We just returned from a 5 night stay at Harbour Lake with our 2 children (ages 4 and 3 months) and my parents. Since my parents are Marriott Vacation Club owners we've stayed at many Marriott timeshare properties in Florida and California so we have some point of comparison across MVC properties. We all agreed that Harbour Lake is by far the most family/kid friendly resort we've ever visited.
We stayed in Building 28, which was conveniently located to both pool complexes. Rooms were updated and well appointed. Master bedroom had a king size bed and large shower (no tub). Second bedroom had 2 queens and a bathroom that opened up to the rest of the unit (there was a tub in this bathroom). The kitchen was fully equipped and opens to the living area, which included a dining banquette, table and small sitting area. Off the living room was a screened in balcony that was large enough for a table to seat 4. Unit also had a washer and dryer, but we would put our suits/wet clothes out on the balcony to dry during the day.
The overall property is clean and well maintained despite being an older MVC property. Unlike other time share properties, it's a fairly contained, so it didn't seem to us that any of the buildings were too far out of the way. Some reviewers noted issued with noise. We did not experience this, even though our unit overlooked one of the pool complexes and the highway; however, we did keep our sliding door closed since the A/C was on. The second bedroom faces the exterior corridor and we did hear some noise from other guests at night, but nothing too bothersome.
We had a few minor service issues with the room (disposal didn’t work, couldn’t unlock safe) and maintenance was dispatched very quickly and resolved the issues.
We did not visit the parks except for a character meal at Disney, which was about 20 minutes away. From what we understand, it is about the same travel time to Universal. Sea World is literally next door.
There is a CVS just down the road as well as several Publix nearby, as well as a Super Wal-Mart. We cooked most of our meals in the unit except for lunch, which we took poolside at the Harbourside Bar and Grill. The food was good and reasonably priced with a variety of salads and grilled fare.
The pools are the highlight of the property, especially the pirate ship pool (Horizon Harbor). The other pool complex has a large splash pad, as well as a zero depth pool with a water slide. The splash pad was a little intimidating to our daughter (it has giant buckets of water that dump down) and she was not interested in the slide, so we spent most of our time at the pirate ship pool. Both complexes have large spas and separate kiddie pools (covered by a giant tarp in the “Pirates Plunge,” which is great) and it was nice to be able to take the baby in those pools and not worry about too much roughhousing. You are able to bring toys and floats into the pools (hint – go down the road to Wal-Mart where they are a $1 vs. buying them on site).
Besides the pools, there were ping pong tables, pool tables, a large fire pit, a fenced in playground, basketball card, large soccer field, Frisbee golf, volley ball net. There was a dock off the lake where you could “fish” (Marriott provides fishing poles and bait). Small sitting areas with porch swings and Adirondack chairs line the lake. The property also has several gas and charcoal grills if you wanted to BBQ.
There were a wide variety of kid and adult activities offered. There were toddler activities every morning (puzzles, games, blocks), which our older one enjoyed, especially collecting the “Activity coins’ to redeem for prizes. We also participated in an Angry Birds-type water balloon game, roasted marshmallows and made S’mores by the fire spit and saw a magic show. There is an ice cream sundae bar every day at 3:00 – ice cream is $3 or you can buy a plastic dish for $12 ($6 if you are an owner!), which gives you unlimited refills for your stay.
We did get one sales call during the stay. Even though my parents are already owners – they wanted to tell them about enhancements to the current program. I think this is pretty par for the course when you stay at a time share property and it certainly was not a hard sell.
Overall, it is a great property if you have kids. We can envision going back there for many years and Harbour Lake having something for all age groups to enjoy. We are already planning our stay for 2012!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC