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“Supposedly a top hotel - in reality; not so much.” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa

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Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   1900 E Buena Vista Drive, Orlando, FL 32830   |  
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Breakfast For 2 Daily!
Ranked #202 of 329 hotels in Orlando
Oslo
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Supposedly a top hotel - in reality; not so much.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2013

I spent four days and three nights with my family of four at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa for spring break. We were all very excited to go to Orlando, to visit the theme parks and to stay at a hotel so close to Downtown Disney and the Disney theme parks.

Appearance-wise the hotel is impressive. A grand entrance leads into a moder and airy reception area. People are at hand immediately to help with luggage, valet parking, etc. The first impression was good.

After check-in we needed to transport ourselves to another building in the hotel complex were our rooms were waiting for us. An enormously over-eager and condescending hotell employee repeatedly educated us on how to use the elevators, as if we had just descended from the hills of Tennessee and never had experieced riding elevators before. Very annoying, escpecially since I several times tried to thank him for his services and politely tell him to get lost!

Our room - a family suite for four persons- was a big disappointment. The room itself was beautiful and modern. However, we found pubic hair on the bathroom floor, there were only towels for two, and the sofa bed was not made up. When I called room service to have the bed made, a rather surly woman showed up and demonstratively showed us how to do it ourselves. No tip for her.

The biggest disappointment, however, was the fact that the room overlooked a carpark. We had specifically booked - and paid for - a room overlooking Downtown Disney and with a view to the Disney fireworks. When I complained the hotel "remedied" this by offering me to deduct USD 100 for our total bill, the same amount I would have paid to get upgraded from a regular room to a room with a fireworks view. Not good enough! We hadn't travelled half way across the world to look at a car park, and 100 dollars was not enough to make us happy.

And it went downhill from here:
- breakfast was not included (which it had been in all the other, supposedly lower standard hotels we had stayed in earlier on our trip
- only one of three pools were heated, and that was a pool that was too deep for my 5-year-old to play in by himself (with my supervision, of course)
- our room was consistently supplied with towels etc for two despite my making the hotel aware of the fact that we were four several times
- the shuttle bus to Disney's Magic Kingdom tok 10 minutes, but the ride back took nearly two (2!!) hours. The hotel was the last stop on a huge loop, so the ride back from Magic Kingdom with a sleepy child on an overcrowded bus (half the people had to stand!) was torture

And finally, the hotell slapped us with a bogus tax they call a "Resort fee" of USD 25 per room per day to cover gratuities for their staff, the supposedly free wifi, etc. I was furious!

Why is it that the Holiday Inn can manage to offer complimentary breakfast, free wifi, a heated pool, enough towels, etc - and a luxury resport cannot?? Ridiculous. Next time I'll stay at the Holiday Inn - at least there you get what you pay for!

And to add insult to injury, one person in our party got food poisoning in their restaurant.

I WILL NOT recommend this hotel to anyone - ever...

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (459)
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

I booked this hotel through Expedia and when I arrived I was told the room I had booked was no longer available. They said the rooms were on a first come first serve basis, which was news to me since this was not indicated anymore when I booked the room. The front desk staff was not very accommodating. I was finally given a room that was supposedly an upgrade and it overlooked the pool. The room itself was clean, but the bathroom looked like it could use some work. The faucet in the bath tub was turned sideways and there were visible holes on the wall next to the toilet that looked to be some sloppy repairs.

The hotel also charges you a $21 service fee, which includes services like, WiFi, Valet Parking, Long Distance Phone calls, etc. Services that were totally useless to me so I had to request twice that they be removed. I'm not sure why a hotel would want to charge you for services you do not intend to use. Overall this seems like a nice hotel, but I think they need to work on their customer service. I will most like not stay at this hotel on my next visit.

Room Tip: Before you book make sure you will actually get the room you paid for.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OrlandoInterested, Manager at Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, April 17, 2013
Dear Reviewer;

I want to apologize for your stay with us. I will be reviewing your issues with my management staff on your guest room, and our customer service.
I do want you to know that we typically receive compliments on our staff.

We do have a resort fee which includes a number of items that many area hotels charge A la carte. They typically add up to more then the $21 dollars. Many guests find that they do use some of these items during their stay.

Again my apologize on your stay.

Cindy Staley
Resort Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Telaviv
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
200 helpful votes 200 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

This is one of those great internet resorts where you get to the check in - to find out that the deal that you signed up for was all a big lie. My advice is to have a strong cup of coffee and have everything in writing before you check in, because no matter what arrangement you make, they are skilled at trying to get away with additional expenses. It is like you are talking to a shady salesman and not a guest services host.

