Orlando is one of the most visited cities in Florida, USA, found in the centre of the state. Known as 'the theme park capital of the world', it's a very popular holiday destination for families and is home to Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld, among others.
It has a sub tropical climate making it warm and humid all year round, so most attractions are open every month of the year. The busiest times are during school holidays so it can get quite crowded in the summer.
Apart from Walt Disney World, most of the main parks are found along International Drive, as are attractions such as the Orange County Convention Centre, so there are plenty of places to stay in this area. With more than 400 hotels in Orlando, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing your accommodation.
Whether you want to be near the theme parks, convention centre or airport, there are plenty of hotels to suit your needs, from budget inns and quaint B&Bs to luxury golf resorts and themed hotels. Most offer free shuttle services to the main theme parks and some allow kids under 17 to stay for free.
There are plenty of cheaper hotels in Orlando, mostly part of larger chains, and often have special offers for kids to save you some money.
If you want to be the centre of the action on International Drive, there's the reasonably priced Rosen Inn. Less than a mile away from Universal Studios, this hotel is situated in lush grounds with an outdoor pool and has a dining room where kids eat free. Or there's the budget hotel Super 8 a mile from Universal Studios as well as restaurants and shopping. It boasts an outdoor pool with sundeck, free continental breakfast each morning and kids 17 and under stay for free with an adult.
Just off International Drive is Floridian Hotel and Suites a simple, good value hotel where you'll be able to enjoy a complimentary breakfast, outdoor pool in tropical landscaping and a free shuttle service to Universal and Disney. If you'd rather be near SeaWorld there's La Quinta Inn & Suites Orlando South. Start your day with waffles, cereal, muffins or fresh fruit, head to the parks in the day and come back and relax in the pool or choose from 30 channels of HD programming in your room.
In the vicinity of Florida Mall there's Red Roof Inn Orlando South which caters for little ones with portable cribs and kids 17 and under can stay free. Also family friendly is Days Inn Orlando with an outdoor pool and Tiki Bar, while kids can enjoy their own splash pool and can stay for free if they're under 17. There's also a free shuttle to and from the airport, a free continental breakfast each morning and a fitness centre.
If you'd rather be nearer to the Disney World Parks there's Clarion Inn nestled in a beautiful setting in Lake Buena Vista just 5 minutes from Downtown Disney. Rooms have all the usual amenities, plus a fridge and microwave, while the hotel has a bar, buffet restaurant and mini-mart. It offers a range of packages from the 'Theme Park Survival Package' to the 'Romantic Getaway' package.
There are a few self-catering options around Orlando. The Extended Stays chain offers hotels with fully equipped kitchens and are designed for longer holidays.
The centrally located Extended Stay America – Pointe Orlando is found on Universal Boulevard which runs parallel to International Drive. Aside from your fully equipped kitchen you'll get a free breakfast each morning, a shuttle to Walt Disney World, as well as use of a 24 hour fitness centre, pool and outdoor barbeque grills.
On Vineland Road, a mile from Universal is the affordable Extended Stay Deluxe – Universal Studios. When you get back from the theme parks you can chill by the pool, hit the fitness centre, and watch cable TV after you prepare dinner in your kitchen. Extended Stay America – South Park – Commodity Circle has similar amenities and is conveniently located between the airport, theme parks and the Orange County Convention Centre.
You'll find the great value lakefront resort Enclave Suites on International Drive. It provides a free shuttle service to the parks, a food court, 24-hour gym, tennis courts and two outdoor pools. Choose a suite with a kitchenette if you want to cook for yourself. Kids are well catered for with a kids club, two children's pools, and a games room with arcade games and table tennis.
The mid-range Blue Tree Resort in Lake Buena Vista, is just 4 miles from Disney World but it also offers free shuttles to major Orlando attractions. Your spacious suite has a kitchen, dining area and patio. There's plenty to do whether you want to swim in one of the four pools, work out in the gym, have a round of mini golf or play some volleyball, tennis or basketball.
These tend to be resort hotels at the higher end of the price range, but you can relax knowing everything is paid for.
The four star Rosen Shingle Creek on Universal Boulevard boasts four pools, scenic walking trails, a championship golf course, a full-service spa and gourmet dining options. Enjoy steakhouse grub at A Land Remembered, Italian food at Cala Bella, deli-style meals at 18 Monroe Street Market as well as coffee and pastries at Java Coffee Bar.
If you want to be nearer Disney World there's Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress featuring an on-site Jack Nicklaus Golf Course, tennis courts and a private lake, as well as an outdoor pool with a waterslide, six restaurants and children's play area.
Being a child-focused area there are lots of family friendly options available, the best of which are mostly in the mid-range.
Drury Inn and Suites Orlando is a centrally located three-star hotel, highly-rated by families. Their motto is 'The Extras aren't Extra' so you'll get lots of free stuff including local and long distance calls, cooked breakfasts, soft drinks and popcorn 3pm to 10pm, and a buffet at the 5.30pm Kickback.
Just off International Drive is Marriot's Harbour Lake, a Pirate themed hotel, great for little ones. They'll enjoy a kids club, mini-golf, a water playground and an interactive pirate ship in the main swimming pool. It even won the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice award in 2013 for family hotels. Or there's the more expensive Hilton Orlando, right next to the Orange County Convention Centre. It offers two pools, a waterslide and a lazy river, and you could save money with the 'Family Fun Package'.
