Make It An Overnight. Orlando Resorts Made For Romance

If the myriad couples who choose Walt Disney World as a destination for their weddings, honeymoons and anniversary vacations aren't enough to convince you that Orlando is a more-than-viable locale for romance travel, consider some of the luxury brands that have set up shop around town. 

For example, Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton are so sure that theme parks help kindle the fire, they've built their sumptuous resorts in the virtual shadow of Cinderella's castle. But don't think Universal Orlando Resort has left the romance game to Mickey. Their elegant, opulent Loews Portofino Bay Hotel gives guests an express pass to fun at their parks and an Italian Riviera-themed playground to explore when they're through riding the roller coasters. Downtown Orlando's grande dame, the magnificent Grand Bohemian, is a world away from the parks, of course, with its cosmopolitan locale and sensibility and not far away, is Walt Disney World's newest hotel, Riviera Resort, which transports guests to a European getaway. 

Over in Winter Park, the Park Avenue-ensconced Alfond Inn gives this tony suburb a large property from which guests can explore the Avenue's copious shops, galleries, museums and bistros with no need for a rental car.


Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

That "Disney" is in this two-in-one hotel's name is indeed a good sign. A few others include its five heated pools, fountains, waterfalls, on-site watercraft rentals and more. Open nightly, your kids will look forward to time spent at Camp Dolphin, where arts, crafts, movies, a video arcade and more keep them entertained while parents can get a little one-on-one time at any number of the property's on-site restaurants. Todd English's bluezoo, is just one of a roster of great eateries that mean guests often stay put, though the easy boat access to Epcot gives them plenty of reason to explore the culinary spoils of the World Showcase. The resort also is in walking distance to Disney's new Skyliner.

Recommended for Romantic Hotels because: This big resort has plenty to offer from an adults-only pool, a luxurious spa, in-room amenities and more than a dozen high-quality food options.

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Disney's Riviera Resort

Walt Disney World's newest resort to open since 2012 will take guests on a trip to Europe and the Mediterranean coastline. Disney's Riviera Resort is inspired by Walt and Lillian Disney's travels from France to Italy. The grand archways, cascading waterfalls and stone facades will make you forget you're actually thousands of miles away from the European Riviera. Accommodations range from deluxe studios to grand villas that sleep up to 12 guests each. The artwork, furniture and décor of course still includes nods to Mickey Mouse and his buddies, but you'll also see one-of-a-kind pieces influenced by the works of master artists who found inspiration along the European Riviera. When you're done enjoying the amenities, including relaxing by the spacious pool, head upstairs to the resort's signature restaurant. Topolino's Terrace â€" Flavors of the Riviera features authentic French and Italian dishes while providing sweeping views of the nearby parks.

Recommended for Romantic Hotels because: If you can't take your sweetheart on a European getaway, this is the next best thing!

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The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel offers its guests an extravagant European(-style) vacation without the hassle of transatlantic flights. And with far more roller coasters than you'll find on the Italian Riviera. This Four Diamond hotel boasts the luxurious, full-service Mandara Spa, myriad dining options and a water taxi that will take you directly to Universal Studios as well as its nearby sister properties. Not enough perks? Guests receive a free Universal Express pass that makes waiting on lines a non-issue. With eight restaurants, three pools, an art gallery and many lovely boutiques, there's plenty to occupy your leisure time.

Recommended for Romantic Hotels because: At the Loews Portofino Bay, you can split your time between Hogwarts and the Italian Riviera (by way of Orlando). It's a "have-your-cake-and-eat-it"-style proposition.

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Grand Bohemian Orlando, Autograph Collection
Photo courtesy of The Kessler Collection

The elegant and beautiful Grand Bohemian is doubtless one of Orlando's most memorable hotels and a grand dame of downtown. With a wealth of sophisticated amenities, rare artwork, elegant decor and top-tier dining and lounge options, guests are immersed into opulence at this Four Diamond hotel. Worlds away from the resort-style hotels of the theme-park areas, the Grand Bohemian is walking distance from multiple restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and with its own piano bar downstairs in the lobby, makes it easy to enjoy what downtown Orlando has to offer. Its swanky pool provides a gorgeous view of the city. The Grand Bo also offers couple-centric promotions such as the "Exactly Like Nothing Else" Package, which includes a couple's massage, private hotel art tour, museum tickets and more. Check their site for this or other romantic ideas!

Recommended for Romantic Hotels because: With its romantic piano bar and Dr. Phillips-convenient location, the urban-chic Grand Bo is a romantic overnight just waiting to happen.

