Oktoberfest at the Clubhouse

Continuing the passion for clubhouse food I couldn’t resist the temptation of the special menu from September 19th through October 4th.  

4 great dishes and a special Samuel Adams ‘Octoberfest’ beer are a temptingly good reminder of my previous years working in Germany. 

Pumpkin Ginger & Black Forest Ham Soup $6.50 cup/$8.50 bowl

Wurst Sampler Platter with Sauerkraut $16.99

Chicken or Veal Schnitzel with potato salad and paprika sauce $16.99

Apple Strudel $7.00

First Impressions.  

The soup had a rich autumnal color and a very thick, hearty consistency. Perfect for the season.  

To my surprise, the soup wasn’t excessively sweet and the flavor of the chunks of Black Forest ham were extremely well matched to the dish. 

The veal schnitzel and potato entree was equally well prepared.  The meat was tender and well crusted, with just the right amount of Paprika sauce.  

Decided to skip the strudel, but will return soon!


Reunion Resort Clubhouse Review

Reunion Clubhouse Fish Tacos

If you love the warm Orlando air, lunch at the Reunion clubhouse is not to be missed.
Reunion’s food is always a strong point for the vacation resort and a cut above.
Considering the prices are typically on the fair side for such a luxury resort, the quality and options are always consistently good.
Over the last five years of enjoying dining at the clubhouse, not one of our family of five have had a bad menu item here.

Food is made to order and fresh ingredients make the well prepared dishes taste great on a lunchtime.
The fish tacos are a big favorite, with the lightly battered Cod with Shredded Cabbage, Diced Tomatoes, Shredded Cheddar, Salsa, Guacamole & Sour Cream.

If you haven’t tried the Clubhouse, take a table outside and soak in the ambience of Reunion Resort!

Click to view the latest menus


Reunion’s Annual Member’s Meeting Report

On Tuesday I attended the Reunion members’ meeting at the Grande and I’ve collected as much information for you right here as possible.  Apologies for any typos or inaccuracies!

Attendance at the meeting
From what I could tell, around 120 guests attended, and the event was hosted by Prem Devadas (President of Salamander Hotels and Resort) and Carlton Grant (Reunion’s MD).
Guests were mainly made up of realtors, property managers and businesses associated with Reunion Resort, along with what appeared to be a smaller number of members and homeowners than I’d hoped for.
Having said that, early September is probably not the best month to host an event if you are hoping to engage with owners.

A rundown of topics covered
The Henderson – A new upcoming Salamander resort over in Destin Florida, dominated much of the early part of the event.  The beach front property will open soon, but other than the fact that existing Reunion members can get discounts there, it was hard to imagine why this development got so much ‘air time’ in a meeting that was aimed to update Reunion members about Reunion.

Wyndham Logo – Prem also announced the end of the Wyndham branding was approaching.
Prem advised that the link up brought in much needed revenues during the recession, but in fact appeared to devalue and counter act the resort’s intent to be recognized as a luxury brand.
I couldn’t stop thinking that if Reunion had been that desperate for cash, why not serve their existing membership better.

Membership Growth – I had to laugh at this bit.  Carlton Grant was congratulated by Prem for growing membership numbers from 1100 to 1200 in just 18 months.  Despite the glowing pride from Prem and Carlton, it’s fairly well understood in Reunion that the many newly built homes were sold over that period with free membership for 1 to 2 years.  With that in mind, the credit goes to the builders surely?  Also, will those new owners continue their memberships once their free period is over, especially now that Reunion has introduced a kamikaze strategy of 21 days amenity access for non Reunion managed homes.  We all know why Reunion is doing this of course and judging by owners that contact the blog, Reunion is resented for their policies on membership.

All Star – Were mentioned, as Prem highlighted that Reunion broke the link to All Star last year.  Leaving the resort without a preferred rental management partnership.

Investment – Much was mentioned about future goals for investment.  Grand ideas were touched on, such as a new 200 unit extension to the Grande.  This seemed hard to envisage as Prem mentioned various sources for that funding, such as tourism development etc.  With an estimated $80m cost and completion by late 2017, it seemed to jar with Reunion’s very visible pride in announcing also that some new sun loungers and rooftop decking furniture had been bought.

Surely that kind of expense is incidental and routine and not a subject for a once a year member meet up?  Apologies for sounding negative, but it’s a bit like gathering the entire family to announce you’ve taken a shower.

Prem also mentioned building a new luxury pool for adults but no dates of details.  That sounds more appealing.

Golf usage – In a time where Reunion stops members’ guests from playing golf even more than ever before (21 days not 42 for new members), it was really surprising to see that Reunion is driving for more members and more golf utilization, particularly on Mon, Tue, Weds (currently as low as 50-60% used according to Prem).  Words fail me really, knowing how often we send guests to Championsgate instead of Reunion because of stupid access rules.
Add the fact that we know of a wave of members on the brink of leaving their membership, it really defies logic.

