ORLANDO, Fl (November 15, 2010) — Peerless luxury. From the earliest days of her history to today travelers have equaled Waldorf Astoria to nothing short of classic, peerless luxury.
Yesteryear’s New York royalty, Marilyn Monroe, Presidents and Kings of State mingle with afternoon teas or scotch and soda in the wood paneled bar with everything wrapped in a comforting cocoon of fine furnishings, polished marbles and brass fixtures all gleaming in the afternoon sun.
These are the images of Park Avenue New York’s grand denizen.
Today, the new Hilton Waldorf Astoria Bonnet Creek presents a world-class destination that pays glowing homage to her New York grandmother’s Central Park address.
In 1893 John Waldorf built the original property on the site where the Empire State Building exists today. That first hotel was followed by The Astoria Hotel, built next door in 1989, by John Jacob Astor IV.
Those original neighboring properties were connected by the Peacock Alley bridge creating the Waldorf Astoria, the largest hotel in the world and where the Waldorf Astoria’s standards for opulence and service began.
Plans for the Empire State building in hand, that original hotel packed up, relocating to Park Avenue, in 1931.
The grandeur of the Waldorf Astoria, New York is lovingly reflected at the prim enclave at Bonnet Creek, located alongside the famed Walt Disney World properties.
The reception desk of the Waldorf Astoria (Photo/J Kubin).
Driving up to the property, the first encounter is a Hilton property that is quite lovely and bustling with families taking advantage of their vacation amenities, including an outstanding lazy river and pool slide. But this is not your destination.
Continue on just a bit and find the serenity of the Waldorf Astoria.
Walking into the lobby, seeing the iconic tufted circular banquet and clock beneath a beautifully filllagreed domed ceiling; rich jeweled tones are reflected in the very modern broken glass artwork of Cassandria Blackmore.
High gilded ceilings, brightly polished marble and glass-paneled walls create a brightly lit, expansive welcome. The lobby even smells rich, lively – which I learned is an original blend of blue mint, eucalyptus, bergamot and marigold. All together it creates an expulsion of stress as you experience your first Waldorf Astoria “ahhh” moment.
It will not be your last. As a guest staying beneath the Waldorf Astoria banner, everything is modeled to be “at your pleasure.” No request too broad. No need too hard to accommodate.
The goal of every person is your comfort, your ease.
Rooms are spacious with high ceilings featuring crown moldings. Furnishing are quality and richly appointed. The palates are warm creams and rich jewel tones of blues, warm reds and green in the suite living rooms. Bedrooms are elegant in gold and crisp white linens. Baths are opulent with black marble counters, thick rich towels and separate soaking tubs and showers. Bath amenities are from Agraria, San Francisco providing yet another sensory experience for guests.
Resting as it does along the edge of the Disney World property, resist the temptation to spend the day at the parks and opt for the pool instead.
An afternoon’s Cabana (beginning at $200) promises a sinfully relaxing afternoon either sunning or resting in the shade. Smart sending the young set to the Hilton to enjoy the slide and lazy winter, while leaning back, sipping Aqua Fresca and nibbling on a beautiful fruit display, enjoying a chance to breath deep and relax before taking a moment to refresh in the pool.
If you feel the need to be connected, work or to catch up on your favorite shows, the Cabana’s feature lightening fast wi-fi and flat screen TVs. Cabanas are also stocked with most anything you might need for your afternoon, including complimentary sunscreen lotion, moisturizing skin care, goggles and nose plugs.
Without a doubt, the Cabana experience is another of the Waldorf Astoria’s “ahhh” moments. A moment significantly heightened as the energetic young people bring you a steady stream of cocktail tastes and frozen grapes.
Poolside staff is attentive, quick to retrieve an island inspired frozen cocktail from the bar or bring your lunch selection from Aquamarine, the poolside grille.
A personal recommendation is the chicken flatbread and the cheeseburger, a hearty quality beef burger on a soft roll that retains a place in the top three.
It was really that good.
When you consider that a Cabana for four, with beautiful pools, bicycles to ride, and quality menu choices will cost you far less than an afternoon at the parks, the decision to stay poolside and relax is not hard to make.
Returning to your room, the bed calls for a late afternoon nap wrapped in a fluffy white Waldorf=Astoria bathrobe following a warm shower enhanced by the essences from the Agraria amenities.
An evening at the Waldorf=Astoria includes afternoon cocktails in the Peacock Alley , a lounge alive with grand standards played on the piano as the bright, late afternoon sun streams over the golf course.
Enjoy classic cocktails such as a Remy Martin V.S.O.P. cognac based Side Car or the updated Ultimate White Cosmo mixed with Ultimate Vodka, Cointreau and white cranberry at Peacock Alely. The drinks menu includes a strong selection of California wines by the glass, including a sparkling Domaine Chandon Brut from Napa Valley.
If you are calling for an early evening enjoy the Peacock Alley plates menu where you can mix and match a variety of dishes from small plates like Grilled Artichoke and Four-Cheese Fondue or the Preserved Tomato Soup served with Crème Fraiche and grilled Artesian cheese; the Peacock Plates including Applewood Smoked Bacon garnished Kobe beef sliders or the Lobster “BLT” popovers served with smoked bacon, Haas avocado, micro-green arugula and tarragon aioli.
Large plates include a caramelized onion tart with salad or natural chicken sandwich with heirloom tomatoes, wild arugula, and avocado and herb mayonnaise.
Finish your evening watching the fireworks as the burst off in the distance over Magic Kingdom and/or Epcot Center before snuggling down into the cool, smooth, silken sheets of your oh-so-comfortable bed. Ahhhh.
Waldorf Astoria properties boast the exclusive Guerlain Spas. One of beauty’s leading names since 1828, Guerlain is a name as trusted as the Waldorf Astoria. Using rare and active natural ingredients, Guerlain Research continues the research of found Pierre-Francois Pascal Guerlain to develop the best of skin care products using rare and noble botanical sources.
Entering the Guerlain Spa it is easy to believe you are privileged to be the only guest for that day. Each treatment room is equipped with a private bathroom en suite and once you are ready you will enjoy a complimentary rejuvenating footbath that surrounds you with your personal Guerlain fragrance, taking you to a place of total relaxation.
Guerlain offers extraordinary facial care and services and looking at the menu, it is comforting to see it devoid of trendy services. Instead the spa focuses on providing standard services that are then molded to meet your personal skin care needs.
In addition to facial therapies, Guerlain Spas’ also offer a menu of body polish, hydrotherapies and massage treatments.
Enjoying a massage following a robust shower, it was at once indulgent and relaxing as trained and able hands worked through a variety of travel and life kinks and knots. The treatment was uniquely sensory and had soothing lightness to it, though the massage was deeply comforting.
At the end, I realized the difference was that unlike the feel after most other massages, where you feel slightly oiled, your hair in need of a thorough washing and your skin slick, I felt smooth, warm, soft. The difference being the masseuse’s use of Guerlain Eau Impériale Cream instead of oil.
The skin fully absorbs the cream leaving a feeling of silkiness and comfort instead of the need for a shower.
It was delightful.
If you wish, you can partake in a post massage mineral whirlpool bath soak or invigorating multiple jet shower.
Follow your treatment with a complimentary post-treatment makeup refresher. Important, and very nice to know, is that all service fees are included in the treatment cost, so no further cash gratuities are necessary
Dinning at Chef Donna Scala’s La Luce comes next.
Jacquie Kubin is a 15-year, award-winning veteran of travel and culinary writing. Today, Jacquie edits and directs a staff of writers for Donne Tempo Magazine, where you can read more of her entertainment, travel and culinary reviews. Jacquie is always looking for new talents who want to expand their horizons.
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