By Sarah Sekula
High class resorts in Orlando offer luxurious amenities for complete unwinding. Some resorts offer all inclusive rates which include everything from food to entertainment. Whether you decide to relax in style by the pool without a worry in the world, are in search of five-star dining options or simply want to indulge in spectacular service, Central Florida has quite a selection of resorts to appease your every whim.
Universal’s Royal Pacific Resort is much like walking into a tropical paradise. With the exotic South Seas flavor, luxurious comfort and impeccable service, this resort is relaxing to the max. Enjoy a day by the lagoon-style swimming pool equipped with a white sandy beach and Royal Ball interactive children’s water play area. Work up a sweat in the 5,000 square foot fitness center featuring a cardio theatre or set up a game of croquet on the lawn. Or for a wild adventure, check out Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge located amidst a 43-acre wildlife preserve. This lodge offers authentic African-inspired architecture and a kraal African-village landscape design--a semi-circle design popular in African which offers expansive views of the surrounding savanna and its animal inhabitants. The Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa Orlando is a home away from home. They provide guests all of the comforts of a fully furnished home with accommodations ranging from studios to large four-bedroom suites. If you are looking for family friendly activities check out their tennis, basketball and volleyball courts or pick up a round of putt putt golf on the miniature golf course.
10 Vista Cay Resort Orlando
With its high quality rental accommodations, resort style leisure amenities, and superb location, the Vista Cay Resort is the first choice for many of Orlando's repeat visitors. This exciting resort is situated just off International Drive on Universal Boulevard in the heart of the Orlando tourist area with the Orlando Convention Center within easy walking distance. A stunningly attractive Tuscan-themed gated community, it is set in over 1,500 landscaped tropical acres adjacent to beautiful Lake Cay, near enough to the action and yet far enough away to offer peace, quiet and a more refined and relaxed stay for visitors to Orlando. Pets are welcome at the Vista Cay Resort, with no additional fees.
9 Bluegreen Fountains Resort
Bluegreen Fountains Resort is located in Orlando, FL, near some of the most exciting attractions in the country, including the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Disney MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom, Silver Springs, Gatorland, Typhoon Lagoon, Wet 'n Wild Waterpark, the Dixie Stampede, SeaWorld, Medieval Times, Downtown Disney, and Universal Studios. Bluegreen Fountains Resort is located a short drive from the Orlando International Airport. Many of the attractions in the area offer scheduled shuttle stops, and guests will also find ample public bus transportation. Rental car and taxi services can be easily arranged, and many shops and restaurants are within walking distance from the hotel. There are 209 guest rooms and suites, each offering full kitchens with refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, stoves, blenders, coffee machines, and utensils. Guests will also enjoy the premium bedding, cable televisions, DVD players, CD players, washing machines, dryers, ironing boards, clock radios, hair dryers, and complimentary luxury bath products. There are many amenities available to guests of Bluegreen Fountains Resort, including a 6,000 square foot swimming pool, a children's pool, a whirlpool spa, a club house, a playground, sports courts, a game room, a teen center, a restaurant and bar, and concierge services.
8 Hilton Grand Vacations at SeaWorld
The Hilton Grand Vacations Suites SeaWorld Orlando is located in Orlando, FL, near many exciting attractions, including SeaWorld, Gatorland, the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Dixie Stampede, Disney MGM Studios, Universal Studios, Silver Springs, Wet 'n Wild Waterpark, Downtown Disney, world-class golfing, and hundreds of outlet malls and shopping centers. The Orlando International Airport is just a short drive away. The hotel offers a shuttle for airport transfers, and many attractions offer free shuttle services at regular intervals. Guests will find many places of interest within walking distance, or may choose to reserve a taxi or rental car services.Every guest room is comfortably furnished with premium bedding, cable television, DVD players, wireless Internet connections, clock radios, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, microwaves, irons and ironing boards, coffee and tea machines, hair dryers, and brand name bath products. Many rooms also offer jetted tubs and screened in balconies.Guests of the Hilton Grand Vacations Suites SeaWorld Orlando will appreciate many amenities, including a children's club, 3 heated swimming pools, a poolside restaurant and bar, a theater, sports courts, barbecue grills, and a gift shop. The property stretches over 33 acres, and offers plenty of outdoor activities, including a private lake and miles of jogging trails.
7 Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld
Who knew that this prime location -- literally across the street from one of Orlando's premier theme-park attractions -- would also serve the needs of the business traveler, but it does. This Marriott-branded property, with its beautiful pool and on-site water park, is a great choice for families but doesn't forget the needs of those visiting for work; in fact, it boasts more than 96,000 square feet of meeting space. Its on-site business center is fully staffed for maximum convenience and all public areas have complimentary Wi-Fi. Convention center accessibility is excellent, as well; the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld is less than two miles away.