Heading south you'll find Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld, an aquatic themed hotel with lush tropical landscape, luxury guestrooms and a spa. Dive in and discover the rain tree and water slides at R Aqua Zone. It has a 'Kids Eat Free Package' and it's right next to SeaWorld, Aquatica water park and Discovery Cove where you can swim with dolphins.
Over in Lake Buena Vista there's the Mediterranean style Floridays Resort Orlando. This TripAdvisor Award winner was named the number 1 family hotel in the whole of the US and the 5th top family hotel in the world. Take a shuttle to Disney or Universal and come back and unwind in the pool and Jacuzzi while the kids enjoy the playscape area. Or there's Nickelodeon Family Suites where kids will love having their own suite decorated with their favourite characters such as Spongebob Squarepants, two water parks, and a 3000 square foot arcade.
There are a few romantic hotels if you want to escape the masses of families, but they do tend to be more expensive.
The towering Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando is the perfect place for a luxury honeymoon. Chill in the rooftop swimming pool and marvel at the panoramic views of Orlando. Relax in your luxurious guestroom with lush velvet drapes and the marble bathrooms have a separate bath tub and luxury products. Feast on prime steaks and fresh seafood at the Boheme Restaurant and hit the Bosendorfer Lounge in the evening for live entertainment.
If you'd rather get active there's the centrally located Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. This Italian-inspired deluxe hotel has an 18-hole Greg Norman designed championship golf course, on-site hiking trails, butterfly gardens, as well as a 40,000 square foot spa and 11 restaurants. Your room comes with a flatscreen TV, iPod docking station and a marble bathroom.
Another Italian-inspired hotel is the luxury Loews Portofino Bay Hotel nestled on a picturesque bay at Universal Orlando Resort. With its cobblestone streets, classically-inspired fountains and outdoor cafes playing authentic music, it recreates the romance of the shores of the Italian Riviera. Relax in the opulent Mandara Spa, take a dip in the three themed swimming pools and eat and drink at eight restaurants and lounges.
There are a range of top end resort hotels in Orlando if you want to live in luxury on your Orlando break.
On International Drive, just across from the convention centre, is the luxurious Peabody Orlando, known for its parade of ducks every day. It boasts a spa, four restaurants and a wine cellar, while being close to attractions. Why not go for the 'Feathered Friends and Family Package'?
The tropical landscaped JW Marriot Orlando Grande Lakes enables guests to get active with a golf course, tennis courts, volleyball and outdoor pool. If you'd rather relax, there's a lazy river and a spa offering massages and body scrubs. Tuck into organic Italian cuisine featuring ingredients from the on-site vegetable garden at Primo, or feast at the American Brasserie Citron. Kids can even eat for free.
Next to Disney World is the lavish Waldorf Astoria Bonnet Creek Resort . It's the first newly built Waldof Astoria since the original was built in New York in 1931. Tee off at the 18-hole golf course, get pampered at the full-service spa and unwind in a 3-acre lazy river. If you want to get active there's an on-site jogging trail, fitness centre or you can rent a bike.
For the ultimate rock 'n' roll accommodation, choose the Hard Rock Hotel located in Universal Orlando. Enjoy cocktails and live music at Velvet Sessions, see a gig at Hard Rock Live and grab a burger in the world's largest Hard Rock Cafe. Visit the rock shop, marvel at £1 million worth of rock memorabilia, and discover underwater music in the pool. You can even get a guitar delivered to your room to practice your power chords.
With a spa
Many hotels in Orlando have spa facilities, but these are the best.
The intimate EO Inn and Spa with just 17 rooms is one of Orlando's finest boutique hotel. Built in a restored 1930s building, it's the perfect place to unwind and get pampered after a long day of exploring the city or theme parks. Relax in the Jacuzzi or sunbathe on the rooftop terrace and take advantage of the award-winning spa with an extensive selection of massages, facials, waxing, body wraps and manicures.
Or there's Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa, a four star hotel just off International Drive. The world-class Serenity Spa is decorated in a Grecian style and has a range of treatments and salon services. Soft candlelight, soothing music and an aroma of green tea completes the experience. There's also a fitness centre, seven heated indoor pools, hot tubs, and kids clubs to keep your little ones entertained.
With a golf course
Orlando is one of the best spots in the world for golfing, so of course there are a few resorts built around beautiful courses.
Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club offers spacious family-sized vacation villas. This unique course designed by Champions Tour player Gary Koch boasts rolling sand dunes and vast wetland. Before you tee off, practice your technique on the driving range, chipping and putting greens and practice bunkers.
Marriot's Grande Vista offers spacious villas overlooking a scenic lake, several pools and three championship golf courses including the Grande Vista Golf Club providing rentals, lessons, a driving range and putting greens so you can perfect your game.
Or there's TripAdvisor Award winner Marriot Orlando World Centre with an 18-hole championship golf course, Hawk's Landing Golf Club, spread across 220 acres of lush grounds. On your down-time why not hit the pool, book into the spa or dine in one of the 10 restaurants?
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