Tag Archives: Orlando hotels

Orlando "Direct Connect" Hotels From Hotelmine

Nearby Magic Kingdom

Orlando is undoubtedly one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

The city enjoys the vibrancy brought about by a wealth of theme parks, sightseeing opportunities, cultural attractions, and dining and nightlife spots.

Here are just a few of the many hotels in and around Orlando that you will find at Hotelmine.  Don’t forget when you decided to book your guest room you will be dealing directly with the hotel and not an online travel agency.

Hotelmine…see where the world’s largest “Direct Connect” travel site can take you!

Orlando Hotels

Hilton Orlando takes hospitality honors

Hilton Orlando

The Hilton Orlando has kicked off the New Year in grand fashion, receiving two highly decorated hospitality industry honors. The Connie Award and the Satisfaction and Loyalty Tracking (SALT) award come from Hilton Worldwide and are a testament to the property’s exceptional dedication to customer service.

The “Connie” Award, named after Conrad Hilton, founder of Hilton Hotels Corporation, is awarded to “the best of the best” hotels within each brand in the Hilton family of brands. The second of the Hilton Worldwide honors, the SALT award, is selected exclusively by Hilton guests and recognizes the “best of the best” in overall service.

The Hilton Orlando is rated as a AAA Four Diamond hotel and currently is one of the top hotels in Orlando at  Hotelmine.

Hotelmine Travel Planner – There’s more to Orlando than just Disney

Orlando is generally associated with Disney World, but there is a lot more to Orlando than just Disney. Here the top five attractions in Orlando with no Disney connection.

Islands of Adventure

This is part of the Universal Studios resort, and is situated across from the studios close to International Drive. The creative consultant for the park was Steven Spielberg and you can easily see his influence in the spectacular design. It gets busy, so try to be there early though the doors frequently open sooner than the official 9 am.

Agreed, these queues can get pretty long, but Islands of Adventure have a Universal Express fast pass option, whereby your ticket can be used to make an advance booking for your ride and you are given express admission at the alloted time. Your queue is shorter and you save time waiting on rides. All in all, Islands of Adventure is regarded as a fantastic Orlando attraction, and frequently tops the internet theme park lists.

Discovery Cove

If you have ever dreamed of swimming with dolphins, then this is your chance. You can also take the option of a dolphin swim ticket, and you will find the entrance on the Central Florida Parkway. Offering a tropical experience that you will remember all your life, Discovery Cove offers rays and exotic fish as companions while you snorkel or go reef diving. You will share a lagoon with dolphins, and float down Wind-away River, saying goodbye to all your stresses while you enjoy the sounds of the tropical birds, many of which will feed from our hands.

Discovery Cove has been regarded as one of the most peaceful and relaxing adventures they have ever experienced, and after a visit they say that they feel ready for whatever the world has in store for them. Because the number admitted at any one time is maximized at 1,000, you will never be crowded and that is an attraction of Discovery Cove that many appreciate.


Killer whales, sharks, barracudas, turtles, penguins and dolphins: only a small selection of the many wonders of the oceans that SeaWorld has to often. Directions here are simple: from International Drive SeaWorld can be found on the right. It offers a fabulous sight of many of the sea creatures you have only seen in movies and on TV, but there is more than just that.

The rides are fantastic, among the best being the Wild Arctic, Journey Atlantis and the Kraken. The food is fantastic, and many people head for SeaWorld first as soon as they reach Orlando. Many people visit Orlando just for this, and totally ignore Disney.

Universal Studios

Visit Universal Studios close to International Drive (you can’t miss it) and see the movies brought to life. Your favorite movie characters can be found roaming around the grounds (don’t let Beetlejuice find you misbehaving!). Universal is still operational, being used for TV programs and the like, and movie fans must not miss it during their visit to Orlando.

You can watch Terminator and Shrek movies that have not been released anywhere but here, enjoy the special effects used in movies such as Earthquake and visit the set of Jaws. The rides are unbelievable, but it’s just great to be able to walk around and see how some of these great classic films were made. Disney World is for kids, but this is for you and me. And the children of course!


If you are looking for a change from the busy commercialism of the top four attractions here, then head off on the South Orange Blossom Trail towards Kissimmee and visit Gatorland, which is one of the original attractions of Orlando. It offers just what you would expect it to, and you are introduced to the world of ferocious crocodiles and alligators from around the world, not just from America.

It’s great for the children and in Alligator Alley they find more than just alligators, but can also pet llamas, goats, deer, tortoises and emus along with many others – though don’t let them touch the gators or crocs! However, thay cannot do so, and your children will be completely safe in Gatorland. You will not be leaving for home without them! They will learn about Florida’s ecology and wildlife, and also about some of the more interesting of the creatures that swim the world’s oceans.

