Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
Though it calls itself a "Floridian-style family resort" on its website, the sprawling, 1,052-room Wyndham Orlando is a mash-up of convention center, roadside motel, and a few token "family friendly" features like its pools and landscaped grounds. Most of the musty guest rooms face exterior corridors, overlook parking lots, and have dingy bathrooms, chipped paint, and old tube TVs. Given the hotel's location between Universal Boulevard and International Drive (two busy, strip-mall and car-dealership laden thoroughfares) and its lack of a security gate or consistent monitoring the property (anyone, guest or not, can come and go as they please), the property tends to feel like a larger-than-usual roadside motel.
Unlike most other family resorts in Orlando, the pools are just pools -- there are no elaborate water parks or themed play areas. Other on-site features and dining options for the family are minimal, plus there are no park services other than infrequent shuttles, and seem to be overshadowed by the large and business-oriented amenities (including a large business center).
Families can actually do far better than the Wyndham at a similar price point by staying at one of Disney's "Value" resorts (such as Disney's Pop Century Resort or Disney's All-Star Movies Resort), or off-Disney, at the Nickelodeon Family Suites. But business travelers too can fare better at the nearby Doubletree or the Westin (often for a little more cash), as both have far nicer rooms and facilities.
However, renovations are planned for 2012 through 2014 totalling at $50 million. About 300 of the hotel's guestrooms will be converted to retail space as part of the larger I-Shops shopping center that is being constructed next door. The remaining hotel rooms and meeting spaces will be renovated by 2013, and a new lobby is also in the works. A new hotel room tower will be added by 2014, and may feature spas, formal restaurants, and coffee bars, but exact plans are not finalized.
Adequate, but many services are only by request
Check-in and dining are the only times that you really feel "served" at this hotel; much like a motel, once you check in you're pretty much on your own. Staff members are posted at restaurants and at the fitness center, but otherwise the service is very basic.
Renting a car is a must, even with its close proximity to Universal Studios and SeaWorld.
The Wyndham Orlando's location, wedged between busy Universal Boulevard and even busier International Drive, is a good compromise between proximity to some of Orlando's most popular business and theme park hubs. It's a five-minute drive to Universal Studios and the Orange County Convention Center, a 10-minute drive to SeaWorld, and a 20-minute drive to Disney, give or take (depending on traffic). Shuttle service runs between the resort and Universal, SeaWorld, and Disney World, but it runs infrequently, and renting a car is a must anyway -- the roads are loud, busy, unsightly, and far from pedestrian-friendly.
Small, musty, and outdated
The guest rooms might be more affordable than those at many other Orlando resorts, but the reason for the low rates shows in the rooms. Expect improvements as all rooms are slated to be renovated by 2014.
Limited security and dingy rooms make this a poor choice in general.
It might have three pools and it's close to Universal Studios, but the comparitively small guest rooms and poor security make the Wyndham a less-than-ideal choice for families. For the price, you can get a far more kid-friendly resort inside Disney World -- the Pop Century Resort, or any of the All-Star resorts, for example, are also a bit basic, but they offer bigger rooms, more kid-friendly dining, better pools, and a few more on-site activities geared toward children. Also, consider the Nickelodeon Suites Resort or check our our picks for the best kid-friendly resorts in Orlando.
I wouldn't call the rooms unsanitary -- housekeeping visibly cleans the property all day long -- but they're consistently musty, and furnishings are worn and dated. However, the grounds are very well kept and the pools are routinely cleaned.
Five options and all-day room service; the quality of the food, however, is generally mediocre.
It might be billed as family resort, but this sprawling 1,052-room International Drive hotel is more like a mishmash of roadside motel, convention center, and a budget resort with three mediocre pools. Given the old, musty guest rooms and lack of security (no gates or apparent monitoring), both families and business travelers can do better elsewhere -- at least until the $50 million renovations are completed in 2014.