Waldorf Astoria Orlando resort and golf club: Traditional design meets high-roller service
ORLANDO, Fla. – Theme-park mecca Orlando has the adult-minded vacationer covered as well at the luxurious new Waldorf Astoria Orlando resort at Bonnet Creek.
Bordered on three sides by Walt Disney World in the heart of Orlando's resort district, Bonnet Creek is a nature preserve spanning 482 acres. Three non-Disney affiliated hotels have been built back here, including the Hilton and Waldorf Astoria side by side, connected by a walkway leading to ample conference and meeting space.
Disney may border the resort on three sides, but its style is something entirely new to Orlando. Families will still enjoy all the comforts at Waldorf Astoria, such as complimentary transportation to the theme parks. But adults are catered to first here. The pool is quiet and fashionable, with comfortable chairs and no chance of getting doused unexpectedly by a squirt gun.
At the heart of the resort is the golf club. The new Rees Jones-designed Waldorf Astoria Golf Club is located next door to the hotel and upholds the best service you'll find at any of the best golf courses in Florida, resort or private.
Waldorf Astoria Golf Club: What to expect
Despite opening in 2009, you may have a hard time determining exactly what era the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club was built. It's styled more subtly than you'd expect from a golf course trying to make a splash in today's golf-rich Orlando scene.
"The owners wanted a traditionally styled golf course," said Rob Turner, director of golf at Waldorf Astoria. "Small greens, intricate bunkering and no residential or time share properties on the course."
The golf course plays 7,108 yards from the championship tees (there are five sets of tees total) and has the look of a venue that could host a top area event. Holes parallel one another at many points, and greens and tees are very close to one another to encourage walking.
As for playability, most of the hazards are put right in front of you. Fairway bunkers will make you think twice about hitting driver, but accuracy and length are rewarded if you can steer clear of them. The golf course has few doglegs, such as the par-4 13th hole, which wraps around a lake and is drivable for longer hitters at 324 yards.
While the golf course is challenging and offers a variety of looks, it's the service and conditioning levels that seal the deal at Waldorf Astoria. Bermuda greens run smooth and firm, cold towels are handed to you at the turn and after your round, your cart is stocked with GPS and bottled water, and there is a complimentary fruit and pastry breakfast bar in the restaurant when you arrive.
Rangers will even help you search for a lost ball in the weeds when they pass. Don't expect many waits on the tee, either. The tee sheet is never overbooked.
Amenities at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Before and after golf, the resort offers a full roster of luxurious amenities, some of which are similar to the New York City property, primarily found in the resort's dining options. Set in a dimly lit, Manhattan-style room, the Bull & Bear Steakhouse is the top dinner choice here, serving the highest-grade Angus steaks. Sir Harry's Lounge takes on a club-like vibe with checkerboard tables and the same famous Manhattan recipe served a 90-minute flight away.
Expect large guest rooms in each of the nearly 500 units, plus all the best amenities: 42-inch HD TVs, marble tubs and separate, glass-enclosed showers.
The hotel's Spa by Guerlain offers one of the more creative spa menus in Orlando. There are specialty treatments for pregnant women or those who have just given birth. Also offered is a three-hour jet-lag therapy that includes foot therapy and hydrotherapy. A treatment is also offered to help tone your abs, just in time for your visit to the resort's pool.
March 22, 2011