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“Over-the-top conference hotel”

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Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
Ranked #18 of 152 Hotels in Kissimmee
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
108 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“Over-the-top conference hotel”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 30, 2010

First and foremost, this is an excellent conference hotel. Those who are not attending events within the hotel or attached conference centre could receive a room of similar quality for a substantially lower price elsewhere in the area. The primary attraction for me was the proximity to the conference centre (and my employer paid for the room - yay!). My wife accompanied me so this review also includes the perspective of someone who did not attend the conference and therefore had more time to explore the hotel amenities.

LOCATION: As previously stated, the main reason you would want to be here is for a conference. There is a small town centre containing various fast food outlets, Publix supermarket, and souvenir shops approximately 3/4 mile away. There is no footpath (which we knew before we went, thanks to Google Maps Street View) so pedestrians need to walk along the road verge - there's sort of a faint trodden path from other people like us who walked along it. However, the road beside it is a 3-lane dual carriageway so my wife and I quickly decided that since the traffic along the road is quite light, they could use 2 of the 3 lanes and we'd walk in the lane nearest the verge. We stepped off occasionally when some driver just could not understand the concept of pedestrians (let's face it - there's not many pedestrians in the USA!) and it only took 10-15 mins to walk to town. It was easier during the day, of course, since it's easier to see pedestrians but we walked to town a few times during the week during day and night hours without incident.

THERMAL COMFORT: The hotel was definitely air-conditioned. In fact, several of the people at the conference I was at ended up having to go find jumpers and light jackets to wear because it was over-chilled. The resort could definitely stop wasting so much energy and rachet up the thermostat a few degrees without a problem - it would still be lovely and cool without giving people headaches and sore throats from recycled air. The attached conference centre was also an offender in excessive air-conditioning but I think that's an independent issue since they seemed to be run separately. Inside the room, the airconditioning unit was easily controlled, and also located near the hottest part of the room (the window) not pointed at the bed so it was well positioned. It's irritating to have a noisy air con unit blowing directly on you in bed at night but this problem did not exist in our room.

ROOMS: We had specifically asked for a room where we could watch the Disney fireworks at night (since my wife would be in the room whilst I was at the conference). That request was granted, so we were on the 8th floor, overlooking the adult pool and could easily see the Epcot fireworks at 9pm without any visual interruption. The Magic Kingdom fireworks at 10pm were slightly obscured due to another resort between the Gaylord and Disney so there was nothing that could prevent that, and the fireworks were launched higher than the buildings in the foreground anyway.

It seems the hotel is slowly renovating rooms over time and we had an older style room (since we had a CRT TV, not an LCD flat screen. The TV is located in a cupboard that requires the doors to be wide open to view the TV, thereby blocking the only passage through the room at the foot of the bed. This was a bit frustrating when I was working at the desk and needed something on the other side of the room since I needed to close the TV cupboard (blocking my wife's viewing) just to get past.

The most disappointing aspect of the room was the hotel guide is not a book, but instead delivered through the internet-enabled computer. This seems like a good thing - easier to maintain, more environmentally friendly, etc. Unfortunately, the connection speed was dismal and it took up to a minute from clicking a link to viewing the page, and most of the links about hotel services were dead links anyway. The resort really needs to spend more time investing in this service given there's no other way to find the information from within the room. I had internet through the conference so I was glad I didn't have to pay for it through the hotel because that was quite expensive.

BED: The bed was extraordinarily high off the ground. We've not encountered any bed like it in any other hotel during our travels. Even I (6'4" tall) felt like I had to climb up into it. It was most puzzling - I can't imagine how shorter folks enjoy the experience. Once in the bed, it was comfortable. An unusual visual element was the bedspread which featured historically attired monkeys. We were in the St Augustine section and even the carpet in the corridors had monkeys playing violins, drums, guitars, etc. It didn't affect the sleep quality in any way (I guess it might if you have a monkey phobia!) and other wings (eg: Key West section) reportedly featured kites and brightly coloured objects instead of monkeys.

RESTAURANTS: We did not eat at any of the restaurants within the resort. We seriously considered Villa de Flora which is $30pp buffet on the first night we were there (French themed meals) and the host fortunately offered us the opportunity to view the food first. We quickly saw the quality of the food on offer was substantially below what we were expecting for the price, and seemed to largely consist of casseroles and unappealing desserts. We walked to town and found much more appealing fare in Logan's Roadhouse for half the price. If you want to eat here, obviously check the reviews from those who tasted the food - this is a visual review only.

