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Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa seems to be a great family friend resort located within 20-30 minutes of all major Orlando attractions. It’s an all-suite hotel with full kitchen in each unit and plenty of space to spread out. There’s even a pirate ship in the pool. Rates in the offseason can be as low as $165 for a two-bedroom suite with a low $13 resort fee. But appearances can be deceiving. This property suffers from a severe lack of cleanliness and poor customer service. For those reasons, we will never stay there again, and we would never recommend it to our friends.
We stayed at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa in January 2018. Our room was a two-bedroom suite with two bathrooms, kitchen, dining area, living room with sleeper sofa, stacked washer/dryer, and balcony. There was plenty of storage throughout the suite including a large walk-in closet in the master bathroom, a large closet in the second bedroom, and a linen closet in the second bathroom. There was even a safe large enough to fit a laptop. However, there was little storage for food in the kitchen, and there was very little room to hang towels in the master bathroom.
At first, we were given room 2403. As soon as we walked through the door, we knew we could not stay in that room for the duration of our vacation. We’re generally not very picky. We have never asked to change rooms at a hotel before, but that room was too dirty. Everything was old, dingy, and covered in stains including the couch, the curtains, and the bathroom grout. Additionally, there were water stains on the kitchen counters and dried food on the knives in the knife block. When we tried calling the front desk to change rooms, we found both phones in the room were dead. Instead, we called the front desk from a cell phone and asked to be moved to another room.
Two maintenance workers brought new keys a few minutes later. The second room was 2303. It was directly below 2403. When we opened the door to 2303, the smell of cleaning products filled the air. A good sign, right? Wrong. Room 2303 appeared to be just as dirty as 2403. We refused to stay in that room either.
Finally, we were moved to room 5803 in building 5. According to the maintenance workers, this was their newest building. As soon as we walked into the room, we recognized this as the kind of room featured on their website and in other bloggers’ reviews. Apparently, the key to Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa is obtaining a room in building 5.
This room was configured the same as the first two but had clearly been updated or recently built. It also had a view overlooking the pool. While we stayed in this room for the duration of our vacation, we still observed a lot of the same problems as our first two rooms like stains on the couch and dirty grout. Plus, we noticed a few more problems like noisy pipes and slow drains. Also, the washing machine had a ring of rust around the inside, and the dishwasher was held together by exposed screws.
The worst thing about this room was the amount of dust and debris that spewed out of the jetted tub in the master bathroom when the jets were turned on while we were bathing our toddler. It was disgusting. Not only did we have to immediately remove our son from the tub, but we also had to clean it before anyone could use it again. The second most disturbing thing about this room was the mysterious patch of sticky carpet in the living room near the (working) telephone. I don’t even want to imagine the source, but we learned to keep on socks or shoes at all. That’s pretty difficult for a toddler.
I love to sleep. It’s my favorite hobby. This hotel was guilty of my number one hotel room pet peeve: No blackout curtains in the bedrooms. Both bedrooms had blinds which let in light from the pool at night and light from the early morning Florida sun. This made it nearly impossible to fall asleep or to sleep-in. Strangely, there were curtains in the living room so maybe we would have been better off on the sofa sleeper.
We spent most of our time at theme parks, so we didn’t get to enjoy all the amenities like the day spa or fitness center. On one occasion, we used the 24-hour convenience store, which had a sufficient selection necessities and groceries. However, the nearby RaceTrac gas station was better and cheaper.
We spent one morning enjoying the pool. It was January, so the water was cold, but it was tolerable for a short period of time so long as you stayed in the sun. The pirate ship has a water slide down the middle for taller children. It was a very neat pool for kids. If the weather was warmer, we probably would have spent more time in the pool and less time in our dirty room. There were also three hot tubs surrounding the pool. This was a great way to relax before or after a long day at the theme parks especially since relaxing in the jetted tub in our room was out of the question.
Wi-Fi was included with the resort fee. It was pretty fast, and the signal was reliable. We were even able to stream Netflix on it. There did not appear to be any restrictions on the number of devices that you could connect.
We booked 10 nights in a two-bedroom, standard view suite using Chase Ultimate Rewards points. That was probably our first mistake. It always seems that when a reservation is made with points, properties assign those bookings their worst rooms. Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa was no exception. Although we booked 10 nights, we only slept there for 9 nights. We used the extra night to stay in the room after the normal checkout time since our flight home did not leave until 7pm. Our room cost 110,044 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for 10 nights. That’s about $1650 for the stay or $165 per night. Our room in building 5 was a pool view so they must have upgraded us because we complained about the first two rooms.
