9 Sweet Orlando Staycations

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With much of travel on hold for the foreseeable future, Orlando staycations are your best bet for a needed change of scenery. Before you go on one of these nine sweet Orlando staycations, be sure to confirm available dining options; many properties are offering limited menus even at those eateries currently remain open. For more ideas for Florida travel, check out our digital guide and our travel section.

Streamsong Resort

Why Go: Though it’s less than two hours away from downtown Orlando, Streamsong Resort feels a world away. Built on a former phosphate mine, the sandy surroundings, rolling dunes and low, scrubby hedges are more reminiscent of Arizona or Wyoming than Florida. Totally secluded, peaceful and quiet, the resort is a true staycation getaway. Golfers come from all over the world for the three gorgeous 18-hole courses set among the dunes (pictured above).

The Basics: Just 216 guestrooms comprise the whole resort, which is stunningly modern with floor-to-ceiling plate-glass windows, undulating concrete columns and natural wood louvers in lieu of fabric shades. Not into golf? Spend time practicing your aim with sporting clay shooting, archery or guided bass fishing. Or treat yourself to a spa service at the strikingly beautiful AcquaPietra spa, designed as a European grotto with mosaic tile, smooth stone walkways and six pools ranging from super-warm to teeth-chatteringly chilly, designed for relaxation and invigoration.

Recommended Eats: Take the shuttle over to the clubhouse for lunch at Restaurant Fifty-Nine, which is a steakhouse at dinner, but a classic clubhouse spot during the day (closed until August 31, 2020). For an upscale casual dinner, the Italian-focused SottoTerra has classic dishes like tomato salad with burrata, gnocchi with gorgonzola, osso bucco and angel hair pasta with seared scallops (closed until August 31, 2020). Breakfast at P2O5 has all the classics—waffles, omelets, pancakes, French toast and steak and eggs. End the day with a cocktail under the stars at Fragmentary Blue (image above), the sixth-floor bar with floor-to-ceiling windows and a terrace designed for watching the sunset and stargazing (closed until August 31, 2020).

Sweet Deal: Through September 7, 2020 the Florida Resident Stay and Play package includes accommodations in the Lakeside Lodge and 18 holes of golf. Rates from $179 per person per night based on double occupancy.

orlando staycations

The sights and sounds of Key West, the Everglades and St. Augustine are all under the atrium at Gaylord Palms.

 

 

 

 

Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center

Why Go: While Orlando’s main attractions are just minutes away from the Gaylord Palms’ easily accessed Kissimmee location, guests can staycation all over Florida under the glass atriums at this sprawling resort. Kids will love traipsing along the wooden walkways in the Everglades atrium, exploring the small-scale replica of the Castillo de San Marcos in the St. Augustine atrium and checking out the juvenile alligators and 30 species of native turtles at Gator Springs.         

The Basics: The resort’s interior is just as striking when viewed from above—the 410-square-foot atrium-view rooms boast French doors that open onto a furnished balcony, the perfect place to enjoy morning coffee. Outdoors, families will flock to the Cypress Springs Family Fun Water Park with its four slides, multi-level treehouse playground and toddler-friendly zero-entry pool.  Adults will enjoy the kid-free quiet of the South Beach Pool and its adjacent restaurant and bar. 

Recommended Eats: Florida seafood is the order of the day at MOOR, a serene spot including prime seating onboard a replica of 60-foot sailboat docked on an indoor lagoon. 

Sweet Deal: On select dates through October 30, 2020 enjoy discounted rates on premium rooms including Suites, Atrium View and Emerald Bay rooms.

orlando staycations

Fairways create a tranquil oasis at Villas of Grand Cypress.

Villas of Grand Cypress

Why Go: While the towering Hyatt Grand Cypress is a familiar beacon in Orlando’s busy Disney environs, the serene, luxurious Villas of Grand Cypress are completely tucked away a few miles down a back stretch of State Road 535, making it perfect for Orlando staycations. Golfers love the 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature–designed golf, but non-golfers will appreciate the gorgeous fairways that create a tranquil oasis that feels worlds away from the hustle of the theme parks.  And a sweet little walking/biking trail connects you to all the amenities of the Hyatt Grand Cypress.

