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Reviewed December 3, 2009

We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando in November for 14 nights. The first unexpected surprise was the Valet ONLY parking at $20 a day despite the web site failing to mention this fact. Actually the web site was pretty vague about the hotel in general. Not only do you pay $20 to have your car parked whether you like it or not but the service is poor and slow, Valet staff leave mud in the car as they have to run a gauntlet through unfinished areas of the grounds and then work you for tips (this service is provided by AAA and seems to be beyond the hotels control). The hotel is beautiful but they have failed to get finishing touches right and staff in some areas seem to lack customer service training. The room we had been given was facing the Disney parks (1117). On arrival we were surprised to find the room without a fridge despite the fact that the furniture which had been placed in the room had been designed for a fridge to be fitted. After 3 calls to reception a fridge was finally installed. (We were advised that we should have asked for a room with a fridge, not really what you would expect from the Waldorf Astoria and very odd considering the furniture had obviously been ordered with the intension of a fridge to be fitted.
Breakfast was taken in Oscars only once. Whilst the quality of food was good the service again was imposing. We were approached by 5 different members of the serving team asking if our food was ok and if we were enjoying our breakfast (we would have enjoyed our breakfast if we had been left in peace for 5 minutes). This was not the effortless service we have previously experienced from the original Waldorf Astoria in New York.
My partner decided to make use of the Guerlain Spa area at $30 a day per person (this cost is just for the steam room and Jacuzzi) but he was disappointed to find the steam room was not working and maintenance engineers were trampling through the shower and relaxation area. Hardly the tranquil experience he was expecting and as a result of this and the initial poor handling of his complaint he chose not to make use of the spa and treatments again.
Above all else the worst thing about the hotel is the house keeping. They seem to follow no standard when servicing the rooms and its hit and miss as to what is done and more important what isnt. They don't seem to follow the information provided by the hotel advising guests on what to expect from there stay. Information in the room advised that a full change of linen would be carried out every 3 days. This wasn't the case and we had to ask for this to be done. Bath towels ect would be changed if placed in the bath tub like most hotels but this wasn't always the case and we had to poor mouth wash onto bath linen to get the maid to realize we wanted them replacing and not just hung up. Long black hairs were found in the bath after the apparent cleaning and the vanity unit round the sink was not cleaned throughout the stay as when we re packed our toiletries there was dust and dirt marks where they had been. We also had to ask for the room to be vacuumed. These are just the basics of good house keeping and something that really should be addressed.
We were also surprised that despite there being 3 of us staying in the room only 2 robes and 2 pairs of slippers were provided for use during our stay. We would have expected this kind of information to be passed to house keeping by the front desk and wouldn't have expected to have to ask a week into our stay.
Its disappointing when you choose to splurge on a little luxury for a vacation and find that you could have got better service from a lower grade hotel. I work in the travel industry and spend two thirds of my working year in hotels around the world and really expected better from a hotel with such a heritage. The final straw was being woken by the in room alarm clock at 7 am on a Sunday morning despite non of us even touching the clock radio during our stay. We viewed this as a petty response from house keeping to our complaints. Despite raising these issues early during our stay with the duty manager it is our view that the Waldorf Astoria staff failed to turn the situation around and were slow to respond. Very disappointing and if i were the Manager of the Waldorf Astoria New York I would be concerned for future damage to the brands reputation.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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11  Thank TheConcorde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2009

I must make clear that the hotel is still in 'soft opening' phase so it may be that much changes with time as the hotel settles into itself. We were staying at the hotel on a 'Great Beginnings' rate which reflects that the hotel is not yet running on full power. However, here is our experience of the Waldorf Astoria Orlando.

LOCATION
Fantastic for anything Disney. The hotel offers a free shuttle bus to all the major theme parks which is convenient - front desk will provide you with the timetable. For evening activities, it's literally a 5min drive / taxi to Downtown Disney or Boardwalk. The hotel has Mears towncars on site - it was about $13 dollars to Downtown Disney from the hotel.

ROOM
We had a Disney View Waldorf Suite on the 10th floor. The decor was fairly neutral and easy on the eye and, as the hotel is brand new, all the fixtures and fittings are lovely. We found the layout a little strange for a one bedroom suite - walk in to a marble hallway area, the bedroom is then off to the right. The bedroom contains both the full size and half bathroom (toilet with a sink). The bedroom has one fairly small wardrobe plus drawers etc. Bathroom fixtures were lovely although we found the bath a little small for a luxury hotel - but in terms of water saving and green credentials, I'm sure it has to be that way.
The lounge / living area had a large kitchenette that we weren't expecting. It was handy to have a fridge but that is literally all there was in the kitchenette. No cutlery / crockery...no anything! And it's the only hotel I've ever been in that hasn't had a coffee maker / coffee & tea ameneties available in room. I understand from previous reviews that they're still waiting on delivery of the coffee machines so we took the lack of anything in the kitchenette as part of the reduced room rate, but it would have been nice to have been offered an alternative (a jug of coffee or hot water delivered in the morning or somesuch).
The lounge had comfortable sofas, a large flat screen TV and Blu-ray plus a balcony area that looked over the pool and golf course towards Disney. Enjoyed being able to sit out on the balcony and chill out after our daytime activities.
The lounge area also contained another wardrobe with a safe, but no hangers in the second wardrobe.
The airconditioning was very powerful...but uncontrollable. I'm sure in the heat of high summer, you need freezing air to keep you cool. But in November, it would have been nice to have been able to turn it down a little. There were controls in both the bedroom and the lounge, but the system had a mind of its own. If we tried to reset the temperature, it simply ignored any temperature we'd set and 5 minutes later took it back down to the realms of sub-zero.

