On-site spa offering salon services and body treatments
Transportation to Disney World and nearby outlets
Mandatory daily resort fee covers Wi-Fi (for two devices)
Standard rooms don't have balconies
Parking lot is often overcrowded
Daily fees for valet and self-parking
A five-minute drive from Disney World theme parks, this 1,335-room convention hotel is a great value for budget-minded families. The trade-offs for those who can overlook the dowdy decor include large suites, ample dining options, and features like an enormous pool and a two-story fitness center. Travelers looking for more modern rooms (with private balconies) might prefer Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress -- where the pool's waterslide is 50 feet longer than Caribe Royale's -- though rates are higher.
A giant business-focused hotel with its own convention center, but also large, perfect-for-families suites and perks for kids
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: there's a massive pool with waterfalls, a tiki bar, and a 75-foot waterslide; several restaurants; a two-floor fitness center; a small spa; and tennis and basketball courts. The hotel's rooms are all large suites with separate living areas and pullout couches, providing plenty of space for families. The free shuttle service to Disney World two miles down the road doesn't hurt either (though there isn't shuttle service to the airport).
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, the room decor is run-of-the-mill, the parking lot can fill up quickly, and there aren't many bellmen or valets on hand at the entrance. With the exception of the award-winning but expensive Venetian Chop House, the on-site restaurants serve relatively bland food. The Tropicale's rather pricey breakfast buffet has limited variety, and the round-the-clock Cafe 24 serves basic, cafeteria-style meals and snacks.
A five- to 10-minute drive to Disney World on World Center Drive, a divided highway dotted with large hotels and occasional chain restaurants
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 couple of restaurants, 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
Direct shuttle service to the Orlando Premium Outlets 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.
Every room is a suite with separate living space and solid conveniences
The rooms are a major reason why the Caribe Royale is such a good value. Standard rooms are all large suites with one bedroom and a separate living area. These standard 450-square-foot spaces can sleep four adults and two children. Deluxe suites are 600 square feet, and have bigger desks and deep whirlpool bathtubs. Room decor is a little drab, and beds are just adequately comfortable, but amenities like mini-fridges, microwaves, and coffeemakers make up for those shortcomings. There is also a 42-inch LCD flat-screen TV in the living area and a 37-inch one in the bedroom -- both have on-demand movies and premium cable channels in HD, like HBO, Disney Info Channel, and NFL Network. Bathrooms have tub showers, Bath & Body Works Coconut Lime Verbena products, and cotton-poly towels.
Two-bedroom villas have full kitchens, large bathrooms, and screened-in porches, and can sleep six adults and two children. All villas share exclusive access to a separate pool from the main hotel pool.
Children's playpens and cribs are available on request. The hotel does not offer rollaway beds, but all rooms have pullout sofas.
A great variety for the price range: a fun pool, expansive fitness center, two game rooms, and basketball and tennis courts
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 -- namely, the enormous, 25,000-gallon heated pool with waterfalls and a 75-foot waterslide. It's largely the pool, in addition to the all-suite rooms, that makes the Caribe Royale such a great value for families. It lacks the services and facilities of a luxury resort -- no kids' club, for example -- but it has substantial kid-friendly features, like a playground, the pool's waterslide, a kiddie pool, and two video arcades (one by the pool and one by the lobby).
A good range of eating options includes a no-frills (no-seating) 24-hour deli with sandwiches and snacks, an all-day American restaurant (where the mediocre breakfast buffet is served), and an award-winning steakhouse. There's also Java’s Coffee Cafe, which serves coffee, ice cream, and baked goods; the Loft, the hotel's lobby bar; and the Falls Lounge, which provides drinks and light bites in a space overlooking the main pool's waterfall.
Athletically inclined guests can take advantage of the free fitness center, which two floors of up-to-date equipment and lots of natural light, and the tennis and basketball courts (equipment available at the fitness center for a fee).
There are two business centers: One in the hotel lobby, with computers, printers, and faxing (open 24 hours); one in the convention center, with shipping and a notary public. Other features include an on-site spa; Hertz car-rental desk; coin-operated washers and dryers; 24-hour room service; and a gift shop with snacks, souvenirs, and basic necessities. A free shuttle runs to all major Disney World parks -- Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney, as well as nearby outlet malls (return evening service available).
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