HYATT REGENCY ORLANDO AIRPORT
When my niece and I went through Orlando Airport during the summer, we were intrigued by this hotel that rose above and surrounded the main concourse and shopping court in the middle of one of the busiest airports in the United States. A glass atrium roof covers the entire area; hotel room balconies look out over the scurrying passengers, shops and eateries.
Just a few months later I was booked at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport for one night, in transit to another destination.
What can be easier than getting your luggage and taking an elevator practically to the lobby of your hotel?
Check-in was a breeze. I had opted for a room on the outer perimeter of the hotel, looking over the airport runways. I worried that an interior room would have a claustrophobia-inducing effect on me; all rooms have balconies and I preferred the ones that opened to the outside air rather than the ones that opened to the interior of the airport. (I peeked into an atrium room during the day, and, in fairness, I could say that I would have survived it nicely since the glass atrium roof does allow the natural light of the sun to filter through the entire space.)
The hotel is built in a square around the atrium, which is huge, but there is only one set of elevators. It can be a long trek to a room on the other side; luckily my accommodation wasn't too far from the elevator bank, which is glass-enclosed and soars up with a view to the concourse crowd below.
The area surrounding my room was in the process of being renovated so part of the hallway was unappealing with its ripped up carpeting and workmen's equipment scattered around. Once at my room, though, I heard virtually no construction noise, which (obviously) pleased me. My room was not one of the renovated ones; while large and nicely furnished, the soft-goods were quite dated and a bit worn.
The bathroom was great, with a nice deep tub, a granite counter and appealing amenities. A coffee maker with complimentary coffee was a really welcome sight; lots of big fluffy towels were provided.
The balcony in this room was a real treat. More like a walled terrace, it looked out over the airport runways. Anyone with an interest in aircraft could watch them arriving and departing from several different angles. The one drawbvack is that the balconies aren't furnished. It would have been more fun to sit out there with a cup of coffee but I would have had to drag a chair over the sill and I didn't feel like doing that. When the sliding glass doors are closed there is virtually no airport noise, an incredible feat of engineering.
With fresh coffee made, I decided to get to work, setting up my laptop on the nice-sized desk. Finding a plug for the adapter was not a problem. What IS a problem, however, is that this hotel does not offer Internet service. At all. Guests in rooms that face the atrium can take advantage of the airport-provided wireless, but outer-perimeter rooms don't have that advantage. Nor is there high-speed Internet service, and most surprising, no dual-line phone or data port. OK, I take responsibility for forgetting to bring my cell phone, but I was expecting a call at the hotel and much to my distress, I discovered that if I used my room phone for dial-up service, I could neither make nor receive calls. And, because I am so accustomed to having either high-speed or wireless Internet service when I travel, I no longer carry a phone cord with me for dial-up.
To the hotel's credit, housekeeping delivered a phone cord for my use. And... purely by accident, I discovered an additional phone outlet in the wall, a live outlet that is ostensibly used for business guests to be able to fax. Once I plugged the phone cord into that outlet and into my laptop, I was able to bypass the phone itself and use a dial-up Internet service. A local or 800-number phone call is reasonably priced at just over $1.00, and you can stay on that call as long as you'd like so I was able to remain online for quite some time with a minimal charge. Still, I would have preferred a high-speed connection at competitive rates rather than having to suffer through the snail's pace of dial-up to do my work.
Since there are so many food outlets surrounding the hotel's location, I opted to go out for a meal rather than get room service. This is one of the few airports (along with London's Heathrow) that is actually fun to visit. Hundreds of shops -from L'Occitane of Provence bath products to the ubiquitous Disney and SeaWorld outlets- line the corridors and walkways. There are take-out food outlets and sit-down fine dining establishments in about equal proportion.
I did choose room service breakfast, which was delivered on time by a pleasant and cheerful server. I felt that the prices were reasonable for the food quality and service.
Overall, this hotel would be a great choice for families in transit, but although most airport-located Hyatts position themselves as business-friendly, and although this hotel does have a "business center," I found the lack of Internet service or even a dual-line telephone a major disadvantage.
Airport Shuttle Service: N/A
Room Comfort and Amenities:
Service and Personnel: