I’ve been fortunate enough to have stayed at the Four Seasons Orlando resort four times now, so I’m sharing my Four Seasons Orlando review after a culmination of stays beginning with their grand opening year three years ago through this year.
I grew up in Orlando. I still have family there so I go home several times a year. When I was 16, I was “good friends with Pluto, Alice and Sleeping Beauty” (you can read more about that here) and my parents are both former Disney cast members. Growing up in Orlando you didn’t need to go far to pretend like you were on vacation. I grew up with weekend staycations at area resorts. The pools, the attractions and the fun was everywhere for the taking.
Let’s start out with the hotel space itself; it’s on Disney ground situated within view of all theme parks. It’s not connected by monorail or bus line to Disney. The entire hotel is meant to be an oasis from the park yet still be extremely well positioned if you want to go to the park during your stay. A quick car ride and you’re in the Disney parking lots. However, this is a luxury resort that doesn’t scream Disney so it’s a great addition to the area to meet the needs of those families.
It is extremely pricey. It’s very much a luxury hotel so you won’t be getting a deal here anytime soon. Additionally, all four times I’ve stayed here (primarily in both the seasons of July and December) the hotel has been almost at capacity. They are not hurting for guests willing to pay the price. My family and I recently stayed at the resort over New Years Eve for a few nights to unwind from the holiday madness.
The hotel is grand, spotless and breathtakingly beautiful. The lobby area is understated elegance but the second you pull up to the lobby you know you’re at a Four Seasons with the way you’re greeted and personally escorted to the check in desk. You get to be hands free almost immediately to soak in the view of the hotel and property.
Four Seasons Orlando Review – The Guest Rooms
We have stayed in the following guest rooms over our numerous visits:
- Park View Room and Golden Oak View rooms. These are the same in square footage and layout. The only difference is with the Park View you have the ability to watch the fireworks from your room. Having seen (and been woken up by) fireworks since I was three years old, the fireworks mean very little to me and are not worth the increase in price. However, if you’re traveling with children and you know they’ll enjoy seeing them it’s a nice perk. The fireworks are very off in the distance so they look small and you can’t really hear them the way you would if you stayed at the Grand Floridian (which we have – and did have a park view room there. That’s for another upcoming review). Personally, I find the Golden Oak View room more than lovely and you can always watch the fireworks from the 14th floor of the hotel from the hotel balcony. Note, for a family of five you have to get two adjoining rooms. What the Four Seasons Orlando has done nicely is allowed for a privacy door that blocks the hotel hallway from the adjoining rooms so you have a small foyer (if you will) that allows you to open both hotel room doors and have a small private area to go back and forth between so you aren’t continuously slamming and opening doors to get to the kids and risk fingers getting caught. This gives you nice connection to the kids yet a bit of privacy for the parents! Each room that we’ve stayed in has had a full king and a pull out queen sofa bed. Each room also comes equipped with a full coffee bar, desk with ample room for charging more devices than you could ever need and a gorgeous bathroom with full shower and soaking tub.
- Golden Oak View Suite. This is for the family that wants extra breathing space. The suites are magnificent but again, will not fit a family of five so you’ll need two. We had two connecting suites. Each suite has a larger bedroom space with separate living area with a pull out sofa. The rooms we stayed in allowed for the bathtub to have a window (which as a bath lover I really enjoy because it’s a gorgeous view while you’re soaking). These rooms do have a little something extra in their specialness in the design. If you’re staying for a long time, or traveling with a lot of stuff these rooms are really, really nice. But get your wallet out!
- One fun addition is that all of the bathroom mirrors have TVs! A fun novelty. If I’m being super picky here (and with what these rooms costs, I think I’m allowed to be) the TV’s they installed are only viewable when watching straight on. So when you’re soaking in the tub you can’t see the TV. I love watching the TV when I take a bath each evening so for me I was sort of disappointed, but you know – the struggle, the struggle!
- The closets are huge and there’s plenty of room for storage. They are really beautifully done and feel every bit the luxury you would expect.
- The bathrooms are done in gorgeous white with gray tones. I think my favorite part is that the sliding door that closes the bathroom has a full length mirror built into it. I loved this! I think I’ll incorporate this if we ever personally redo our bathroom!
