A visit to Orlando’s theme parks and resorts is more of an immersion into fantasy-land than just a vacation. Even the hotels are now a part of the fantasy, and kids can interact with everyone from Shrek to SpongeBob and a whole list of Disney toons without ever leaving the hotel premises.
Here’s a few of the hotels in Orlando currently offering a themed stay, some that will soon be available in the near-future, and others that are on a lot of wish-lists.
Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Fla.: Shrek will be checking into this hotel later this year because the Gaylord Hotel group just tied up with DreamWorks Animation. So their four hotels will feature live appearances by characters from Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar and other films from the studio.
Shrek checks into Gaylord Hotels
The package stay will include special character breakfasts and fun poolside activities. The DreamWorks Experience will be available starting Nov 2011, and can be booked starting this July.
Walt Disney World Resort: Right now, WDW already offers themed stays such as the pirate themed rooms in Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. These rooms come with 2 double-size pirate ship-themed beds and pirate-themed accessories and décor.
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
To add to the collection of themed rooms and suites, ‘Royal Guest Rooms’ are being introduced at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. These new rooms are not just lush with thick carpeting and ornate beds, but also have large headboards offering cool fiber-optic special effects. Read More »
Once in a while you visit a hotel and you come away remembering more than how well you did or did not sleep.
Once in a great while, you leave a hotel gushing about the food.
I recently attended a press conference and dinner at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island that reinforced my fan girl status of the Ritz-Carlton brand and left me renewed with hope for the future of America’s food.
How can one dinner do all that?
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island hosted a “Farm to Table” dinner to highlight its restaurants’ organic, local, seasonably correct, and sustainable ingredients. In attendance were local foodies and some of the producers themselves. I was thrilled to get to hear the passion for providing high quality food came not only from the farmers and fish purveyors, but from Executive Chef Thomas Tolxdorf, as well.
Once I learned why the food was so good (for me and the environment), I got to experience firsthand just how good a meal at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island tasted.
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A King Room at the Renaissance
Not all that long ago, the South Boston Seaport area consisted of unpaved parking lots, fish piers, and a few restaurants. Now, it’s a thriving tourist area, with the Seaport World Trade Center, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Boston Children’s Museum, the Boston Convention Center, and dozens of hotels and restaurants.
The Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, one of the newer hotels in the South Boston Seaport scene and the official hotel of the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, is offering a “Neighborhood Navigators” package from now through December 31, 2011. With the Neighborhood Navigators package, visitors to the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel can explore the entire area on their own time. The package starts at a very reasonable $174 per night (excluding parking and taxes), and includes the following:
- Deluxe accommodations at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel
- Two signature cocktails at the on-site 606 Congress
- Two tickets to the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, which is within walking distance
- A map of the neighborhood, so you can do your own exploring
- A vacation consultation with a Renaissance Navigator during stay
- Complimentary use of the Renaissance health club and lap pool
Some blackout rates do apply and you can make reservations either online with the promo code CUE or by phone (1-800-HOTELS1, and ask for the neighborhood navigator package.
Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel
606 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210
Photo credit: Renaissance Hotel Boston
A trip to New Orleans is, in part, a trip to the past. The locals embrace the roots of their culture as much as the traditions themselves, and time itself seems to slow down a little in order to prevent yesterday from ever getting too far away from today. A visit to the French Quarter especially demands that you forget, at least temporarily, about any visions of the future as you revel in the history.
The Hotel Monteleone stands in the French Quarter as a sentinel of that history. While national chains have hung their logos on historic buildings all over the city, one family has been operating the Hotel Monteleone since 1886. In the ornate lobby, you can see photos of past generations’ owners hanging on the wall and hear stories of employees who’ve been with the family for as many as 50 years.
It is perhaps this deep family tradition that accounts for the legendary service at the Hotel Monteleone. The same employees who remember guest names, open doors, and help with bags today were offered job security and ongoing compensation after Hurricane Katrina, even though businesses all over town had to lay off workers during renovations. It’s no wonder you feel a sense of loyalty and pride from the staff, whether you’re asking for directions or saddling up to the legendary Carousel Bar for a merry-go-round of drinks.
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