Friday, August 19, 2011

Tree Top Villas

Front view of our unit at Tree Top Villas
I'm pretty sure this is my last post related to the big family trip to Pennsylvania, but I did want to post a little about the place we stayed for the week we were there.  One of the great things about the web tracker I have on this blog from (it's on the right column a little ways down the page) is not only telling me where my blog traffic is coming from, but many times it tells me why they came to the site in the first place.  When you click on "real-time view" you can often see what browser the reader used, what time they visited, and if they came via a weblink, what website that came from.  If they came from a search engine, it will usually say what search term they were using that my blog came up under.  As a result, I wanted to make this post for those who might do a search for the resort we stayed, the Tree Top Villas in Bushkill, PA.  That's why I did my recent post on the whole AT&T U-Verse thing too; just in case it could be of help to someone searching the world wide web!

Rear view of our unit
As I said in my recent post "Five-year photo", my grandma selected Tree Top Villas about a year ago after my sister had looked through every available property we could go to and evaluated the nearby attractions and resort amenities.  We had 18 total people (though had a friend of my sister for one night before we took her to JFK) and had 4 total units.  The unit I stayed in with my 3 siblings was a 3-bedroom unit, which apparently are fairly recent additions to the complex.  We had 6 people in the unit (7 for one night) and it had 6 total beds, though it can comfortably sleep 8 people in the beds.  The master bedroom has a king-sized bed and one of the upstairs rooms has a queen-sized bed.  The third bedroom (where I slept) had 2 double beds and then there's a loft area overlooking the living room that had 2 twin beds.  There was a couch bed too, so total, it could technically sleep 10 people if absolutely needed.  In addition, we also had 6 family members in an adjacent 3-bedroom unit (it was right next to ours and was simply a mirror-reflection of it), 2 in a 2-bedroom unit not too far from us, and then my grandparents were with an aunt and uncle in a 2-bedroom unit on the opposite side of the property from us.  I was never in either of the 2-bedroom units, so can't really comment on them.  My grandma thought theirs was difficult for people their age (my grandparents are in their 80s) because it had a lot of stairs.  Their unit, according to my aunt, was also much older and not in the best of shape.  The other 2-bedroom unit, from what I heard, was newer and in better shape but was the same basic floorplan.

View from the front door
I can comment on our unit, though!  Overall, I liked it.  The layout was nice and open and as soon as you walk in, you're greeted with a nice dining area, an open kitchen behind it, and a very nice staircase going up to the bedrooms.  The loft overlooking the living room was a nice touch, though I'm not really a big fan of the beds being in the loft.  I'd much rather have the beds be in an actual bed room.  One feature that our unit had that the adjacent unit did not was a few extra windows.  That was because our unit was on the end of the group (there were 4 units together), so it could have a few side windows instead of just on the front and back.  For someone like me, that was an added touch, plus the window we had at the top of the stairs provided me with one of those "memorable moments" from the trip.  I was opening the mini-blinds to it one morning and my  20 month-old nephew was coming up the stairs with his mom (my sister) and saw me opening it.  His face lit up and he said "Windows!  Yeah windows!" and went over to look out.  I like windows too, but I've never seen anyone get that excited for them!  Just think, if we had been in the adjacent unit (which obviously didn't have a window at the top of the stairs like that) I wouldn't have been able to experience that fun moment.  Anyway, there were quite a few windows on the front and back, so you could have your privacy, but still let lots of natural light in.  All the rooms had a ceiling fan too, which I very much appreciated!  The furniture was good enough and having a washer and dryer (and dishwasher) was a nice touch.  I never used the washer and  dryer, but my sisters did.

The columns as seen from the front door
There were a few things that I didn't care for, most of which are quite minor and cosmetic.  First, the way the unit was designed had these stylish columns right along the main hallway when you came in.  I like columns and all, but these were placed in such a way that they narrowed that hallway considerably.  While it seemed they were structurally necessary, I could see that they could've easily been placed further out or not used at all without compromising the structural integrity of the 2nd floor.  The master bedroom has an unusual layout too.  It has its own bathroom with a shower, but it also has a whirlpool and sauna that are actually part of the bedroom.  I just found it odd.  While yes, for the most part the people using the master bedroom will be the only people using the whirlpool and sauna, that's not always true, plus it makes the whole bedroom humid and steamy when it's being used.  I would much rather have that be part of the bathroom (which was a separate room attached to the bedroom) than part of the bedroom.  The other thing I was disappointed with was that many of the technology things, like the TVs and phones, were pretty dated.  Each bedroom and the living room had a TV (the one in my room would not change channels at all), but they were older TVs with the old 4:3 format instead of a widescreen.  I could understand the bedrooms maybe not having new widescreen TVs, but just putting one in the living room would instantly update the room without changing anything else.  The TVs weren't just old-looking, though, they were starting to look fuzzy and have picture quality problems too.  I know, the TVs don't make or break it and we certainly don't come out there to watch TV, but sometimes it's nice to sit back and relax while watching TV or a movie, so having a TV that's in good shape (and at least CLOSE to as good as what I have at home) is much appreciated.  The light switches were also in somewhat bizarre places for some of the rooms and the fans were controlled by those round dimmer switches from the 1980s.  The bedroom doors have closers on them, so the only way I could keep the door open to prevent the room from being absolutely freezing from the air conditioning, was to prop it open.  I didn't really understand the point of having the doors do that, and it was only the bedroom doors, not the bathroom doors.  

View from the loft
My biggest complaint was the Internet service there.  The resort has access to wireless Internet, but only via AT&T hotspots, not a wireless network of its own.  As a result, if you don't have AT&T at home you can opt to pay for Internet service to access the hotspot, or like us, you can log in using your AT&T U-Verse account.  While it worked out for us, even so the entire complex was using the same hotspot.  As a result, Internet was very slow, and that was after the headache of just getting online in the first place!  For the amount of money people are paying to stay there, decent Internet service isn't too much to ask.  Again, like TV, it's not why we come there, but it's how most people stay in touch and connected these days.  My brother, for instance, still had to work while he was there, so he needed Internet access.  It's not that expensive to set up a simple wireless network that can properly handle the traffic from the complex, and they could even add a small fee to the bills and no one would even notice or care.  Instead, it was like stepping back in time about 15 years to the days of long-distance (there was even a charge to make local calls!) and slow Internet (the speed was almost as slow as dial-up).

Master bedroom with sauna, whirlpool, and fireplace
The complex had the amenities I expected.  It's built around a golf course, so those that like to golf were happy.  There was at least one miniature golf course there as well.  The pools were decent.  I only went swimming twice, but when I did they seemed adequate.  I believe there are 4 pools total.  Each is in an indoor-outdoor pair and then the one closest to us had a hot tub.  I did like how the pools had towels to use so you didn't need to bring your own (though we figured that out after we brought our own).  With each pool complex was also a game room with a few video games and some other game options too.  I obviously had plenty to keep me occupied outside the resort, so I really didn't use a lot of the amenities to really evaluate them.  Compared to other places we have stayed, they were right what I expected.  Nothing glamorous or exciting, but not in bad shape or awful either.  

Living room with aforementioned TV
Breakfast area...window on left was one of
the "extra" windows we had because the
unit was on the end of the row.
Living room looking into kitchen and breakfast area
Stairway above the dining area.  I loved the curved railing!

Upstairs.  The door on the far right was where my room was

Loft area overlooking living room
The room I stayed in

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