This giant business-focused hotel has its own convention center, but also big rooms and loads of amenities that cater to families.
Sprawling 150,000 sq. ft. convention center
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
The concierge desk, run by Expedia
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.
Free shuttle that runs direct to all major Disney World parks -- Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney (with night service available to here). Shuttle runs based on park hours, with a schedule available at the Guest Service Desk.
Free shuttle to Orlando Preimium Outlets — Vineland Avenue and the Lake Buena Vista Factory Outlets.
Room service available 24 hours.
Full-service business center offers shipping, faxing, document preparation.
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.
Five-minute drive to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom parking lot, followed by a 15-minute ride on a tram and monorail to the park itself; similar commute to Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios
Free direct shuttle transportation to all major Disney World parks -- Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney, which runs based on park hours; service to Downtown Disney is also available at night.
Free direct shuttle service to the Orlando Premium Outlets — Vineland Ave and the Lake Buena Vista Factory Outlets
10- to 15-minute drive to International Drive, a 14.5-mile road parallel to Interstate 4 that's lined with hotels, strip malls, outlet shops, and restaurants. In the middle of this stretch is the Orange County Convention Center, the second largest convention center in the U.S.
10- to 15-minute drive to SeaWorld Orlando
15- to 20-minute drive to Universal Studios theme parks
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.
Beds lack name-brand, high-thread-count sheets, but are still adequately comfortable with duvets, polyester-fiber pillows, and reasonably comfortable mattresses.
None of the standard rooms has a balcony.
42-inch flat-screen TV in living area, 37-inch flat-screen in bedroom -- both with on-demand movies and premium channels like HBO, Disney Info Channel, and NFL Network
Fitness center features lots of up-to-date equipment
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.
Gift shop with snacks, souvenirs, and basic necessities
With a load of features, large rooms, and kid-friendly food, the Caribe Royale is great for families.
Kids will love the 75-foot waterslide
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.