Simon Veness, The Daily Telegraph, April 24, 2014
Central Florida will welcome its first Four Seasons hotel in August and, perhaps surprisingly, it is to be located within the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando – the heart of mainstream tourist territory and a long way from the group's upmarket image.
The first non-Disney hotel brand on site, the Four Seasons will be set within the private millionaires' community of Golden Oak, a development of bespoke villas in a wooded, remote part of Walt Disney World but only 10 to 15 minutes from the theme parks.
The hotel – the largest in the Four Seasons group with 444 rooms – will feature a rooftop restaurant with views of the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks and a Disney Planning Centre that can book and plan every minute of a visit to the 'House of Mouse'.
It will also offer five restaurants, its own golf course, extensive leisure facilities (notably a spa, water park with lazy river and night-time films at the specially-designed family pool) and 11 room categories, from the 500sq ft standard variety to immense suites, all with glorious Spanish revival architecture, marbled bathrooms and the latest in-room technology, including televisions housed within bathroom mirrors and ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs activated by a bedside switch.
There will be character breakfasts (where guests dine with Disney characters) twice a week but otherwise Disneyana will be kept to a minimum, as the Four Seasons seeks to distinguish itself from Disney’s other 22 resorts, in an attempt to appeal to wealthy guests, notably from the Middle East, South America and Japan.
Families are expected to contribute to 50 per cent of the market, hence the hotel will be home to inter-connecting rooms and the largest Four Seasons kids' club – free to guests and boasting a dazzling array of games and video systems.
However, there will also be plenty of rooms aimed at couples, with king-sized beds and a tranquil adults-only pool on offer.
Standard room rates will start from $645 (£385) per night, excluding tax, while the top-floor Royal Suite, with its nine attendant bedrooms, costs from $12,000 (£7,150).
“We are complementing the Disney resorts, giving guests a new option," said Thomas Steinhauer, Regional Vice President and General Manager for the Four Seasons Orlando. "Four Seasons Orlando will offer a tranquil setting, with the option of Disney integration, but it is not themed. We are offering a choice between a Disney property or a Four Seasons property with a Disney advantage. Our smaller size enables our team to deliver the personalised service our guests know and love.”
Orlando has seen an influx of luxury hotel groups in recent years with the arrival of the Ritz-Carlton and Waldorf Astoria.
- The Four Seasons Orlando opens on August 3, 2014. For more information, see: fourseasons.com/orlando or call 00800 6488 6488.
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