While it can't duplicate the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, this Waldorf echoes the luxury of the original with imagination and flair, from the iconic clock in the center of the circular lobby to tiny, black-and-white accent tiles on guest room floors. Rooms are decorated with subtle elegance, restaurants offer fine dining. If you want a massage, you can relax at the Waldorf Astoria Spa. If golf is your thing, you can play the Rees Jones–designed course, which fills the view from the lobby, bar, or balcony rooms. The hotel connects to and shares a convention hall and meeting space with the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Guests at the Waldorf Astoria pay a resort fee plus a separate internet fee and a parking fee.
Rooms are decorated in neutral beige and gold with black and white highlights, and have either two queens or a king and a sofa bed, all with appropriately plush linens. 42-inch LCD TVs have Blu-ray players with DVD/CD/MP3 capabilities. The hotel understands the need to stay connected, and offers wired and secure wireless internet access, an ample desk with plenty of outlets for charging your devices. And you never have to worry about keeping things tidy, as housekeeping comes not once but twice a day, to ensure your surroundings are impeccable.
YOU SHOULD KNOW A little bird (or perhaps a peacock) says the entire hotel is receiving a makeover in 2018.
The generous Italian marble bathroom is decorated in beige and gold. A creamy tiled floor contains with tiny black details resembling a rug. The bathroom contains a soaking tub, a separate glass-enclosed shower, a WC and a vanity. Lush towels, robes and slippers, and Ferragamo Tuscan Soul bath amenities are provided.
YOU SHOULD KNOW If you just can't get comfy in your own bed after a night at the Waldorf, the resort's signature bedding may be purchased online, as can the bath amenities, pillows, linens, duvets, robes and more.
The centerpiece of the lobby rotunda is the iconic Waldorf Astoria clock, set amid gleaming white marble floors beneath a soaring, gold filigree dome. Intimate seating arrangements are scattered about the lobby, with views of the sparkling pool beyond. Subtle hints around the lobby echo the peacock blue that dominates the lobby bar, Peacock Alley.
No lazy river or meandering lines or messy palm trees here, but classic, almost formal rectangular pools, lined with cabana tents and lounge chairs. One of the pools is clearly for swimming regimented laps or dipping a toe into when you can be bothered leaving the comfort of your cabana. The adjoining pool is a little more relaxed, with a zero-depth entry at one end, and where, possibly, some splashing may be tolerated. Towels are supplied.
The Waldorf Astoria Spa specializes in treatments customized to your skin's needs. A wide range of massage treatments, facials, and body therapies that rejuvenate your skin are offered, along with full salon services. The skin treatments and products are made with Florida honey. If you don't want a treatment, you can simply relax in the tea lounge and steam room.
The generous fitness center adjacent to the spa offers pool views and a full range of cardio and weight training equipment.
The Bull & Bear serves up dining at its finest, overlooking the golf course and pool. The menu includes aged steaks, escargot and gnocchi, and flaming lobster. If that's just too rich for your tastes, the rerstaurant also serves a mean fried chicken. For an extensive breakfast buffet, or a la carte menu, try Oscar's Brasserie. Right next door in the Hilton Bonnet Creek, you'll find La Luce, an Italian country kitchen inspired by celebrity restaurateur Donna Scala.
Peacock Alley, the elegant lobby bar, glows with the radiant peacock feather blue of its carpet. The signature drink, the Peacock Egg, radiates with a different glowing blue, as an astonishing hollow ice egg shimmers above a pool of curacao and gin. Sipping a more traditional cocktail in Sir Harry's Lounge is like sitting in a private club, with leather chairs and carved wood all around. If a sandwich or frozen drink by the pool is what you prefer, Aquamarine offers a casual spot to dine.
The resort supplies luxury coaches, which run every half hour or so, to carry its guests to and from the Disney parks and Disney Springs. Taxis, limos and ride share services can also be booked if you are not interested in having a car. But if you want to go farther afield, say to Universal Studios or SeaWorld, a car would be the efficient way to travel.
If you tire of the refined offerings at the Waldorf, or its next door neighbor, The Hilton at Bonnet Creek, a trip to Disney Springs (15-minute drive) expands your choices considerably. More than 50 spots for eats and drinks of all sorts include the three-story PaddleFish, a modern take on the American traditional paddleboat, where seafood is king and the outdoor rooftop terrace offers striking views of the lagoon and the entertainment at the Springs. Nearby you’ll find Raglan Road, an authentic Irish Pub featuring refined Irish fare and lots of music and dancing; Morimoto’s Asia, an Asian Fusion eatery owned by, and often visited by, famed Japanese chef, Morimoto; and Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ restaurant, showcasing local, Southern food.
Disney Springs (15-minute drive) offers dozens of places to lift a glass. The rooftop bar at Morimoto's Asia offers high-end sake; Raglan Road's Irish pub pours a mean Guinness; wine connoisseurs can head to Wine Bar George, where a master sommelier dispenses a wide range of domestic and imported wines; and House of Blues is the spot for beer.
WHY WE LIKE IT
What's not to like, except perhaps the price. But if you are considering a stay at the Waldorf-Astoria, price is inconsequential, isn't it? The surroundings exude the calm, controlled atmosphere of wealth, from the lobby to the pool to the restaurants and the rooms, and subtle, but excellent service is central to the experience. After all, who can complain about a hotel where housekeeping visits twice a day.