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Kalorama :: California-style luxury in Virgin Grand Estates

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Rating: (Great)

Villa Kalorama is a 5-bedroom 4.5 bath home located in Virgin Grand Estates. Three of the bedrooms are located in the main living pod, and two bedrooms are on the pool deck. 4 of the five bedrooms have king beds and en suite baths. The 5th bedroom has two twin beds and no bath. All are air conditioned.

Beds are comfortable and the bedrooms are private. The four king suites are roughly identical in size, have plenty of storage, and have views of the water. The fifth bedroom is really only appropriate for children as it is quite small and has no view. Our 11 year old niece stayed in this room and enjoyed it. The two king bedrooms in the main pod have bathroom doors that open both into the bedroom and the hallway, so the person in the twin room has bathroom access without walking through someone else's bedroom.

The kitchen is well equipped for a rental villa, with adequate cookware and dishes. There is a large refrigerator and a separate ice maker (which was not working during our stay...it looked like it had been out of commission for a while). The freezer has an ice maker but it was very slow when it worked at all (rarely), which necessitated going out to buy ice every day.

There is a large laundry room off the kitchen, as well as additional laundry facilities upstairs off the hallway. There is a large safe in the laundry room--large enough to fit my laptop, camera gear, and everyone's ipods, ipads, etc. The electronic keypad on the safe was broken, but the villa company provided us with a key to lock the safe the day after we arrived.

A half bathroom is located behind the kitchen, which was convenient for people using the pool. Please note that the tile in the house is slippery when wet.

The house has a good supply of beach chairs (older and could stand replacing), coolers, pool toys etc.

Pros: we loved the design of the home: comfortable California-style. The pool is large and has a ledge that runs the length of it--perfect for relaxing with a cocktail. Multiple comfortable sitting areas are available, including a large rooftop deck that has stellar sunset views.

We really appreciated that the owner took the time to label all of the light switches and that there were detailed directions on how to operate the sounds system and DVD player. Little things like this prevent lots of frustration!

There is parking for multiple vehicles, and getting in and out of the driveway was a breeze. The home is quite private for being in such a densely populated neighborhood. We could hear people in the homes around us but could not really see much of the other homes. In general, this neighborhood is pretty quiet (except for the roosters of course!)

Cons: we had some maintenance issues at the house while there. The property is for sale, and I am not sure if the issues we had were related or not. For example:

We initially could not get the grill to work. This necessitated a call to the management company, who tried to talk us through igniting it. The grill is powered by a propane line that comes from the house rather than a separate tank. I eventually got the grill to light, but a giant fireball came shooting out from under the grill! I am very grateful that I was not injured. Maintenance came out to the house the next day and upon inspection said that the burners were installed upside down (???). Needless to say we approached the grill with caution for the rest of the trip.

We were woken up early one morning by the house alarms going off. The alarm override code was not given to us on check in and it was not located anywhere in the villa materials. Another call to the management company resulted in them calling the alarm company, who called us back that night (!!) to say it was not the house alarm but the linked in smoke alarms going off and there was nothing they could do. This meant another visit from the maintenance folks (the next day) to switch out the batteries in all of the smoke alarms. The alarm kept going off at intermittent times during the day/evening so we got to hear all the different versions! Loud beeping, barking dogs, etc.

On arrival, the air conditioning in the twin bedroom was not operational because the batteries in the wall control unit were dead. This would not have been a problem if there were batteries available in the house, but there were not. So we had to go out and buy them. I would not have minded if this had happened mid-stay but it was like that when we checked in. The batteries should have been checked in between guests to save us this hassle (and maybe the smoke alarm hassle at the same time!).

Areas of the concrete on the pool ledge were chipped and in places there were actual holes. You could see that these areas had been previously patched and the patches were failing. In addition, we woke up one morning to discover that the water level in the pool had dropped four inches. We called the management company (again) to report this and were told that someone would be over. When he showed up (around 4 PM), he determined that there was a leak and said he would be back to fix it.

Despite these negative comments, overall the house is a very nice piece of property. The views of the sunsets are amazing, and the house is really laid out well for groups. I think many of the frustrations we experienced were flukes. I'd recommend the house to someone interested in staying in Virgin Grand Estates. I do believe it is one of the nicest homes in this neighborhood.



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