|A Deluxe Suite has dining for four and a marble bathroom with soaking tub.|
Nestled within the new Bonnet Creek area, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando delivers easy access to Walt Disney World Resort’s theme park action. But, after a frenetic day at the parks, just leave the crowds behind and savor the Waldorf’s blessedly calming aura.
From the moment of arrival, the resort cocoons guests in a pampered, yet not stuffy atmosphere. Look for Parker Henderson ([email protected]; 407-597-5460), director of front office operations, often visible in the rotunda-styled lobby welcoming guests, answering questions, and offering coffee or bottled water. Henderson helps a young couple with directions one moment and then drops down on one knee to talk eye to eye with a guest in a wheelchair the next.
The Waldorf has 498 rooms and suites, including two Presidential Suites, but it exudes a decidedly boutique hotel feel. For those seeking a deluxe guest room with what’s called “a Disney view,” choose Room No.1227; it’s close to the elevator, but not noisy. Two lovely queen beds sport plush mattresses and high-end linens. Also, this category of accommodations has one plush side chair, a desk and chair, and a large armoire and entertainment console with a massive flat-screen TV. After a recent upgrade, all guest rooms now have mini-refrigerators.
|A View from Deluxe suite No.1227 down onto the hotel’s pool deck and adjacent golf course.|
All Waldorf rooms and suites also feature spacious marble bathrooms. The bathroom in No.1227 has a duo of sinks, separate glass rainforest shower and a large soaking tub. Guests in all accommodations enjoy two-line phones, complimentary in-room premium cable, video checkout, Internet access, complimentary daily newspaper delivery and twice-daily housekeeping.
The best views in this hotel? Rooms and suites described as having “a Disney view,” overlook the pools and golf course. When bathed in sunlight, this central Florida landscape—with its blue pools, green golf tees and fairways, bright blue sky and low-lying puffy white clouds—is stunning.
Plus, certain Disney-view rooms, including No.1227, have views of Epcot’s nightly fireworks. So if you’ve been at that park all day and are too tired to stay for the fireworks, simply watch them in your “jammies” back at the Waldorf, depending on room location.
Among the hotel’s restaurant choices is Oscar’s, a casual American brasserie. At breakfast, chow down on Eggs Benedict, the dish that made the original Waldorf Astoria famous. Poolside cuisine at Aquamarine includes Shaken not Stirred salads, grilled fish and a signature Waldorf Astoria hamburger. Sir Harry’s is the quintessential cocktail lounge, while Peacock Alley can best be described as New York-inspired with a cosmopolitan feel.
Locals and visitors come for Peacock Alley’s signature Pisco Sour, comprised of Pisco 100, sugar, lime juice and pasteurized egg whites. A small plate menu is perfect for those wanting light dinner fare. Recommended is a trio of “tower-like” crabcakes, brimming with lump meat. Quarterly, primarily during holidays, this lounge also hosts a chocolate tasting extravaganza—from truffles to chocolate sticks and bonbons.
For fine dining, the Bull and Bear Steakhouse delivers impeccable service in an Old World clubby atmosphere. Start with the lobster bisque; the chef’s recipe has a tad less cream and a bit more lobster stock than the norm, creating a slightly different, yet scrumptious flavor. For salad, opt for the heirloom tomatoes with Burrata cheese and wild Arugula.
|The Presidential Suite is composed of twin penthouses with two walk-out balconies.|
Steakhouse portions are robust and sharing is encouraged. Meat lovers might choose from a melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon or an even more flavorful Delmonico-cut ribeye. A massive Tomahawk entrée is certified Angus prime beef that’s dry-aged for 28 days. Partner your steak choice with a savory red wine, such as Orin Swift’s The Prisoner from 2008.
Yummy sides include wild mushrooms, asparagus and au gratin potatoes. For dessert, don’t miss the decadent Waldorf beignets with chocolate sauce and Madagascar custard.
For special occasion dining, connect with Emmanuel “Manny” Belete (407-597-5414), the steakhouse’s general manager, who has a “can do” attitude and will assist. On one occasion, when advised about a guest’s housekeeping issue—clearly not his area of responsibility—he still called five minutes after the guest had returned to the room, just to be sure it was handled satisfactorily.
Activity-wise, there’s plenty to do on site, thanks to a jogging path, bicycles, a swimming pool with private rental cabanas and a separate zero-entry pool. Die-hard golfers will salivate over the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club with its 7,108-yard, Rees Jones-designed championship golf course.
After a hard day traipsing through a theme park, head for the 24,000-square-foot Waldorf Astoria Spa by Guerlain and fitness center for a Guerlain Imperiale Massage or a rejuvenating Body Polish. If you prefer a more customized treatment, chat with Valarie Maloff ([email protected]; 407-597-5362), spa director.
One nice perk about the Waldorf is that, upon request, it will provide golf cart transport to and from the neighboring Hilton Bonnet Creek, so guests may dine at different restaurants.
Heading to the theme parks? Peter Frost ([email protected], [email protected]; 407-597-5450), the concierge supervisor, or his staff will arrange for a luxurious private limousine through Mears Transportation. However, don’t overlook another good option. The Waldorf and Hilton jointly operate a dedicated motorcoach shuttle; the deluxe coach runs multiple times a day, seven days a week, to and from the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and even Downtown Disney. Guests receive a printed schedule, the modern coach’s interior is bright and cheery, and pickups are on time.
The Waldorf’s pickup point is just outside the hotel’s front entrance, a plus for families. At all parks, the luxury coach has the Space 1 priority parking spot, so it’s easy to remember no matter which park you’re visiting. And when the day is over, come home to the Waldorf, where the frazzle fades as you pass through the resort’s front door.