A surprisingly stylish conference hotel: My stay at the Hyatt Regency Orlando


On most of my travels, I put a lot of thought into choosing a hotel that is close to the attractions and restaurants I want to visit, has the amenities I need (most importantly, a coffee shop to perk up in the morning), and fits my budget.

When I went to Orlando recently at a convention, however, my desire for immediate access to the Orange County Convention Center outweighed my need to check off the above items.

Connected to the convention center via an indoor walkway, convenience is usually the main draw Hyatt Regency Orlando. But is prime visitor accommodation the only reason to stay there? What does it have to offer families visiting the area’s theme parks and world-famous attractions?

Here’s my take on it in a surprisingly comprehensive way Hayat hotel.

Fast reception

TARAH CHIEF/THE POINTS GUY

This sprawling 27-story hotel features two large inviting pools, several on-site restaurants, a 24-hour coffee shop, a full-service spa, and a fitness center. With its lively atmosphere and resort-style amenities, it immediately felt more like a vacation than a business trip. It’s also less than 15 minutes Disney World, Universal OrlandoSeaWorld and many other popular Orlando attractions.

Get there

The Hyatt Regency Orlando is located on International Drive, just 12 miles from Orlando International Airport (MCO). The hotel does not offer a shuttle service from the airport, but taxis, ride services and car rentals are available at the airport. Once you board the vehicle, you can reach the hotel in less than 15 minutes.

Booking

Hyatt Regency Orlando has 1,641 rooms, 142 of which are suites. The best way to book it Hyatt World property directly from Hyatt. Standard rooms start at around $230 or 9,000 World of Hyatt points per night, or you can pay a bit more for a pool view or balcony room. Suites start at $295 or 17,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

TARAH CHIEF/THE POINTS GUY

The hotel also charges a resort fee of $30 per night, which covers premium Internet access, access to the fitness center and fitness classes, a discount on spa and salon services, as well as cabana rentals, two bottled waters per day and more. However, if you pay for your stay with World of Hyatt points, there is no resort fee.

Excellent features

  • The hotel provides easy access to the convention center without feeling like a typical business hotel. With stunning views, a variety of food and beverage options, and a host of lifestyle amenities, it’s perfect for guests who want to work and play.
  • The Hyatt Regency Orlando legitimately has the best fries I’ve ever had at a hotel, or possibly anywhere. I ordered them twice—once at Coconuts Poolside Bar & Grill and once at B-Line Diner—just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and both times they were warm, crispy, and perfectly seasoned.
  • The large main pool (called the Grotto Pool) was beautiful, with a water slide, a quiet grotto with a waterfall, an enclosed children’s area, and a full service bar and grill. It was a little chilly for swimming during my stay, but I still visited a few times to eat and drink a cocktail or just read by the pool.

Disadvantages

  • Due to the scale of the hotel, it may take some time to get from the room to the hotel facilities. From my room on the 26th floor, I had to take the elevator to the lobby, walk through the lobby, and then take the second elevator down to the first floor where the Grotto pool is.
  • The elevator moved so fast that I felt dizzy every time I rode it. It covers 27 floors pretty quickly, which is nice, but the speed definitely got to me.
  • I had constant problems connecting and connecting to wifi and streaming tv. I used the chat feature to talk to the hotel staff about it but never got a response. After Googling the problem on my own, I was able to get it to work.

Atmosphere

In a word, the Hyatt Regency Orlando felt “lively”.

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Not only is the hotel within walking distance of the Orange County Convention Center, but it also has 315,000 square feet of its own event space. This meant that people were out at all hours of the day.

In the morning, guests chatted over coffee at tables near the 24-hour market, and in the evening they sipped cocktails to music in the lobby bar. If you’re the kind of person who strikes up a conversation with a stranger while waiting in line at Starbucks, you’ll feel right at home.

Room

However, the rooms had a soothing, comfortable atmosphere. Even my standard king room was a spacious 415 square feet and had a subdued color scheme, a patterned blue carpet that reminded me of water ripples, and a chaise by the window where I could kick back and relax.

Upon entering the room there was a large closet and a small kitchen area with a mini fridge and coffee maker on one wall and a full length mirror on the other. The bathroom had a large tub/shower combo and a large lighted mirror that also showed the time (very helpful if you’re on a tight schedule).

There were more than enough electrical and USB outlets, and as someone who reads before bed, I appreciated the reading lights built into the headboard. The TV was set up to cast via Chromecast, although I had some connection issues that took all day to resolve.

Food and drinks

I tried as many restaurants as I could during my stay and I was equally impressed with the menu and atmosphere at each restaurant. I visited the 24-hour market not only for groceries, but also in the morning The Starbucks fix, and for quick-service, made-to-order items such as a vegetarian grain bowl and a Caesar salad. Their menu had a long list of pizzas, sandwiches, breakfasts and hot appetizers.

At Coconuts Poolside Bar & Grill, I ordered a cheeseburger, a frozen margarita, and the aforementioned perfectly cooked fries. Every bite (and mouthful) was delicious and I appreciated such great food while lounging by the pool.

One night I had dinner at the B-Line Diner, where I ordered a spicy fish sandwich with tropical salsa (and, again, fries). I was stuffed by the time I left, but I had a hard time resisting the dessert display on the way out.

The hotel also has the Italian restaurant Fiorenzo, a lobby bar and 24-hour room service.

Benefits and service

Aside from the internet connection issues, everyone I encountered at the Hyatt Regency Orlando was incredibly friendly and helpful.

Perhaps I was most surprised by the amenities at this hotel. When I think of a conference hotel, I picture a small rectangular pool and a sparse fitness center with a few treadmills and free weights.

I was impressed by the resort-style pool of this hotel. There was plenty of room to play, swim or have a drink in a hidden alcove. The hotel also has a quieter Olympic-sized lap pool.

The fitness center was equally impressive. There were separate areas for free weights, treadmills and elliptical machines, as well as strength machines. The spa was closed when I popped in to take a look, but the space was large and the menu offered a full range of treatments from massages to facials and even make-up.

And about

It took me less than 10 minutes to walk to the Orange County Convention Center from my hotel room. However, if you’re in Orlando, there’s a good chance you’ll want to visit one of the city’s world-famous theme parks.

Hyatt Regency Orlando is less than 5 miles from SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando and just over 10 miles from Walt Disney World. In the coming years, you’ll even be able to travel to Universal Orlando and back from Orlando International Airport via SunRail regional trains.

Availability

Hyatt Regency Orlando has accessible features in guest rooms and meeting rooms, including mobility features, assistive listening devices for meetings, and closed or closed caption decoders for televisions in guest rooms. The hotel’s common areas, including the pools, spa, fitness center and restaurants, are fully accessible and have accessible routes from the common entrance.

Extract

I was very impressed with the Hyatt Regency Orlando and would not hesitate to stay there again for a convention or if I had to visit Orlando attractions outside of the theme parks. If I went to Orlando to visit the theme parks, I would probably stay at a Disney World Hotel or a Universal hotelbut the fries at the Hyatt Regency Orlando are so good that I might change my mind.

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