Small and intimate, this beautifully updated 1922 establishment on Park Avenue offers the charm of fern-bedecked wrought-iron balconies, along with free Wi-Fi and free breakfast in bed. and the best accommodations are suites that open onto a flower-filled balcony over the street. A half-dozen sidewalk cafés and restaurants are within sight, along with many more upscale boutiques, shops, and world-class museums. Park Plaza Gardens, the restaurant downstairs, has quiet atrium dining and excellent food. Scenic boat tours, Amtrak, and SunRail train station are within walking distance.
YOU SHOULD KNOW While small dogs are welcome, children under the age of two are not.
Rooms are on the second floor (serviced by an elevator) and offer queen sized beds with deluxe linens, vintage furniture, lush area rugs over polished wood floors, exposed bricks, cable television and complimentary WiFi. The large balcony suites feature a table and chair out on the balcony, where you can observe Park Avenue's busy sidewalk cafe scene from behind a screen of ferns.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hotel is a stone's throw from the busy train tracks, so if the rumble of passing railway cars keeps you awake, ask for a room furthest away.
Each room has a private bathroom with tub/shower combinations. Amenities in the bathroom include a makeup mirror, hair dryer, and Body Works bath amenities.
Opening right onto Park Avenue, the cozy lobby, with a reception desk staffed 24 hours a day, invites guests to enter another world, one of elegant, vintage style. Polished floors covered with rich area rugs exude a welcoming warmth, and clubby leather chairs welcome guests to read the complimentary newspapers.
There's no fitness center on property, but if you are looking for a little exercise, you could do much worse than a brisk stroll or early morning jog along Park Avenue, lined with varied gardens on the west side, and quaint shops on the other.
The only meal served in the hotel is a minimal continental breakfast--coffee, tea, orange juice, and croissant with jam and butter--delivered to your room in the morning so you can dine in bed.
There's no bar in the hotel.
If you are planning to visit theme parks, you'll need a car or a pricey ride-share. Winter Park is adjacent to Interstate 4, thus the journey to the theme parks should be quick and easy. However, expansion work on the highway, scheduled to continue through 2020, means that posted drive times are seldom accurate. The SunRail train runs weekdays until about 9 p.m., and on some weekends, making a trip to downtown Orlando or up to the charming old waterfront in Sanford a breeze.
Park Avenue’s busy restaurant and sidewalk cafe scene is just downstairs. Chef Brandon McGlamery’s menu at Luma on Park (5-minute walk) focuses on seasonal, locally sourced products. The tiny Café de France (5-minute stroll) to the south end of the avenue offers an excellent bowl of mussels; if it's burgers and fries you seek, check out BurgerFi right next door. You'll find Turkish delights at Bosphorous, (3-minute walk) just a block north on Park Avenue. The Alfond Hotel (10-minute walk) just off Park Avenue, is home to a well-reviewed restaurant, Hamilton’s Kitchen, where the chef produces a sophisticated menu based in traditional Southern cooking, using locally sourced ingredients. Armando's (8-minute walk) on W. New England Ave., has a Neapolitan owner who serves up wood-fired pizza and a wide range of excellent Italian dishes.
Park Avenue is the perfect place to bar hop, particularly if you are staying at the Park Plaza, as there is no need for transportation. An easy stroll takes you to a dozen nearby watering holes, from happy hour at Blu on the Avenue (2-minute walk) to drinks at the sophisticated bar at The Alfond Hotel (10-minute walk), to late night cocktails at Luma on Park (5-minute walk). Armando's (8-minute walk) has a very popular sidewalk bar and an extensive wine list.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This hotel comes up a winner in the search for vintage charm. The moss-draped oaks and red-brick streets of Winter Park make a welcome change from the busy, ultra-modern theme park areas. The Park Plaza puts guests only minutes from two world-class art museums, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art on north Park Avenue, and the Cornell Museum of Art on the campus of nearby Rollins College. Strolling in either direction on Park Avenue takes you past unique shops, restaurants, gardens and sidewalk cafes.