SERVICE
Front desk were fine - but weren't overly helpful on a couple of queries / issues we had. Front-of-Hotel / bellmen were lovely. Always held the door open for us, always there to call us a car etc. Valet was also fine - when we first left the car with them for valet parking, they advised us to ring down 10mins before we wanted to leave so they could have the car waiting for us. We did and they had the car waiting every time.
Maid service was a little hit and miss. They didn't automatically replenish the water every day and we had to ask for more. The time of day they came was also sporadic - and considering that the hotel was pretty much empty at the time we were staying there, we couldn't understand why it would be an issue as they couldn't have been stretched in terms of staff to room ratio.

OVERALL
We had a good stay at the hotel and the room and hotel itself was very nice...but overall the resort lacked that certain something that turns a nice hotel into a fantastic 'must stay' hotel. The best thing about it is that it takes you completely away from the Disney onslaught - when you return here at the end of the day / night, you are completely removed from all the 'Happy Happy Disney' that surrounds you on all sides.

However, the hotel itself lacks soul - you don't get any sense of character or luxury or style. It may be something that develops with time as the hotel continues to grow, but at the moment, there is no Waldorf experience. Just a nice room in a nice hotel.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank MrsSands76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2009

I was attending a weekend conference being hosted at the nearby Gaylord Palms resort and thought that I would combine work and pleasure by bringing my wife and toddler son with me for the weekend. Instead of staying at the conference location, I decided to "upgrade" and stay at the recently opened Waldorf Astoria Orlando. We paid about $220 per night.

Overall, the Waldof Astoria is a nice hotel, but it's more comparable to a Hyatt than to a Ritz, Four Seasons or even a Peabody or J.W. Marriott. It was not the special experience that your mind conjures up when you think "Waldorf". Here is my review:

Front Desk: Poor
We arrived about 2 hours before check in (had requested early check-in at booking time). When we went to check in, the front desk clerk told us that he had us confirmed for three nights but that our room was not ready and that although it was clean, a supervisor would have to "check off" on the room before he could give us keys. We were told that would only take a few minutes and I was asked for my cell phone number. After about 5 minutes, the same clerk came up to me in the lobby, asked me for my name again and repeated that he would contact me.

I told the clerk that my wife and I would go to lunch in order to give him some extra time to get our room "checked off." When I went back to the front-desk after lunch an hour later, I was told that the room still hadn't been "checked off" by a supervisor. I had to instruct the young man that I had a toddler that needed to take a nap and that we couldn't continue to wait beyond the hour that we had already waited for our room to be "checked off". This is unacceptable for a three-star hotel, much less a property billing itself as a five-star hotel (hence, one of the reasons I'm only giving the Waldorf Astoria Orlando three stars).

On a separate occassion, I called the front desk and the phone rang 10 times without anyone answering--and nobody ever did.

BELL MAN: Excellent
Very courteous and friendly. He asked us if we needed any help or information as he brought our bags to our room. On another occassion, I was leaving the hotel early in the morning and asked the bellman on duty if there was a place I could buy a coffee. He said that the restaurants were closed, but that he would get me a cup of coffee. I declined the offer, but I definitely appreciated the offer.

VALET: Fair
On one occasion I had used the guest services button to call down to have my car brought up. When I got to the front of the hotel, nobody had left to get my car. Another time when I was returning to the hotel, the valet saw the blue ticket on my dashboard and asked me "Is this one of ours" to which another valet responded, "yeah, they changed them over today". The only time I was addressed by name by a valet was when I was picking up my car at the Gaylord Palms for the conference--and I wasn't even staying there!

I also read a review where a reviewer said that she was offered bottled water while waiting for her car. That didn't happen once to me in the three times I picked up my car from the valet.

ROOMS: Very Good/Excellent
This hotel is brand new. The room had individual reading lamps and HDTV, which were nice. The beds were comfortable and the bed had a beautiful comforter for bedding, although I thought it was a bit heavy and warm for a Florida hotel. The room lamps also had a dimmer switch which I thought was a nice touch. I had a king size room with a view of Disney and could see the fireworks above Disney in the evening.

BULL & BEAR RESTAURANT: Execllent
My wife, son and I ate in the Bull & Bear. Both the staff and the food were exceptional. We ordered a Caesar Salad as an appetizer and the salad was made table side. Our waiter was attentive without being intrusive and our steaks were cooked to perfection. Whoever trained the restaurant staff should be placed in charge of training the rest of the hotel. I highly recommend this restaurant.

POOLS: Very Good
The Waldorf pool is designed more for adults, but you also get access to the adjoining Hilton with a "lazy river pool" which is great for kids. I wouldn't put the pool in the same category as the J.W. Marriott Orlando lazy river pool as it is shallower and not as well landscaped, but it's very nice. The pool and bar staff is also very friendly and helpful.

LOCATION: Excellent
The Waldorf Astoria is located next to Disney and is very convenient if you're visiting Disney.

GIFT SHOP: Fair
I had forgotten my belt and tried to buy a standard black dress belt at the gift shop. However, they didn't carry belts, an item that most hotels catering to buisness travelers would have. It was just a reminder that the hotel is really geared towards Disney tourists.

OVERALL RECOMMENDATIONS:
-I would set the appropriate price point for this hotel at around $200-250/night. If your room rate is less than $250, you may want to go ahead and book it. However, once you reach the $250/night category, there are far better options in Orlando for the price.

-Call ahead to the hotel on the day you're arriving. This should be totally unecessary for a luxury hotel, but given my experience with the front desk, I'd recommend doing so until the kinks get worked out.

-If you do decide to stay here, eat at the Bull & Bear. It's one of the highlights of the hotel.

-This hotel caters mainly to Disney tourists. If you're traveling solely for business, this hotel may not be for you.

Overall, I can't recommend this hotel to a friend because it's not a five star hotel, which is what it purports to be. Maybe the Waldorf Astoria Orlando will get there with some additional staff training and improvement, but for now I think there are better options available.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
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5  Thank JPinJupiter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2009

Ok. The inside of the hotel lobby is nice as well as the hallways. We had reserved an 1800 sq foot Waldorf Suite but the layout was really strang so we asked to be moved to a Deluxe Suite which was actually much better even though it was smaller. I do not see the need for really large kitchenette areas....poor use of space. If you compare this to an executive suite at the Ritz at Grande Lakes the Ritz room is MUCH nicer and better laid out. Maid service and turn-down is non-existent...we had to call for it every time and wait for them to clean and bring towels, etc...not sure what the problem is here? On the bright side, all aspects of dining is superd from the Bull and Bear to Oscars as well as La Luce over at the Hilton. We had dinner for 20 in a private room at La Luce and it was fantastic! The staff is awesome!! Bull and Bear is equally as good but is definetely on the high end price wise. If you are a thrifty type you might want to avoid the Bull and Bear. Ocsars staff was awesome for breakfast and it was good but also very pricey. Breakfast for 2 adults and 2 children with 20% gratuity was $104.00!! $6 for a glass of OJ and $5 per cup of coffee. We went back to La Luce on our last night and it was awesome the second time as well!! Cannot say enough about the staff at this establishment. I may drive there for dinner even if I am at the Ritz!
The pool area and landscaping at the Waldorf is sub-par....really dissapointed!! We spent our time at the Hilton pool instead and it was much better. The outside of this hotel looks very institutional and the landscaping was very cheap. I am in the real estate development business and I know what I am talking about.
Good food, great staff in the dining establishments, poor in-room service, very dissapointed with the look and feel overall of the hotel. I would rate this a 4 star hotel definetely NOT 5 star! I will be back at the Ritz next time!!!

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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3  Thank Seminole97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2009

My husband and I decided to go check this out for our anniversary. While they did have some positives we were overall disappointed. The service at this hotel is horrible. The room cleaners didn't replenish our shampoo and shower gel so we called and asked that they bring it at turn down. Again, they came and did not leave any. We had to call a third time. In addition, the rooms have no coffee makers in them. We called down for hot water and it took about 45 minutes to get it from room service. Then, at breakfast my husband got up to go to the bathroom and when he came back the whole table was cleared. He hadn't finished eating his first plate of food. We visited the spa too and that was way overpriced. The spa had no monthly specials, no Florida resident discounts, nothing. I though the spa was a bit sterile and stark looking with very little in way of amenities. We mentioned the lack of service to the hotel and they told us a manager would call us. It's been over a week and we've had no call.

I have to say if your coming to Orlando go for the Ritz or JW Marriott. The hotels have a lot more for kids, families, and couples. The spa at the Ritz is great and is cheaper than the Waldorf. The service at the Ritz is far superior.

I was surprised and disappointed. Thought the Waldorf would live up to it's name. The rooms are nice. The beds are very comfortable. But other than that I can't find a whole lot of positives about the place. All I can say is we were really disappointed.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank SPF12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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