Despite the extremely friendly staff, this hotel is one I would never recommend to any traveler to the Orlando FL area - there are so many from which to choose, don't choose this one if you have the least bit of allergic sensitivities. Upon our arrival I instantly had an allergic reaction to the room, something I have never experienced in my extensive travels. The air in the room literally made my eyes watery and red; the bedding smelled as if it had been cleaned in a vat of caustic chemicals. It was a clean room, the hotel itself being under two years old; and it was an average hotel room, being not too small. However, this was clearly not up to Hilton standards. I have to admit I have never stayed at a Hilton Garden hotel before, my experience with Hilton has always been their "regular" properties (and I always try to stay at Hilton because of their quality). If this represents what their Garden properties are like I will never choose another - ever. The room was clean, and contained all the amenities advertised, however the bed (the most important part of the room) was terrible. I'm no princess, but when I stay at a Hilton I expect certain things: quality of service (which this hotel had in abundance), and quality of bedding (which left me very ill). I seriously thought I was going to have to see a doctor or find a different hotel because of the horrible reaction I had to the bedding. The duvet and pillows were filled with feathers; I have never had a reaction to feathers so I did not request a hypo-allergenic room. I will in the future. After one night of sleeping on those god-awful pillows my eyes were extremely red, itchy and watery, my throat was closing up and I felt I couldn't get air into my lungs. After a solid week of sleeping in that atmosphere I could not wait to leave. I also picked up some kind of intestinal virus that had me vomitting and "other " delightful things which, according to a member of the staff, was "going around, everyone's got it here." Lovely. Not.
We got up early and hit the parks and the fresh air and sunshine worked wonders on my condition, however we'd arrive back at the hotel and instantly my body would react: red, itchy, watery eyes, scratchy throat, and my lungs felt like I'd never get enough air in them. I had a very difficult week of trying to sleep and had to use Advil PM several nights just to get enough sleep.
The staff was wonderful - Kevin the bartender is an awesome guy, the women who ran the breakfast were equally wonderful and friendly. The main desk staff was overworked at times and slow to answer the phone, however one person manning the main desk had their hands full.
Even though pantry items were expensive they were less costly than buying stuff in the parks; recommend buying up several bottles of water there and take them with you to the parks, as $2.50 for a bottle at the hotel was cheaper by far than the $3.50 bottle in Disney. You can bring backpacks with water and snack foods into the parks, so do it!
The cost of the room was adequate, however another Hilton property within the Disney hotel band was the same rate with 100% higher quality. I'd stayed at that other property before but could not get a room this trip - in comparison - for the money - the other Hilton was far superior in the quality of the room and the overall stay. This Hilton - the Garden Inn on Marbella Parkway - was more like a Holiday Inn. Infact, I believe the Holiday Inn express down the street would have been a better choice for several reasons: they offered free breakfast, and were very close to the Crossroads where all the restaurants and shops are located. Breakfast at the Hilton Garden was pretty good - the cost was great as everything in Orlando is horribly expensive, so $6.95 for continental breakfast and $8.95 for full breakfast was very cost effective, however the Hilton Garden Inn was not near anything so you had little choice where to eat or drink for other meals; it was a taxi ride or a bus ride to anywhere you wanted to go. They are only about 18 months old as of this writing, so they do have some "bugs" to iron out, but unless they change the way they clean the bedding, or change the bedding all together, they will never have me as a guest again.
Note: the Links bus system is the way to go if you don't rent a car in Orlando, research it before you go to the area as it is $2 for one ride or $4.50 for the entire day of transferring from one bus to the other to go all over Orlando; taxis charge $15+ for oneway from this hotel to the Downtown Disney area and $25 to any of the parks. The bus was $2. A no-brainer there... doesn't go to the major parks but the hotel offers a shuttle.
About the shuttle: I read a complaint on this site about the shuttle service before we left and chalked it up to just a complainer who couldn't be satisfied. I was wrong. The shuttle system was very limited. Three pick-up times in the morning, and three drop- off times in the evening. I was attending classes so I couldn't hop a shuttle after class to meet up with my spouse at the parks; we had to meet at the hotel, and didn't want to pay for a taxi to the parks. If the shuttle had been available at those times we'd have gone to the parks for the evening. The bus driver the first few days was nicknamed Grumpy because of his nasty disposition; we noticed he wasn't around the rest of the week and were glad. They work on tips, so you'd expect a nicer driver. Go figure. He was rude and nasty. The other drivers were very nice, however. But the pick up times were not very convenient. Not the hotel's fault, however this is the service with which they contract. Get to know the Epcot shuttle system well before you go, as you need to catch either a bus, boat or monorail to go to the other parks from Epcot. The shuttle system from the Hilton Garden only takes you to Epcot, which is the central hub for the Disney parks (all the shuttles work this way). Take the earliest bus out (7:55am); the parks mostly open between 8am-9am.
For the rest of the hotel: the pool was tiny, but it was open until 10pm with bar and restaurant walk-up service. You share it with another property, the Residence Inn. The restaurant had adequate food - not great, but not awful either. Priced within means, didn't break the bank for meals. The bar was small but Kevin the bartender was excellent. Overall I was disappointed in this hotel property. Not worthy of "Hilton" status, but not a terrible hotel. If it were any other brand I wouldn't be writing this review.
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- Also Known As:
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