Upscale Orlando Hotel Attached to the Florida Mall
A reflecting pool, bubbling fountain, and groves of palm trees herald the grand entrance to the Florida Hotel and Conference Center, a recently renovated hotel located just a few minutes from Orlando’s major theme parks and airport. Inside the lobby, there’s a Starbucks and a hallway that connects the hotel to the massive Florida Mall, so restaurants and shops—such as the Apple Store and White House | Black Market—are just steps away from your guest room.
Each evening, the onsite Cricket’s bar hosts a happy hour with two-for-one cocktails and appetizers. Take your drink out to the patio surrounding the heated outdoor pool, or venture over to Marcelo’s Bistro for traditional American fare for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The onsite spa has an array of services that ranges from deep-tissue massages to reflexology and ear candling. Upstairs, guest rooms feature soothing earth tones and mounted flat-screen TVs.
Orlando: World-Famous Theme Parks and Cultural Surprises
Located in the center of Florida, Orlando may be forever associated with Walt Disney World, which opened on October 1, 1971, and is now the world’s most-visited entertainment resort. Disney World spans roughly 30,000 acres, encompassing four theme parks, two water parks, five golf courses, and the Downtown Disney Marketplace. One can ride Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom in the morning, and then sample Moroccan cuisine over at Epcot’s World Showcase in the afternoon before watching the nightly IllumiNations fireworks, laser, and water show. As one of the most popular family destinations in the world, sunny Orlando is home to other theme parks including Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and Gatorland.
Those hoping to shake up the typical theme-park-dominated itinerary can head into downtown Orlando's vibrant arts district. The neighborhood boasts venues such as CityArts Factory, a multifaceted patchwork of gallery spaces, and SAK Comedy Lab, which hosts family-friendly improv shows five nights a week.
About a 10-minute drive north, you’ll find eight cultural institutions at Loch Haven Park, including the Orlando Museum of Art, which houses pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Rauschenberg, Ansel Adams, and Andy Warhol. The park is also home to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orlando Science Center. Visit the science center to take a rover across a simulation of Mars’s red surface, or race on a 70-foot pinewood derby track.
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