POOLS: There is an adults-only pool (a large rectangular pool, two hot tubs and reclining lounges) and a family pool (water slide, fun play area for toddlers with sprinklers, etc) and the separation seemed to be quite respected. We certainly never saw any kids in the adult pool, though a couple of other adult conference attendees told me they thought the adult pool was boring so went and played with the giant water-squirting octopus with the families because it was more interesting.

LAUNDRY: There are a couple of laundry rooms in the hotel, offering self-service washing machines and dryers @ $2.50 per machine. They use 10 x quarters and/or tokens so if you're short on quarters, you can change $1 notes into 4 tokens. Obviously don't take in 3 x $1 notes since they don't give change and you'll waste two tokens. Machines were a good size and clean - no complaints at all.

TRANSPORT: My wife does not drive and there are no public buses in the local Lynx bus network that service the Gaylord Palms. However, it is possible to catch the Gaylord shuttle bus to the Disney transportation hub and then catch one of the local buses into town from there. This is obviously not the fastest option - it can take a couple of hours to get from the Gaylord Palms to the northern end of International Drive but if you're not in a hurry and just filling in the day with some shopping, it's cheap ($4.50 for a day pass on the Lynx network). For comparison, one of the many town car / taxis that sit at the Gaylord waiting to take folks places quoted ~$30 to go to the Sheraton Four Points resort (north end of International Drive) so if there's a few of you, the car might be worth it. If you're an individual and time is not an issue, take the shuttle/public bus combo. You could also consider the Gaylord Palms bus @ $16pp which is probably faster than going to Disney first but it has scheduled times anyway so there's less freedom than the public bus system which has more vehicles.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MQ007b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Florida
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2010

Stayed there with my family for just one night to visit Aquatica, and I wished we had stayed longer. Well appointed rooms, very clean, (they are currently upgrading the furniture and TV), beautiful lobby and enclosed atrium, themed with different places from Florida, (Castillo de San Marcos from St Augustine, Duval ST from Key West, etc). Friendly staff, great kiddie pool, wonderful restaurants, ( had dinner at Villa de Flora, best Italian themed buffet I've ever had for $30.00). Overall a very rewarding experience, a bit pricey, (resort fee, parking fee, rooms don't come cheap), but that seems to be the norm nowadays, and this is the best bang for your buck you would ever find in Orlando.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank alflorida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2010

For the Gaylords size it is very impressive with every detail, we were there for the AMTC convention for 1 week. First off the convention center was by far the best that I have ever seen and I have travled to many many conventions hotel including RITZ CARLTON in South Beach but the Gaylord has the better edge of the 2.
2 MAJOR PROBLEMS
1. Resturants way over priced, a family of 4 can spend well within $200
2. The lobby AND convention center really really need some fresh air moving through at some point of each day many people that i talked to got some type of headache.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Trolly089
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2010

I stayed at the Gaylord Palms for the Blackboard World Conference. This was perhaps one of the best hotels I have ever stayed at for a conference. A definately unique experience. Even though everything was enclosed, you still had the vibe that you were outside. Gators in the middle of the "commons" area were way cool! Everything was close and convenient to what we were doing and the food was OUTSTANDING and creative. I would most certainly recommend this hotel to business and leisure travelers. I was impressed. There were items that were a bit pricey, but ...hey...you are in Orlando...what does one expect?

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank indyfuntraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 18, 2010

