Friday, 5 April 2013

How Orlando Hotels made me a better person

Ha! That's a pretty bold claim.

I was reading an article about research from Cambridge University that showed how one's Facebook likes have a strong correlation with personality traits and attributes such as IQ.  So I took the automatic profiling test: "You are what you like" and .... well .....discovered what I already knew - a mix of what I really do like and how I think I want to project myself to others.

So the little app described me as:

Mrs Banks Zonta personality
All this just from liking The Colbert Report

Using the same logic I bet I could come up with the same result just from what I "liked" at different Orlando hotels!

So starting in Lake Buena Vista, the red-circled tag is the Marriott World Centre Resort, where the ZI Convention will be held.

Zonta international convention venue location
Almost as many hotels as golf courses
I have already posted on the Marriott World Centre and it being the largest convention room in the USA. Go back and look at my pictures.  You'll see a fairly mundane functional hotel - like a squillion others around the world. Given that it is large and business-like I'm gonna give it my "well-organised" tag.

Here's a bonus video taken from that fancy lift on the front that goes up 28 floors in 18 secs - and looks out over the flat flat Florida landscape.

I also went to visit the Ritz-Carlton! Possibly the most upmarket hotel in Orlando. On my little map, go off the top RH corner and keep going. This place REALLY, so desperately, WANTS to be swanky.

Zonta international convention ritz carlton
Reminds me of the Premium Outlet Malls. (source; ritz carlton site)
Despite having a HUGE golf tournament going on, and a convention centre full of mobile phone talking, wheely bag pulling be-suited middle aged men, inside was very quiet and plush.

ZI Int Conv Ritz Convention Centre
Convention Centre foyer - compare that to the Marriott's stone floored train station approach
There is a massive spa and apparently one of the better ones in the region so I tried to score an appointment, but, once they discovered I was not staying in-house, suddenly nothing was available.

Zonta convention Ritz Foyer
Italian marble and over stuffed chairs in the foyer
It was a whole other world to me - perhaps fun for a while but I felt like I would be role-playing a different being whilst staying here. So it gets the "traditional and conservative" tag which was NOT on my Facebook profile.

UPDATE: I have just caught up with Samantha Brown visiting the Ritz-Carlton, Naples Florida saying that Travel + Leisure have named this the No.2 hotel in the USA and the No. 3 in the world. And the spa is among the best in the USA. You could use this as a base if you are going to the Everglades.

Zonta International convention Ritz room
Many many pillows
Back to my little map and in the bottom LHS at the No. 2 is the Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Zonta International convention Waldorf Hotel
All very American polished. (source: waldorf astoria site)
This place is fairly new - only a few years old, and happens to be placed in an oddity of Disney land purchasing - in that it is surrounded by WDW but not actually on WDW property. So as close as any Disney resort! The Waldorf is putting itself up for direct competition against the Disney Deluxe hotels and have been undercutting the Disney prices. So you could have upmarket luxury at a decent price, whilst staying very close to "the magic"

I stopped by the Waldorf for a look. It is jammed packed in among a bunch of other hotels - a Hilton, Wyndham etc and driving down the street reminds of those new tech/uni/industrial parks that house big corporates & IT companies these days.

Zonta International Convention Hotels
Off - over there - in the distance ..... what? well - yes - sometimes I didn't have both hands on the steering wheel.
Inside is all upmarket posh marble too but not as over the top as the Ritz.
Zonta International Convention Waldorf Foyer
Foyer with Reception in back.
This time I scored at the Spa - walked in, and they offered to look after me immediately. So I was ushered through and enjoyed a massage from a large, young Brazilian man! (ummm ......). Sorry no photos.
Zonta International Convention Waldorf Bar
Is it G&T time?
The Bull and Bear steakhouse here is supposed to be one of Orlando's finest (but I haven't been!).
Still, it's very upmarket and comfortable, competitively priced, friendly and inviting. I could be very happy and feel special here. I give this my "calm and relaxed" tag.

Zonta International Convention Waldorf Room

However, the Waldorf demonstrates why I strongly recommend staying at the Marriott during the ZI Convention period. Have a look at the drive to get to the Marriott.

Zonta Int Convention map
The two hotels LOOK like they are across the road from each other - but follow the blue line route. The freeway system - you've gotta love it. Really! You'd better love the freeway cause you are gonna spend a LOT of time on it.
The other big player in the area is the Gaylord Palms Resort. It is located in the centre-bottom of my little map above.

It looks like your average, albeit large, resort - it has pools, gym, spa, convention centre, restaurants etc.
Zonta Int Convention Gaylord
Nothing to see here, keep moving.
The pricing is very competitive - in their sale periods it is possible to get rooms around the $100/night mark. It is very popular with families on vacation.

Zonta Int Convention Gaylord room
Standard and very nice rooms
But when you step inside ......

Zonta Int Convention Gaylord swamp
The Old Hickory Steakhouse in the "Everglades" theme
.... there are 4.5 acres of themed gardens representing different Florida highlights! Including the swampy "Everglades" area; St Augustine area with an Italian trattoria;

Zonta Int Convention Gaylord castle

tropical gardens with waterfalls and koi; and finally - the Florida Keys area with a yacht!

Zonta Int Convention Gaylord yacht
"Would the owner of a blue yacht, please see reception - you are blocking the jetski ramp"

How amazing! So the Gaylord represents my "liberal and artistic" side.

So here are 3 other hotels you could stay at whilst holidaying in the period before Convention begins - each offering a different experience and price tag.

And can you see how you can find out about your personality just from visiting Orlando hotels?

Which one is your preference? Which hotel would you prefer to visit?

All images are mine or from the hotels' official sites. Click the pictures for full size


  1. I could do swank and posh for a good while I think.ha!

    1. HA! agree - it would take more than looking at an indoor, real size yacht to make me want to stay there - but visiting is fun!