Nestled on a corner of land adjacent to Walt Disney World lies Orlando's newest luxury hotel...The Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort at Bonnet Creek. The resort is nearly four years in the making, and after much anticipation, started welcoming guests on October 1st. Given my affection for the Hilton and Waldorf Astoria, which also call Bonnet Creek home, I was quick to clear my calendar when presented with the opportunity to tour this beautiful new property. Here's a review of what I found inside.
The Wyndham Grand Orlando has mastered the art of the first impression, because from the moment I arrived I'm pretty sure I was in love. As I walked from the portico and through the front door, I was immediately struck by the enormous two story windows that overlook the lake which the resort surrounds. Throughout the lobby are numerous seating areas, with contemporary, yet comfortable furnishings, which appealed to the soft spot I have in my heart for hotel lobbies. At the Wyndham Grand, the lobby is not simply a place one passes through en route to somewhere else. Here, you're invited to stay awhile.
As if they were forewarned on how to appeal to my good side, members of the hotel's sales and marketing staff began our tour with a stop at the resort's coffee bar. Sadly, I had already downed two donuts and a large ice coffee on the drive over, so I had to pass on the freshly brewed Starbucks that the coffee bar had to offer. On any other day, this would be the perfect place to grab breakfast on the run, or the late afternoon pick-me-up.
The second room type that intrigued me during my tour were the bunk bed rooms. That's right...a luxury hotel has rooms with bunk beds. While these rooms are obviously kid friendly, one shouldn't worry that booking this room type also means pictures of Lightning McQueen and Hannah Montana will adorn the walls. The bunks fit seamlessly with the overall decor of all the guest rooms, and they will no doubt be hugely popular for families or those that recently saw the movie Big.
After touring several of the hotel's guestrooms, we made our way through the resort's food and beverage outlets. As with the guest rooms, when it comes to dining, the Wyndham Grand Orlando has something for everyone. In addition to the previously mentioned coffee bar, the resort offers three table service restaurants with diverse menu options. First is the casual Tesoro Cove, which features a breakfast buffet, as well as traditional fare for lunch and dinner. For those seeking a light bite by the pool there's Back Bay, which is set to make its debut near the end of October, and offers a lakeside deck for alfresco dining.
The main attraction when it comes to food at the Wyndham Grand is most definitely Deep Blu, the resort's signature dining experience. Deep Blu offers an array of land and sea options, set in a beautiful dining room with an open exhibition kitchen. With things such as calamari fries and crab mac & cheese on the menu, it was good to know in advance that returning home from vacation to Hamburger Helper would be quite a challenge.
Next on my tour of the resort, we explored the numerous activities around the hotel, all designed for guests both young and old. I was thoroughly impressed with the resort's zero entry pool, which offers private cabanas for rent, and a more refined atmosphere than the water slide and lazy river sort. Adjacent to the Wyndham Grand's pool is that of the Wyndham Vacation Ownership resort, which features a pirate ship and a much more kid friendly atmosphere. Guests at both resorts can share the amenities of the other, meaning the best of both worlds is close at hand.
After a walk through the tranquility of the Blue Harmony Spa, we made our way past the resort's arcade and adult rec room. That's right...an arcade and adult rec room, directly across the hall from one another. This place was getting better by the minute. The Wyndham Grand also is home to an extensive work out facility, but I wouldn't know what it looks like, because oddly enough I'm allergic to the gym.
While the Wyndham Grand has obvious appeal to those visiting Orlando for the family vacation, its meeting facilities are also well suited to those hosting groups and events. With over 25,000 square feet of meeting space, the Grand is able to host groups of just about any size. The beautiful facilities will no doubt be a popular choice for wedding receptions, with the resort offering the perfect setting for a destination wedding.
Taking a page from Disney's playbook, our tour came to an end in front of the resort's gift shop and theme park ticket desk. OK, so they weren't trying to sell me anything, that's just how things panned out. However, here I learned some important information for those visiting staying at the hotel while touring Disney. In addition to being able to purchase theme park tickets at the hotel, the Wyndham Grand also offers a complimentary shuttle to the Disney parks. Unlike many hotel shuttles, the Wyndham's is dedicated to the resort's guests, and does not make stops at other properties along the way. Not to mention, it'll save you $14 every time you want to park at Disney.
Whether you're a couple looking for a weekend away, a family on the annual summer vacation, or a meeting planner in search of your next conference location, you'll likely find the perfect solution in the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort at Bonnet Creek. The true test will of course be how the resort and its service performs once the new car smell wears away, but from what I've seen so far, I'm confident this is only the beginning of great things to come.
~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~