Orlando and “luxury” don’t always go together in the same sentence. There are exceptions, though, and the Waldorf Astoria® Orlando is absolutely one of them.
Don’t confuse “luxury” with “stuffy,” though. For all the old-world notions the name Waldorf Astoria conjures up - the original hotel in New York dates back to 1893 - the Florida outpost of the brand has luxury bona fides but is also comfortably at home in the middle of the Walt Disney World Resort domain. Couples, families and business travelers all seem to relax here with equal comfort.
In contrast to some truly massive resorts in the area, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando is toward the middle of the spectrum, with 502 rooms and suites. But its list of amenities puts much larger resorts to shame. In addition to a Rees Jones-designed golf course, it is home to a splendid spa, resort pool with private cabanas, fitness center, Kids Club, bicycle rentals and access to all the amenities at the next-door, upscale Hilton Bonnet Creek property. You can just as easily have a quiet evening in (they invented room service, after all) as you can a fun night out on the property. Waldorf Astoria’s proximity (and complimentary shuttle service) to Disney makes it an ideal family getaway as well.
Then there’s the golf course. Waldorf Astoria Golf Club was designed by Rees Jones and opened in 2009. It is an upper-echelon Orlando resort course designed with its clientele in mind. Seasoned traveling golfers will appreciate the challenge it poses, especially to one’s driving game. Fairway bunkers guard the preferred (and sometimes both) sides of landing areas, adding a sense of danger to many tee shots. However, less skilled and shorter-hitting golfers will find the course navigable, as there are no forced hazard carries of consequence. The back nine is particularly strong, culminating with an arrow-straight par five to the most undulating green on the course.
Jones’ eye-catching bunkering continues around the greens, which tend to have multiple sections and slope generally from back to front. The starter will tell you to avoid going over the backs of these greens; heed that advice, err on the side of caution and you will have an enjoyable round.
After golf, you’ll find all you need to unwind back at the clubhouse. The airy main grille features a balanced menu of salads and sandwiches, including a dynamite club sandwich with grilled chicken, Nueske’s bacon and guacamole. The cozier bar area is a perfect spot to unwind with a beer or cocktail and catch up on the day’s sports via the mounted TVs.
In addition to a relaxing jumping-off point for Disney, Waldorf Astoria makes sense as a base for an Orlando golf trip as well. Their Golf Stay And Play package offers value to the discerning golfer as well.
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