Archive | Hotels & Motels

Reserve Your Florida Vacation for Next Year

If you like to plan ahead, you can reserve your Florida vacation for next year now. You can even make a reservation to stay in a hotel that isn’t completely built and will be brand new! Add in the fact that this new resort hotel is located at one of the major theme parks in Central Florida, and your vacation planning is really starting to shape up!

Legoland Florida is a very popular theme park for families with children 12 & under. The new hotel resort will give families the opportunity to extend their stay and have more fun together. Young children may not even notice the difference between the theme park and the hotel due to the Lego theme being used throughout the entire resort.

Legoland hotel being built

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Our experience at this theme park seems perfect for a two-day visit, especially in the summer months. The water park is open during the summer and can entertain children for several hours. By staying at this new resort hotel, you can visit the primary theme park for an entire day, or split up two days with some water park time. Depending upon the length of your vacation, or other vacation plans, one night at the resort may be enough, but why end the fun? Nightly entertainment will offer a great reason for at least two nights at this sure-to-be fun experience.

The groundbreaking for this new resort started nearly a year ago, however, the hotel has recently reached a milestone with the major concrete work complete. The main entrance will include a pool and beautiful landscaping. On the property will also be a restaurant catering to not only the adults, but offering a kid-size buffet as well. Children will have plenty of interactive play areas so that leaving the theme park to come back to a hotel will not put an end to their fun.

So far Legoland has provided the names of three room themes: Pirate, Kingdom and Adventure. One more theme is expected to be announced. Which will you choose for your family? All rooms are set up much like a suite with two separate sleeping areas. The grown-up area includes a king-sized bed, and the kids sleeping area (up to 3 little ones) offer a bunk bed and a pull-out trundle bed. The kids even have their own television! If 4 adults and 3 children want to plan their vacation together, reserve a suite which will accommodate all guests in your party.

Room rates start at $249 and vary per season. This rate does not include park admission. If you want to include the water park, be sure to opt in for that ticket. If you want to reserve your vacation now, the earliest date begins June 15, 2015 at which time the water park is open every day. A grand opening date has not been set at this time. To make your reservation, visit Florida.Legoland.com.

Planning now for next year’s vacation can take a lot of the stress out of the planning. It can help you budget for the trip. Most of all, it allows plenty of time to get excited about the fun you are going to have.

New Resort at Universal Orlando Now Open

Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Cabana Bay Beach Resort is now open at Universal Orlando. While this is the fourth on-site hotel, it is the first resort in which family value has been the aim of the Orlando theme park. This is welcome news as families travel to the Central Florida area for Spring Break. It will even get better for Summer vacations!

When you step into this new resort hotel, you may think you are stepping back into the 50’s and 60’s. The decor is very retro. Every detail has been set to look like a classic beach resort from an earlier era. Many of us think of the earlier years as a simpler time. Perhaps more relaxing and family-oriented. Cabana Bay Beach Resort will take you back to this time. In a way it is a no-frills kind of place, but as most know, Universal doesn’t do anything “no thrills.”

In this resort you’ll find many amenities to thrill your family, including:

  • 10,000 square-foot pool where you can slide down the iconic dive tower waterslide
  • 10-lane Galaxy Bowl ($15 per person for 1 hour of time for 1-3 people)
  • Jack LaLanne Physical Fitness Studio
  • Retro-themed specialty cocktails from Swizzle Lounge or Atomic Tonic
  • Bayliner Diner, a food court with something for everyone

This Summer, you can add these amenities to the list:

  • Another huge swimming pool – with a lazy river
  • The Hideaway Bar & Grill
  • Value-priced Standard Rooms
  • More Family Suites

The family suite is the way to go if you are vacationing with 4 or more people. It can sleep up to six people with a fold-out bed. It also includes a kitchenette for preparing lighter meals to help save money. Don’t forget, there is a Starbucks on site for coffee-lovers. The family suite offers partitioned spaces so the family won’t feel like they are all crammed into the same room. Rates start as low as $134 per night for longer vacations and $174 per night for shorter stays. Standard rooms are even less costly, but you won’t have nearly as much space.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Make sure to do some cost comparison. While the Cabana Bay Beach Resort is tagged as a “value” hotel choice, it will all depend upon your other Universal Studios plans. For instance, if you are wanting early park admission, express unlimited ride access, free water taxi rides and priority seating at restaurants within the resort, these items are not included with a package deal at this resort. By the time you add these special items, the cost may equal the Hard Rock, Royal Pacific and Portofino Bay which do include these benefits.

For more information, or to make a reservation, call 1-888-273-1311 or visit UniversalOrlando.com. You may also find more interesting reasons to visit this new resort by viewing the video below. Cabana Bay is the Way to go if you are a family that loves to vacation together!

How to Improve a Stay in a Bad Hotel

As a former hotelier, I can offer advice that can help you deal with the hotels staff and general hotel policies. Often before you realize you have issues, it is time for a shower or climb into bed. Take some time after you get access to your room and follow these steps to insure a pleasurable stay. If you have issues call the front desk as soon as you possibly can.

