Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa – Hotel Review

Westgate Lakes is a resort located just west of International Drive and close to all the major attractions. If you are looking for a place to stay in the Orlando area, our hotel series dives into area hotels and analyzes the most important aspects of a guest’s stay.

About the Hotel

Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa features suite style rooms, a large lake, and many amenities right near the heart of it all (International Drive). This hotel is also a timeshare resort, allowing guests to save on their resort stay and/or theme park tickets if they are willing to sit through a free breakfast and 90 minute presentation (with a tour of the grounds included). The timeshare presentation is completely optional and guests can book a room like any standard hotel online if they choose to opt out.

Amenities for this resort include a fitness center, pools, hot tubs, mini golf, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, boat/kayak rentals, bicycle rentals, game room, fire pit, business center, playground, theme park shuttle, and poolside bars. An onsite water park is currently under construction.

Onsite, there is also a marketplace for guests to purchase from a large assortment of grocery and personal products such as refrigerated goods, snacks, candy, breakfast items, souvenirs, household items, personal care items, and so much more.

Lastly, this hotel features 3 restaurants, a deli, and room service. Onsite restaurants and room service have a wide array of food, including pizza, burgers, salads, steaks, sandwiches, ice cream, smoothies, baked goods, and Starbucks coffee.

Rooms

There are multiple styles and sizes of rooms, from the standard villa design to the deluxe villa design. Options to book a studio size all the way to a 3 bedroom suite are an option. All rooms have a pull-out couch, so if you need some space for the kids or other guests to sleep, but want to save some money by not upgrading to a 2 bedroom, keep that in mind!

The deluxe villa is only offered for the 1 bedroom size (as well as a standard villa). The difference between the 1 bedroom standard and deluxe is the size and kitchen. The deluxe villa is double the square footage, and has a full-size kitchen and jetted tub, whereas the standard villa has a kitchenette (albeit a larger version than most hotels) and shower only. In the kitchen of the standard villa, there is a full size fridge, hot plate, dishwasher, and microwave – whereas the deluxe has a full size stove/oven and more counter space. The studio villa has a miniature kitchenette with a mini-fridge, microwave, and dishwasher. All the 2+ bedroom villas have full size kitchens.

Each room has a patio or balcony, dvd player, dishware, hairdryer, safe, iron/ironing board, wifi access, and central heating/air. Some rooms also have a wet bar, but this depends on which building you are in and what size room you booked. It can be found in some 1 bedroom deluxe & 2 bedroom standard villas, but not all. It comes standard in the 3-4 bedroom villas. Also, the largest villas can sleep up to 12 people!

Other Important Information

Rates generally start at $119+/night (excluding taxes and resort fees), but you can often find deals on their website for less. Resort fees are typically $12.99/night. The room price does vary depending on the time of year, but you can often get a discount by booking early (advanced purchase discount) or being a FL/GA resident, government/military employee, AAA member, or senior citizen. The cheapest I have seen a room is the studio villa for $95/night during off season with the advanced purchase discount.

Parking onsite is free. Sometimes parking can be a bit of a hassle during peak seasons, but a parking garage was constructed in the center of the property to help alleviate that issue. The only downfall is that the property is large, so walking from the centrally located parking garage to the resort buildings at the very end of the property can be quite a trek.

However, when checking into the property, there are only a few check-in parking spaces available – most of which tend to be taken by other guests checking in, so you may be forced to utilize the valet parking. It is free of charge, but a tip is encouraged. The parking garage is located past the guard gate, so it is only available after you have checked in and received your parking pass (which will be displayed on your dash to gain access and park onsite).

You can purchase attraction tickets near the check-in area as well. They have tickets for Universal Studios, Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens (Tampa), Legoland, and all the major water parks in the area.

Lastly, but certainly one of the most important things to mention, Westgate Lakes is located in a prime location for Orlando. It is only a 10-15 minute drive to Universal Studios and Walt Disney World (depending on traffic) and 10 minutes to International Drive. There is also a Walmart 5 minutes down the road.

Westgate Lakes also offers a park shuttle free of charge as well & it goes to all the major theme parks. It is located within minutes of Universal, Disney, and Sea World.

Review

We love the apartment style rooms, full size kitchen, and jetted tub of the 1 bedroom deluxe or 2+ bedroom standard villas. While we did stay in a studio villa, we didn’t find it as nice as the larger villas which have tiled floors in all areas except the bedrooms (the studio had carpet except in wet areas). It seemed like the studio villa was due for a renovation. With the prices being comparable (or less) than park-specific hotels, it’s hard not to choose staying here time and time again. Considering this resort has a shuttle to take guests to the area theme parks, it seems to be a better deal than staying onsite in our opinion. Also, the beds are very comfortable!

A word of caution – since this also acts as a timeshare resort, they will offer you a free breakfast and presentation shortly after you check in. Once checked in, they will hand you off to someone who will escort you to a nearby desk where they try to sign you up for this breakfast/presentation. Just tell them you are not interested (or that you are from a nearby area – Tampa, St Pete, etc.) and they’ll send you on your way with a welcome packet. They do this to every guest at check-in & are primarily looking for guests from out of town – so by saying you’re from nearby, it’s clear that you wouldn’t benefit from the presentation. It’s a small inconvenience, but this resort is worth the extra minute or two of inconvenience.

A side note about that presentation (for which we have sat through), you can save money off your stay or off park tickets. *You do have to meet a minimum income requirement to sit through this presentation. We ended up getting each park ticket half off at Universal Studios because we had already paid for a nearby hotel – and personally, it wasn’t worth the time for such little savings in our opinion (as we were only there for a weekend). The presentation will most likely run over 90 minutes (ours ran over 2 hours before we finally got tired of it and told them we were leaving). The free breakfast was an abysmal looking buffet with not much selection (and it was cold when we had it).

However, towards the very end, we were offered a deep discount to stay at their resort for a week so we could try them out first at a later time (and they offer a monthly payment option on this as well). We decided to take them up on the offer & we booked it for several months later. They did upgrade us to a 2 bedroom villa upon check-in & it was very nice (but much too large for just 2 people).

They did require that we meet one more time with them as they try to (again) sell us on the timeshare, but we were in-and-out in about 30 minutes because we didn’t have to do the entire presentation again. It was more of them showcasing what they have available and any deals they could offer if you signed up. If they tell you that you are required to sign a paper to deny the offer and make you wait for this form during that appointment, this is false. They made us wait after we declined the timeshare for this elusive form, which turned out to be another person quickly trying one last time to sell us on a timeshare. After you deny them, you are free to go. So if you are waiting for this “form,” feel free to leave at that point as this is just a tactic for the manager to sell you one last time.

But as mentioned earlier, if you use this resort like any other hotel and deny the breakfast/presentation during the check-in process, the timeshare aspect does not exist and it works like any regular resort. The amount of amenities, the size of the rooms, and the proximity to the major attractions make this a great resort that we recommend.

Interested in booking a room? Make a reservation at Westgate Lakes.


Photos courtesy of Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa.


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