My husband had business obligations at the Gaylord Palms for 4 days and lucky me I got to tag along! Check in was a breeze, we had room 1467. It was at the end of the hall on the 4th floor, but a short walk to the elevator which was a positive since the Gaylord is a BIG resort. I wasn't expecting much of a view being on the 4th floor, but it wasn't that bad. I had a pesky palm tree that partially blocked my view of the high fireworks every night, but I got to see a few of them so that was a bonus. It overlooked the parking lot, but trust me at this resort the view you can have in the atrium is worth so much more. I think I would request a room overlooking the atrium next time.
The rooms are what you would expect from a plush hotel like the Gaylord. Spacious rooms with good lighting, plenty of outlets. Linens were high quality, toiletries were above average. Hairdryer in the room was sufficient, not salon quality, but it worked. Refrig and coffee maker in room. Ice and vending machines near the elevators. The vending machines take credit cards but they only had soda vending no candy or snacks. I was hoping to find a microwave near the vending area but no luck- Java Shop had one, but I didn't ask to use it. Housekeeping stopped in daily.
The fitness center is probably one of the nicest I've ever seen, I used it every day and even with the resort at full capacity there was enough space and machines to not feel crowded.
The atrium gardens were amazing! I had plenty of time to walk around take pictures and enjoy them. There are koi ponds, alligators and turtles... feeding times are listed, I think it was every other day. The guy that was feeding the day I was watching was from Gatorland and he answered questions and telling us about what they do with this gators as they grow in the atrium at the Gaylord.
Pools- They have a family area with 3 waterslides (lifeguard on duty) that pool is like zero entry pool- great for the little ones. They also have the climbing play area that seemed to be a big hit with the kids. The adults only pool was very nice. I was there the first 2 days and then a huge convention came in and it got so packed that I moved to the family side and it was really not bad at all. Loved the pool areas- limited wait staff walking around, but I mistakenly flagged down a pool attendant thinking she was a waitress and she got someone immediately!
The Relache Spa was very nice. I'm in the spa industry so I like to indulge at the spa while on vacation. I booked a Royal Pedicure (80 min) and had a nice service. Most people wouldn't think that $120 for a Pedicure is reasonable, however if you really break down the SPA EXPERIENCE you will feel much better about it. They allow you to use the Spa's facilities all day of your appointment- plan on utilizing it! The spa attendant will explain the amenities in the locker room which whether you do it all the time or are a first timer let them walk you through the Rainforest Shower directions. It's a great experience! The steam room and dry sauna are always a spa favorite for me. They have a private tea lounge just off the women's locker room, great place to relax after the rainforest shower. You're technician will find you as they know you are there so check in early and stay awhile. Everyone I encountered was very nice and happy to have you there. My only critiques would be the Pedicure area is not a very quiet area as its right off the salon- and as a nail professional myself I must say that I was not happy with the integrity of the Sparitual Polish used in my service. It was chipping in about 3 days- and I know my technician prep'd the nail before application.
As far as food at the Gaylord I did feel that much of it was overpriced and since there is NOTHING within walking distance if you don't have a car (which will cost you $18+ a day to park there)- you will be stuck at the Gaylord for your meals. I knew going in that breakfast could easily run $20pp. I eat oatmeal most mornings so that was easy to pack and I did- used the coffee maker in the room to get hot water- viola' breakfast was served. If you want a graba nd go breakfast you can stop at the Java Shop, but for a yogurt parfait and a banana it will cost you $7- a small coffee was $3.50 - a yoplait yogurt was 3.25 (yeah, the same one you pay .60 for at home). I had a club wrap there one afternoon- the bacon was almost soggy- had to take it out...everything was pre-made so I don't know how stuff stays in the cooler, but for almost $10 for a pre-made wrap that was $$ in my opinion. I had a couple lunches pool side at the Sandbar and they were good and I felt the price paid was much more on target. The Sports bar- WRECKERS was a fun place to have dinner one night. The Club sandwich was very good and easily could feed 2! We didn't try the buffet even though it has apparently won several awards- I'm not a buffet fan and the price was very steep!
Concierge was a wealth of information- one of the most interesting tips he gave me was not to take a YELLOW cab with tinted windows. He said over the years they have noticed those are the "gypsy" cabs they will not stick to the set rates and they will long haul you to your destination to charge you more. I tend to believe there is some truth to this...but I didn't verify it myself.
I would highly recommend staying at the Gaylord if you are in the area. We tried to book extra nights there 3 months before our trip and they were sold out so book well in advance if you are trying to extend your stay after a convention. Moving to the Marriott Courtyard (a nice hotel) was like going from riches to rags...the Gaylord does it right!!!