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Kick back and relax in a verdant, tropical paradise, featuring lush vegetation, koi ponds and rich, exotic South Pacific architecture. Numerous dining options are scattered around the property but if you have the time sign up for the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show for an all-you-can-eat dinner and not-to-be-missed entertainment. Also, keep your eyes peeled for the torch-lighting ceremony, a Polynesian welcoming of the night that includes a fire-knife dance, drumming and chants. Indeed, as with most Disney deluxe resorts, the theming is top notch and the property's torch-lit walkways and island vegetation up the romance factor by miles. Aloha!

Recommended for Romantic Hotels because: It's a Hawaiian escape sans the long, expensive flight. Enjoy tiki cocktails for two just a water taxi's ride from Cinderella's Castle.

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There are hotels and resorts that capture the essence of the resort and theme park area, there are those that immerse guests in the cosmopolitan vibe of Orlando's downtown and then there's the Alfond Inn. Adjacent to beautiful historic Rollins College and within minutes' walk of almost everything cool and cultural to do in gorgeous upscale Winter Park, this is a phenomenal option for folks who may want to visit a park or two but prefer an entirely different atmosphere for their central Florida getaway. Phenomenal dining, museums and shopping are steps from the property, though Hamilton's Kitchen, the Alfond's ritzy on-site dining venue, is worthy of note on its own. Packages that focus on different aspects of the area (for example, one that's museum-based, another for active pursuits) make it easy for couples to plan a special weekend that suits.

Recommended for Romantic Hotels because: Set on the cusp of Winter Park's shopping, dining and cultural attractions, the Alfond offers an entirely different (and very romantic) option for area visitors.

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Beautiful Spanish colonial architecture and a lovely lazy river are two features that will lower your blood pressure upon check-in at the J.W. Marriott Grande Lakes where myriad dining options and access to the Ritz Carlton's spa and golf club make for a particularly sumptuous stay. Disney is nearby, but if you're more in the mood to relax poolside, you'd never know. Palms sway, water sparkles, romance beckons. Head to the driving range, take a fitness class, explore the parks and the city but come "home" to luxury, and perhaps drinks and dinner at Primo, before retiring to your comfortable, cozy room.

Recommended for Romantic Hotels because: Beautiful rooms? comfortable beds? Luxurious pool? Incredible restaurant a la Primo? The J.W. Marriott Grande Lakes checks all these boxes.

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You know what you've come to expect from the Waldorf Astoria name, and that's precisely what you'll get at this contemporary luxury enclave surrounded by the spoils of the Walt Disney World Resort. The hotel is an oasis amid the theme parks, featuring world-class dining and golf and complimentary direct transportation to all the Disney attractions. Customized, client-centric therapies are on tap at the on-site spa while sumptuous steaks and seafood delight diner at the top-rated Bull & Bear steakhouse. The 18-hole Rees Jones-designed championship golf course will take your breath away with its beauty even as it challenges your play.

Recommended for Romantic Hotels because: Luxury and resplendence are the Waldorf Astoria Orlando's twin middle names. There's romance at every turn.

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This breathtaking Ritz-Carlton property is less than four miles from the Orange County Convention Center, but worlds away from the fray of the trade show floor. Of course, that doesn't mean it isn't ideal for business, but closing deals are far more satisfying on a world-class golf course designed by two-time British Open champion Greg Norman - an amenity you'll find right on site. Along with easy access to all the attractions Orlando has to offer, the resort offers business travelers extra convenience with its business center, conference concierge, express check-out and airline check-in/boarding pass station. Eleven on-site dining options make planning the perfect working lunch or dinner a snap.

Recommended for Romantic Hotels because: Rose-petal turn-downs, champagne and strawberries are just a few things to expect when you book a Ritz-Carlton romance package.

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This resort is the epitome of class, romance and relaxation. Start your day in a private cabana at Oasis, the adults-only pool. You'll be surrounded by palm trees overlooking the lakeside infinity-edge pool while a pool server brings you drinks and food. Ready to take the romance inside? Head to the spa and enjoy zero-gravity wave loungers or the ultimate relaxation treatment: a sleep ritual massage. When you're ready for a romantic meal, head to the resort's signature rooftop restaurant, Capa. You'll enjoy stunning sunset views and be able to watch fireworks from Walt Disney World all while savoring an expansive wine list and cocktail menu and delectable bites. To top off the resort experience, book a room for the ultimate end to a romantic getaway. Each guest room has a large, private balcony with breathtaking views and lush accommodations.

Recommended for Romantic Hotels because: Four Seasons' posh adults-only pool and stellar balcony from which to view Disney's nightly fireworks are likely to create some fireworks of your own.

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Meet Michelle Spitzer

Michelle Spitzer grew up in South Florida taking many family vacations to the Orlando area. For the past 14 years, she's called central Florida home.

A journalist for more than two...  More About Michelle