Best Hotels for Kids
1 hide detailSeven suite Styles
This all-suite property, a former Holiday Inn transformed into the first ever Nickelodeon-branded resort, is one of the best properties in the Orlando area for families. Its two-bedroom Kid Suites feature a second bedroom for the kids with bunk or twin beds, kitchenettes, and a pullout sofa in the living area. Three-bedroom suites are also available and include additional space, a second bathroom, a full kitchen, upgraded amenities, and a trendy decor. One and two-bedroom suites are themed with Nickelodeon colors; characters adorn the kid's rooms. An all-new lobby and mall area, filled with restaurants, an arcade, shops, a temporary tattoo and hair-wrap station (additional fees apply), and nightly entertainment (including Studio Nick), have been added. The resort's two pool areas (with lots of lifeguards) are veritable water parks, with extensive multilevel water slides, flumes, climbing nets, and water jets. Activities are scheduled poolside (including Slime Time), and there are also a wide variety of recreational options, including a small minigolf course, playgrounds, and sand play areas. Required wristbands ensure that only resort guests can access the area. "Nick After Dark," an evening supervised activity program for kids ages 5 to 12, allows parents to take a night off. A daily character breakfast (SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora, and the Fairly Odd Parents oversaw things when I was last there) is offered in addition to the hotel's regular breakfast buffet (at the latter, kids eat free with paying adults). The only downside is that the resort's incredible popularity translates to an incredibly crowded, often overwhelming experience -- combine this with a day at the theme parks and parents may be in need of a vacation from their vacation. Discounted rates are available for stays on off-peak nights and at select times throughout the year.
Facilities: Restaurant; lounge; several fast-food counters; 2 water park pools; minigolf; fitness center; 2 Jacuzzis; 3 outdoor Ping-Pong tables; 2 shuffleboard courts; game room; supervised activity center for ages 4-12 (fee); kids activities; tour desk; free shuttle to Disney and non-Disney parks; minimart; coin-op washers and dryers
In room: A/C, TV/VCR w/pay movies, dataport, free high-speed Internet access, full kitchen (select suites), fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, hair dryer, iron, safe, Nintendo (in some rooms).
2 hide detailAn unforgettable adventure
Our Local Expert Says:
Your kids will love – love – Disney's Animal Kingdom, and staying at this hotel will only bolster the experience
Wildlife-reserve resort with an African-themed lodge
- Just 2 miles west of Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, exotic animals graze on this resort's own 33-acre savannah.
- All l,293 guestrooms have authentic African hand-carved headboards and armoires, ceiling fans, and private balconies, with savannah, pool or resort views.
- Guests can watch flamingos feeding, cool off in a large, zero-entry pool and enjoy night vision viewing of animals on the savannah every evening at Arusha Rock.
3 hide detailLuxury and style
JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes is located in Orlando, Florida within one mile of SeaWorld. The hotel offers a number of family-friendly amenities, including a babysitting service, game room and in-room video games. Those with families rave about the enormous pool and its lazy river, while others note the quality golfing available just steps from the hotel. The sushi at the Lobby Lounge particularly impresses guests, though some lament that it is not available later in the evening. Guests warn, however, that the pool area is open to non-customers and often becomes crowded. Others, especially those with families, dislike that the hotel allows drinking in the pool.
4 hide detailAward winning hotel in Universal Resort
Our Local Expert Says:
Hard Rock Hotel is designed for the rock n' roll fans out there – and deep down, isn't everyone?
The Hard Rock Hotel in the Universal Resort has more amenities than one could possibly desire. The 650 rooms and suites feature high speed web access, 32-inch flat screen TV, large safe deposit boxes to accommodate laptops, a pantry, video-checkout, hair-dryer, iron with ironing board, coffee maker and complimentary daily newspaper. Guests who opt for the Hard Rock Club Lounge get in-room music and book libraries, and a personal concierge. There are also two hospitality suites, an ATM, a business center, several restaurants, a bar, a pool with a 260-foot slide, children's activity center, game rooms and plenty of rock-and-roll memorabilia here.
5 hide detailLuxury Hotel, Memorable Swimming Pool
A favorite of honeymooners and those seeking a luxurious adult oasis, yet there's plenty here for families as well. This getaway's lobby has lush foliage from which macaws wave to passersby, with winding walkways and landscape lighting to add to the ambience. The 18-story atrium has inner and outer glass elevators (ride the outers to the roof for a panoramic rush). The rooms are beautifully decorated with a Laura Ashley flair and easily sleep four. If you find, however, you are in need of additional space, you can usually request a connecting room for a discounted price. The west-side rooms on floors seven and up have a distant view of Cinderella Castle and the Magic Kingdom's fireworks. (This vantage point also shows how much of WDW and the surrounding area still remain wooded.) To ensure the resort remains at the top of the A-list, extensive renovations, including the addition of a full-service spa, a complete overhaul of the guest rooms and suites, the addition of all new dining options, and a redesign of the lobby and check-in area are slated to begin in 2009. The Hyatt shares a golf club and academy, racquet club, and equestrian center with its sister property, Villas of Grand Cypress ; both offer excellent packages aimed at the sports set. The Hyatt's half-acre, 800,000-gallon pool is one of the best in Orlando and features caves, grottoes, waterfalls, a rope bridge, and a 45-foot water slide. A very nice child-care facility is also available. Hemingway's, its signature restaurant, has a Key West theme and a menu featuring fresh and innovative seafood. At the Chef's Table, guests can indulge in a unique and intimate dining experience -- perfect for a special night out.
Facilities: 4 restaurants; 4 lounges; large heated outdoor pool; 45 holes of golf; 12 tennis courts (5 lighted); 2 racquetball courts; health club; spa; watersports equipment; children's center; arcade; concierge; car-rental desk; free Disney shuttle; transportation to non-Disney parks for a fee; store; salon; 24-hr. room service; in-room massage; babysitting; laundry service; valet; concierge-level rooms; equestrian center
6 hide detailTropical enchantment at Universal Orlando
- Inspired by the South Pacific, this 1,000-room hotel is a 10-minute walk or short boat ride to two Universal theme parks.
- Tasteful guestrooms in tropical decor feature vintage travel posters, bamboo accents, and hand-carved mahogany pieces from Bali.
- Dining options include the acclaimed Polynesian-Asian Tchoup-Chop restaurant. Room keys allow speedier access to park rides.