitchen, you get the experience of food shopping, which is one of the things we love to do, as it’s so different to the UK. So instead of eating out all of the time, you can cook meals to enjoy at home. Even making snacks if you are out all day, to keep costs down.
Room To Spread Out
Now even if you think ‘well will be out all day, why would we need space?’ I guarantee you a hotel room can feel snug with a family with suitcases, clothing, toiletries and items purchased whilst on holiday. It just does. A villa, gives you options. Walk-in wardrobes, look I may not be a Kardashian, but I can pretend whilst I’m on vaycay.
Seperate bedrooms, games rooms, or gyms, and room to have lazy days in the villa, whether that’s reading, sunbathing, swimming in the pool or watching HGTV and Real Housewives. There’s enough room to do all of these things, having the kind of chill-out time YOU want.
You don’t have to share a bed, or room with the children. Even though American beds are surprisingly large, I get way better sleep if I’m not in the room with a fidgeting toddler, who decides to starfish in the night, leaving me to seek the bath as a retreat in the middle of the night.
There is usually at least two bathrooms too, which might seem like a small thing, but make life so much easier when you all want to get ready at the same time, or rinse off after the pool.
Of course, a shared pool is fun and gives your child options to make friends and play games with them. However, having a pool at the home you are staying in, is honestly such a fantastic opportunity to be together as a family. I must admit when it comes to the pool, I tend to be the one taking the photographs and watching purely because I struggle with the heat and sun outside. As the observer though it’s just incredible watching my children as they’ve have grown up from toddler to young adult swimming and messing around in the water. There is also generally in Florida a screened lanai surrounding the pool, which are amazing at keeping the bugs out of the home or on you as you sit and read or swim too.
When it comes to self-catering you may just think about saving money, and yes with some careful planning you can save a lot of money. You can buy toiletries and food including drinks and snacks. American supermarkets do vary a lot in price though I’ve found. Walmart and Target are more reasonable, slightly more expensive is Publix and the most expensive that we’ve been to is Wholefoods. I haven’t ever been to an America Aldi or Trader Joes but apparently they are also good affordable options. Things are of course different for example some places have bag packers as you check out. There are lots of things that come in much larger packs when I say larger they are HUGE! Also in the Walmart Supercenters, you can honestly get some of the strangest things from kayaks and motorboats to the usual groceries and everything in between. If I could afford to I would shop mostly at Wholefoods which has lots of organic and interesting ranges and seems to be the ablest to offer healthier food ranges. However, the price you pay for that is a little rich. A lot of that though is because of the pounds exchange rate.
If you are like me and dread coming home and having to wash loads and loads of laundry, then choose a villa with a laundry. We’ve never stayed in one without these facilities. They are either a small cupboard with washer and drier or rooms even garages with washing and drying facilities. I love the American top loader washing machines and we wash towels, swimwear and clothing throughout our stay, as this is what we prefer. I make sure we go back with the minimal amount to do once home. If you roll everything in your case, you don’t even need to iron anything. We’ve recently found that a quick trip to the Dollar Tree of all places we picked up all of the things we needed like laundry sheets etc, as again in the supermarket’s things like detergent comes in really big packs that you’d never get full use out of. Also at Dollar Tree are cleaning products like dishwasher tablets, just in case, you haven’t been left any by the owner.
If you are in a gated community, you generally do get things like a gym, maybe a small cinema, snackbars and BBQ area and make use of these if you have them. I do think its all part of the experience. Sometimes gated communities in the Orlando area have buses to get to the parks.
Whilst we visited Orlando we noticed that there are more and more big resorts with Villas seems to be popping up, with lots of shops and restaurants. Go visit Margaritaville in the area for example.
So for me, a really relaxing experience is one that takes advantage of a villa. It does give you a very different feel compared to staying in a hotel or resort and does mean you usually will need to hire a car to get out and about. However, don’t let that put you off. It can also be perfect if you are wanting to visit as a large group of friends or family, sharing the cost.
I do hope you enjoyed this post, if you would like to read more of my posts on Florida and Orlando then here’s a list of posts I’ve written :