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Brian Bennett

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Holiday Inn Family Suites Resort Lake Buena Vista

Reviewer's Name:

Emma Aragon

Reviewer's Email Address:

emaragon@hotmail.com

Date(s) of Stay:

July 1999, May 2000

Location:

International Drive Area

Ease of Disney Park Access:

Less than 10 minutes drive--no worse than if you stay at some Disney resorts.

Complimentary Park Shuttle Available?

Yes

Park Shuttle Comments:

Only took it once because we prefer to drive. Seemed like good service.

Address:

14500 Continental Gateway, Orlando, FL 32821, website: www.hifamilysuites.com

Phone Number:

1-877-387-5437 or (407) 387-5437

Facility Type:

Resort

Accommodation Used:

Suite

Accommodations Review:

We have been very pleasantly impressed by this hotel, which was new in the summer of 1999. It is cleverly designed, and so far it seems to be adequately maintained.

The accommodations are compact but you don't feel crowded (I'm talking about 4 people in a suite) because they have arranged things cleverly with windows and mirrors in the right places.

Each suite consists of three small rooms and a bathroom. The kidsuites, where we stayed, have a small "master" bedroom with a king-sized bed, desk, closet, nightstands, TV, etc. and a door.  The bed accommodated suitcases underneath it. I think there was an ironing board in the closet.

The children's room has bunkbeds (standard twin size) and a sort of folding cot for a third child.  The kids room has no closet (just drawers) and no door (just a curtain), but it has a TV with a Nintendo system (you can rent games in the lobby or bring your own) and the sound system can be adjusted so that if only one child is watching TV, the sound comes out only over his bed. It's very compact--sort of like a small cabin in a boat. The decor is charming. Kidsuites have themes, such as Coca Cola Polar Bears, Rain Forest, Endangered Species, Camp Kellogg, etc. We stayed in a Coca Cola Suite one time and a Rain Forest the second time. With small children, it might be good to request suites without large dangerous looking animals (I heard of one small child who was frightened by the lion painted on her wall) but most kids seemed to love their suites.

The living area had another TV, a sofa bed, a rocking armchair, a small table and three chairs (there is a fourth chair at the desk in the "master" bedroom. There is a half-size refrigerator, a microwave, a coffee maker and a sink, all nicely fitted into a corner with cabinets above and below. They include a roll of paper towels.

The bathroom is spacious, with lots of towels, a make up mirror, hair dryer, etc. I liked the many shelves they had in the bathroom, so that we could leave our different toiletries handy but not on top of the sink where everyone else bumps into them.

For us the bunk beds are a godsend. Our kids don't like to share a bed but when we're traveling we can't always get two connecting rooms and a lot of suite hotels only have a sofa bed for the kids.

We also find it convenient to have a fridge and microwave in our room, and the cooked breakfast is a good deal.

In the evenings when we weren't at the parks, the kids enjoyed the family Kareoki and the game room.

There is a little (decorative) lake behind the main building and a sort of enclosed veranda where adults can sit with drinks or snacks in the evenings which we found very pleasant.

It is not luxurious, but it is comfortable, and we really felt that we were getting our money's worth. It is so close to Disney that it doesn't make any difference in the time it takes getting to the parks.

Rate/Night (for your stay):

$120 (July 99) $89 (special offer, May 200) Usual rate seems to be $140

# of Restaurants/Lounges:

3

Restaurant/Lounge Review:

I'm not sure how to count these. There is a fast-service food bar, a sit down restaurant and a lounge/bar.  We did not try the restaurant. The fast-service food bar was adequate--comparable to the one at the Polynesian Hotel in quality of food though perhaps less polished in service. The kids particularly liked getting Pizza Hut mini-pizzas.  We didn't use the bar/lounge either except one time we bought beers.  My impression is that the restaurant and so forth were ordinary Holiday Inn-standard facilities.

Amenities / Facilities / Activities Available:

Sundries Shop, Pool, Health Club/Spa, Playground, Hairdryer, Laundry, In-Room Safe, Babysitting/Kid Programs, Cooking Facilities, Room Service, Non-Smoking Rooms, Smoke Detectors, Fire Sprinklers.

Pool Description/Comments:

There are two pools. An adult lap pool (which we didn't visit) and a family pool.  The family pool is charming. It has a "water play" area with spouts and jets and so forth and a deeper area for swimming. My kids loved it. Unfortunately, it has no slide. That's the only thing they missed.

Other Comments:

It is the best off-site accommodation we've stayed at, and comparable (by our standards) to the cheaper places at Disney.  We felt we got our money's worth.

The "Choo Choo Train" theme of the hotel will surely appeal to young kids (ours are a bit past that) and there was a little Choo Choo Ride for the little tikes around the parking lot which looked as if it would be great fun for the under 10 set.

As with all new hotels, you wonder if they will continue to keep it up and how it will be in a few years but for now, we highly recommend it.

 

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