Regal Palms is a unique community of privately owned townhouses available as transient accommodations. In an effort to better educate guests about getting the best accommodations at Regal Palms we have compiled a list of the 5 most important things that all guests should know.
1. What is Regal Palms?
Regal Palms consists of Regal Palms at Highlands Reserve and the Regal Palms Resort. Regal Palms at Highlands Reserve is made up of hundreds of privately owned 3/4 bedroom townhouses. In the majority of the cases the properties are owned by individuals and families, and since the properties are privately owned the quality of the accommodations can vary greatly. To ensure the best accommodations we typically recommend renting directly from a townhouse owner.
Guests staying at Regal Palms at Highlands Reserve have access to the Regal Palms Resort, which features a Swimming Pavilion, Health Club, and much more. It is important to note that the Regal Palms Resort does not own or control the townhouses at Regal Palms. Unfortunately when there is an issue with a townhouse, due to either poor ownership or management, the Resort is usually unfairly blamed.
2. What is the best way to book a reservation?
Since properties at Regal Palms are privately owned vacationers have a variety of different ways to book a townhouse.
- Directly with a Townhouse Owner: Many owners at Regal Palms make their properties available through private websites, such as this website, or "vacation rental by owner" websites, such as VRBO.com, FlipKey.com, and AirBNB.com.
- Through a Property Manager: Some Property Managers offer the townhouses that they manage through their own booking website.
- By Visiting a Vacation/Hotel Booking Website: Expedia.com and Booking.com are just two of the many vacation/hotel booking websites that offer townhouses at Regal Palms. Most of these websites obtain access to these properties through a Property Manager or Booking Agent.
What is the best way to book? The most preferred way to book is directly with a townhouse owner. Why? When booking with a townhouse owner you are typically provided with custom photos of the property you will be staying in (on Vacation Booking Websites they typically use stock photos). In addition, owners that take the time to make their property available directly to guests usually take great pride in their property, meaning better accommodations, and are able to offer additional discounts not available through other outlets.
3. What are the differences between the townhouses?
Since each townhouse is privately owned accommodations can vary. The layout, maximum number of guests, and amenities, vary greatly between each townhouse. It therefore makes it impossible to list all the differences between each townhouse. What you can do however is ask the questions below to any townhouse owner to determine whether their accommodations meet your needs. Most owners make this information publicly available on their website or property listing.
- What is the maximum occupancy? The number of guests allowed in a townhouse can vary based upon zoning. All townhouses at Regal Palms have a legal maximum occupancy. In the case of our townhouse the maximum occupancy we allow is 6 guests.
- Where is the property located? The layout of Regal Palms is horizontal, not vertical. As a result some townhouses may be pretty far away from the Resort and Pool areas. Regal Palms at Highlands Reserve is divided up into 5 Phases. Phases 1 - 4 are the closest and are approximately a 1 to 8 minute walk to the Resort and Pool areas. Phase 5 is the furthest and most guests choose to drive to the Resort instead of walk. Our property is located on La Mirage St. in Phase 3, which is approximately a 5 minute walk to the Resort and Pool areas. We purchased our property in this location due to its close proximity to the Resort, while still being far away enough from the noise.
- Do you have (amenity)? Just because most townhouses have a specific type of amenity does not mean that all do. My recommendation for guests is to never take anything for granted. If you have a concern or question do not hesitate to contact the townhouse owner or booking agent prior to making a reservation.
- What type of beds are in the townhouse? There is nothing that will ruin a vacation quicker than a poor nights sleep. Since Regal Palms is still a relatively new development, being built in the mid-2000's, some townhouses still have the original stock mattresses that many people have found uncomfortable. The good news is that some townhouse owners have replaced their mattresses with firm pillow-top ones. This makes getting a good nights sleep a whole lot easier. Our property currently has these newer, firm, pillow-top mattresses.
- What happens if I need assistance? What most guests do when there is an issue is contact the Regal Palms Front Desk. Unfortunately the Regal Palms Front Desk is not responsible, and has no control over, the management or maintenance of the townhouses. They will notify the Property Manager if a guests notifies them, however the guest still needs to wait for the Property Manager to respond. Good Property Managers will typically provide guests with their contact information in the rare event assistance is needed. We provide guests our Property Managers contact information prior to arrival (this information is also available in the townhouse). If a guest needs help with directions or purchasing theme park tickets the Regal Palms Front Desk is a convenient way to obtain assistance.
- Are there any hidden fees? When staying at Regal Palms guests are subject to certain fees, such as a rental fee, cleaning fee, resort fee, and tax. Please note that these are mandatory fees for all guests, although some owners will absorb the cleaning fee but usually charge a higher nightly rental rate. This does not include additional fees that an owner or booking agent may charge, such as a booking, service, processing, or insurance fee. Unfortunately the way an owner, property manager, or booking website, list these fees can vary. When we provide a price quote it includes a breakdown of ALL fees associated with a reservation and we NEVER charge artificial fees. We strongly believe that upfront pricing should be the standard when it comes to offering a rental property.
4. Why is the pricing so different?
Since the properties are privately owned, and accommodations can vary greatly, the different owners and booking agents/property managers can set different pricing structures for the nightly rates. Below are some things that guests can do to help them get the best deal available:
- Understanding what the price includes. Everyone uses different pricing methods. A townhouse that is listed for $100/per night may end up costing less than a townhouse that is listed at $70/per night. The difference is that maybe the $100/per night rate includes all fees, while the $70/per night rate does not. Always asks for a complete price quote, with all fees listed, prior to booking. It is important to mention that most townhouse owners list the resort fee separate as it is a fee that is collected by the Regal Palms Front Desk.
- Save by booking with a townhouse owner. All rentals have certain mandatory fees associated with them, such as the rental fee, resort fee, cleaning fee, and tax. By booking with a townhouse owner you can typically pay a lower nightly rate because the owner does not have to pay a commission to a property manager or booking agent. In addition, many private owners do not charge a booking, processing, or service fee.
- Beware of deals too good. As noted above there are certain fees that every townhouse owner is responsible for as a result of a guests stay. We have to pay a cleaning fee, which typically ranges between $75 - $85/per stay (following each guests departure). We have to collect local development and state taxes, which is currently 12% combined. This does not include all the additional fees that owners are also responsible for, such as Club Dues, Home Owners Association Fees, Utilities, Maintenance, and more. So how can a townhouse owner offer a 7 night stay for $300? In many cases it is one of three different scenarios: 1) It is outright fraud and there is actually no property for rent, 2) There are hidden fees that have not been disclosed, or 3) The property is one of those that have a history of poor maintenance.
5. What should I bring?
Most townhouses at Regal Palms include all the necessities such as linens, bedding, and towels, however it is important to note that the townhouses are self catering. This means that they may come with only a VERY limited supply of toiletry (toilet paper, soap, etc.) and cleaning products. Most guests will be required to purchase additional supplies during their stay.
What should you bring? We typically recommend bringing any type of specialty products that you use, such as soaps and shampoo. These are usually small enough to fit in a guests luggage. Supplies such as toilet paper or cleaning products, including additional garbage bags, should usually be purchased locally, unless you are traveling by car. A Publix Super Market is conveniently located adjacent to the Regal Palms Resort. We also recommend bringing washcloths, if needed.