The arrival of children into The Gist household has seen a significant shift in the types of holidays Mrs Gist and I now have; as well as a few UK breaks, including our recent trip to Centre Parcs Woburn, the obvious family ‘must do’ holiday was a trip to Orlando, Florida for the full Disney experience. Still, I am a stickler for a bit of luxury travel so finding a family-friendly, relatively snazzy and close to Disney hotel was high on the priorities for our summertime Orlando holiday. After some deliberation, Mrs Gist and I settled for the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort Review
Sister-resort to next door’s Waldorf Astoria, the Hilton Orland Bonnet Creek is a 1000-room colossus, featuring a big pool and lazy river. Compared to nearby Disney properties, the Hilton offers good value for money with rooms at high-season at £270 and rising.
Location of Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Situated, as the name suggests, within Orlando’s Bonnet Creek, the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek resort is within striking distance of the main Disney properties; in fact, the upper floors of the resort offer spectacular views of the Magic Kingdom’s epic nightly firework display.
Whilst on private land, Bonnet Creek is actually situated within the confines of Walt Disney World and is only a couple of miles away from other attractions such as Disney Springs shopping and dining village, along with all of the main Disney parks. Despite the proximity to the madness of Disney World, Bonnet Creek which is compromised of both the Waldorf and the Hilton somehow retains an air of calmness. It’s a pretty decent spot to be if you’re a leisure guest in the area.
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek style and character
My problem with most chain hotels is that they, on the most part, tend to feel a little ubiquitous, a standardised décor style copied and pasted globally. Fortunately, this isn’t the case here, the Hilton Bonnet Creek a bright and airy lobby that reflects the area of the creek. Nothing throughout the public areas feels cramped or over-crowded, despite the volume of rooms in both the Hilton and connected Waldorf resort.
Reflecting on our stay, I would conclude that the service was professional and friendly, but just lacked a magical spark that one would expect of a truly top-drawer hotel and one near the magic of a Disney theme park. Nothing negative, but nothing to seriously impress either.
The rooms at the Hilton Orland Bonnet Creek are generous in space, perfect for families with children, featuring Hilton’s world-featured Serenity bed, with the option of two queen beds or a king, covered with bright-white Egyptian cotton duvet style bedding. Additionally, guests can find a 37″ TV, mini fridge, coffee maker and Wi-Fi. It’s pretty plain and simple, but what you expect from a Hilton – it’s clean, modern and reliable.
A criticism one could level at the room is that it lacks a sense of any character or style as seen in the downstairs lobby, but the vanilla-calmness is probably quite apt and appreciated at the end of a day of trudging through the madness of a theme park.
Facilities at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is blessed with a vast heated pool, equipped with a lazy river, where some complimentary inner-tubes and floats are provided, perfect for kids – well, the whole family. There are plenty of sun-loungers too, so no worries about a shortage here.
There’s a decent-enough entertainment programme, including arts and crafts, put on by the Hilton’s staff for kids by the pool, which will keep most entertained – and give parents a much deserved little bit of peace and quiet. Imagine something sickeningly cheesy and you’re pretty much there.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a spa in the Hilton Orland Bonnet Creek which is a bit of a shame, although guests are welcome to make use of the one next door at the Waldorf Astoria Bonnet Creek. Luckily, there is a multi-function and well-equipped gym with weights and treadmills, plus yoga classes at weekends… if that’s your thing.
Perhaps the most notable facility that will impact the majority of guests and families staying at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek – or seeking a suitable hotel in the Disney vicinity – is that a free shuttle bus is provided to Hilton and neighbouring Waldorf guests to all of the main theme parks in the Orlando area. This is a bit of a godsend for parents, not having to worry about the fuss of driving and navigating the sprawling car parks. Very handy.
The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek offers several dining options, from Italian-inspired La Luce and Harvest Bistro to sushi bar, Zeta. I’ll be honest at this point to say that the options didn’t really appeal and delight after a mediocre experience at the hotel’s Harvest Bistro at both dinner and the breakfast buffet, so we typically would eat at nearby Disney Springs which offered a wealth of restaurant options. This was perhaps more of a reflection of our tastes than that of the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek’s offering; the fact is there are several restaurants with an acceptable choice at a reasonable price – just don’t expect anything to knock your socks off.
The lack of an onsite spa, the bland but utilitarian approach to room décor and lack of out-of-this-world service would certainly preclude one suggesting this is a ‘luxury’ hotel, but then the Hilton is not trying to be one, especially with sister-hotel Waldorf Astoria next door. Its clientele are families who demand a safe, clean, modern, affordable and conveniently-located base to explore Orlando and the Disney empire from – and the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek nails it. The pool and lazy river are wonderful amenities, the shuttle-bus is super handy and its significantly better value (and quality) over the majority of the Walt Disney official hotels.
You know what you get with a Hilton – Bonnet Creek is certainly no different. It’s reliable, fantastic for kids and it somehow manages to feel relaxed right next door to the craziness of Disney.
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Ln, Orlando, FL 32821, USA