I was recently asked what my favorite hotel destination was, and without hesitation, I can honestly answer the Orlando Homewood Suites. We stayed at the Hilton Homewood Suites located on International Drive in Orlando a few years ago. What a truly amazing experience! We traveled for a family vacation (all ten of us) to Universal Orlando, Sea World, and the beach. We chose this hotel because of the great reviews and we were not disappointed.
A few days prior to our arrival, we received a confirmation email with all of the reservation details. It included the address, so we could enter it into the GPS. It was nice to have a quick reminder ahead of our stay, and it made us feel welcome. When we arrived, they were friendly and had everything ready for us. They were ready to give every adult in our party a room key, which made coming and going much more convenient. We did not even have to ask for additional keys, they simply made sure that each adult had a key. I was really impressed by this very small gesture, as with most hotels, two keys per room is the norm.
We booked a room that slept all 10 of us. It had two bedrooms each with two double beds and a full bathroom. Between the two bedrooms, there was a living area with a small kitchen and a pull out sofa. We were on the sixth floor and it was very quiet. It was easy to get around the hotel even being on the top floor as there are three elevators. Two in the front of the building and a lesser used one in the back.
The room was spacious, and no one felt like they were on top of each other during the week. It appeared as if everything was new, and it was quite clean. Every day we came back to beds made, clean towels, and everything in order. They take very good care of the hotel, and one day I left the room and there was a staff member touching up a small spot on a door that had gotten smudged. It really shows how much they care for the facilities.
Every day of the week they serve a full buffet style breakfast from around 6:30 am until 9:30 or 10am. It included everything a person could want. (Eggs, sausage, omelets, cereal – both hot and cold, waffles – even Mickey shaped ones, fruit, donuts, toast, bagels, muffins, juice, milk, and soda.) If you left breakfast hungry, it was because you tried, not because there wasn’t enough.
Each week night, they also provided a full buffet style dinner from 5pm until 7pm. The menu changes daily and is posted in each guest room, so you always know ahead of time what will be served. During our stay they served things like pulled pork sandwiches, ravioli, and Chinese stir fry. With every dinner they also have a very nice salad bar, soups, and homemade dinner rolls. Of course they juice, soda, and coffee, but they also include beer and wine.
For those with food allergies, they will provide an ingredients list for everything they serve. This was a concern for us, as my son has some food allergies. The manager, Paulie, stated that if my son could not find anything to eat, he would run out and get him something. This is just one of the many examples of the hospitality shown to us by the staff at this hotel. Since each room is equipped with a small kitchen, it would be very easy to make your own meals in the event that you are unable to find something to eat in the restaurant.
This brings me to the wonderful staff at the Homewood Suites. Everyone, from the cleaning staff, to the kitchen staff, to the front desk, and elsewhere were courteous, friendly, and free with a smile. Every staff member we passed would say hello, smile or wish us well with our day.
When one staff member, Diana, found out that it would be my son’s birthday during our stay, she went out of her way to find my son the morning of his birthday to sing to him and give him a birthday hug. How thoughtful was that! And, it made my son’s morning.
Later that day, we came back to the room, and found that Paulie had ordered my son’s favorite cake for his birthday! We have never had that experience at any other hotel we have stayed in!
We believe the great staff has a lot to do with the fact that the manager, Paulie, is willing to pitch in where needed. He can be seen answering phones, helping serve meals, and even clearing tables. He is friendly to all, and seems to make the work environment pleasant. He seems to truly care about his staff, which makes the hotel atmosphere relaxed and warm. Happy staff makes for happy guests.
Also, if you are on a budget, have food allergies or don’t care for park food, the hotel will do your grocery shopping for you. That way, you can eat your own food while on vacation. They do not charge for the service, only what the grocery store charges for the items you bought. We took advantage of this, and it was great!
This hotel is close to both Universal Orlando and Sea World. They provide scheduled shuttles to the parks, and also have free parking if you choose to use a rental. They are a partner hotel with Universal, so when booking your stay, do so through the Universal site to get extra hours at the parks as well as other perks. The drive to Universal and Sea World from this hotel was less than 3 miles.
All in all, we could not have asked for anything more. We left feeling pampered, and well taken care of. We would not hesitate to return or to recommend this Homewood Suites to anyone.