Oyster just posted more than two dozen reviews of Orlando hotels and resorts, and the bundled “resort credit” is currently very popular among them. Basically, it’s a gift certificate to spend on resort services during -- and only during -- your stay. Sounds nice, but the catch is that booking one of these “specials” for a certain room category is sometimes more expensive than reserving just a room of the same type.
You’ll occasionally net a free drink or free valet parking -- things that can indeed add up over a multi-day stay -- but these so-called deals deserve particular scrutiny. Here’s a closer look at four hotels that are offering room-and-resort credit packages -- and a breakdown of whether paying extra for is actually worth it. As it turns out, sometimes it is…
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes
The deal: “Resort Reconnect,” includes a $50 resort credit and daily breakfast buffet for two at The Vineyard Grill
The price: In mid-March, $384 per night
The breakdown: A room alone sells for $309 a night, and the breakfast buffet for two is $46 a la carte. That means you’re only paying for $29 of that $50 resort credit, so if you use it all -- on, say, frozen umbrella drinks at the pool -- you’re coming out 21 bucks ahead per day.
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
The deal: “Grand Getaway,” includes a $50 resort credit and free valet parking.
The price: $329 per night
The breakdown: The same “Disney View” room sells for $289, and valet parking is $20 a night. (Self-parking is $13 a night, so guests are locked into spending something to stash their wheels.) Booking this “getaway,” then, nets you a $50 credit for just $20 extra. That would, for example, save you 60 percent on a light lunch for two at the on-site Harvest Bistro.
Caribe Royale Orlando
The deal: “Hop into Spring Package,” includes a $30 food and beverage credit and late check-out of 1 p.m.
The price: $144
The breakdown: A call to the front desk revealed that while check-out is normally 11 a.m., they’ll extend that to 1 p.m. without additional charge; that so-called extra really isn’t. Still, booking this package nets you a rate much cheaper than the “best available” room-only price of $190 for the same mid-March dates. All told, you net $76 in savings and credits by booking this package instead of a room alone.
JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
The deal: “$50 Daily Resort Credit,” includes simply the credit
The price: $269 per night
The breakdown: Like the Caribe, this promo -- a room plus a daily resort credit -- is currently the best rate the hotel offers, making it a total no-brainer. Spend your free loot on access for two to the steam room and sauna ($40) or on lunch for two at the charming Citron brasserie.