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A surprisingly stylish convention hotel: My stay at the Hyatt Regency Orlando


On most of my travels, I give a lot of thought to choosing a hotel that is close to the attractions and restaurants I want to visit, has the amenities I need (most importantly a coffee shop to perk me up in the morning) and fits my budget.

When I traveled to Orlando recently for a convention, however, my desire for immediate access to the city’s Orange County Convention Center outweighed my need to tick the aforementioned boxes.

Connected to the convention center via a covered walkway, convenience is usually the major draw of the Hyatt Regency Orlando. But is its prime location for conventiongoers the only reason to stay there? What does it have to offer families visiting the area’s theme parks and world-famous attractions?

Here’s my take on this surprisingly well-rounded Hyatt hotel.

Quick take

TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

This sprawling, 27-floor property has two large, inviting pools, multiple on-site restaurants, a 24-hour grab-and-go cafe, a full-service spa and a fitness center. With its lively atmosphere and resort-style amenities, it immediately felt more like a vacation than a work trip. It’s also less than 15 minutes from Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and many other popular Orlando attractions.

Getting there

The Hyatt Regency Orlando is located on International Drive, only 12 miles from Orlando International Airport (MCO). The hotel does not offer an airport shuttle, but taxis, ride-hailing services and rental cars are all available at the airport. Once you get into a vehicle, you should be able to reach the hotel in less than 15 minutes.

Booking

The Hyatt Regency Orlando has 1,641 rooms, 142 of which are suites. The best way to book this World of Hyatt property is directly with Hyatt. Standard rooms start at around $230 or 9,000 World of Hyatt points per night, or you can pay a bit more for a pool view or balcony room. Suites start at $295 or 17,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

The hotel also charges a $30 nightly resort fee that covers premium internet access, fitness center admission and fitness classes, a discount on spa and salon services and cabana rentals, two bottled waters per day and more. If you pay for your stay using World of Hyatt points, however, the resort fee will be waived.

Standout features

  • The hotel provides easy access to the convention center without feeling like a generic business hotel. With great views, diverse food and beverage options and lots of lifestyle amenities, it’s suitable for guests who want to work and play.
  • The Hyatt Regency Orlando legitimately has the best french fries I’ve ever had at a hotel and possibly anywhere. I ordered them twice — once at Coconuts Poolside Bar & Grill and once at the B-Line Diner — to make sure it wasn’t a fluke and both times they were warm, crispy and perfectly seasoned.
  • The large, main pool (called the Grotto Pool) was beautiful, with a waterslide, a quiet grotto area with a waterfall, a gated kids area and a full-service bar and grill. It was a little chilly for a swim during my stay, but I still visited multiple times to have a meal and a cocktail or just to read by the pool.

Drawbacks

  • Because of the hotel’s scale, it can take a while to get from your guest room to the hotel’s amenities. From my room on the 26th floor, I had to take an elevator to the lobby, pass through the lobby and then take a second elevator down to the ground floor where the Grotto Pool is located.
  • The elevator moved so fast it made me a bit dizzy each time I rode. It covers 27 floors quite quickly, which is nice, but that speed definitely affected me.
  • I had ongoing issues connecting and staying connected to the Wi-Fi and streaming TV service. I used the chat feature to speak with a hotel associate about it, but never received a response. After Googling the issue on my own, I was able to get it to work.

The vibe

In one word, the Hyatt Regency Orlando felt “lively.”

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Not only is the hotel within walking distance of the Orange County Convention Center, but the hotel also has 315,000 square feet of its own event space. This meant there were people out and about at all times of day.

In the morning, guests were chatting over coffee at the tables outside of the 24-Hour Market and in the evening they were sipping cocktails while music played in the lobby bar. If you are the type of person to strike up a conversation with a stranger while waiting in line for Starbucks, you’ll feel right at home.

The room

The rooms, however, had a soothing, comfortable vibe. Even my standard king room was a spacious 415 square feet and had a subdued color scheme, blue patterned carpet that reminded me of rippling water and a chaise lounge by the window where I could kick back and relax.

Upon entering the room, there was a large closet and a small kitchenette area with a minifridge and coffee maker on one wall and a full-length mirror on the other. The bathroom had a large tub-and-shower combo and a large lighted mirror that also displayed the time (very helpful when you are on a tight schedule).

There were more than enough electrical and USB outlets, and as someone who reads before bed, I appreciated the reading lights built into the headboard. The TV was set up for Chromecast streaming, though I did have some connectivity issues that took a full day to resolve.

Food and drink

I tried as many of the dining outlets as I could during my stay and I was equally impressed by the menu and atmosphere at each restaurant. I visited the 24-Hour Market for not only grocery items and my morning Starbucks fix, but also for made-to-order quick-service items like a vegetarian grain bowl and a Caesar salad. They had a long list of pizzas, sandwiches, breakfast items and hot entrees on the menu.

At Coconuts Poolside Bar & Grill, I ordered a cheeseburger, frozen margarita and the aforementioned perfectly prepared french fries. Every bite (and sip) was delicious and I appreciated having such a great meal while lounging by the pool.

I had dinner one night at B-Line Diner, where I ordered a fish sandwich with jerk seasoning and tropical fruit salsa (and, once again, the fries). I was stuffed by the time I left, but it was hard to resist the dessert display on my way out the door.

The hotel also has an Italian fine dining restaurant called Fiorenzo, a lobby bar and 24-hour room service.

Amenities and service

Aside from the internet connectivity issues, everyone I encountered at the Hyatt Regency Orlando was incredibly friendly and helpful.

The amenities at this hotel are possibly what surprised me most of all. When I think of a convention hotel, I picture a small rectangular pool and a sparse fitness center with several treadmills and a weight rack.

This hotel’s resort-style pool blew me away. There was plenty of room to play, swim or sip drinks in a tucked-away alcove. The hotel also has a quieter, Olympic-size pool for lap swimming.

The fitness center was equally impressive. There were separate areas for free weights, treadmills and ellipticals and strength equipment. The spa was closed when I popped by to take a peek, but the space was large and the menu displayed a full service of treatments from massages to facials and even makeup application.

Out and about

From my hotel room, it took me less than 10 minutes to walk to the Orange County Convention Center. If you are in Orlando, though, there is a good chance you’ll want to visit one of the city’s world-famous theme parks.

The Hyatt Regency Orlando is less than 5 miles from SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando and just over 10 miles away from Walt Disney World. In the coming years, you may even be able to travel to Universal Orlando and back and forth from Orlando International Airport via SunRail regional train service.

Accessibility

The Hyatt Regency Orlando has accessible features in its guest rooms and meeting rooms, including mobility features, assistive listening devices for meetings and closed-caption or closed-captioning decoders for guest room televisions. The hotel’s public areas, including the pools, spa facilities, fitness center and restaurants, are fully accessible and have accessible routes from an accessible public entrance.

Checking out

I was thoroughly impressed by the Hyatt Regency Orlando and wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again for a convention or if I were to visit Orlando attractions outside the theme parks. If traveling to Orlando to visit the theme parks, I’d probably stay at a Disney World hotel or a Universal hotel, but the french fries at the Hyatt Regency Orlando are so good that I might change my mind.

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