Check Out The Waldorf Astoria Orlando
When most people hear Waldorf Astoria, they think of the famed hotel on New York City’s Park Avenue. And when most people think of Orlando hotels, rarely does old-school luxury come to mind. Enter the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, owned by Hilton Worldwide and only the second hotel in the world to open under the Waldorf Astoria name. The location is perfect if you’re looking to enjoy the parks without being fully immersed – the acreage it’s situated on, along with adjacent property Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, are surrounded on three sides by Walt Disney World.
While the resort – it’s much more than a hotel – is modern in every way, it does pay homage to its predecessor. Its grand opening was October 1, 2009, 78 years to the day after the opening of the New York City property and its dining establishments include a Bull and Bear Steakhouse, Oscar’s and Peacock Alley, all named for their Waldorf New York counterparts. But the Waldorf Astoria Orlando offers plenty that the New York property doesn’t, and given its location, shouldn’t, offer. That’s the beauty of being situated on 482 sprawling acres instead of a crowded city block.
A cabana-lined pool
A free shuttle to Disney
A Rees Jones-designed golf course
The hotel is still a baby, but seems to have most of its growing pains worked out. The staff is attentive and seemed abundant – though since Orlando is entering its low season (my visit was in early June), they likely have time on their hands. The valets literally ran to get my car each time I needed it – about ten times over two days – which I appreciated, though is expected when you’re being charged $20 per day for parking. That charge, and the charge for wireless ($9.95 per day) are my only two gripes.
Because I was at the hotel on a short business trip, I didn’t get to experience the entire resort – so, there’s not much I can say about the spa or the kids club (besides lacking time, I think I may be too old for the kids club). But I did get two nights of peaceful, much-needed sleep in the hotel’s incredibly comfortable beds.
The bottom line: A search on Travelocity shows rates from $179 per night on most nights June – August, an excellent value in my opinion (just don’t forget to factor in the parking).
My name: Genevieve Shaw Brown. I also answer to Genny and Gen.
How I earn my keep: I work at Travelocity.
Greatest travel lesson learned: I travel for my job, but I've learned work is work, vacation is vacation, and it's best not to try and do both on one trip.
Fondest travel memory: There are so many... but a recent experience was being totally jet-lagged and waking up pre-dawn in Koh Samui, Thailand, and watching the sun rise with my husband on the beach. We talked about what all our friends and family were doing at that very same moment as the sun set back home in New York.
First thing I do in a new place: Peruse the local restaurants and map out my dining strategy for the duration of my trip. Dining strategy = eating at as many restaurants as humanly possible.
First thing I do when I get home: Put a push pin on the destination I just returned from on the map of the world that hangs on the wall above my couch.
Travel ambition: To cover that map completely in push pins.
My most beloved place in the whole world: Cockle Cove Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts.