The resort succeeds as a destination unto itself, though it's only a 15-minute drive from Disney's theme parks.
It may be 15 minutes from Disney's Animal Kingdom, but the 720-room Omni offers so much on its compact, easily walkable grounds that guests here can have an entirely Mickey-free trip if they so desire. A destination resort anchored by a 15-floor tower, the hotel is surrounded by 45 holes of golf that serve as a buffer against the outside world. The Omni attempts to provide anything a guest might need, be it a couple good restaurants, three big pools, a wide range of family activities, big comfortable guest rooms, or 70,000 square feet of meeting space for business travelers. Once I parked my rental car, there didn't seem to be much reason to leave.
Nearby, the Reunion Resort offers similar features and a comparable level of service, as well as a more elaborate water park and larger suites with full kitchens. But unlike at the Omni, you'll have to take a 15-minute resort shuttle to get from one end of the sprawling Reunion Resort to the other. Also, while the service throughout the Omni is swift and professional, it's not quite as doting as it is at the similarly priced Ritz-Carlton. Likewise, the Ritz's rooms are a bit more up-to-date -- the Omni's still have old tube TVs. Of course, the Ritz's one golf course can't compare to the Omni's three (well, two-and-a-half) courses.
The service throughout the resort is polished and professional. Two eager valets waved hello as I pulled up; they were happy to schlep my luggage while I parked the car, and a porter delivered my bags to my room just minutes after I checked in. There was no wait at the well-staffed front desk, and the restaurant service was similarly swift, without feeling rushed. At the breakfast buffet, a server graciously offered to get me a coffee to go (a nice touch, not often seen at large Orlando resorts). However, while I did hear a lot of "sirs," the hotel is too big to expect any address-you-by-name interactions.
In ChampionsGate, about 15 minutes southwest of Disney World and a 30-minute drive from Orlando International Airport
The resort is located in a manicured, mostly residential area, 28 miles southwest of Orlando International Airport and 15 miles southwest of Disney's Magic Kingdom (the closest Disney park, Animal Kingdom, is about 10 miles away). A grocery store, pharmacy, and a few chain restaurants are less than a five-minute drive away, but there's little else in the immediate area.
The Disney theme parks, each of which have giant parking lots, are each about a 15- to 20-minute drive away.
Downtown Disney, a retail and dining complex that also provides park-and-ride service to Disney theme parks is 15 minutes away.
SeaWorld Orlando is 20 minutes north along Interstate 4; the drive to Universal Orlando Resort takes about the same amount of time.
Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center are about a 90-minute drive.
Big and comfy, but lacking in up-to-date electronics like flat-panel TVs and iPod docks
The guest rooms at the Omni Orlando are big and bright; a Deluxe Room measures 406 square feet. As for the decor, you might call the sunny yellow walls, floral motifs, and a marble bathroom "Central Florida chic." But while most elements in the room feel clean and fresh, they still have old tube TVs.
Standard rooms (called Deluxe Rooms) are large at 406 square feet. There are numerous suites available as well, including two- and three-bedroom vacation villas, which are independent of the main resort building.
Comfortable bed: a Serta pillow-top mattress, three decorative throw pillows, four down pillows, a light duvet, and a light blanket
The Omni provides so much to do -- and eat -- that guests don't need to leave the property. Business travelers can seal deals over sake at the sushi restaurant at the same time families enjoy the zero-entry pool and waterslide.
At the Formal Pool, there are eight cabanas available for rent (the fee varies seasonally), which include 10 soft drinks, two virgin daquiris, and a fruit plate along with standard amenities like a TV and a fan.
Large, light-filled fitness center with Cybex weight machines, free weights, and four ellipticals and eight treadmills with private video screens
24-hour business center with three laser printers, two computers, two copiers, and a fax machine; services range from copying to laminating to poster printing (each at an extra fee).
The resort's spa is just off the pool area, and offers massages, facials, and body treatments.
A small salon within the spa does hair, makeup, waxing and nails.
A handful of small shops off the lobby stock clothing, sunglasses, snacks, drinks, disposable cameras, golf gear, and cigars.
A good family choice close to the Disney parks with plentiful activities, a kids' club, and a great family pool
The resort has plenty for families with kids of all ages, including a waterslide, a streaming lazy river pool, organized activities, and an arcade. Even when conferences or meetings take over the Omni, kids will still feel welcome.
All rooms except those with double beds can accommodate rollaways for a per night fee; cribs are free.
Camp Omni, the resort's kids' club, provides supervised activities and dinner; charged per hour.
Parents who dine at Zen or David's Club get 50 percent off the first two hours of child care at Camp Omni Kids Escape.
Daily poolside activities like Hula-Hoop contests; indoor activities include arts and crafts and Guitar Hero video game tournaments.
Zen, a full service Pan-Asian restaurant and sushi bar, is open daily for dinner.
The dimly lit David's Club serves nicely presented burgers, steaks, and salads and also has an extensive selection of scotches and cigars. The Club opens daily at 4 p.m.
Trevi's, an Italian bistro, serves an a la carte and a buffet breakfast from 6:30 to 11 a.m. The lunch (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and dinner (5 to 10 p.m.) menus are heavy on Italian classics; Trevi's doesn't serve dinner on Sundays.
Poolside, Croc's offers salads and sandwiches and also has a full bar, open every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Morsel's is a small take-away coffee shop, open daily from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Broadway Deli offers snacks, prepackaged lunch items, coffee, and ice cream from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m, daily.
A small lobby bar serves cocktails from 4 p.m.; a live pianist sometimes plays.
Piper's Grille located at the clubhouse serves sandwiches, salads, anda entrees.
Room service is also available 24 hours.
There are a few chain restaurants and a grocery store nearby, as well as a number of restaurants in the Orlando suburb of Celebration, about a 10-minute drive away.
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