First off, the hotel is HUGE. It is directly connected to the convention center, so if you are attending a convention, there is no better place to stay. When we arrived there were no bell men to help with our luggage (4pm??) Check-in was not a problem, however we asked if there was a possibility for an upgrade and were told "no", but the gal checking in a honeymoon couple comp'd a suite for them, and told them to just complete the survey, and to mention her name (the employee's) directly. So I guess it depends on who you get at check-in. I was traveling with my daughter, so there was no way to make up a quick "I'm on my Honeymoon-story" ha.
Depending on where your room is located, you can feel like you're outside even when you're not. There is a huge atrium in the middle of the hotel, with a skylight, to make you feel outside. If your room faces the atrium, then you never really see the "real world". Our room had a balcony, overlooking the steakhouse. Our balcony seemed larger than some, and room service could put the table out there, which was a nice touch. Our location to the convention center was great, so for us, that was awesome. There was a family next door with small children, but the walls are fairly thick, so we weren't bothered by family-noise. The TVs are the old box type, and they do not get many channels. The atrium noise can be loud (the waterfall runs all night, and if there is a reception in the atrium, be ready to turn up your TV all night!). The comforter on the beds is nice, however the sheets are horrible! Flat sheets only, so they pull up while you sleep, only to expose your feet to a felt-style blanket covering the mattress. Our housekeeper was lazy, so we had to make our own adjustments each night. The mattresses were firm, but fine. The room was small, but we didn't spend too much time in it, so we were pleased. If you are going to try and sleep someone on the floor air mattress, or on a roll-away, a 2 Queen room will NOT work.
When we arrived, the bathroom shower wall had a bundle of "hair" on the tile. I have a photo of it to upload later. Uck. There are 2 sinks, which was very nice. The coffee maker is like any ordinary hotel-coffee-maker, but our housekeeper continually forgot to leave condiments with the new grounds.
There is a 24 hour coffee shop located in the atrium. It's nice. There are other shops inside as well, which are nice, too. The restaurant we loved was the buffet! In my opinion, buffets are usually hit or miss. This one was a HIT. Even my picky 13 year old daughter enjoyed the meals. We also ordered to-go items from the downstairs cantina.
The Gaylord is not located close to Disney. They do have a bus, however, that runs every 30 minutes to different parks, which we found convenient, but if we were traveling to Orlando to go to Disney World, we would NOT stay here. It is much too far away.
The best part about the Gaylord for us was the location to the convention center, and the excellent food. Room service is delivered within 30 minutes, and was always good, except for a "herb-twig" in my daughter's pizza slice one night. They are supposed to remove that from my VISA, we will see. The down-side of the Gaylord is it is FREEZING in there! The room thermostat cannot be adjusted past 72 degrees, so we constantly were cold, slept in sweats, and by the 6th night, my daughter started losing her voice due to a sore throat.
The business center is located in the convention center, and I had an item shipped there, but even though I was a guest at the hotel, I had to pay them $3.00 for them to just hand me my item.
The rooms each have a computer, and it will connect you to popular internet sites like Facebook, yahoo, etc. But. Ours kept crashing. The free wi-fi was way better on our own laptop we brought from home.
Would we stay again? Yes, if we were there for a conference. If not, no.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank CaliforniaC_c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clearwater, Florida
Level Contributor
30 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2010

Had to stay in Orlando one night bevause of my husbands work. Did not want to stay at a Disney resort because of the cost and our kids are older and we wanted more of a adult atmosphere. It was just the two of us and we had a great night. We had fried calamari and blue point oysters at Sunset Sams in the boat. The food was a okay the calamari was wierd it was big strips of calamari, it wasnt bad just wierd. The oysters were small but good. Then we went to the Sushi bar had a shrimp tempura roll it was good. The drinks there were oustanding, diffrent and unique using liquers I have never heard of. Of course had Saki bombs, they were the best I have had. Then we ending the night at the Piano bar had a blast. The bartenders and staff everywhere were outstanding!! So if you want to get away from the tons of kids and have a nice adult evening stay at Gaylord Palms we will refer all of our friends and we will go again!!!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank PANAV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
38 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2010

I stayed here last year with a group of friends. After hearing rave reviews, I found the hotel to be average in most fields. Yes, it was clean and the atriums were cool, but nothing outstanding. The rooms were mediocre at best and very outdated. This hotel definitely needs a facelift!

I did enjoy the Disney shuttle and the variety of food on-site. While it wasn't the best hotel, I would stay here again if the price was right.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank bellson88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Property: Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
Address: 6000 W. Osceola Pkwy., Kissimmee, FL 34746-4414
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Kissimmee > Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Kissimmee
#3 Business Hotel in Kissimmee
#4 Luxury Hotel in Kissimmee
#5 Romantic Hotel in Kissimmee
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Kissimmee
#12 Family Hotel in Kissimmee
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center 4*
Number of rooms: 1416
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Just minutes from Central Florida's world-famous theme parks, including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and Sea World, the 1,416-room Gaylord Palms Resort is the ideal destination for leisure and business travelers alike. This spectacular resort features 4.5 acres of beautifully manicured gardens and themed environments beneath a signature glass-covered atrium. On-site leisure and recreation opportunities abound with the Cypress Springs Water Park, featuring a double FlowRider and drop slide in addition to a multi-level treehouse water playground; the adults-only South Beach Pool; Forbes Travel Guide's Four Star Relache Spa & Salon; Wreckers Sports Bar, featuring a two-story sports screen; and a 24 hour fitness center. And with eight restaurants and lounges ranging from fine dining at Old Hickory Steakhouse to casual poolside fare at SandBar, Gaylord Palms offers something for every appetite. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gaylord Palms Hotel Kissimmee
Gaylord Resort
Gaylord Palms Resort Orlando
Gaylord Palms Orlando

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