This home was perfect for our group! The community was quiet as well as no road noise. The home was very clean and super cozey! Enjoyed the pool and relaxing in the sun! We had everything we needed in this home. Brand new sleeper sofa & chair was a nice touch to the living room too! The kids enjoyed the game room. We would definitely recommend this house as well as the management, Southern Dream Vacation Rentals. Shawna was very helpful and made sure we had a perfect stay.
I am very torn upon writing this review as we loved this house and had a wonderful 4 week stay. But, dealing with Shawna from Southern Dreams Property Management and her dishonest ways really stained our memories of this vacation. I will get into that more later in this review. First, I will start with the positives of our experience at this home. There were 4 of us staying in the house; myself, my husband, and our 2 children (10 and 13). My 73 year old parents joined us for the final week. Since we stayed there for 4 weeks, we probably saw more of the house than the average renter.
This house is very nice and in a great subdivision. We never heard any street noise, or noise from neighbors during our stay. We actually spoke with the next door neighbors several times and they were very friendly (they even invited us into their home!). High Grove is only 18 minutes from Disney and it's in a very quiet area. The staff in the clubhouse is so friendly and helpful. Vanessa at the clubhouse even let us borrow a scanner/printer when we needed one! She was wonderful and we became friends throughout our stay. The workout room is really nice and well equipped. We used it daily. The miniature golf is nicely maintained and fun, also! We didn't use the arcade or the pool at the clubhouse.
The home was pretty clean when we checked in. The walls were freshly painted and the carpet was new. There was also new ceramic tile on the 1st floor. There are 25 fake plants around the house. Yes, TWENTY- FIVE. The only issues we noticed were lots of dust on the ceilings and around the vents. There was also some mildew in the master bath shower. Nothing that was too bad, though. There was also quite a bit of plastic and garbage in the yard. Besides that, it was one of the cleaner rental homes we've stayed in. My husband spent a few hours cleaning up the garbage in the yard and tidying up the hoses and such as that is the kind of guy he is. There was a broken chair at the dining room table upon arrival. I e-mailed Shawna about this and she replied that she already knew about it and that they would fix it after we left. I wasn't happy that a broken chair was left at the glass table on purpose, but I did not say anything to her about that. We were also disappointed that we wouldn't all be able to sit at the dining room table together.
The beds in the home have clean mattresses and they look fairly new. They are reasonably comfortable. But, they seem to be a cheap brand and they were already dipping quite a bit on the edges and lumpy in spots. There were plenty of extra pillows and blankets available in the closets around the home. There were also plenty of towels, hand towels, and pool towels available. The master bedroom and bathroom are huge! The Frozen bedroom and the Star Wars bedrooms are pretty tiny. We didn't use these rooms during our stay. When we arrived, there was no lock on the master bedroom door, however the master bedroom closet had a lock on it. My husband exchanged the doorknobs on these doors to correct this error (and we informed the property manager of this exchange). All of the bedrooms and the 3 full baths are upstairs. The only bathroom downstairs is a 1/2 bath.
The pool was awesome!! We paid extra for pool heat and it was well worth it. The hot tub needs to be turned on about an hour before you get in if you want it to be hot (the controls are to the left of the sliding glass door). Otherwise, it's a little bit cooler than the pool. We spent a lot of time out by the pool. There are many PVC pipe chairs out there, and a round table.
The kitchen has lots of dishes, mugs, cups, glasses, and silverware. There is a Keurig coffee pot. We prefer a regular coffee pot. So, we purchased one and left it at the home for future guests. It didn't have very many pots and pans, if you plan on cooking. There are no baking sheets and the pans that are available were burned and scratched upon our arrival. The blender doesn't work. All of the appliances are yellowed and worn and should probably be replaced, especially the dishwasher and the refrigerator (it lets off a constant high pitched sound). The island in the kitchen isn't attached and the countertop on the island didn't appear to be attached. The sink drain (or perhaps the garbage disposal) leaked and I'm sure they knew about this as they had an absorbent pad below to catch the water. These aren't things that I brought up to the property manager as she didn't seem very happy when we told her about the broken chair.
We enjoyed playing pool and ping pong in the garage. The air hockey table is a little worse for wear and it doesn't always work properly. But, it was still fun to play with. The stroller that is out in the garage appeared to be broken. We didn't try to use it as our kids are way too old for strollers. But, don't count on having one available. There are also no toys, pool toys, or games (besides one adult board game) available. The garage area was clean and there were fun decorations out there.
Now, for the not so good part. Shawna was downright lovely every time I spoke to her previous to checking in to the house. But, each time I had to contact her about a problem with the house, she was unhelpful and sometimes downright nasty. The worst was when we told her that the DVD players in the house didn't work. These were quite old DVD players (not smart players, or blu rays, but standard bulky dvd players). One wouldn't work at all and the other would work for a few moments and then start to skip. Shawna replied to my e-mail that they worked when we arrived and she accused us of breaking them. My husband called her so we could work out any misunderstandings. He is a police officer and he is very good at remaining calm with people. He spoke to Shawna very calmly and let her know that the DVD players were broken upon our arrival. I could hear Shawna yelling at him through the phone from across the room! It was absolutely nuts! He tried to calm her down, but she kept being accusatory. We dropped the subject with her as we could see she was not a reasonable person, and it was not a big deal to us. She did bring a new blu ray player to the house several days later and we hooked it up. She was friendly in person. The third time we contacted her was to tell her the pool heat had been turned off. She told us that we needed to keep the cover on to keep the heat in (we always did if we were not in it). But, she did send someone out to turn it back on.
After I mentioned Shawna's behavior in a survey Southern Dreams sent me, Shawna filed a false insurance claim against the insurance we purchased on the house. She kept the amount under $200 so the insurance company wouldn't question it. She filed for ludicrous things like a broken lamp switch (we never turned on the lamps with a switch), a stained ironing board (we never used the ironing board), dry cleaning of the comforters (we did not stain them and we removed all bed linens from the beds before we left, as per the instructions in the book- shouldn't these be cleaned between guests anyway?), 2 broken vertical blind slats (I can only assume these are the ones in the garage which were broken upon our arrival, as evidenced in the photo I'll attach), broken wine glass (we never used them, but we put them into the cabinet so they wouldn't get broken), and the most ridiculous item was theft of a 6 ft HDMI cord (ALL HDMI cords are still in the house. We had to move one to the living room for the blu ray player she purchased, which did not come with a cord. So there are now 2 in the living room- one for cable and one for the blu ray). She also said that we left the home so dirty that she had to pay extra to have it cleaned. I took pictures upon our departure and it was quite clean. I'll upload them to this review. I even swept the floors and cleaned the toilets! We are very clean people and we would never leave a property dirty. I called the insurance company to let them know it was a false claim and they said they would be on the look out for her in the future. I also contacted the homeowner and the manager of High Grove subdivision. Hopefully she will not try to do this to a future guest.
We have rented approximately 12 houses in the Orlando area and this is the first time we have ever had a management company say we did anything wrong at all. We are excellent renters, and we actually improved upon the property by cleaning the yard and fixing the doorknobs. I'm sure Shawna will report otherwise in the comments. But, I have nothing to gain by lying about these issues; she does.
Stayed with five golf buddies, there's plenty of room for everyone and we were missing three.
Nice game room and pool area. Clean house, a must stay if in the area. Easy to drive anywhere you need to go.
Shawan, is very helpful and responded quickly to my emails.
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Absolutely loved this home. Clean and very well managed. The property management company, Southern Dream Vacation Rentals, really made sure we had a pleasant experience during our stay. Would recommend this home and company to all friends and family!