When we think of Orlando, Florida, we tend to think of one or two things – Disneyworld and Universal Studios – which a huge part of the Orlando experience, but there is also all lot more on offer here, which you can read all about in our Orlando article – Coming soon.
One other thing that Orlando is especially well known for, is luxury and in particular, luxury hotels. The Waldorf Astoria Orlando was voted one of the top resorts in Florida by readers of Conde Nast Traveler and is only a stones throw from the Disney theme parks.
You can also find the latest price or discounted deals thru Travelocity.
(Two Monkeys Travel were invited guests of Waldorf Astoria Orlando, as part of a press trip with Visit Florida and Visit Orlando)
Surrounded by the Bonnet Creek nature preserve, amongst 482 acres of stunning protected natural habitat, as we looked out from our private balcony in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando across the never-ending expanse of green we found it hard to believe we were only minutes away from the action and fantasy of the Disney theme parks. As we stood on the balcony taking in the frankly unexpected natural beauty of where we were, we got the distinct feeling that this would be one many #waldorfmoments during our three day stay.
The Waldorf Astoria Orlando has been designed with a respectful nod to the place where it all began, the big bang which first created that perfect blend of classic luxury, contemporary sophistication and a friendly, relaxing ambience – the Waldorf Astoria New York.
Inspired by the original Waldorf Astoria in New York City, the hotel emulates the elegance and grandeur of this legendary hotel. An impeccable level of guest service is a nod to the New York City landmark, the hotel that set the standard for urbane sophistication.
“Meet me at the clock” Our favourite Waldorf tradition. For anyone who has stayed in a Waldorf Astoria hotel, this statement has become synonymous with this luxury brand.
“There’s something about a distinctive clock that draws people’s attention” Kathleen Beckett says when talking about the idea behind the Waldorf Astoria clocks. In the lobby of many, if not all Waldorf hotels, you will find a strikingly unique clock or timepiece which seems to automatically draw people towards it and act as a natural point of contact and connection. Just as guests gather around the World’s Fair Clock in the Waldorf Astoria New York, the Armillary Sphere in the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam and the call to prayer timepiece in the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, guests in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando meet and gather around the elegant, art deco style clock in the centre of the hotel reception, the slender lines of the beautiful timepiece leading the eye upwards towards the ornately decorated domed ceiling. Pushing open the tall, heavy wooden doors and stepping through to see space open up theatrically in front of you is a moment to savour, and a grand entrance like no other we’ve experienced.
Don’t just take our word for it, check out reviews on TripAdvisor
As well as recreating its own version of the style and luxury of the original Waldorf, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando promises an ‘impeccable level of guest service’, which it achieves in spadesful. What impresses me most though, is that fine balance between hospitality, approachability, warmth, knowledge and above all, genuine friendliness. By this, I don’t mean the type of insincere scripted friendliness you might encounter in a brand chain restaurant, or a department store, which says, “So lovely to see you,” and, “I wish I didn’t have to be here talking you,” all at the same time. (I’ve been on both sides of this type of friendliness!) No, the type of friendliness I’m talking about is a willingness to help and offer suggestions, but also taking a real interest in the people around you and seeing your job as a chance to interact and engage with other human beings from all over the world. We experienced this rare blend in everyone we met at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, which I’m convinced is something that cannot be faked, as it is something that has to evolve naturally out of knowledge, training, enthusiasm and personality, but most importantly, an environment which allows all of these qualities to thrive.
The Waldorf Astoria Orlando has 498 guest rooms, including 171 suites with separate living rooms and spacious bathrooms, and two Presidential Suites.
We were staying in a King Deluxe Suite on the 18th floor, which gave us outstanding views all the way across the Bonnet Creek Nature Preserve and out to the horizon, where we watched the light of the day fade to grey each evening over the dense trees. The separate living room, kitchen and dining area were designed in a perfect blend of classic and contemporary luxury; dark wood, lightly patterned blue and gold upholstery and plenty of natural light, all complimenting each other perfectly. The king size bed was an expanse of soft, thick, comforting white linens and down feather pillows, facing the 42 inch LCD televisions for those, ‘curl up in a ball’ moments which we all need after 12 hours of exploring Disney on foot!