When in Orlando…

Hot New U.S. Hotels for 2010


Andaz West Hollywood, Los Angeles

Opened in January 2009, this hip hotel has been lauded by design experts for its “seductive, sophisticated atmosphere.” This is the first North American Andaz hotel, part of a new global brand created by Hyatt. What we love: Rooms have views of the Hollywood Hills, the Sunset Strip or downtown Los Angeles and the huge rooftop Sundeck (overlooking the Los Angeles skyline) has a heated pool and private cabanas.

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, Marana, AZ

This resort opened December 18 in an amazing canyon that allows for neat hiking and biking. Great opening rates drew happy visitors over Christmas, who lauded the resort for its snazzy golf and spa facilities, as well as its CORE Kitchen restaurant. We hear many suites have double balconies and that the lobby lounge serves single-malt scotches and whiskeys from around the world.

The Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas

Signature’s Ignacio Maza calls this “the jewel in the crown of Las VegasCityCenter.” Opened December 4, the hotel, designed by the celebrated Adam Tihany, has become an instant icon in the city. “The property features an amazing Sky Lobby on the 23rd floor, with breathtaking views of the city,” says Maza. “During your stay, do not miss a treatment at the hotel’s 27,000-square-foot spa and dinner at Twist by Pierre Gagnaire, the celebrated Michelin-starred chef. If you are in a hurry, stop at Amore Patisserie to pick up some of the best fresh-baked desserts in Las Vegas.”

Vdara, Las Vegas

Vdara at CityCenter is a non-gaming condo hotel physically connected to Bellagio and adjacent to ARIA Resort & Casino. We say it’s ideal for low-key travelers seeking convenient access to all of the entertainment, gaming, shopping, dining and nightlife at CityCenter and in Las Vegas. Rooms here are homey, not only for their size (500 to 1,650 square feet), but for their full kitchens. Spa Vdara is a serious enterprise and well worth the indulgence; Bar Vdara is spacious and hip, with an outdoor area that’s a real treat.

ARIA Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

Where does one begin with ARIA’s 4,004 high-tech guest rooms and panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Vegas skyline? Every room at this mega resort delivers a level of personalized automation currently found only in high-end custom homes. Downstairs, ARIA’s amenities include fine dining courtesy of Masayoshi Takayama of Masa in New York City and Shawn McClain, executive chef at three of Chicago’s top restaurants, while the 80,000-square-foot spa and salon has a living-room area and smoothie bar. Watch out for the pool area of all pool areas to open this spring. At 300,000 square feet, it will host 32 cabanas.

St. Regis Deer Crest, Park City, UT

This luxurious ski-in/ski-out resort opened last fall in Park City. “The resort has several unique features, including a funicular to whisk guests up to the lobby, Remède Spa, private ski beach, ski valets and split-level infinity pool,” says Maza. The hotel has 181 rooms and suites and is only 38 miles from Salt Lake City airport, making this one of the easiest luxury ski resorts to reach, year-round. It employs the famed St. Regis butlers, who attend to every need of their guests, Maza adds.

Dakota Mountain Lodge, Park City, UT

Dakota Mountain Lodge is the first ski-in/ski-out property in The Waldorf Astoria Collection. The plush mountain resort sits at the base of The Canyons Ski Resort in Park City. Amazing amenity: The 201 luxury accommodations include six-bedroom suite options. Hint: Be sure to save time for the Golden Door Spa.

Amangiri, Southern Utah

Set close to the Four Corners (where four state border lines cross), the luxurious Amangiri is tucked into a valley surrounded by stratified rocks and high bluffs. Albert Herrera of Virtuoso gives a shout out to this resort, which is a luxe base for day trips to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Bryce and Zion national parks. Each of the hotel’s 34 suites has desert and mesa views; Pool Suites and the Girijaala and Amangiri Suites have private pools and secluded outdoor sky terraces. At night, Amangiri’s exteriors are subtly lit, making for great stargazing.

Elysian, Chicago

The interiors of the Elysian positively ooze Coco Chanel (think stark use of black and gray with 1930s glamour). During our walk-through, we checked out one of the 1,264-square-foot Premier Gold Coast Suites and were won over by the working fireplace and view of the Gold Coast neighborhood. Hint: Hands down, #702 has the best outdoor setup, with a circular terrace hanging over Rush Street. Top View: The 3,160-square-foot Presidential Suite has two furnished balconies and an expansive media room.

The Roosevelt New Orleans

Roosevelt New Orleans is the former Fairmont Hotel off the Big Easy’s Canal Street. A $145 million restoration created 504 fresh and lovely rooms, 135 of which are luxury suites (the seven Astoria Suites have butler service). We loved Dominica, which has a unique Italian cuisine scene. The Sazerac Bar is a sophisticated local hangout. The Blue Room has brought back its classic Sunday Jazz Brunch with live entertainment.

