About a year ago, my wife and I visited the Hilton Bonnet Creek for the first time, and it quickly became one of our favorite hotels in Orlando. A beautiful resort property conveniently located within-though technically outside-the Walt Disney World Resort, the Hilton Bonnet Creek seemed to have just about everything I look for in a hotel. We have called it home several times since that initial visit, and with the resort celebrating its two year anniversary during our stay last weekend, it seems an appropriate time to take off the blinders and provide an updated review of this great hotel.
We arrived to the hotel around 6pm, and it was immediately clear that things were going to be quite busy around the resort this weekend. As we made our way into the self-parking garage, my usual parking places on the 2nd floor were all full, and it wasn't until the fifth level that we found a spot. By usual parking places I'm referring to the half dozen spaces reserved for hybrid vehicles, awesomely located next to the entrance of the walkway to the hotel. This is the only hotel I've ever seen this perk, and I definitely wouldn't complain if more followed the Hilton's lead.
Check-in went smoothly enough, and we made our way up to our room on the 10th floor. We reserved a standard view room, and while it is not technically the alternative "Disney View," one still has a great panorama of Downtown Disney and the rest of Orlando in the distance. The rooms at Bonnet Creek are gorgeous, with all the modern amenities one would expect, and most importantly, insanely comfortable beds.
After settling into our room, we headed down to the lobby bar for a light bite to eat. I was in the mood for a nice cheeseburger and fries, and was slightly disappointed when our server told us a burger would not be possible. She explained they "changed the rules" about a year ago on ordering burgers, but I knew this to not be exactly true, given I had one there on our last visit in June. Either way, we opted to share an order of wings and a pizza, and the combination paired perfectly with the beer in my hand, and playoff baseball on the TV.
Following our visit to the bar, I was now suffering from an enormous sweet tooth. Thankfully, the Hilton has a coffee/sweets bar right in the lobby. I headed over to Muse as it's called with one thing in mind....chocolate covered strawberries. Now, I didn't go making up this random craving; I'd had them on our last visit, and man were they awesome. Imagine my disappointment when I learned they were out of chocolate covered strawberries....forever. I was told they were taken off the menu a few weeks prior, so I opted instead for a cinnamon roll - its gooey deliciousness playing well the roll of second fiddle.
Before heading up to bed, I stopped at the front desk to inquire about transportation options to the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, which my wife and I were running the following day. The hotel had advertised a shuttle service to the starting line for its guests, but this seemed to be news to those at the front desk. One agent pulled out a flier for guests describing the hotel's services surrounding the race, but I was fairly confident none of them had read it or been briefed on what the hotel was offering. This was a bit surprising, given how much the hotel promotes itself to runners in these events with things like a "Runners Package," in which one of the key elements is.....transportation. In the end, I got the answer I was looking for, and headed upstairs for what I knew would be an awesome night of sleep in their bed.
We started the next morning with the breakfast buffet in one the hotel's two restaurants, Harvest Bistro. This is one of the better buffet breakfasts around, and I looked forward to it with great anticipation. Fresh waffles, made to order omelettes, and all the other usual suspects on a buffet breakfast are available, but it's the smoked salmon which makes this place worth every penny. I've had more than my fair share of smoked salmon, and I'm pretty sure one can only find better in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Finally, after much anticipation, it was time for us to leave for the Wine & Dine, and as advertised, the hotel's shuttle was waiting outside the lobby for us. We made the short ride over to the Epcot parking lot, and yet again upon our arrival there seemed to be a good deal of confusion. The driver and hotel staff member which accompanied us both seemed unsure on where to drop us off. To their credit, the people at Disney seemed equally confused, and in the end we were in the right place, so it was of no concern.
Getting back to the hotel, the one thing I noticed more than anything is that the place looks as good as the day it opened. Everything throughout the property is spotless and free of the wear and tear that every hotel battles on a daily basis. It is a true testament to the quality of the hotel's maintenance and housekeeping staff that a property which endures as much traffic as Bonnet Creek has held up so well over the last two years.
Overall, as we have come to expect, we had an exceptional stay at the Hilton. If there is an observation to be made comparing this visit to our last few, it's that the hotel should double up on it's staff communication, especially during big events like the Wine & Dine. It was clear the marathon was only one segment of the hotel's busy weekend, with several conventions also taking place at the same time. However, the staff was clearly not on the same page regarding events for the race, and a simple failure to communicate was obviously to blame.
All of that aside, the Hilton Bonnet Creek still firmly remains my favorite hotel to visit in Orlando, even without the chocolate covered strawberries.
~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~