The Basics: The 146 villas are contemporary, sleek and super high-end—from an oversized suite to one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom accommodations with full kitchens, living and dining rooms. There’s golf and the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf, tennis courts, two restaurants, free bikes, a crowd-free swimming pool with casual cocktail bar, fitness center and fishing on Lake Windsong. And you can use all the amenities at the Hyatt, including the tennis courts—shuttles run continuously between the villas and the Hyatt if you don’t want to walk.

Recommended Eats: Stroll over to the Hyatt for breakfast, lunch or dinner at LakeHouse restaurant overlooking Lake Windsong.

The Shores Resort in Daytons

Bird’s eye view of the expansive deck at The Shores Resort & Spa.

The Shores Resort & Spa

Why Go: Summertime is New Smyrna Beach time for lots of Central Floridians, but you can escape the neighbors with just a short jaunt to Daytona Beach Shores. Yes, there’s driving on the beach, but it’s a slower pace than Daytona Beach. The Shores Resort & Spa sits directly on the ocean with an expansive deck that gives you beautiful views—but you’re elevated above the beach. So it’s your choice: a swim in the ocean or in the resort’s saltwater pool, where they even have neat little patches of sand with Adirondack chairs for guests who wants to feel the sand between their toes. Perfect for a girlfriend getaway with a boutique spa that alone is worth a stay.

The Basics: The AAA Four-Diamond resort features generous-sized rooms with 300-thread-count linens and big bathrooms (great walk-in showers), many with balconies facing the ocean. Ground-floor rooms feature shaded porches with comfy couches and chairs. Head to the deck, grab a complimentary beach towel and reserve your spot for the day. But this isn’t a quiet zone—games, weekend barbecues and a lively tiki bar create a sunny, high-energy space. Cabanas are for rent and include snacks, cocktails and lunch. After dark, the fire pits light up and the resort offers s’mores kits for enjoying the quintessential campfire treat.

Recommended Eats: Start your morning with the stone-roasted eggs in Azure restaurant, a stack of roasted tomato, fresh spinach and eggs any style. Dinner includes a Fresh Catch Ceviche, Seminole Pride ribeye, cast iron–seared Florida black grouper and Atlantic Seafood Étoufée. But our favorite bite was the fried grouper sandwich served at the Tiki Bar—a perfect rendition of a soft brioche bun with a slather of tartar sauce and a side of hot fries. Add your favorite beach libation, and life is good.

Sweet Deal: Florida and Georgia residents receive a 20% discount on room rates, and a free “S’mores at The Shores” kit for fire pit fun.

orlando staycations

The sleek and chic dining room at The Boheme.

Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando

Why Go: For sophisticated Orlando staycations in the heart of downtown, the Grand Bo is a stroll or Juice Bike ride away. If your stay is midweek, leave the car at home and arrive via SunRail.

The Basics: Original artwork ensures that no two rooms are exactly the same, but all guest rooms offer 385 square feet of style. Upgrade to a suite and enjoy nearly double the space; concierge level rooms include exclusive access to a lounge with complimentary continental breakfast, midday snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. The rooftop pool is big-city chic, and the full-service Poseidon Spa offers a luxurious respite from the sun.

Recommended Eats: The Boheme Restaurant’s award-winning Jazz Brunch is on Sundays from 10am-2pm, when the includes breakfast classics like fresh waffles, made-to-order omelets and eggs benedict along with antipasti, shellfish and carving stations. Chef Laurent Hollaender’s Continental background is evident in dinner offerings such as roasted pear salad, Bohemian hunter’s board and cognac-flamed pepper steak.

The culinary theater at the Epicurean Hotel in Tampa.

The culinary theater at the Epicurean Hotel in Tampa.

The Epicurean

Why Go: This boutique hotel nestled in Tampa’s charming Soho (South Howard) district is a tribute to all things epicurean. Take a cooking class or attend a guided wine tasting in the 40-seat Epicurean Theater, either in person or virtually.

