Orlando Travel Guide
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A small part of us chuckles that the world's largest Econo Lodge will humbly boast under 300 rooms, but we suppose it's a nice step for the typically small motel chain as far as novelty goes. Perhaps more important than the size of the property is the extra perks that are not normally seen at Econo Lodges such as an on-site delicatessen and free in-room Wi-Fi, coffee makers, refrigerators, and ironing boards. It will also have a partnership with the adjacent YMCA Aquatic Center, allowing guests free access to its three indoor pools, fitness center, and indoor racquetball courts.
The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Studios has just finished a major renovation of its guest rooms so it's only natural that they show off the results. But The Loews isn't passing around some fancy, carefully staged, photoshopped photos. No, they've gone above and beyond the call of PR duty to create a time-lapse video that features the transformation of one guest room from start to finish.
The video is just over a minute long and it's actually super cool, especially if you're a renovation nerd like us. It's like we're watching HGTV but for a hotel room!
You see everything that went into the renovation from removal of the old outdated furniture, ripping up the dank rugs, putting new paint on the walls, laying down a new carpet, tons of electrical work and the assembling of the new furniture. (Our heart skipped a beat when we saw brand-new mattresses being unwrapped from the plastic. For real.)
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Here's one to send your creep-o-meter through the roof: a Florida man has finally been caught after sneaking into the hotel rooms of recently checked-out guests and "extending" their stay. Kind of like Goldilocks, except this guy sounds way less picky.
Guests at multiple hotels, including Ritz-Carlton, Hard Rock and Loews Portofino Bay, were all victims of the hotel freeloader, who apparently had pretty expensive tastes when it came to room service. Too bad it wasn't his credit card that were paying for all the fun.
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Did we mention spring was here? Well, along with spring comes a rather important annual event for fun-loving LGBT travelers around the world: pride season!
If you've already got plans to try out the new gay-themed Out NYC in Manhattan, or be shepherded around Miami by the Lords South Beach's specially-themed iPhone app, fair enough. But one other thing you might want to keep in mind: 140 Hilton Hotels are offering a "Stay Hilton. Go Out" package for LGBT travelers celebrating pride, which includes, among other nifty perks, free Wifi.
While the news out today is all about the exercise-obsessed Even Hotels, it's nice to see that at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, you can still order up a nice, big, fat, juicy Angus burger from the hotel's Cascade American Bistro. But the way they are advertising their burgers is a little unorthodox.
A longtime HotelChatter reader, Brennan Pardee, sent us this snapshot above saying,
I was at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress recently and found this ad stuck on my bathroom mirror. So I guess, "Don't look at how fat you are, come down to the lobby for a juicy burger!" Really?
An ad for a burger stuck on the bathroom mirror? That's definitely something you won't see at Even Hotels. But at least they didn't put the ad on the scale....
OpenThread / Bathroom Tuesdays / Hotel Bathrooms / Hotel Saunas / Hotel Spas / Crowne Plaza Hotels / → All Tags
You may never have given it much thought, but for the seriously wealthy, requesting a hotel room that comes with its own private sauna can be as commonplace as checking to see whether the hotel offers free WiFi. And just like with the whole WiFi issue, certain hotels do a better job of it than others.
Like, for instance, the Crowne Plaza Orlando Downtown (we're talking about saunas now, not WiFi). A local news channel ran a piece on which Orlando hotel suites are favored by the area's richest clients, and why. Not exactly the type of article that makes you feel good about your own finances, but fun to read nonetheless. Lo and behold, on the hotel's fourteenth floor, inside the Presidential Suite, is an en-suite sauna (above), included along with a steam shower, wet bar, and spare bedroom.
Now, how much would you pay for the luxury of a sauna two steps from your bed?
Orlando Hotels / Theme Park Hotels / Family Hotels / Hard Rock Hotels / Hotel WiFi / Hotel Boats / → All Tags
Here's why Hard Rock Orlando is a great home base for a visit to Universal Orlando: The vibe is "cool parents", at least that is what we liked to tell ourselves while we were on the grounds.
The giant pool, complete with sand and water slide is such a hit with kids it may be hard to drag them away from the pool and get them to the parks, so save the pool for an end of day activity.
Real rock music, not "Kid's Place Live", permeates the lobby and the common spaces, as it does at all Hard Rock's, however, as expected, this property is far more family friendly than some of the other Hard Rocks. Aside from the pool, kids will also be treated to magic tricks at dinner (Thursday nights) if you eat at Kitchen, the on site restaurant. Oh, and most important? Your room key serves as an express pass at the parks allowing you to avoid the lines -- sweet.
The mouse has a new fancy house--The Four Seasons.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the luxury hotel chain has just finalized a deal to build a 444-room Four Seasons resort down in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The hotel will feature a rooftop restaurant with views of the Magic Kingdom as well as a lazy river inside its pool scene and guest access to the Disney Osprey Ridge golf course.
The hotel will also include up to 90 Four Seasons residences and about 40 Four Seasons time-share units. As for the guestrooms, there's not much info on that yet but you know how Four Seasons likes to stick with what they know.
Construction will start on the hotel in December and it's expected to be completed sometime in 2014. While we're not so deep-pocketed we can splurge on Four Seasons when we travel, there are a lot of wealthy families out there who can. So a Four Seasons will probably be a relief for those who dread the idea of a night in a kitschy Disney theme resort. Just make sure to get a room for the nanny!
If you and your dancing shoes are going to celebrate National Dance Day on July 30, the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek will have you boogieing in no time. The hotel is the only public venue to offer you a chance to get down in "Just Dance 3," before the video game hits the stores in October. And boy are they excited about it. We must have gotten 20 emails from them about this.
Anyways with Just Dance 3 in the house, you will be able to work it on the floor like JLo in "Just Dance-offs" led by pro gamers and emcees. More competitive dancers can show off their footwork in individual contests. The winner doesn't just get bragging rights; prizes include copies of "Just Dance," "Just Dance Kids," "Just Dance 2" and the recently released "Just Dance Summer Party."
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending but it doesn't change the fact that a 16-month old girl slipped and fell from the balcony of the Econolodge in Orlando, one of the biggest Econolodges in the world and also the same miserable property that got poor marks during the Undercover Boss episode back in September.
Miraculously, the toddler was saved by a British tourist who noticed the baby hanging from the fourth-floor railing and ran to catch her before she hit the ground. The girl hit a third-floor railing on the way down but didn't even suffer a bruise or scratch and was even described as happy afterward.
Expect some Nemo sheets!
It seems that there can never be too many hotels at Disney World and the more thematic these hotels can get, the better.
Which is why Walt Disney World is planning its first family-suites hotel that will be centered around the animated Disney movies everyone knows and loves. It will be called Disney's Art of Animation Resort and yes, expect to find Nemo here, as well as Ariel and Simba.
The 2,000-room hotel will open in May 2012 with 866 standard rooms but also 1,120 of these family suites which can fit up to six people.
The next time the boss sends you to a convention in Orlando, just think: you're really going to Napa. Kind of. You can at least drink yourself into thinking so if you hit up the Peabody Orlando hotel's new Napa Valley-themed restaurant and bar called, um ... Napa.
You may be familiar with this hotel if you've ever set foot in the gargantuan Orange County Convention Center, right across the street. It's one of the few Forbes Four-Star, AAA Four Diamond hotels in Orlando, and it's about to unveil a $450 million expansion next Thursday.
We're thinking that this bar--and another new lounge at the hotel called Rocks--may just be the best thing to hit Orlando since Britney. (Who, incidentally, might like the hotel's new pool cabanas.)