I recently completed a 3-night business related stay at The Orlando Hilton. This was my 3rd or 4th visit to the hotel, but the first stay of more than 1 night. I’ve always enjoyed my stays here even if they were brief, and promised myself I’d find a way to get to the hotel for a long weekend. Well, this didn’t quiet measure up as a weekend getaway as I was 1) traveling alone, 2) attending a pretty intense conference, and 3) working. That said, the lack of a rental car ensured I would be spending my evenings at the hotel or walking to some nearby restaurants. In the end, I did not leave the hotel property for the length of the stay and had no problem taking things easy in the evening hours after a long day of work.

The property is about 20 minutes away from the Orlando International Airport. With no rental car, I elected to take a taxi which ran about $40 inclusive of a tip. I was in a bit of hurry when I arrived. Had I been a little less pressed for time, I might consider one of the shared ride shuttle services such as Mears which runs around $20.

The Hilton Orlando is a large property with over 1,400 rooms, multiple restaurants and cafes as well as a really nice pool area. The pool area is one of my favorites with an expansive main pool, adults only pool, whirlpools, cabanas (by reservation), and my personal favorite, the lazy river.

Checking In

Check in was polite and efficient. My HHonors Gold status was noted, I was given Executive Lounge access even though I wasn’t upgraded to the “Executive” floor, provided vouchers for bottled water, and sent on my way to my 15th floor pool view room. My positive interaction at the front desk would serve as just one example of many positive experiences throughout the stay.

The Room

The hotel was quite busy, and my preferred King room was not available. Not an issue, just had an extra bed, and I did get a pool view which was pretty cool. The room was pretty standard Hilton, equipped with a refrigerator which I much appreciate, comfortable beds, and nice desk with good lighting. If I had an observation to note it would be that there were only two easily accessible power outlets in the work area. I carry a small power strip in my bag so this was not an issue.

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Comfortable Hilton Bed

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Serviceable Bathroom

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Toiletries

Around the Hotel

The hotel is connected to the Orange County Convention Center, which was perfect for the series of meetings I was attending. It’s not a short walk, but it is covered which came in handy during a few passing rain showers throughout the week. There are some outside restaurants within a reasonable walk or pedi-cab ride down International Drive. There’s also a Walgreen’s nearby for picking up provisions at lower prices than you might find in the hotel gift shop. In the evenings I usually dined at David’s Club or out by the wonderful pool area at Tropics Bar & Grill. There is a large fitness center that always seemed to have open equipment. David’s Club has what appears to be a rather expensive burger, but it was worth it. Quality counts….could’ve been one of the better burgers I’ve had. Try it!

The hotel’s Executive Lounge is open all day with a morning and evening spread. I never made it up in the mornings, but the evening spread was respectable by domestic hotel lounge standards with multiple offerings. The concierges were all very pleasant, making it a point to check in with customers and ask if everything was OK. As I noted in my quick shoutout post from the hotel earlier this week, members of management walked through each evening as well, and checked in with customers as they passed by. Unlike most lounges I tend to visit, this one was not over crowded.

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That was taken very soon after the evening snacks went out. It did get busier, but never annoyingly so. There was more seating behind me as well making this a relatively large lounge. All this is nice, but the pool area is my favorite feature of the hotel.

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View From 15th Floor

My photography skills aren’t quite up to par, but you get the picture. It’s a large pool area, including a cafe and bar, and my favorite feature, the lazy river. Click the link for a video does a pretty good job. 🙂

The Bottom Line

I’m not hard to please with a hotel. A bed, a bath, some internet, and clean…that’s about all I need. The Hilton Orlando is all that and much more. The awards listed by the hotel on its web page are well deserved, and these folks just know how to execute. This may be my favorite domestic Hilton. It’s certainly my favorite in Orlando, and I look forward to returning again later this summer.

-MJ, May 16, 2014