Nicklaus Course – The course’s new 17th and 18th holes will apparently be fully open again in November.  That looks tight, but let’s go with that.
The new Nicklaus course clubhouse, will adopt a very cool Mediterranean design and construction will commence in Q1 2016.  It will include a gallery terrace overlooking the course, and a 1200sqft fitness room, bar and locker rooms.  The clubhouse seemed to be members only/golfers only.  I will try to find out more.
Encore – Despite clear evidence of a lot of activity by Encore in Reunion (a separate entity to Lubert Adler and Salamander), the Reunion management seemed to flounder when a member asked about Encore’s ongoing role in the resort.
Encore weren’t available to comment at the meeting for the member’s question.
One thing that was mentioned by Prem from Salamander was that Reunion would be ‘managing and controlling’ the new villas that would be built on around the 17th and 18th holes of the Nicklaus course.

Another question was raised about the low quality of the landscaping over on the West side.  Prem’s reply was astonishing; ‘he was not familiar with that area of the resort’.  An amazing comment considering the fact that they are so keen to bring on board more homes into their own rental program and that the course has undergone a huge reconfiguration.

I hope this account helps, and I apolgize in advance for any inaccuracies or misheard details, but please comment with any feedback or corrections.

Direct Flight From Dubai to Orlando Brings Emirates Guests To Reunion

A big fanfare and a water salute welcome heralded the inaugural flight from Dubai to Orlando on September 1st 2015.
For Reunion Resort homeowners, this is great news as the resort reaches out to more and more luxury guests who are so often unaware of how fabulous accommodation is within the resort.

Just reading social media, the Jeeves blog has just announced their partnership with Emirates Holidays today, and feature in the carrier’s new autumn brochure.  Great news for Jeeves, but effectively, good for everyone in the resort as it gets the resort out to a broader audience.

Emirates Brochure

TOONion Resort! #1 – Those Crazy Water Park Rules!


Ever wondered how far Reunion would take the crazy water park rules?
Our first ever Toonion Resort sketch takes a fun filled look at what President Obama’s visit to Reunion Resort’s water park might be like!

Click on the image to view the image in full size!

Reunion Resort’s management continues to make things deliberately difficult for guests staying in privately owned homes to access the resort amenities that owners have paid for, for so many years.
The very unpopular approach is a poor attempt to encourage guests to book directly with the resort, and to encourage owners to move their homes to the ‘Official Rental Program’.

All it has achieved is harden existing and very loyal owners against the resort.

The No-Union Water Park is cartoon #1 in our series, so keep following our blog for future editions!

Margaritaville Village To Remove Reunion’s Stranglehold?

I’d covered the Margaritaville Village development recently, as a very loose connection to Reunion.
The Margaritaville developer, Encore, has an interest in Reunion, so deserved a quick mention I thought.
Interestingly, I can’t deny my tentative hopes that Margritaville, at some day, could be something that Reunion Resort house guests could make great use of.
Thankfully, today, Jim Bagley from Encore, announced in the Orlando Sentinel, that Margaritaville (under 10 mins from Reunion), would also be open to the general public.

Although Margaritaville is a few years away from serving its first cocktail, this is incredibly good news for private homeowners on Reunion Resort.  The strangle hold on owners choosing to keep their homes in private ownership looks finally set to loosen in a spectacular way!

Not only can homeowners save almost $400 a month to obtain 42 days of access for their guests, the Margaritaville water park is almost certainly going to be in a different league to Reunion’s albeit very nice water park!
Shame it’s come to this, but I for one will be considering abandoning the Reunion membership in favor of a much better return, both financially, and beneficially.

It’s Always 5pm somewhere in the world!

Margaritaville Plan

Encore Ventures Slightly Further Away From Reunion

Margaritaville_logoWhile the Encore Club makes steady progress over on Reunion Resort’s west side, the developer seems confident enough in the growth of interest in specialist resorts to partner with Jimmy Buffet and a 300 acre Margarita Village resort up by the 192.
Just minutes away from Reunion Resort, the tropical themed paradise will take place of what was once known as ‘Splendid China‘, a now derelict tourist attraction, formerly funded at a cost of $100m by the Chinese government in 1993.
After 10 years, things came to an end, and closed for good in December 2003.

Now it looks as though the Encore team have another major project under way in the immediate area around Reunion Resort.
From the Margarita Village Blog

Reunion’s Condos Are Perfect For Autumn Getaways!

One of the best times of year, Early Fall is a great opportunity to enjoy the peace and beauty of Central Florida.
The temperatures hold well throughout the day and the summer rains are beginning to ease off in October.
Best of all, the theme parks and golf courses are generally very quiet during the weekdays, in stark contrast to the previous months.
September in particular is without doubt the best month to book accommodation, with almost unlimited choice to select a perfect vacation rental from.
For short breaks, the Condos on Reunion Resort are perfect for space, lifestyle and value if you are going to squeeze a quick golf break or family getaway into your busy schedule.
With full kitchens, laundry rooms, balconies, TVs in most rooms, and family living areas, these fully self contained apartments are unrivaled for their combination of quality and cost (Value!).

A 3 bedroom condo in low season, can sleep 8 for as little as $1000/wk and now that investors are turning attention to the Resort, some newly furnished examples like this in the Villas area, are far more comfortable than an equivalent hotel room on a $ per person per night basis.

Images courtesy of Jeeves Reunion Resort Condo Rentals

Master Bed 1 copyMaster Bed 2

Master Bath 1-2
Master Bath 1-1 Living Room-2 copy Living Room-1 copy Kitchen Dining Bedroom 3 Bathroom 3 Patio Balcony