- Only minor issue we’ve run into is that everything is very “wired” now in hotel rooms. For Privacy or to have the room made up, you don’t use the standard door hanger. You push a button that says if you want privacy or are ready to have the room made up. Because we had adjoining rooms I pushed “please make up room” when we headed out for the day. I didn’t catch that the main hallway door I mentioned before that is what hotel staff sees had wiring issues so the light stayed red. We came back to the room a few times to find that the room hadn’t been cleaned or turn down service wasn’t done because the wiring made it look like we wanted Privacy when we didn’t. Again – the struggle – but then with what you’re paying for an escape from reality, this Mommy loves having her bed made for her and toothbrush ever so nicely laid out! It’s the little spoils that we stay in a luxury hotel room for, right?
Four Seasons Orlando Review – The Pools and Grounds
- In a word? Immaculate. I’m obsessed with landscaping. One of my favorite things about Disney is how nicely they keep the flowers and grounds. The Four Seasons sees their landscaping and raises them. It’s not that they do it better, it’s just that they landscaped so elegantly. You very much feel like you’re in Florida with the palm trees everywhere and flower beds, but the addition of gorgeous container planters, water features and built-in shade with oversized tree made me give the grounds a major thumbs up. It’s Florida at its best.
- The Pools are almost indescribable. The pools may be singularly the biggest reason we’ve returned to this resort so many times and the reason why my Four Seasons Orlando review is a very favorable one. They are out of this world. They are a theme park within themselves. The lazy river is unreal. I really mean it – it’s unreal. It’s Clorox level clean, it’s never crowded, there are giant waterfalls which are great fun and my husband and I could sit in that lazy river sun up to sun down and never leave. My husband is never calmer or more at peace than in that tube floating along! It’s worth every price of the hotel to see his blood pressure go down!
- The kids pool is just incredible. There’s a giant TV screen where they often play “swim in movies” (Disney ones, of course), has zero walk in water and loads of room for families to play yet be spread out.
- The adult pool is a very nice oasis with its own hot tub and lounge chairs. I love the little beds everywhere that have pillows in them to curl up with a book! I had one cocktail and then took a nap! Heaven!
- In short – I have never experienced a hotel that had better pool areas for both kids and adults. It’s remarkable what this hotel has done. Even with the hotel being at full capacity we have never had trouble finding a space to relax, get a chair or feel like we were in our own private playground. This is the anti-crowded pool area and you just have to see it for yourself!
- Capa. I’m going to give a bad review and then follow it up with a second good one. The bad review happened in 2014 when we booked the private room for a large group. I had been in touch with the hotel management weeks in advance making sure this event went well and was very disappointed. The waiter was either absent from the room, didn’t talk to anyone or completely in over his head. I had to go to the hostess stand more than twice to ask where he was so we could get our drinks, or place orders, or even find out what the specials were. The room was also insanely loud. For a private room you want to be able to hear each other. It’s why you book it. The set up wasn’t warm and inviting and the entire dinner was lackluster. It was underwhelming to say the least. Our next visit I chose to skip Capa after that experience.
- Perhaps it was grand opening jitters, but this past New Years Eve (about two years later) my husband and I celebrated the night at Capa just the two of us and it was really great. We got the three course special dining menu. The food was fabulous. My husband ordered the steak and I got the sea bass. His steak was so good that I actually ordered a second dinner to eat my own steak! I’ve never done that! Truly, truly delicious! The service was also warm and inviting and helpful. Our waitress was attentive and welcoming. Funnily enough we sat in the private room and had no issue hearing each other! You feel a bit “out of the mix” of the main dining room which is very pretty and very much “a scene” but we had a really nice dinner so Capa, you’re back on the radar!
- Ravello – this restaurant doesn’t knock my socks off and it’s possibly my least favorite part of the hotel. This is the buffet place for breakfast and Italian restaurant for dinner. I recommend it for breakfast. There’s a character breakfast (which we’ve done) and is fine. Listen, you’re talking to a former character here so for me, a character breakfast really should only be at Disney itself, but if you just want to see Mickey, Minnie and Goofey and check off the box then this will suffice. It’s not my idea of a big character breakfast though in the true sense of the word. It’s also rather annoying if you’re trying to escape Disney to hear all of the character hoopla during breakfast but I’m being a tired Mommy who just wants to drink her coffee in quiet. Ha!