6 Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa
The Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa Orlando is a home away from home. They provide guests all of the comforts of a fully furnished home with accommodations ranging from studios to large four-bedroom suites. If you are looking for family friendly activities check out their tennis, basketball and volleyball courts or pick up a round of miniature golf hotel course. Rent bicycles to glide around the property or hit up the action packed game room. There hotel also offers a complete spa, seven outdoor pools, and several dining options. Pets under 60 lbs. are allowed at the Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa.
5 Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Lake Buena Vista
So you want to go on safari, but aren't that enthused about long flights and mandatory vaccinations. Also, you've always wanted to ride Space Mountain. Behold Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, easily one of the Walt Disney World Resort's most beautiful properties and one where you can enjoy coffee while watching giraffes and zebras meandering the "savannah" just off your well appointed balcony. Indeed, DAK Lodge is so lovely, many Disney visitors choose to come for a quick lookie-loo and enjoy the cozy fire pits, the beautiful African animals and the food at its excellent restaurants. Boma, its on-site buffet, in fact, is a favorite with locals, as well. And the best tables at Sanaa have views of the animals -- cranes, kudu, gazelles and more -- to enjoy alongside your delicious meal.
4 Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
This dynamic hotel located just minutes from Walt Disney World brings the outside in -- literally. Their signature atriums and indoor gardens recreate some of the environmental scenes the state of Florida is known for, making it easy for you to "visit" the Everglades, St. Augustine and Key West. But don't let the outdoors theme fool you; this hotel brings class and modern amenities to the table. Besides the four-and-a-half acres of gardens, the hotel offers an array of fine dining options like sushi at Sora, Italian at Villa de Flora or steak at Old Hickory Steakhouse. With over 1,400 guestrooms, the Gaylord Palms has something for everyone -- Ralache Spa, a South Beach-style pool, its own retail street with boutiques and an in-room child care service. TIP: If you can plan it, come in the winter to experience ICE! And the other holiday d--cor and events the hotel offers.
3 Rosen Shingle Creek
With its AAA Four Diamond Designation, the Rosen Shingle Creek is the most upscale of Universal's partner hotels and one of the largest full-service convention hotels in the region. That doesn't mean that couples and families vacationing here can expect less than a world-class vacation. Especially if they're sports-focused. With its 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course, four outdoor swimming pools, two lighted tennis courts, basketball, nature trail and more, that's a ton of space to walk off the huge doughnuts and beer they'll be downing at Springfield inside Universal Studios Florida. In fact, you may even get in extra walks bringing Fido along for the fun; the Rosen Shingle Creek has a number of pet friendly rooms available for its guests.
2 Sheraton Vistana Villages - International Drive
Open spaces dominate the luxurious Westin Mission Hills Resort. The grounds are so vast (360 acres) that the staff offers golf cart rides throughout the property around the clock, and the oversized rooms spill out onto private patios where you can soak up the San Jacinto Mountains. With so much space throughout the property, it's easy to forget you don't have the entire place to yourself. Home to two PGA golf courses, the Westin Mission Hills is a popular luxury hotel for golfers. Westin Mission Hills also offers two cafes, a grill and its full-service restaurant, Pinzimini. Children's programs keep the family entertained, while the Spa at Mission Hills helps Mom and Dad relax. Just minutes from the I-10 freeway, the resort is also convenient for travelers who want to visit Palm Springs or Joshua Tree during their trip.
1 Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando
The Royal Pacific Resort Universal is in close proximity to some of the nation's most exciting attractions, including Universal Studios, the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Animal Kingdom, Sea World, and Silver Springs. Guests of the hotel will enjoy many amenities, including special benefits at Universal Studios, such as priority seating at restaurants and the ability to bypass long lines. The hotel also features an outdoor swimming pool, a poolside bar and grill, a restaurant, a children's club, and a weekly luau. A very pet friendly hotel, the Royal Pacific charges a simple fee of US$ 25 per stay for guests with furry family members.
About Sarah Sekula
When Sarah's not zigzagging around the planet — swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, scaling glaciers in Iceland or roaming through remote jungles in India — she's writing about her adventures, the environment, fitness, health/wellness, extraordinary people and social injustice issues.
Sarah's written for USA Today, ISLANDS, Sherman’s Travel, Caribbean Travel & Life, Cayman Airways Skies, American Eagle Latitudes, Orlando Sentinel, abcnews.com, Where Orlando, Where First Coast, nileguide.com, tripatlas.com, Upscale and Wild Blue Yonder.
She's also an editor and photographer, and has a strong background in public relations. She has a real knack for rounding up facts, making deadlines, project-juggling, storytelling, and wiggling her ears (which she claims hasn’t come in handy yet).
Read more about Sarah Sekula here.