I’ve stayed in nice hotels before. I’ve stayed in resorts located on white sandy beaches. I’ve stayed in charming boutique hotels in Italy, for Pete’s sake!
But there is only one hotel that I’ve ever fantasized about moving into.
My suite at the Gaylord Palms Resort
The Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida has, I believe, earned itself a permanent spot on my list of favorite places in the world to spend the night. Why?
8 Reasons I Could Live At The Gaylord Palms Resort
Welcome to the Gaylord Palms! We love you!
1. They love me there! Or at least, it sure seems like they love me. Of course, it seems like they love everyone, but I’m not going to let that bother me. The gentleman who checked me in gave me a business card “just in case” I had any problems. The woman who checked me out was dying to know how my stay went. The security guard by the elevator was, it seemed, genuinely thrilled to see me every night. The valet was happy to welcome me back each time I returned and eager to provide me directions if needed each time I left.
If they don’t love me, their staff did an excellent job of faking it and making my husband and I feel welcomed, cared for, and ready to be pleased.
2. Their “10-minutes or less” valet means it’s actually convenient. Speaking of the valet, they weren’t just charming, they were actually efficient. I love the idea of valet, but almost always regret having paid for it when I’m standing on the sidewalk waiting for my car for 20 minutes. I usually have a jam packed schedule when I travel and it never occurs to me allow ample time for “standing around waiting for my car”. At the Gaylord Palms Resort, I didn’t have. This convenience will be especially important if I move in.
3. They have bed-making ninjas. They must. Because every time I turned around my bed was made again. I swear there was one day that my bed was made three times in one day. This is something that is good to know ahead of time, because when I leave a hotel room in the middle of the day after housekeeping has already done their thing, I tend to leave stuff laying around that I assume no one else will see. I hope that the ninjas do not know my grandma.
This is the mid-afternoon bed making!
4. You can get coffee 24 hours a day. Most hotels have restaurants and gift-shops on site, and many even have their own Starbucks (and those hotels tend to hide the in-room coffeemakers. Which is crappy, I think.) But the Gaylord Palms Resort has a cafe and bakery on-site that is open 24 hours a day. Twenty. Four. Hours. Need a decent sandwich at 11pm and don’t want to pay for room service? How about a decent breakfast before heading to the amusement parks? They’ve got you covered! I am absolutely in love with the ability to get decent food in a hotel at 1 am, even if I’m so old that I can’t remember the last time I was actually awake at 1 am.
24 Hours of Food Service!
And they still didn’t hide the free in-room coffee, condiments and coffee pot. Classy.
5. 101 places to get married! OK, fine, I’m exaggerating. There probably aren’t actually 101 places you could get married on this resort. But there are so many beautiful spaces here. Multiple courtyards themed around different Florida environments, a koi pond, waterfalls, a pirate ship. Oh, yes, a pirate ship. My husband and I actually went for a walk in the hotel one afternoon, hand in hand, exploring the tunnels and archways and plants and water features. When was the last time you went for a romantic stroll in a hotel?
Gaylord Palms Resort Fantasy Wedding Spot
"And I'll seat the guests here... and my dress will sway like this..."
6. Alligators! I’m torn on whether or not this is in the plus or minus column, but I think in theory the idea of having real live alligators in the atrium of a hotel is pretty cool. Wait. No. In theory it’s scary as hell. In reality, this is the laziest bunch of prehistoric animals you’ve ever seen and there’s no way they are going to move off the rocks, let alone over the gates. In other words, it’s completely safe to look at them and then tell all of your friends back home that “THERE WERE ALLIGATORS IN OUR HOTEL IN FLORIDA!” And then you win the Who Had The Best Vacation Story contest. Forever.
Real Florida alligators!
7. Matching robes AND slippers. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like there’s something extra luxurious about coming in from the rain, taking off your clothes, and putting on a big fluffy robe and white fluffy slippers before climbing into your bed for a black and white movie marathon. The slippers (which come in a sealed plastic bag and are yours, for all you germophobes out there) are just *that* much better than just a hotel robe. Of course, I have a thing about shoes.
8. Free WiFi all over the dang place. Hotels seem to be getting stingier and stingier these days. They charge $5 for a bottle of water that they leave out on the table to tempt you, and internet access is $10 or more per day in many places. You just don’t get the feeling that you’re being nickeled and dimed to death here (although the rooms aren’t cheap, so there’s that). WiFi in the guest rooms is free, and it’s available all over the hotel. There’s even a place to plug in by the pools and in your room if you need to kick it old school.
I told you there was a pirate ship. A pirate ship with WiFi!
Beyond that, of course the rooms were nice, the bedding clean and the bathroom spacious. They should be. What makes the Gaylord Palms Resort special are all the little things that they don’t have to do. I think a lot of big hotels are losing this feeling in today’s economy, and it’s nice to know there are still places in this world I can go and be treated like a princess.
Because who doesn’t need that from time to time?
Disclosure: my room at the Gaylord Palms Resort was provided in exchange for a review I’m doing on another local blog. They did not, however, ask me to talk about the ninjas.
All photos by Britt Reints, including even more found here.