Best of Both Worlds

Neil Eisner, managing director of Encore Resort at Reunion, calls his property the “best secret” in and around Orlando. But it might not stay that way for long.

Though the hassle of booking multiple hotel rooms is driving more families and groups toward house rentals—vacation rentals have more than tripled since 2010, according to the online vacation marketplace HomeAway—Encore takes the idea to another level.

Only 13 minutes from Walt Disney World Resort, and less than 25 minutes from Universal Orlando Resort, the 963-acre luxury vacation rental community (encorereunion.com) combines gated-community comfort with the amenities and offerings of a high-end resort.

“We’re not saying we’re better or worse than staying in a hotel,” Eisner says. “Encore Resort is a different opportunity.”

And then some. Rentals range from four- to 13-bedroom furnished homes. All have full-service kitchens, washers and dryers, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Eisner says the home rentals cost less than a hotel stay, with rates ranging from $275 to $850 a night. (The average is about $450 a night).

“Some of the homes have their own private pools, hot tubs, theater rooms, game rooms, and putt-putt areas,” Eisner says. “Guests can call ahead and have the refrigerator stocked by our concierge service. There’s also on-site catering—or, you can have a private chef come in and cook for you and your guests.” Encore also offers in-home spa services, as well as babysitting.

The community’s clubhouse and fitness center overlook Encore’s AquaPark, with a mammoth drop slide, multiple waterslides, large pool and private cabanas. Golfers will find three championship courses designed by three PGA legends: Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer.

Football fans will delight in the newest addition to Encore, the Dan Marino house. The Hall of Fame quarterback, who spent 17 years with the Miami Dolphins, is teaming with the resort to design a football-themed home that will feature memorabilia from Marino’s career.

Future partnerships at the resort include an onsite sports facility, and a sports academy, a youth football camp and a fantasy camp under the Marino banner. Eisner says other possibilities include soccer, rugby, and baseball training camps.

“The close proximity of Encore to all that Orlando has to offer creates multiple possibilities for the resort,” Eisner says. “We’re right in the middle of all the action.”

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