Located next to the Orange County Convention Center, the Peabody's impressive array of services, beautiful interiors, and top-notch restaurants make it one of Orlando's classiest hotels. The hotel added a 32-story tower, a revamped pool complex, and a huge spa and fitness center as part of a massive expansion completed in 2010.
It's classy and sophisticated, and completed a major expansion in 2010
The Peabody Orlando is a refreshing change in a town full of sprawling mega-resorts. With 1,641 rooms, it's not a small hotel by any measure, but the hotel has a character and an elegance that sets it apart from most of Orlando's big chain hotels and theme park resorts. It opened in 1986 as an offshoot to the more prestigious Peabody Hotel in Memphis (first opened in 1869) and, keeping up a Peabody tradition, it also hosts a cute duck march two times a day. Light, limestone, water, flowers, and contemporary artwork all work to create a more modern, yet still sophisticated air. And like the original, its luxury is in the details -- a rigorous, eight-step cleaning process, for example, gives the marble tiling around the hotel an impeccable gleam.
The hotel completed a $450 million expansion in September 2010 that doubled the number of rooms (a new 32-story tower was opened), drastically increased the amount of meeting space (to a whopping 300,000 square feet), and added a huge spa and fitness center, a new grotto pool, and a wine-themed restaurant. The existing rooms got a much-needed overhaul as well.
On the luxury end of the renovation, a boutique hotel-within-a-hotel called The Loft opened in the new tower. The Loft is a 52-room section spread across the top three floors of the tower, with high end amenities, like Keurig coffee machines, plush blankets and spa toiletries, and private entrances. There is also a wine reception each evening.
One of the main draws to the property is its location: directly beside the Orange County Convention Center, the largest convention center in the U.S.
Attentive staff and impressive services, but there's an extra $9-per-day service fee
The Peabody's comprehensive list of services shows that the hotel anticipates all of its guests' needs, from basic services like luggage assistance to transportation services to Orlando's biggest attractions. Each task is executed with the grace and efficiency of a top-tier hotel. To top it off, the staff remembers your name.
24-hour room service
Nightly turndown service
Concierge can book tickets to theme parks, restaurant reservations, and provide area information; dedicated "golf concierge."
Video and express checkout available
Business services include secretarial support, office equipment rental, poster and signage printing, copying, faxing, and shipping. Attendant available daily.
Overnight shoeshine service
Weekday newspaper delivery upon request
Two free I-Ride trolley tickets; guests can use the tickets to get to SeaWorld or restaurants along International Drive
24-hour shuttle to and from the Orlando International Airport (if there are more than two adults, it's cheaper to take a taxi); town car service available for airport pickup and drop-off
Shuttle to Disney theme parks; charged round-trip per person
Shuttle to Universal Studios and SeaWorld; charged round-trip per person (it's cheaper to take a cab if there are two people)
Shuttle to Kennedy Space Center; charged round-trip per person, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
The Peabody is located directly beside the Orange County Convention Center on International Drive, a 14.5-mile road parallel to Interstate 4 that's chock-full of hotels, strip malls, outlet shops, and restaurants. There are no notable tourist attractions within walking distance of the hotel, though it only takes a short drive or bus ride to get to the different theme parks.
Five-minute drive to SeaWorld
10-minute drive to Universal theme parks
15-minute drive to the entrance of Walt Disney World
15-minute drive to the Orlando International Airport
15-minute drive to downtown Orlando. There's not much to see downtown, though Orange Avenue has a notable dining and nightlife scene, and non-theme-park attractions like the Orlando Science Center and Harry P. Leu Gardens are popular among tourists.
For public transportation, the LYNX bus and I-Ride trolley stop directly in front of the Peabody.
The duck march: the hotel's VIP (Very Important Poultry, heh) perform a twice-daily waddle to rousing strains Sousa's "King Cotton March" (a tradition that harks back to the hotel's historic flagship in Memphis).
The twice-daily duck march is a popular family attraction, even for non-hotel guests, but this fanciful five-minute parade is as family-friendly as the hotel gets. Unlike most resorts in Orlando, the main pool is a lap pool that's more suitable for exercise than family fun. The only other kid-friendly amenity is the children's pool. 2010 renovations added the Grotto -- which features a waterfall, sandbox, plunge pool and 20-foot slide -- for a bit more family friendly fun.
If being within walking distance of the Orange County Convention Center is a must, it's also worth considering the Rosen Center Hotel, an often less expensive (and less exciting) hotel across the street with slightly better family amenities, such as a large, free-form pool and a game room. But If you're willing to drive or take taxis, the Universal Loews hotels -- Portofino Bay, Royal Pacific, and Hard Rock -- all have excellent family features, and they're just five miles away from the Convention Center.
The standard room (called a Superior) with two double beds can sleep a family of four; extra rollaways (charged per night) and cribs (free) also available.
Two great fine dining restaurants, a cool 24-hour diner, and fivebars
The hotel's wine-themed restaurant and bar, aptly named Napa, opened in September 2010. Along with a large wine selection, the restaurant features upscale, organic American fare.
Capriccio Grill, a steakhouse cum Italian restaurant, has an impressive wine selection and monthly wine-pairing dinners. It serves pasta, fresh seafood, succulent steaks, and heavenly desserts (average entree: $35); open for dinner only.
B-Line Diner appropriates retro cool with American diner favorites, a soda fountain, a jukebox, and a sumptuous-looking dessert display (average entree: $12).