The Basics: The 137 rooms are boutique chic, and range in size from 350 square feet for a classic room and to 700 square feet for a junior or balcony suite. Amenities include a bike rentals, full-service spa and retail including Bern’s Fine Wine & Spirits and Chocolate Pi Patisserie.

Recommended Eats: The onsite restaurant Elevage serves the kind of elevated bistro fare one would expect from a food-focused hotel, but the real draw for hotel guests is the legendary Bern’s Steak House, which is right across the street. Steaks are clearly the specialty here, but we also love the Kitchen within a Kitchen menu, which features seasonal ingredients, fresh catch and even a vegetarian item or two.

orlando staycations

The Alfond’s elegant exterior hints at the visual treats inside.

The Alfond Inn

Why Go: You won’t find a more walkable or picturesque neighborhood this close to Orlando, and the Mediterranean-inspired décor and museum-quality art at The Alfond Inn echo Winter Park’s upscale flair. Leave the car in the lot—or leave it at home and take SunRail—and enjoy all that nearby Park Avenue has to offer, from the Morse Museum to a bevy of boutiques.

The Basics: The 112 guest rooms range from a cozy 323 square feet to a spacious 998; pets are welcome for an additional $50/night. The guest-only pool is perfect for an al fresco cocktail, and intimate indoor public spaces beckon when it’s time to beat the heat.

Recommended Eats: Rustic farm tables in Hamilton’s Kitchen provide a backdrop for Southern-style fare during dinner Thursday through Saturday and at Sunday brunch.

Sweet Deal: The Yay!Cation package starts at $219 per night and includes complimentary valet parking and a $50 hotel credit; Florida residents receive an additional 20% off package rates.

orlando staycations

Urban Tide at the Hyatt Regency Orlando.

Hyatt Regency Orlando

Why Go: There’s no shortage of massive hotels for Orlando staycations on I-Drive, but the Hyatt Regency stands apart for its spacious rooms, dining options and luxury amenities. Located just a shuttle stop away from a boatload of budget-friendly family attractions like the Orlando Eye, Wonderworks and King’s Bowl, this towering property also offers opportunities for downtime for mom and dad.

The Basics: With over 1500 guest rooms it’s easy to snag one at the last minute when it’s slow at the adjacent convention center, making this a great choice for an impromptu change of scenery. In addition to three different pools with waterfalls, slides and hot tubs, there’s also a spa on site offering a full roster of relaxation.

Recommended Eats: Seafood is the star of Chef Jared Gross’s menu at Urban Tide (pictured), and Florida produce plays a supporting role as well. Look for refreshing ceviche, spicy cioppino (seafood stew) and catch of the day served blackened, grilled or sautéed. Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse offers wood-fired pizzas and other classic Italian fare. Need a tuna melt at 2am? The 24-hour B-Line Diner has you covered. (Above eateries are currently closed; in-room and poolside dining are currently available, as is a 24-hour grab-and-go market.)

Sweet Deal: Book by September 8, 2020 for up to 20% off room rates and free breakfast for stays through December 20, 2020.

orlando staycations

The garden at Primo.

Grande Lakes Orlando

Why Go: You’ll have to choose between Orlando staycations at one of the two luxe properties on site—JW Marriott or the The Ritz-Carlton—but no matter your choice, you can take advantage of all the amenities these two luxe properties have to offer, including stunning grounds and beautiful views of the eponymous lake.

The Basics: Enjoy the lazy river at the JW pool or more serene swimming (and spa!) over at the Ritz. All kids aged 4-12 are welcome to take advantage of the activity-packed Ritz Kids program for a fee, but Ritz guests will automatically receive two hours of supervised, kids-only fun for up to two kids.

Recommended Eats: The farm-to-table ethos thrives at the restaurants on property, with much of the produce coming from the resort’s own Whisper Creek Farm and the organic garden at Primo by Melissa Kelly at JW Marriott (pictured), a must-try for home-grown Italian fare. Farm-inspired fare is the order of the day at Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen in the JW lobby, which also features five seasonal beers brewed onsite by a master cicerone. At the Ritz, look for craft cocktails, Florida seafood and inspired Southern fare at Highball & Harvest. (Check website for restaurant availability and menus.)

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