Nearly 60 million tourists flocked to Orlando last year. So it comes as no surprise that the City Beautiful is jam-packed with hotels. In fact, Orlando has added 2,824 hotels rooms this year to its roster of more than 100,000. So if you’re planning a theme park vacation, you now have more places to stay.
1. B Resort & Spa - opened in June
This resort, within walking distance of Downtown Disney, was formerly the Royal Plaza Hotel. After a top-to-bottom renovation, it sports sleek, modern accommodations. Guest rooms and suites have designer furnishings, comfy beds, large HD LED interactive flat-screen TVs and a “B Treated Box” of whimsical in-room snacks (including cotton candy and lollipops, at $5 each).
Kids will love the complimentary gaming consoles and iPads that are available upon request. They’ll also enjoy being able to watch the area’s evening fireworks displays from your room. Adults will love that many rooms feature bunk beds, kitchenettes and wet bars. There is resort-wide free Wi-Fi, a 3,000-square-foot pool, the B Indulged Spa and B Active Fitness Center.
For a bite to eat and some entertainment, stop by American Q, the hotel’s signature restaurant, which opens later this summer. It puts a modern twist on classic barbecue, featuring specialties from regions throughout the U.S. and Latin America. Plus, the appetizer and salad station is the bed of a cherry-red 1951 Ford F1 pickup truck. (Note: Keep your eyes peeled for spontaneous line dancing led by friendly “cowboy/cowgirl” servers.)
2. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort - opens in August
If you’re looking for over-the-top luxe, The Four Seasons Orlando delivers. At 23 acres, it’s the largest, most comprehensive Four Seasons property in the world – and the only luxury property in Orlando that is not attached to a mega convention hotel.
This new property has 444 rooms, from standard guest rooms all the way up to the Royal Suite, which is perfect for large families. It can be configured with up to three separate living rooms and nine bedrooms.
Dining options include Ravello, an Italian eatery; Capa, a Spanish-style restaurant; PB+G, a poolside bar and grill; Plancha, the golf clubhouse; and Lickety Split, a fast-casual, grab-and-go spot on the lobby level.
At the end of the day, kick back on a furnished balcony to catch the Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks show. Or take a dip in the adults-only pool, surrounded by private cabanas. Or hit the tennis courts.
If you are focused on Disney, there is complimentary transportation in plush motor coaches to the main Disney theme parks, and there are on-site Disney character breakfasts. And kids have their own amusement area – Explorer Island, a 5-acre playground with a lazy river, climbing wall and waterslides.
3. A Loft Orlando Downtown - opened in late 2013
This 118-room boutique hotel is across the street from the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, which is set to open in the fall. Located downtown, it’s within walking distance of the Amway Arena, several restaurants and Lake Eola. A new soccer stadium is being planned nearby, too.
Stylish rooms have 9-foot ceilings, ultra-comfortable beds, an oversized spa shower and a fun and quirky decor. Amenities include the Re:mix lounge, where guests can shoot a game of pool or grab a Megawatt Margarita or Kilowatt Mojito; the popular W XYZ Bar for music and cocktails; and Re:charge, the 24/7 fitness center. There’s also a swanky indoor swimming pool that will remind you of South Beach.
4. Cabana Bay Beach Resort - opened in May
A hop, skip and jump from Universal’s theme parks, Cabana Bay will have you feeling like you are back in the ’50s. Vintage cars are parked out front, Beach Boys music plays poolside and the 1,800 rooms – including 900 family suites and 900 standard guest rooms – are retro-themed with bright colors. The family suites sleep up to six people and include a foldout bed, kitchenette, sliding partition for privacy and two flat-screen TVs.
With two huge pools (one with a dive tower water slide), a lazy river, bowling alley, full-service bars at Swizzle Lounge and Atomic Tonic and a food court at Bayliner Diner, there is plenty to do on property.
When you are ready to venture beyond the hotel, guests will appreciate the early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens (valid theme park admission required). There also are complimentary shuttle buses and walking paths to both Universal parks and Universal CityWalk.