This morning, I braved the chilly New York elements to meet with representatives from the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Bonnet Creek, two Orlando properties opening this fall.
When thinking about Orlando, the mind usually conjures images of Mickey ears and massive lines rather than luxury and iconic hotels. Well, come October 1, those previous thoughts might just be thrown out the window.
Peter Kacheris, managing director,Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek (left) and Thomas R. Parke, director of marketing, Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek (right) with Mackenzie Allison.
The Waldorf Astoria Orlando will be the first property outside of New York City to bear the iconic name. Although Mickey and Donald aren’t too far away—the hotel is surrounded on three sides by Walt Disney World Resort—the Orlando Waldorf will have variations on some of the famous elements found in the New York original, including Bull & Bear Steakhouse, Peacock Alley, Sir Harry’s Lounge and a Guerlain spa. Of course, since the property is in Central Florida, there will be some spins for the warm-weather climate, including a swimming pool with private cabanas and recreation pool.
Although the hotel will definitely show the Disney love, they are also forming an alliance with local performing arts outlets that, until now, were relatively shadowed by Disney.
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek will be a short walk from the Waldorf. The hotel will have a whopping 1,000 guest rooms and suites. A good family option, the property will also have an outdoor family fun area with a waterslide. Other activities will include jogging paths, as well as basketball and volleyball courts. The resort will have six dining options and will also have access to the Waldorf’s restaurants.
Both hotels will probably be big draws with family reunions and weddings.
Anyone who knows anything about the hotel business takes opening dates with a grain of salt; however, the Bonnet Creek and Waldorf folks seem pretty keen on keeping the October 1 date. The date is significant for various reasons, namely it marks the 78-year anniversary of the opening of the Park Avenue original. The hotels’ Rees Jones-designed golf course is already ready, but will open with the hotels. Visit www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com and www.hiltonbonnetcreek.com