The award-winning Four Seasons presides majestically over Disney's exclusive, on-property Golden Oak community, and its amenities and dedication to service are clear from the moment you step into the marble, flower-bedecked lobby and head for your room. Two swimming pools, one for adults, one with a lazy river and Explorer Island, makes it a great choice for families. Kids are coddled at the complimentary day camp, and favorite Disney characters arrive for breakfast twice a week at Ravello restaurant. A world-class spa and fitness center join tennis courts and an 18-hole championship golf course to keep the grownups busy.
The hotel and golf course are set in an exclusive gated community that can only be entered by those who are booked at the hotel, live in the luxury homes, or have reservations for dinner. As befits a luxury resort behind a gated entrance, nothing is inexpensive.
This truly sumptuous lodging offers the option of separate quarters for nannies and/or grannies, and twice-daily housekeeping. The lush décor uses rich fabrics in neutral colors with touches of teal. Generous, well-furnished balconies come with spectacular views across Central Florida forests, golf courses, and at night, fireworks from Epcot and Magic Kingdom light the horizon.
Marble-lined bathrooms have soaking tubs, in-mirror TVs, and a separate glass-walled shower, along with lush towels and robes.
Arriving guests are greeted by impeccably attired staff, whose level of attentiveness rivals that of Downton Abbey’s footmen. Vases filled with cut flowers reflecting the season line the linen-colored marble-floored hallways, along with unique and fascinating art. Several restaurants and lounges are reached via the lobby, but there is plenty of occasional seating for socializing and people watching.
Service is king at this resort, which becomes most apparent if a guest should do something so gauche as to drop a bottle of red wine on the pristine white marble floor of the resort entrance. Not only is the guest whisked away from the unfortunate incident, but a (much better) bottle of red wine is delivered to the guest’s room within minutes of check-in.
The pools at Four Seasons are just as luxurious as the rest of the resort. Explorer Island has enough activities to keep the whole family occupied for a full day. The family pool has a lazy river, a splash zone, a wild water slide and even movies under the stars by the pool. Activities include beach volleyball, basketball or, for those who can’t live without video games, The Hideout offers many. The kids’ program takes place on the island, so park-weary parents can enjoy a round of golf or a day at the spa. Teens are not forgotten, as The Mansion has pool, table tennis, bocce, and more. Adults who would prefer to lie quietly in the sun, or take a serene swim should head for The Oasis, a 92’ long adults-only pool, where rows of umbrella-shaded chaise lounges offer serious relaxation.
You don't have to wait long to get those park-weary or golf-weary muscles seen to, as the Spa has 18 treatment rooms and four couples retreats for massage therapies and aesthetic services, along with a salon offering hair and nail care for the whole family.
As befits a deluxe resort, the fitness center offers state-of-the-art cardiovascular and weight-training equipment, along with daily fitness classes in the studio or outdoors. Separate locker rooms for men and women feature restrooms, steam rooms, lockers, and showers.
Guests never have to leave the premises to eat well all day long, whether a fast and casual lunch or a truly sophisticated dinner. Perched on the 17th floor, Capa, a chef-driven, Spanish themed steakhouse, offers hand-crafted cocktails out on the rooftop terrace with 180 degree views of Disney World. Ravello, on the ground floor, offers authentic Italian fare, along with a Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy & His Pals. At PB&G, past the pool complex, guests can choose a variety of Florida fare, from chicken and seafood to salads, while dining alfresco by the lake. Golfers can enjoy Cuban-inspired cuisine at Plancha, and the lickery offers gelato, good coffee, and snacks.
The Lobby Bar offers American wines and spirits, along with craft beers from Florida. Upholstered chairs and low tables encourage guests to relax indoors or outside on the balcony overlooking the pool. The bar at Capa offers Spanish wines and cocktails.
Views from Capa’s terrace are particularly spectacular after dark, as the horizon is book-ended by the purple-lighted orb of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth on the left, and the spires of the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle on the right. It’s the only place in town where you can see all the fireworks at the same time, while sitting comfortably and enjoying a drink.
Complementary motor coaches whisk guests to and from Disney parks on a regular basis all day long; the bus to Magic Kingdom leaves every half hour. There’s plenty of parking for those who arrive by car, but public transportation is nonexistent, and nothing is within walking distance. Shuttles, taxis, and ride-sharing services are available.
Set amid hundreds of undeveloped acres on the north end of Disney property, there is little around the hotel other than forests, golf fairways and the million dollar homes of Golden Oaks. But a few minutes’ drive will take you to Disney Springs, where dozens of bars and restaurants and lots of entertainment goes on ‘til the wee hours. Chef-driven restaurants include Morimoto Asia, Raglan Road, and Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'.
Disney Springs offers the closest opportunity for libations, if you feel the need to leave the lush surroundings of the resort. At the Springs, most of the restaurants have full bars, and they are open late, offering an evening of sampling a wide range of drinks, from beers to sakes to tequila or bourbon along with many creative cocktails.
WHY WE LIKE IT
If money is no object, if budget is a word that doesn’t enter your vocabulary, if you love courteous service, excellent food, lush comfort and deluxe surroundings, this hotel is the one for you.