The spa loves to charge double for services - if you use the spa, pay up front or not at all. They attempted to triple charge us which didn't work. We also had $100 credit for the spa which was a dishonest lure that they did not honor.

The valet service didn't think I would notice the 600 extra miles on my rental car. The hotel - breakfast and pool was in great shape. Our room was standard - below standard when it comes to having to argue for some basic things like conditioner and shampoo. There is a nature pond very close to the pool - so you will be swimming with ducks.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OrlandoInterested, Manager at Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, April 17, 2013
Dear Reviewer;

I want to apologize to you on your stay. I have reached out to you to review your stay with us and hope that we can assist you with some of your issues.

I am glad to see that you enjoyed the breakfast and the pool.

Regards;

Cindy Staley
Resort Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

This resort has more of a condo feel than a hotel. The property itself is beautiful, and they have some nice amenities like an arcade, two pools, free bus transportation to Disney and a character breakfast. However, it is very spread out. Parking is extremely far away, and then it's a long hike to the room (at least ours, which was located on the "island.") Not knowing this, we left our stroller in the car and it was quite a feat to maneuver our baby, preschooler and our luggage to the room. The room itself was nice and the bathroom had nice, thick towels. However, the shower was downright painful; the water felt like little needles and there was no way to adjust the pressure. One of the most miserable showers I've ever taken.

Aside from the nice features, given the many other opportunities for lodging in the area, we likely won't stay here again. It is too inconvenient to not be able to run to the car if you forget something, and with two small children, this property just really didn't meet our needs.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Walpole, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

We Were doing a long weekend trip to go to Disney, so we chose this hotel. The location was great, but the rooms were pretty good. Very nice employees. The mattress was memory foam so that was comfortable to sleep on. The rooms were a little dirty. It is very handy to Downtown Disney. They need to work on the pool area a little because it is not in the best shape. Overall this was a good hotel

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

From the moment you walk into the Buena Vista Palace you realize that this was once a grand hotel. Unfortunately, time has taken its toll on this once former beauty. The halls are scarred from the years of collisions with housekeeping carts. The carpets are stained, pulling at the edges and bunching up. Windows in the halls were covered with handprints and dirty. The café area is cramped, chaotic and expensive ($4 for a coffee, $3 for a bagel). The fitness center, while filled with equipment, is filled with old stuff....rusting!! The internet is a $15 add on that comes out of the $22 a day fee added to the room charge and is absolutely horrible. I ended up getting a better connection using my phone as a hot spot. All that being said, the room was clean and large and the $80 a night I paid was average for being across the street from downtown Disney. Given the choice I would not stay here again but would opt for the Wyndham next door.

Room Tip: We had a handicapped room which had a huge shower!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

Great staff! Absolutely everyone from meeting rooms and banquets to housekeeping went out of their way to be pleasant and helpful.
Our room was a king suite which has a separate bedroom and bath from the small living area and half bath. The room has a fold out couch in the living area and a day bed in the bedroom where a child could sleep. Note: the fold out was very uncomfortable so they quickly brought us a roll away with a nice thick mattress.
Our room had a small refrigerator, microwave and safe.
The buildings include many conference rooms, ballrooms and an exhibit hall. They offer a cafe or mini market which serves Starbucks for breakfast, pool bar serves lunch,a restaurant featuring an all you can eat steak and seafood menu and a sports bar for dinner after 5pm. Room service pizza is also available.
There are two pools, games rooms, basketball court, playground and its a short walk to Downtown Disney. The hotel also offers shuttle service to the parks.
There is a daily resort fee of $8 a day if you want to take advantage of the fitness center, spa and wireless Internet. I really feel wireless Internet should be provided to all guests free of charge, but that's just my opinion. Spa and salon options are "resort priced" meaning about double what you'd pay at home.

Room Tip: We stayed in building #4 which is located 'on the island' about a two minute walk from the l...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa

Also Known As:
Buena Vista Palace Hotel And Spa
Buena Vista Palace
Buena Vista Palace Orlando
Lake Buena Vista Palace
Buena Vista Palace Hotel
Address: 1900 E Buena Vista Drive, Orlando, FL 32830
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#37 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#202 Top resorts Hotel in Orlando
#202 Spa Hotel in Orlando
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa offers 1,014 guest rooms and suites. Amenities include 3 pools, lighted tennis court, basketball and sand volleyball courts, 6 restaurants/lounges and a full-service spa. Located inside Walt Disney World, next to Downtown Disney, featuring over 75 specialty shops/restaurants. Guests enjoy access to 4 Disney golf courses and complimentary transportation to all Disney theme parks. ... more   less 
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