  1. Trust but verify…. check cleanliness as soon as you get in your room as it is the number one hotel complaint. If you are satisfied with the cleanliness of your room then I suggest pulling the sheets back from the bed for a quick inspection. Bed bugs have recently become problematic in hotels and you really do not want to take home that souvenir.
  2. Try to be as nice as possible. Human nature is an element everyone must deal with regardless of your complaint. The staff is less likely to “hear” you if you are screaming at them. Be prepared with a list of issues you have with your room and give the hotel a chance to fix them.
  3. If the situation cannot be fixed then ask to be moved to another room of comparable value. Should the hotel not have your room type available ask for a complimentary upgrade.
  4. You should be reasonable of your requests of staff, but also in your expectations. They obviously can’t control city sounds or nature (gotta love the roosters in Key West – they get you up bright and early). If it is another guest causing the noise, call the front desk and ask them to intercede so you can enjoy a restful night’s sleep. Try to rectify the things the hotel can control, and remember that many of the annoyances can be caused by elements beyond the hotel’s control (like fluctuating water pressure, minimally hot water or other such issues). You are more likely to have these issues when you book at older hotels; keep this in mind when booking your reservations.
  5. Should the front line staff not be able to satisfy you ask to speak to the manager since they usually can help with upgrades and changes that the front line staff cannot do.  Just make sure you’ve been polite and reasonable to everyone you’ve talked to before then — if you’ve already been labeled as “the crazy guest who’s screaming in the lobby,” it might be harder to make your case.
  6. If the manager is not being cooperative with your problems then it is time to pull out the big guns. If the hotel is part of a chain call the 800# and ask to speak to someone in guest relations. Another card you can play with the manager is to let them know you are documenting your experience and will be posting a review on your experience at the hotel on tripadvisor.com and if you booked on a site like Expedia they now typically offer an option to review the hotel. The last thing that manager wants is a bad review that can cost them future bookings. One more thing, it is a good idea to check out reviews for the hotel you are booking before you book your reservation.

My final piece of advice is to be proactive. The worst thing you can do is wait to complain until you are checking out or after you get home. Wishing you happy travels and hopefully this advice will come in handy on a vacation in the future.

ICE and SNOW in Florida?

ICE!Yes, you can see ICE! And SNOW! in Florida at the breathtaking Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee.  ICE! is a 14,000 square feet winter wonderland featuring 10 different holiday scenes created entirely of two million pounds of ice!  This 9-degree attraction features hand-carved ice sculptures and ice slides that are over 2 stories tall!  The theme of the classic story ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is presented with beautiful lights, sounds, and smells in a way you’ve never seen before.  Don’t miss the musical shows, including Luminescence, or the picturesque Christmas Tree Lighting.  You will also enjoy Holiday Brunch with Mrs. Claus, Hidden Holiday Treasure Hunts, and visits with Santa Claus himself.  This indoor wonderland is in the center of a tropical paradise, a totally unique Christmas favorite.

SNOW! Is a separately ticket event featuring 40 tons of real snow, making up a North Pole ‘Carnival’ right here in Central Florida!  The whole family will enjoy carnival-style games including Elf Bowling, the Frosty Ring Toss, and even a Kiddie Snow Tube Run! Snow cones, cotton candy and snowball games make this winter carnival complete.

You can enjoy ICE! and SNOW! From November 20, 2010 – January 2, 2011 and there are special room packages available, as well as combo tickets.  You can get a room, priority access tickets to ICE!, one souvenir photo, SNOW! tickets, and self parking for as little as $199 per night.  Make sure you visit their website to see just how spectacular this resort really is.  So, bundle up and enjoy the holiday season here in Orlando!

Snow Birds Should Flock to Kissimmee

Kissimmee is located in the heart of Central Florida and has easy access to I-4 and the Florida Turnpike. These two highways can lead you to either coast and hook up with I-95 and I-75 so it makes for a great central location to visit other parts of Florida.

Kissimmee can also be easier on your wallet then some typical Snow Bird destinations. One of the great reasons to choose Kissimmee is the variety of places to stay. Just want to stay a couple of weeks? No problem, Kissimmee has a large variety of tourist condo and home rentals which you can choose for a week or a month and even longer. Seasonal rentals in Kissimmee are plentiful and reasonably priced, although Kissimmee is not as popular with Snow Birds as some of the coastal regions; it definitely has its advantages.

So you might wonder then if Kissimmee is not as popular with Snow Birds why should I choose Kissimmee?  One of the main reasons is that with so many vacation homes that people have purchased, the homes here rent weekly or monthly. Many of these homes have private pools, designer kitchens, garages and so much more. Primarily families rent these homes to vacation in Central Florida but that market is limited to school holidays. When you get into the coastal regions typically the cost is much higher and the minimum stay is months not as little as just a week.

Want to spend a few days at the beach? Rent a hotel room at the beach. You will find it will still be much more attractive to stay in Kissimmee cost-wise. The cost of renting a large vacation home with a private pool here is about as much as you would pay for an older condo on the beach plus you are not locked into renting for three months or more. Who knows, perhaps the kids and grandkids will jump in the car or on a plane and come visit you for Thanksgiving or Christmas. With all the extra space in a home rental they can stay with you!

Consider Kissimmee for your winter escape and discover the huge number of choices available to you in Central Florida. It’s easy – start looking by googling Kissimmee vacation homes and you will be amazed by the number of choices Kissimmee has to offer. It’s October already, so hop to it and become a Kissimmee Snow Bird – you will be glad you did!