My husband and I live in a perfectly nice house, but sometimes, we like to sneak away for a weekend of luxury without leaving town. It turns out Orlando is the perfect spot for an upscale staycation, because in the off-season, even the nicest hotel rooms in town can be found at deep discounts. For those of you coming in from out of town, you’ll find great deals here too – even at the height of tourist seasons. Upscale hotel rooms often go for a third of the cost that comparable rooms in cities such as New York and Chicago might cost. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that because Orlando is filled with theme parks, it’s a just-for-kids kind of town. On the contrary, it’s a bustling city with plenty of highly-rated restaurants, bars and nightlife. Here are some of my favorite places to stay.
Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
I like this hotel so much that my husband and I had our wedding reception here. It’s Disney’s crown jewel, with Victorian styling, impeccable detailing and lots of amenities, including a spa, a top-rated restaurant and plenty of concierge-level rooms. The Magic Kingdom is just a hop, skip and a jump away on the monorail.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Luxury is the name of the game at this AAA Four-Diamond hotel surrounded by Disney property. If you’re coming to Disney World and looking for upscale lodging, it doesn’t get much better than this. An 18-hole Rees Jones golf course sits right out back, and not only do you get access to the Waldorf Astoria’s tranquil, beautiful pool, but you can also use the bustling pool and lazy river at the Hilton Bonnet Creek next door.
Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
Whatever you’re looking for, it’s practically guaranteed that this brand-new resort has it. The Tom Fazio golf course is a certified Audubon Society environment with protected wetlands (read: beautiful!), and the hotel itself has a lazy river, two waterslides, an adult pool and a family pool, along with an amazing rooftop steakhouse and some of the biggest standard hotel rooms in town.
Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
With sixty executive suites, three enormous suites and 56 club-level rooms among their nearly 600 room offerings, the Ritz-Carlton has a wide range of options. Each room has a five-foot private balcony. The hotel sits on 500 tropical acres (shared with the JW Marriott Grande Lakes) and includes an upscale spa, a Greg Norman-designed golf course, an upscale pool, a lazy river and several highly-rated restaurants.
If you’d rather stay downtown – away from the more touristy areas of Orlando – look no further than this upscale retreat just steps away from the brand-new performing arts center. The restaurant offers a spa, a rooftop pool, one of the best brunches in town, and an award-winning restaurant.