The St. Regis Atlanta

Herrera of Virtuoso recommends this luxe property in the toney enclave of Buckhead. The “in-town” resort with a gracious, residential feel is made all the more posh with the 40,000-square-foot Pool Piazza and a Remède Spa. At Christmas it debuted Astor Holiday ice-skating rink, which drew more than 400 skaters over its first weekend.

St. Regis Princeville, Kauai, HI

Following a multimillion-dollar renovation, the hotel opened on October 1 with 252 guest rooms, including 51 Premium Ocean View Suites, the Halele’a Spa and the Kauai Grill by famed Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The hotel also has a unique infinity pool overlooking Hanalei Bay. We say the Bali Hai Suite, which has views of the mountain used in the movie South Pacific, and the Royal Suite, with a coffered and beamed ceiling, sound especially luxurious.

Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort, Kauai, HI

Ko’a Kea sits on the best stretch of Poipu beach in Kauai, reports Signature’s Maza. This boutique property has only 121 rooms, each with private lanai. The beachfront accommodations have amazing views of the Pacific. The hotel’s Red Salt restaurant has become one of the top tables in Kauai, and features the freshest produce and seafood from the Hawaiian islands.

Waldorf Astoria Orlando

This property opened last October next to Disney World with championship golf course, spacious rooms, a Guerlain spa and a kids’ program run by a team of children’s concierges. And while the two-bedroom Deluxe Suites are great for families, we hear the Deluxe King Suites with balconies have great vantage points for the park’s nightly fireworks display.

W South Beach, Miami Beach, FL

“This property opened last summer, and has taken South Beach by storm,” says Maza. The hotel offers 14 types of rooms, all with ocean views. The smallest room is almost 600 square feet, making W South Beach’s accommodations among Miami’s most spacious. The hotel’s signature rooms are the bungalows with plunge pools, with over 1,300 square feet of space. The property’s two restaurants, Mr Chow and Solea, have already become “must have” reservations in Miami.

Crosby Street Hotel, New York

As if we needed one more reason to make the trip south to SoHo, now we have one. The Crosby Street Hotel has 86 rooms and suites, many with views of downtown Manhattan. We hear that room #203, called The Meadow Suite, has more than 50 flowering plants on its terrace. Crosby Street Hotel also plans to attain Gold LEED certification. Its restaurant, The Crosby Bar, uses seasonal produce, much of which is from the rooftop garden. The hotel also boasts its own private cinema.

The Surrey, New York

The Surrey, which reopened in October, has had a $60 million investment and, oh, does it show. We found it to be quite chic, with lots of black-and-white motifs and beautifully tiled floors. It’s also extremely private, on East 76th Street between Madison and Fifth. You’ll find that Ellen Gerchik is the new director of luxury sales; you’ll know her from Park Hyatt and Rosewood. Room service spotlights seasonal menus of Chef Daniel Boulud’s French-American restaurant, Cafe Boulud, just next door.

The Mark, New York

This iconic Upper East Side boutique hotel has been transformed by French designer Jacques Grange. The property has a chic, sophisticated and understated atmosphere, says Signature’s Maza. The hotel’s new restaurant features dining by Jean Georges.

Cooper Square Hotel, New York

This East Village hotel is the latest sign of gentrification in the formerly edgy neighborhood. Locals hate it, but it has certainly caught the eye of visitors who want to avoid the crowds of midtown. The top spot in the hotel is the 3,000-square-foot Penthouse with a wraparound deck and 180-degree view of the city. The other rooms are smaller, but floor-to-ceiling windows help keep claustrophobia at bay.

Sonesta hotel sees promise in downtown Orlando

The new operators of the former Sheraton hotel in downtown Orlando are hoping to inject some enthusiasm into a part of the hotel market where things aren’t going so well.

As Orlando awaits the opening of a new arena and construction of a new performing-arts center, condominiums yearn for owners and tenants. Hotels have been filling fewer than 60 percent of their rooms for three years running; last year, average occupancy for downtown hotels was just 54 percent — about the minimum needed to break even by industry standards.

Despite that, Sonesta International Hotels Corp. is pinning its hopes — and its brand — on the former Sheraton near Lake Ivanhoe and Interstate 4. The 341-room hotel struggled with debt, bankruptcy and foreclosure before it was sold last year to Resolution Services LLC and private-equity firm Glenmont Capital Management LLC.

The 25-year-old hotel’s new operators see an underserved market that is about to blossom; a lack of public awareness about the hotel and its ample meeting space; and possibilities for growth as an arts-focused property, much like the Grand Bohemian at the other end of downtown.

The downtown hotel is Sonesta’s only property in the area. The brand’s last real presence in Orlando was the Sonesta Villa Resort on Turkey Lake Road, a property that was sold to Westgate Resorts in 1993. Sonesta also made a brief foray into the local condominium-hotel market in 2005, when it agreed to be the management company for Tierra Del Sol, a resort that never materialized.