By Jackie Roseboom
The Hilton Orlando on International Drive recently held their grand opening with a lavish affair, showing off everything the hotel has to offer. The hotel is classified as a hybrid hotel, a combination of a resort and a business hotel. The two sides of the hotel have a very different feel. One is very much business and the other is all about being the ultimate resort. The hotel is located right next to the Orange County Convention Center. A covered walkway joins to the convention center.
The hotel’s business features are very impressive. It has 21 meeting rooms and nine boardrooms. The three ballrooms range in size from 15,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet. Forty-six parlors can accommodate up to 40 people in each, which is great for small gatherings. The audio/visual department has the latest in high tech equipment. There is even a UPS store inside the hotel.
The fact that it’s a green hotel makes the owners very proud. They take it past the requirement level to make the biggest difference they can. They also have a Smart Giving program that benefits local charities and schools. This program gives leftover food supplies to the Second Harvest Food Bank and leftover business supplies to the Nap Ford Community school. So you’ll be doing more than just helping your company when you hold your meeting there. There are also a few more charitable options you can select when booking your company’s trip.
The hotel has 1,400 nicely appointed guest rooms, including 53 suites. The decor is modern with a floral Florida twist. It’s not too flowery – the little accents are very tastefully done. The in-room desk is actually two desks, with a rolling table that can be used as a tray or the second desk. Those familiar with the Hilton brand know the beds are set to certain standards. The bathrooms are a comfortable size and not too small.
The Spa at the Hilton Orlando has fifteen 130-square-foot treatment rooms. Included are two couples’ rooms. The men’s and women’s locker rooms are each equipped with their own showers and steam rooms. There are wonderful relaxation rooms to wait in – one each for the ladies and gentlemen. There is also a full service salon and a spa boutique as well. This 15,000 square foot spa has everything you need to relax and rejuvenate.
The Fitness Center was designed by the Fitness Design Group. The cardio equipment is set up next to floor to ceiling windows, which provide a view to the pool area. The free weights and strength training equipment is on the other side of this massive fitness room. There are personal LCD screens and TV monitors to keep you motivated while you’re working out.
There are many outdoor activities available, including a lit tennis court, a nine-hole putting green, a lawn for bocce ball and volleyball. Yes, there is basketball too: a regular court and some hoops poolside. All the needed equipment is available to borrow, although there is an extra cost for the putters and balls for the putting green.
The main pool is 7,000-square-feet with a zero entry on two sides. It also features a water slide that is partially covered. The lazy river can be anything but – sometimes it’s more like an ambush river. There are water canons, water fountains and waterfalls to get you completely drenched. It’s fun for the kids, but not so much for the mom who doesn’t want to get her hair wet. Have no fear, there is a salon on property to make that all better. There is also a quiet pool for those looking for a more private and peaceful swim. For those who want to feel pampered, there are private cabanas available for rent. Here you’ll find your own personal refrigerator and a dedicated wait staff.
The resort doesn’t have a kids club or playroom. Hopefully they will see the need for it in the future. For now, they’ll give you the number for an off-property babysitting service that will come to your hotel room.
Dining is an art form at the Hilton Orlando with Executive Chef Thierry Meissonnier. He takes pride in providing local produce and meats when available, which ensures everything is fresh on your plate. There are seven different dining options to choose from:
• Spencer’s for Steak and Chops offers mouthwatering steaks and the sides are served family style.
• David’s Club Bar and Grill is a place to have a drink and watch the big game.
• The Bistro is great for breakfast or a light lunch.
• You can get a tropical cocktail or a poolside snack at Tropics Bar and Grill.
• Lobby Bar is a great place to relax
• The Marketplace is open 24 hours.
The last option is in-room dining. In addition there is a banquet chef, Louis Martorano, who can handle all your culinary banquet needs.
The restaurant and room prices at the Hilton are comparable to other upscale hotels in the area. Self parking is free for the first half-hour then $12 per day. Valet is $20 per day. No validation is offered at the restaurants, but they do expect to feature special offers in the future which may include parking validation.
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