The marble bathroom was particularly nice, with twin sinks, a spacious and powerful glazed shower and a deep bath, complimented by a daily range of luxury Ferregamo soaps, hair products, and lotions.
Finally, though, we woke up early every morning to catch a glimpse of this stunning sunrise, sitting on the private balcony with a cup of fresh coffee.
Bathrobes, I have a bit of a thing for bathrobes! When we arrive in a luxury hotel, after taking photos and storing our bags, I head straight to the closet or the bathroom to check out the bathrobe. The Waldorf Astoria bathrobe is something that has inspired me to add an entirely new section to our luxury hotel reviews – they have taken the humble bathrobe and turned it into an art! The soft microfiber towel interior gives you an instant feeling of comfort and warmth, while the satin-like cotton exterior and the thick shawl collar takes care of the luxury. In fact, this robe was so comfortable, it took a lot of self-restraint not to take it home with me. Bathrobes will probably never be the same again!
Waldorf Astoria Orlando features six restaurants and bars, all offering its own unique style of cuisine and service.
With the original Waldorf Astoria in New York in mind as the inspiration for the culinary experience here in Orlando, the drinking and dining options offer exclusive originality and redesigned classic dishes to be savoured and enjoyed in the perfect ambiance.
This living room style bar and lounge in the heart of the hotel is where we met our host, Suzanne, Director of Marketing, who had kindly arranged our whole stay. Their cocktail menu is excellent, with several specialties which can only be found in Waldorf Astoria Orlando, not even in another Waldorf Astoria hotel. We experienced exactly what Peacock Alley was created for, as we go to know each other and chatted about our lives, our travels and our dreams over quality drinks and light, fulfilling food in a relaxing atmosphere.
One of the specialties is their famous Peacock Egg cocktail, a stunning ice egg filled with a mixture of Lavender Syrup, Blue Curacao, Fresh Lemonade and Bombay Sapphire. Another specialty we sampled was their Through the Looking Glass, a one of a kind cocktail creation which is never the same twice. Mixed to the liking of the cocktail master, with whole fruits and herbs visible through the porthole window, it’s as visually interactive as it is tasty!
For food, Peacock alley boasts a simple but delicious small bites menu, from which we tried the Charcuterie & Cheese Board for sharing, a wooden board of fine cured meats, flavourful cheeses and lively accompaniments, including Capocollo Framani, Prosciutto di Parma DOP, Salami Framani, Pleasant Ridge, Petit Munster AOC, blue cheese, marinated olives and house-made preserves.
Their other restaurants are:
Bull & Bear – an award-winning steakhouse, with amazing tableside preparation and special like the signature Tomahawk Ribeye, carved at the tableside.
Oscar’s – A contemporary American brasserie open for breakfast, dinner and brunch on the weekends. This is the place to try the dished that the Waldorf is famous for, like the Waldorf Salad, Eggs Benedict, and Veal Oscar.
Sir Harry’s Lounge – A ‘big-city lounge’ for the connoisseur who favours the style and atmosphere of the good old days of the private lounge, with leather seat, high-backed red-velvet armchairs and a bar menu of only the best premium selections.
Aquamarine – Casual poolside dining environment for relaxing with fresh salads, flatbread pizzas, fish tacos, and cooling drinks.
Clubhouse Grille – The reward at the end of the 18th hole of the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club, with an updated pub-style menu.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Pool – The formal signature pool and zero entry pool offer perfect refreshment for both adults and young children, while the private cabanas offer some relaxation and privacy with space for up to eight people, complimentary drinks and fruit, poolside food service, a refrigerator and even an HD television!
Waldorf Astoria Spa – The spa is 24,000 square feet of luxury, relaxation, and rejuvenation. We spent one evening relaxing in the spa Jacuzzi and steam room which are available for all overnight guests to soak and steam away the long day of rollercoasters and Disney characters! There are also 22 treatment rooms, with a wide range of facial, body, hand and foot, and massage therapies, incorporating their own range of locally sourced ingredients, like honey, which is infused into their own unique skin treatments and products.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Golf Club – For golfers, Waldorf Astoria Golf Club is a heaven of natural contours, designed by Rees Jones to make use of and complement the existing terrain.
