Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Like many of the large Orlando resorts, the Caribe Royale thrives by drawing conventioneers in large numbers and supplementing business-centric offerings with family-friendly features. Although the Caribe Royale isn't as secluded or exclusive as the Ritz-Carlton or JW Marriott Grande Lakes and lacks the dizzying array of amenities of the Marriott Orlando World Center, it's more affordable than the Ritz and the JW, and much smaller and easier to navigate than the enormous Marriott. All told, it's a solid value pick, particularly for families.
Like those other three mega-resorts, the Caribe Royale has its own convention center on the property (in this case a sprawling 150,000-square-foot convention center), so many guests are there for business. Still, leisure travelers have plenty to do at the resort. A massive pool with a waterfall and waterslide, a two-story fitness center with great equipment, a spa, four on-site restaurants, and tennis and basketball courts round out the offerings. The hotel's rooms are all large suites with separate living areas and pullout couches, providing plenty of space for families. Free shuttle service to Disney World two miles down the road and various shopping centers doesn't hurt either.
For family travelers who want to avoid the crowded bustle of similarly priced Disney theme hotels like Port Orleans French Quarter or Wilderness Lodge, the Caribe Royale delivers better on-site amenities and a slightly calmer atmosphere, plus comparable access to the theme parks. There are some caveats, though. The service is average, and slightly bureaucratic. Lines can form at the front desk during check-in and checkout, and there aren't many bellmen or valets on hand at the entrance. With the exception of the award-winning but expensive Venetian Room, the on-site restaurants serve relatively bland food. The Tropicale's breakfast buffet has limited variety, and the 24-hour Cafe Largo serves basic, cafeteria-style meals and snacks.
Middle-of-the-road with little personal attention -- which is what you'd expect from a large mid-range hotel
Service at the Caribe Royale is about what you'd expect from a huge hotel with few luxury pretensions. There are valets and bellmen at the entrance, but they don't snap to attention every time a new car pulls up to the door. The concierge desk, run by Expedia, cheerfully points guests to restaurants in the area, but primarily focuses on getting theme-park tickets and helping with transportation to area attractions.
There isn't much right nearby the Caribe Royale. Next door lies its sister hotel, Buena Vista Suites. Across the busy divided highway of World Center Drive, there's a small strip-mall complex with a Mexican restaurant and a sushi bar, but there isn't anything else of interest within walking distance. Be prepared to drive if you're heading off-site.
Renovated in April 2009, the rooms are a major reason the Caribe Royale is such a good value. Standard rooms are all large suites with separate living areas; the standard suite is 450 square feet and deluxe suites are 600. The decor is a little drab, and the bedding is mediocre, but up-to-date amenities like two big high-def flat-screen TVs and clock radios with inputs for MP3 players help make up for those shortcomings.
Although the Caribe Royale's facilities don't match up with those at the pricier Ritz (which has its own 18-hole golf course) or the much-larger Marriott Orlando World Center (which has four pools -- one indoors), there's still a lot here to keep guests of all ages occupied.
With a load of features, large rooms, and kid-friendly food, the Caribe Royale is great for families.
The Caribe Royale is a great value for families. It lacks the services and facilities of a luxury resort -- no kids' club, for example -- but its affordable standard rooms are one-bedroom suites with pullout couches, and there's plenty of kid-friendly dining.
A wide range of options, from a no-frills deli to award-winning fine dining
Pretty darn clean
Although the rooms and public areas seem a little drab because of the nondescript decor, I couldn't spot any specific cleanliness issues in the hotel -- renovations have kept everything hygienic.
This affordable, 1,218-room convention hotel a five-minute drive from the Walt Disney World theme parks is a great value for families on a budget. The overall decor is a little dowdy, but guests who don't need high-design get large suites, good dining variety, and features like an enormous pool and a two-story fitness center.