There were three dining options at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa: Frankie Farrell’s Irish Pub & Grille, Lani’s Luau Poolside Bar & Grille, and Pizza Hut Cafe Express. We ordered dinner from Frankie Farrell’s once. The food was standard pub food, but it was good, and it was delivered to our room quickly. We also noticed that Lani’s Luau had very reasonably priced breakfast, although we never tried it ourselves. We also didn’t try Pizza Hut, but apparently, they deliver poolside and to your room which is nice.
Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa is located at 8113 Resort Village Drive in Orlando, Florida about halfway between Osceola Parkway and World Center Drive. It’s about 30-40 minutes southwest of the Orlando International Airport (MCO) and it’s about 10-30 minutes south/east of Disney Springs, Disney World, Sea World and Universal Studios. We found it to be very convenient to all those theme parks.
Parking for two vehicles was included in the resort fee. However, there was not enough space to accommodate all guests. On most occasions, if we arrived late, we had to park on an unpaved gravel lot. You’d think the hotel would realize this and pave that area, but they have not.
The resort fee was about $13 per night. This included Wi-Fi, parking, pool towels, access to the fitness room and theme park shuttle, and free local calls. It was a reasonable fee for the included amenities. However, the theme park shuttle only ran at certain times in the morning and evening. This is not very convenient if you like to hit the theme parks early and go back to your room for a break in the middle of the day.
In addition to cleanliness, this resort seriously lacked quality customer service. Check-in took a lot longer than it needed to and once we had our room keys, we had to visit a separate desk to obtain the Wi Fi password. It turns out that this is a timeshare property. It’s part of the staySky vacation club. They don’t push a timeshare pitch on you but forcing you to visit the staySky desk appeared to be some half-hearted attempt to sign you up for a presentation. It was silly and unnecessary. Most hotels write that information on the room key holder.
The two maintenance workers who helped us change rooms were very friendly and understanding. They even got a luggage cart and moved our luggage between building 2 and building 5 for us. If we only had to deal with these guys, we’d rate the customer service very high.
When calling to schedule maid service, they refused to give us an estimate of when the cleaning would occur. Instead, we were simply told it would happen sometime between 9am-5pm. An option to select morning or afternoon would have been sufficient. The woman who took our request for maid service was incredibly rude, and she did not have a manager call us back despite repeated requests. However, the full cleaning was very well done. If the property was cleaned like that every day, I doubt they would have so many issues. (All photographs in this post were taken after that cleaning.)
Finally, the pool staff was very inattentive. They didn’t have a lifeguard, but they did have someone who was supposed to monitor the pool slide. This person was on his phone the entire time.
Suitable for Families? No
While the amount of space in our two-bedroom suite was great, there were too many safety issues for me to recommend this property to other families. In all three rooms, the furniture was peeling. Luckily, our son is past that phase where he sticks everything in his mouth, otherwise, this would have been a serious issue.
In each bedroom and in the living room, the TVs were located on a large dresser or TV stand. None of them were anchored to the wall. I almost pulled one down on myself. Using wall anchors to secure the furniture or wall mounting the TVs would be pretty easy and would make it a more family friendly property.
There were also two unlocked closets in the unit that should be locked. One houses the water heater and the other the furnace. Again, it would be simple to fix this issue by putting locks on these doors and only allowing access by maintenance workers. It would help keep inquisitive little hands out of danger.
Final Thoughts on Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa
A lot of the problems at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa were probably from overuse. Since this is an extended vacation stay resort, maid service is not provided daily. That leaves a lot of time for dust and dirt to accumulate between cleanings. But some of these problems have simple solutions like locking maintenance closets, wall anchoring furniture, and installing blackout curtains. Until these issues are fixed, it’s just not a great place for families especially with young kids.
Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa was the worst part of our Orlando vacation. We would have easily given up all the space and amenities for a simple, clean hotel room. Luckily, we spent so much time at theme parks that we were able to stand sleeping in that room for 9 nights, but it’s not someplace we would return. There are so many other properties in the Orlando area that you shouldn’t waste your time or money on a stay at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa.
For other ways to save money on an Orlando vacation, check out How to Save Money on a Disney World Vacation with Points & Miles.
For highlights from our recent trip to Orlando, check out these posts: