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TimeSharing Today

Page 8

Jul/Aug, 2002

FOCUS ON: Westgate Lakes, Orlando, FL

By Winifred B. Bell Orlando was not a high priority for us, but when I.I. offered us a three- bedroom, three-bath unit, it was hard to resist. We accepted it and invited our tennis and bridge buddies to join us. Now I understand the controversy; Westgate is both positive and negative.

When we arrived on Saturday, the check-in area looked totally chaotic. Cars were parked everywhere! We

were ushered via a circuitous route through the restaurant and nothing looked exactly “posh.” Apparently, however, there was a method to all the madness, as it took a surprisingly short time to get our keys and wend our way over to our unit. Westgate Lakes has (hold onto your hat) 1,500 units and construction all over the place. Literally hundreds more units are be- ing built. The vast majority of them are in mid-rise buildings which face each other with parking lots in between. We lucked out and were assigned a ground floor unit directly on the lake. Each evening we witnessed a magnificent sunset. The unit itself was one of the love- liest we have ever occupied. It was spacious, luxuriously appointed and

very clean. I did have to spray for a recurring odor of cigarette smoke. (They do not offer non-smoking units; I asked.) There was an oversize Jacuzzi in the master, a smaller one in the third bedroom efficiency lock-out, a heavy duty washer and dryer: ev- erything one would expect in a top-of- the-line time share with the exception of an adequate supply of cooking uten- sils.

We had two minor maintenance problems: one with a missing screen and one plumbing annoyance. They were “Johnny-on-the-spot” in this re- gard. Our problems were solved effi- ciently and with dispatch.

Supplies included decent (if not luxurious) soap, tissues, plenty of toi- let paper, paper towels, laundry deter- gent to start, dish washer detergent and liquid dish detergent for hand washing. Nice! Quite pleased, we settled in for the evening and ordered a pizza from the Pizza Hut on the pre- mises. We phoned the activities cen- ter to reserve a tennis court for the morning and they informed us that we could just walk on; it was very infor- mal.

After considerable searching the next morning we located the “tennis courts” which were accessible through a dirty littered, back delivery entrance. One court was being used for parking and the other was occupied in spite of its wretched condition. The net was torn, the surface was cracked and there was debris everywhere. Other guests informed we were entitled to play on courts in the other Westgate resorts, so we drove the six miles to Westgate Villas where the courts were just O.K. and waited forty minutes to play. Needless to say, we skipped ten- nis for the rest of our stay.

We really enjoyed our accommo- dations and, to our amazement, Westgate provided a complimentary

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