We just returned from a week-long stay at the Parc Soleil and had a positive experience. Being Hilton "owners," we expected high-quality rooms and amenities - it's the trade-off when one buys with Hilton for HGVC's limited locations - and the Parc Soleil didn't disappoint.
Reading other reviews, we were expecting the Parc Soleil to be in a very remote location. It was not. Yes, there is a substantial amount of "green space" around the resort (presumably for future development), but frankly, after days in the parks, space and peace were somewhat welcome. The only real irritant here is that there is very little in "comfortable" walking distance around the resort - one would have to be VERY committed to walking - but there were numerous restaurants, grocery stores, etc., within 1-2 mile radius. This would not have ordinarily seemed like much of a challenge, but the limited restaurant (discussed further below) exacerbated it. The semi-seculded location did contribute to our feeling somewhat more confident in letting the kids go off in pairs without adult supervision. It is an easy drive to Universal (almost a straight shot).
The three-bedroom suite was more than adequately spacious for our group of three adults and four children (ages 10-14), and the furnishings were all new and consistently high Hilton quality. We had no problems with any of the kitchen appliances, had four (4) flat screen TVs in our suite, and did not notice any exceptional hallway noise or noise from other rooms - and this was during "Spring Break." The master suite was spacious and comfortable, providing a great "Parent Land" during our stay. The master bathroom was exceptionally nice. We requested a "fireworks" view, and - as other reviews have noted - this was a bit of a let-down. It is accurate to say that one can see the evening fireworks at Epcot, but just barely, and we were on the 12th floor. In retrospect, we would have preferred a pool view. Also, if you are traveling with teenagers who expect their "own" bed, be advised that you may need to bring an inflatable mattress and a quarter to flip - beds are kings, queens and - as others have noted - a very high-quality pull-out king.
The pool area is great. Having stayed at the other HGVC sites in Orlando, the Parc Soleil has the best pool. The kids loved the waterslide and there was always plenty of seating in the pool area. The pool was clearly the hub of resort "activity," and the activity staff were constantly engaging kids (and willing adults) in games and activities. To put it in perspective, we rented a room at the Portofino one night to take advantage of the Loew's Express Pass benefit at Universal. This allowed us to spend mornings in the parks, swim in the afternoon and rest at the Portofino, and go back to the parks in the evening. The pool at the Portofino is outstanding; however, all the kids could not wait to get back to the pool at Parc Soleil.
Grounds and other Amenities:
The fitness center is small, but state-of-the-art, and is easily accessible. The activity center is similarly nice, and our older kids spent a fair amount of time there. The grounds are well-kept, and there is a very nice walking path around a man-made lake. The basketball and tennis courts are new and nice. There is free high-speed Internet throughout the resort. As others have noted, the future expansion "footprint" is a bit odd and makes the resort seem initially incomplete; however, we quickly got beyond it.
Definitely the low point. The resort's food options are extremely limited, and virtually all of the food options we tried - with the notable exception of breakfast - were disappointing. In a week, we pretty much worked our way through the menu. Popular, easy and "kid friendly" appetizers, such as wings and nachos, were missing from the menu. Even the sandwiches were not particularly good. There is no onsite "mini" Pizza Hut as at the Tuscany. Other than dinner entrees (representative dinner items - pasta, $16; steaks - $25+), food prices were not outlandish, but the quality simply was not good. Paying $19 for a pork chop on vacation is expected - paying $19 for a pork chop that might be sent back at Waffle House because of poor quality is quite another. Again, this would not normally be as much of a problem in Orlando; however, the resort's semi-secluded location makes everything a drive. Knowing that one will eventually have to get kids out of the pool, cleaned up and drive around looking for food kills the potential of spending the afternoon with umbrella drinks by the pool. We strongly recommend taking advantage of the kitchen in your room - we normally take cereal and other items for breakfast to eat in the room, but rely on restaurants for lunch and dinner (who wants to cook on vacation?). Here, you are better off doing the opposite - bring snacks, sandwich makings, and "easy to fix" meals. Breakfast in the restaurant was consistently good.
Limited compared to other HGVC resorts. Prices were reasonable for a resort, but the deli was underwhelming and, as with the restaurant, selection was exceptionally limited. While approximately half the staff in the market were friendly and helpful, two in particular - who consistently seemed to work the same shift - often appeared irritated that they were having to wait on guests. If you have any food allergies or picky eaters, you will want to check your orders very carefully.
Where provided, great, but the Parc Soleil is woefully understaffed. This was another big difference in Parc Soleil and our experience with other HGVC properties. During our week there, we saw, at most, one server tasked with "rounding" the pool taking orders - and remember, this is a huge pool with hundreds of people around it. Drinks took approximately 20-30 minutes to deliver and food was longer. Again, activities staff and servers were friendly and full of personality, but they simply needed more help. An inordinate number of employees working in various positions (serving, bartending) noted that they were "new to the job."
The overall experience was very good, and we will certainly consider going back to the Parc Soleil when we return to Orlando. If the restaurant issues were remedied, it would be a lock - this is a great property. Our kids loved it, and several days after returning, we are still in wonder that they preferred it to the Portofino, which is acknowledged as one of Orlando's premier resort hotels (having spent a week there previously, it merits this reputation). We tried to get a couple of the kids to spend the night with one of us at the Portofino and "close the park," thinking that they would argue over who got to stay and who had to drive back to the Hilton. No one was interested and they all wanted to get back to the Parc Soleil.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on 52 acres in the heart of the attractions area in Orlando, Parc Soleil by Hilton Grand Vacations is in close proximity to famous local attractions including Walt Disney World(R), Universal Orlando(R), SeaWorld(R) Orlando, Aquatica(R), and is convenient to I-4 and more than 94 championship golf courses. Parc Soleil features stylish studios and roomy one and two bedroom suites with balconies. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Parc Soleil By Hilton Grand Vacations Club Hotel Orlando
- Hilton Grand Vacations Club Orlando