8738 International Dr., Orlando, Florida 32819, USA
In the heart of International Drive’s hubbub (within a stone’s throw of the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye), this resort offers families a home away from home with plenty of amenities at a reasonable price. Rooms and public areas are decorated in midcentury chic, and the large pool has a children's play area, a sandy beach with volleyball court, a shuffleboard court, and a bar and grill. A daily resort fee, not exorbitant, covers Wi-Fi, parking, and theme-park shuttles.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Theme park shuttles, offered free by the resort, must be scheduled in advance, as they are booked on a first-come-first-served basis and can be packed quickly. Ride-sharing services might serve you better if you want to get to the parks early.
Featuring flat-screen TVs, refrigerators, work desks, and duvet-style bedding, rooms can be connected to form suites for a larger family group. Floors are tile or vinyl, reducing the allergen level in the rooms. The hotel offers complimentary cribs and high chairs to families during their stay, and there are laundry facilities on-site.
YOU SHOULD KNOW If your room is on one of the higher floors, elevators can be slow. Climbing five stories or more in Florida’s heat can be a nightmare, and this resort is built in "motel" style--meaning your front door opens on an outdoor corridor.
The bathrooms are standard, brightly lit, with bathtub/showers.
Some showers have grab bars in them, an under-offered and often very appreciated safety amenity.
The light-filled lobby is decorated with splashes of primary colors in the seating and décor. It’s not necessarily a place to sit comfortably and people watch, as the seating options are spare and moderne. However, people watching is something to consider here, as the clientele is international and a wide range of languages will be heard.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The resort changes a daily fee of $12 for using the fitness center, Wi-Fi, theme park shuttles, and parking.
The zero-entry pool has a splash zone with waterfalls and fountains for the kids, separate areas for relaxing swimming, and a Jacuzzi. Guests can play volleyball on a sandy beach or a relaxing game of shuffleboard, and the pool bar offers cold drinks and music.
The fitness center, with the requisite treadmills, bikes and weight machines, is located right next to the pool, where full-height windows offer views of cool turquoise water while you sweat.
The resort’s dining opportunities are basic, and include coffee and pastry in the lobby Barista each morning, and full breakfasts, burgers, tacos, seafood, and a kids menu at the Café & Marketplace for lunch and dinner.
The Pool Bar features snacks, cocktails, beer and wine, and DJ parties.
The International Drive Trolley passes the door every few minutes and provides cheap and cheerful transportation up and down I-Drive. Since the resort offers a theme park shuttle, you don’t necessarily need a car. But if you want to explore further, a car would be useful, and Avanti has plenty of parking.
Lobster and seafood lovers can pop across the street (look for the car with the giant red crustacean on top) to Boston Lobster Fest, an all-you-can-eat lobster and king crab buffet. Just a few blocks south you’ll find Pointe Orlando, where Capital Grille offers steaks and chops, and The Oceanaire Seafood Room lives up to its name.
Hooters and Senor Frogs, both fun watering holes, are within walking distance. Just a few minutes by trolley or taxi takes you to Mangos, a multi-story Latin dancing, drinking, and dining mecca.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This no-frills resort has a beautiful pool and recreation area, and sits just about half-way between Disney and Universal. Its location on I-Drive offers easy access to entertainment and dining experiences.
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