Easily the most important thing to consider when planning an Orlando vacation is the quality of the hotel pool. While proximity to the theme parks and all-you-can-eat lobster houses might seem like a valuable amenity, after about a day and a half of battling crowds and the Florida heat you'll crave an afternoon by the pool with an adult beverage or three. Trust me on this one. Thankfully, Orlando has no shortage of amazing resorts with equally spectacular pools designed to melt away the stress from waiting in line for Nemo's autograph. Over the last few years, I have done tireless research in my quest to discover the best hotel pools in Orlando, and here's what I've found...
5 - Waldorf Astoria Orlando
The pool at the Waldorf Astoria is the complete opposite of what you might expect to find at an Orlando resort, which is exactly why it makes my list. There is no lazy river, water slide, or obnoxious D.J. trying to teach kids the Cupid Shuffle. For that, you'll want to try the Hilton Bonnet Creek next door. Instead, at the Waldorf you'll find a quiet lap pool, rows of cabanas, and cocktail servers handing out fruit infused water and frozen grapes. Look up "paradise" in the dictionary, and there's a good chance you'll find a picture of me lounging by the pool at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando.
4 - Hyatt Grand Cypress
Nearly three decades ago, the Hyatt Grand Cypress unveiled one of the first mega-pools in Orlando and set the standard by which every new resort has been judged ever since. As a kid, I logged hundreds of rides on the Hyatt's water slide, but with age I've come to appreciate the massage provided by the numerous waterfalls which surround the pool. Count me also a fan of the hammocks strung between palm trees on the adjacent lakeside beach, the perfect spot for an afternoon nap.
3 - Omni Orlando at ChampionsGate
When it comes to Orlando resort pools, the Omni is truly the best of both worlds. The kid friendly lagoon pool has a water slide, a waterfall tower, and one of the longest lazy rivers in Orlando. On the other hand, adults looking for a bit of solitude will enjoy the "formal" pool, which features cabanas and a more refined atmosphere. It is rare to find a hotel which caters to both the water slide and cabana crowds, which means the Omni Orlando is sure to please parents and kids alike.
2 - Disney's Beach Club Resort
Take a poll of 100 frequent guests of Walt Disney World and roughly 87 of them will say Stormalong Bay at the Yacht & Beach Club Resort is the best pool in the Mouse's portfolio. In fact, the place is so popular that guests are required to wear wrist bands to prove they belong there. Sadly, this marked the end of my days sneaking in to enjoy the pool's unique synthetic sand bottom not to mention one of the best hotel water slides on the planet.
1- Reunion Resort & Club
Anytime a hotel pool is called "The Water Park" it is safe to assume you're in for something special. From the kids park which delivers a giant bucketful of screams every few minutes, to the lazy river and poolside beverages, the pool at the Reunion Resort is virtually a theme park unto itself. Although the resort might be a little off the beaten path, what Reunion lacks in convenience is more than offset by the impressive hotel pool in Orlando.
There is a strange bit of irony that stems from my love for great hotel pools. The fact is, I hate the sun with a passion. On the other hand, if I'm given proper shade and a tasty beverage there are few things I enjoy more in life than sitting by the pool of a great resort. Orlando is bursting at the seams with such places, and I have been lucky to waste away countless weekends testing out their comfortable lounge chairs. Now, it's your turn.
Enjoy Your Stay