This serenely sophisticated boutique hotel in the heart of Winter Park, an easy stroll from flower-bedecked Park Avenue, the town's trendy street of shops and restaurants, combines an upscale lodging with an art gallery, and is owned by neighboring Rollins College. The AAA Four Diamond winner’s cool hallways and public spaces show off more than 100 works from the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art for Rollins College, part of the Cornell Fine Art Museum’s collection. In an unusual marriage of philanthropy and hospitality, the net operating income is directed to scholarships at the college. The hotel is also friendly to dogs, and offers a charging station for Tesla cars.
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, renders normal drive time estimates useless.
Decorated in subtle grays with touches of the iconic Winter Park peacock blue, rooms offer flat-screen TVs, ergonomic workstations, and mini-fridges.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Ask for a room facing the courtyard, as traffic passing on the brick streets can be a bit noisy at night.
As would be expected in a boutique hotel, the bathrooms are deluxe, with marble fixtures and dark wood accents. Some have jacuzzi tubs, some have large glass enclosed showers, but all have lush robes and slippers, and William Roam bath products.
The light-filled marble lobby is crowned by one of the more spectacular pieces of art in the collection, a stained-glass window echoing the famed Tiffany glass collection at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art on North Park Avenue.
Take advantage of the hotel's concierge, as they are members of the elite Les Clefs D'Or organization, which ensures a level of service above and beyond that provided by most lobby staff.
The hotel has a compact and useful fitness center.
The hotel’s well-reviewed, chef-driven restaurant, Hamilton’s Kitchen, offers a sophisticated menu based in traditional Southern cooking, using locally sourced ingredients.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Parking is valet-only at the Alfond, and incurs a steep charge. Parking spots can be elusive on the streets surrounding the hotel.
A favorite watering hole for the sleek, well-heeled Winter Park clientele, the hotel bar features classic cocktails, beer, and wines that can be enjoyed at the indoor bar or outdoors on the terraces.
While a car is really a plus in exploring this charming small town, public buses and the SunRail commuter train serve Winter Park quite well, connecting from the Central Park train station to Downtown Orlando and points north and south. If you choose not to drive, Uber or Lyft are just a text away. The Alfond’s serene lobby offers an elegant restaurant and bar, but Park Avenue’s busy sidewalk cafe scene is an easy stroll away. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, with its world-class collection of Tiffany glass and decorative items, is only a few blocks north on Park Avenue, and the Cornell Museum of Art is just a block south on the campus of nearby Rollins College.
Park Avenue is as far as you'll need to go to experience world-class dining. Chef Brandon McGlamery’s menu at Luma on Park focuses on seasonal, locally sourced products. The tiny Café de France near the north end of the avenue offers an excellent bowl of mussels, and further north on Park you’ll find Turkish delights at Bosphorous.
Outdoor drinking and people watching is a popular sport along Park Avenue, and each block is home to a wine bar or outdoor cafe with umbrella tables and chairs facing the park. Parkview offers a wide selection of wine, plus some sophisticated small-plate fare; The Wine Room allows customers to sample more than 100 bottles of wine.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Sophistication and serenity make a great combination for a getaway, especially when it’s in an art lover’s dream. More than 100 works are displayed on the hotel’s walls, and guests are only minutes from two world-class art museums. The stroll in either direction on Park Avenue takes you past unique shops, restaurants, gardens, and sidewalk cafes.