Disney Parks transport – Located a short drive from Walt Disney World Resort, Waldorf Astoria Orlando offers free bus transport to all of the Disney Theme Parks, so there’s no need to deal with driving, parking and trying to remember where you left your car.
The concierge desk can also arrange tickets to all Disney parks and other Orlando parks if you haven’t already booked them in advance online.
A jogging path and bicycle rentals – So you can keep up with your fitness and explore the hotel grounds and local area around the nature preserve.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Fitness Center – The fitness center is massive, with over 4,000 square feet of workout machines, free weights, and other fitness equipment. There are also morning yoga classes on the weekends.
The WA Kids Club – We’re not traveling with kids yet, but we will in the future and I can clearly remember how much of a difference a good kids club made to our holidays when I was younger. It kept us kids occupied and having fun while giving our parents some free time and relaxation as well. Waldorf Astoria Orlando has a kids club for children aged 5 through 12 with both day and night programs and activities like poolside scavenger hunts, roasting marshmallows and cool craft creations
There is really nothing much to advise at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, as everything is taken care of to such a high level, that anything you do is going to be a great experience!
The only thing we could say, is ask for a room on a high floor, because the view over the Nature Preserve is breath taking, but even at a lower level, the view will still be beautiful.
If you want to watch the Epcot fireworks from your own balcony, then ask for a room overlooking the swimming pool, otherwise you can enjoy them from the terrace.
The biggest benefit of staying in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando is being within a few minutes’ drive of all of the Disney theme parks. We had a one-day ‘park hopper’ pass which gave us access to The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Ideally, you would have one full day for each park, because they really are huge and there is so much to see and do, especially if you have kids. Luckily for us, it was just the two of us (two big, grown up kids!) so we could make faster work of getting through the parks by just picking the rides that we wanted to do the most – roller-coasters, simulators, and big movie shows!
Of course, there are much more great things to do in Orlando, Florida, so for a full review and adults guide to all the parks we visited and what else to do in Orlando, check out our Disney World, Universal Studios articles, and Orlando articles too!
Here is a big list of all the parks and attractions you could see during your stay at Waldorf Astoria Orlando, but you might want to save some for next year!
Magic Kingdom Park
Fairy tales, Disney characters, parades, adventure rides – Magic Kingdom is non-stop amazement around every corner. I highly recommend Space Mountain, it was my favourite back in 1996 and it’d still my favourite now!
Twice the size of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot is where Disney brings science and technology to life with rides and interactive games, plus the culture and food of 11 different countries. Try the Japanese, it’s some of the best we’ve had! If you can handle it, Mission: SPACE is the most intense simulator I have ever been on. Be warned, it made us very dizzy and a few people couldn’t hold their lunch!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Like stepping back in time to the glory days of Hollywood, with exhilarating shows and rides based on blockbuster movies. Our favorite ride, the Hollywood Tower. When you know, you’ll know!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
We didn’t visit the Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as three parks in one day were exhausting enough! We want to go back though to see the 1700 animals, from 250 species that call this 500-acre park home.
Disney Springs Area
Disney Springs is basically a dining, shopping and entertainment complex which has been fed nothing but sugar since the day it was born! Consisting of Disney Springs West Side, Disney Springs Marketplace, and Disney Springs Pleasure Island, there are multi-screen cinema complexes, indoor theme parks, a plethora of restaurants, Disney Souvenir stores, and more live music than you can handle!
Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
Disney’s two water parks feature some of the most thrilling water slides and rides in the world, featuring the world’s tallest and fastest free-falling water slides and even the chance to snorkel with hundreds of colourful Caribbean fish.
Also, as if you could forget – Universal Studios Orlando!
Universal Studios Orlando has created the ultimate collection of thrill rides , themed experiences and simulators spread out over two parks. Give yourself at least a full day here, because you’re gonna need it! Our favourites were all of the Harry Potter rides, an incredible mix of a roller-coaster, 4D cinema and simulation.
When you plan your trip to Orlando Florida, whether you’re heading to the Disney World and Universal Studios theme parks, or simply looking for a combination of stunning nature and exceptional luxury, we highly recommend Waldorf Astoria Orlando as your luxury hotel!
Don’t just take our word for it, check out reviews on TripAdvisor
Location of Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort
14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane
Orlando, FL 32821
Note: We were invited guests by the hotel and all opinions and text are all mine!