UPDATED: JULY 5, 2018 3:45 PM — Among discerning travelers, Reunion golf resort is known as the go-to destination for the biggest, most luxurious vacation homes in the Orlando market.
They offer up to 14 bedrooms, themed decor, private bowling alleys and every style of architecture from modern to Mediterranean.
David Krakauer and his extended family often stayed in them when vacationing in Orlando. The accommodations were spacious, but the family members grew frustrated trying to plan meals and activities for such a large group.
"We always had to bring the ancillary services with us," he said. "They don't usually offer the same type of housekeeping services you'd get in a hotel. And you could hire a chef, but the kitchens didn't really fit the output we needed. It just never ran the way we wanted."
Out of those experiences, Krakauer's family-owned company developed a vacation home concept with full back-of-house service to serve a niche market of tourists, groups and corporate visitors.
They bought two lots on Reunion's Grand Traverse Parkway in 2015, and spent two years designing and building their 25,000-square-foot masterpiece.
Isolé Villas opened in January. The three-story, elevator-served estate sleeps 30 among its two presidential suites, two ambassador suites and 11 bedroom suites.
"The vision was to be a mini boutique hotel," Krakauer said. "We thought there would be a niche concept for people who want hotel service but more privacy and under one roof."
Included in the base rate, which starts at $3,900 per night, is a full-time property manager/concierge who maintains an office off the kitchen and housekeeping staff. The villa typically requires a minimum four-night stay.
"We went high end in every regard," Krakauer said. "The build was about two years. We had about six months between drawing and space planning phase. We intentionally picked companies that hadn't built in Reunion before, because we wanted something that would be unique in the community. It's less Disney-themed than a lot of the vacation homes. It's more of a hotel-style decor."
The concept grew from its original 15,000 square feet as the developer added more bedrooms, a private spa, indoor basketball court, catering kitchen and executive board room.
The villa also has a private theater room, sports lounge and cigar lounge where "cigar aficionados can partake in the villa's signature collection of fine cigars and rare labels of Scotch and vintage wines."
The formal dining room seats 40, and the company will provide an executive chef or catering as an a la carte service. Child care, activity planning, pool attendants, transportation and spa services are also available for an additional fee.
Krakauer declined to share the family's total investment. The Osceola County Property Appraiser's office assessed the villa at $3.6 million.
"As far as I know, we're the most expensive home in Reunion," Krakauer said.
That doesn't include $240,000 the developer paid to buy the vacant lot next door, primarily to prevent anyone from building on it, or the $560,000 they paid in January to buy the five-bedroom vacation home on the other side. Again, privacy was the motivating factor, but owning the second home expands the bedroom count to 20.
To date, the majority of bookings have been large family groups. Krakauer said they're still breaking into the wedding and corporate market.
"We see the value as being on business and building a brand," he said. "I think that takes time. It doesn't happen overnight. This was our first go-round with this concept. Ultimately, we hope to expand to other markets."
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to provide more accurate pricing information. An earlier version used a higher rate that was provided by a company representative.