Located in the fields of Foley, AL about a 20 minute drive to the Gulf beaches and town of Orange Beach, Bella Terra RV Resort is a relatively new luxury Class A ownership resort. We stayed here last year and really enjoyed the resort and the surrounding area so much that we decided to return on this trip and spend the month of March here.
Compared to other resorts in FL, at $725 per month ($24/day), it is relatively inexpensive although you have to make reservations before February when the peak rates go into effect. Month long reservation rates include a $100 electric allowance (~833kW). Any usage that exceeds that will be billed at the rate of $0.12/kilowatt.
Development here began in 2008 with plans to complete the resort in three phases. Last year when we were here, Phase I had been completed and many of the sites had been sold. Since then Phase II has been completed and they are now working on Phase III (dirt sites across the lake from us).
The owner indicated to us that once a certain number of sites in Phase 3 have been sold (7 or so we hear) they will begin work on the infrastructure (roads, etc.), and once that is completed they will only lay new site pads as additional sales are closed – this eliminates the need for the owner to procure additional financing.
We were talking to the property manager the other night and found out the lots are priced anywhere from $80K to $160K (to put that in perspective lots at Outdoor Resorts West in Port St. Lucie are starting at $60K and that is an arguably nicer resort in a warmer winter climate, site resales start about the same at RiverBend in Labelle which is also nicer and has direct on-site access to the intra-coastal waterway).
At this point we don’t see any benefit to site ownership anyway, as we want to be free to explore, but it appears that all of these ownership parks have lots they or the owners are ready and willing to rent, so why not see what they have to offer?
Since we were here last year, many of the owners have upgraded their sites by adding more landscaping, casitas, patios, storage sheds or pergolas so it looks a little different than last year. We were told that there is a committee that has to approve any addition or change made to the lot.
They offer several different types of lots – terraced, pull throughs, lakeside (our site) on Centerpiece Lake or coach estates, each at varying prices. All lots are quite large – ranging from 3500 sq. ft. to 5000 sq. ft. with cement pads. Our particular lot has a large stone outdoor table (complete with hand painted mural) with two large stone benches but no storage shed. Right near our site is a gazebo and boardwalk that cross the pond.
And YES you can use fire bowls here.
Among the other amenities here as listed by the management:
- 2/3 of the resort open-space landscaped in tropical, lush foliage and flowers (well it’s nice but that may be pushing it a bit)
- Zero-entry, infinity-edge pool (heated year round)
- Jacuzzi & sauna
- Center Piece Lake – fully stocked for fishing
- Expansive lake views seen from throughout the resort
- Grand Clubhouse with outdoor firepit
- Private movie theater
- Activities director and daily programmed activities & events
- On-site laundry facilities
- Business center
- Free Wifi internet access
- Easy interstate access
- 200 amps per lot. 120 amps reserved for each lot amenities
- Fully-appointed fitness center
- Private bath houses with all inclusive shower suites and restrooms
- Fenced-in Dog Park with ample space for your furry friends to run freely
Although it is a little bit of a drive to the beach (15 min), just a mile to the west is Route 59 (Gulf Shores Parkway) with its plethora of grocery stores, restaurants, factory outlets and retail shops and just a 1/4 mile to the east is the Foley Beach Expressway that bypasses all of the aforementioned retail heaven.
That makes it close and very convenient for whatever you want to do and easy to get around (way less congestion than most of the spots in FL we stayed at). But it is also far enough away from all the hubbub to make it a very relaxing place to stay. Since we will be here for a month, we’re planning on checking out some of the other campgrounds/resorts in the area. A must see for us is the Pensacola Aviation Museum (Rob heard something about a new flight simulator there).
In regard to facilities, the voltage is strong at 122V on both legs of the 50A. OTA TV is excellent with strong signal from all major networks and then some. On site cable is provided, but many of the channels are so snowy they are unwatchable. The free WiFi is good to very good for our laptops, but not too useful for our smartphones while on our site (I am hoping to fix this with a WiFi repeater). Sprint 3G signal is very good and performance is very good – Verizon 3G appears to be the same. We did have one problem with the sewer hookup – it is surrounded by a raised concrete ring and the threaded female pipe fitting is about a 1/2″ too deep to properly attach the male threaded 45 degree fitting on the end of the dump hose.