- Here’s my bugaboo about Ravello. In 2014 I again, found the service lackluster. It was not at all the Four Seasons service I was expecting. It very much had that touristy feel to it and we felt just one of the crowd instead of people spending a lot of money to enjoy a nice dinner in a luxury resort. I voiced my concerns to the management in 2014 about both this and Capa, and maybe they heard me because service did get better.
- We had a small issue this year because the weather was cooler when we attended. The hotel very much is expecting beautiful Florida sunshine in the morning and needs that sitting area. If everyone is inside there is just no room to sit. If you aren’t attending the character breakfast, they direct you to the upstairs area where its first come first serve. I guess this usually works out for them given the outdoor seating, but this past year we were told “just wait next to a table until they are done.” Well. Listen. Buffet prices at a Four Seasons is hardly cheap. For the five of us to eat it was several hundred dollars. So the last thing I feel like doing is hovering around guests who I know are paying that and making them feel rushed. That feels very rude to me. Additionally, when I’m about to spend that on breakfast I want to go straight to the buffet with my hungry kids, my in need of caffeine now brain and ignore the fact that I’m about to spend a small fortune on breakfast. I want a little pampering! My husband had a look of “handle this or I might lose it” one morning when we couldn’t eat and so I finally found someone who found me a table tucked in the back of the character breakfast. I think the resort needs to come up with an in climate weather back up plan rather than have staff say “just wait until someone gets up.” I think this entire restaurant is noisy, crowded and lacking in the same feeling of serenity the rest of the hotel gives you. It has a “pre-Disney” rush feel to it in the morning with loud, screaming kids, tired parents all jammed in together in the morning, and “post-Disney” exhausted parents, loud, screaming kids in the evening. It would be nice to see the hotel add a restaurant that’s for the non-Disney going crowd.
- Which brings me to PB&G, the outside restaurant. This is where we head almost all of the time. This past trip we ate here almost exclusively except for our evening at Capa. It’s quiet, chill and has a very laid back Florida vibe. It’s funny though – we were the only ones there for dinner (one other family was just leaving.) This is nice if you like quiet, but also somewhat boring with no liveliness. Am I sounding like Goldilocks? Side note, we’ve been to the hotel before when PB&G was not open for dinner so I’m not all the way sure what’s going on there.
- There’s another restaurant by the golf club that serves Cuban food. We haven’t made it there yet, but I do know they aren’t open for dinner which is a bummer. When we attend again (and husband, I hope we do!) I’ll include an update to this Four Seasons Orlando review because I definitely want to try this place out.
Four Seasons Orlando Review – The Spa
- Stunning! So beautiful! This past trip I walked in (remember, the hotel is nearly at capacity) at 9:30am in the morning to see if I could get a massage. They had an opening at 12pm! I was so happy! I got a sticks and stones massage. I love deep tissue and I find a lot of hotels don’t indulge me on that. Wow – they do! I had a fabulous massage!
- The entire spa area is really gorgeous and pampering. Highly recommend!
Four Seasons Orlando Review – Last, but most certainly, not least, KIDS CAMP!
- And the Angels start to sing…! My kids love kids camp. They actually get excited we’re going back to the Four Seasons Orlando if only for the kids camp! And my husband and I LOVE that they LOVE kids camp! It’s free for hotel guests (you do have to pay for lunch which is um, expensive, but at this point you’ve given up on retirement). The staff is excellent. All of them are kind, great with kids, trustworthy people and my kids have a ball. They make friends. What I really like is that you can check them in and out as you want. So we like to bring them in the morning, grab a cocktail (no judgement), pick them up to go on the slides or lazy river, send them back for lunch and then pick them up for a quick afternoon swim together and back to kids camp. It ends at 5pm just in time for dinner. The play area and grounds for kids are A+ and it’s one of the main reasons (besides the pool) we return to this hotel again and again to unwind.
Is this Four Seasons Orlando review thorough enough? Ha! Please leave me any questions. I’m happy to answer them about my Four Seasons Orlando review or any other questions about Orlando or Disney in general. Bottom line – well done, Four Seasons. I’m most pleased to see that with every trip things improve or if they were good, are staying good. You’re a very welcome addition to Orlando and the Disney area and you have my vote. We will be back again soon (saving our pennies now!)
A special note to the following staff members who’ve met during our trips and have made our stays wonderful:
Keegan and Cisco at PB&G
Allison at Guest Services
Catherine, Ravello Manager