I should disclose that my thoughts on this property are still very fresh since I'm still staying here partly way through an extended vacation - so there may be more to add to this review!
First off, the Good. As I have come to expect from Sheraton Hotels, the beds are amazing. Huge, comfortable and with crisp white linen that I've found few other chains can beat. The beds are the highlight of this hotel; unfortunately other aspects receive mixed notices. The rooms are large, and SPG status affords me a free upgrade to a pool view (I imagine the car park view would be very disappointing). But they skimp on the bathrooms; although the shower is great it's one of those tiny bathtubs that you couldn't use in a practical sense. The wash basin and mirror are also oddly across from the small bathroom in the entrance hallway. While this has some advantages of being able to brush your teeth while the toilet is occupied by your roommate, I can't help think it feels like a botch since they have tiny bathrooms.
A major flaw of the bedroom is the air conditioning, which goes off with the subtlety of a jet engine throughout the night. This is the one thing that I would warn friends about as I can't really understand how the hotel expects guests to sleep through the noise.
Service in the hotel is generally great. Convincingly smiley people who genuinely seem keen to ensure you have a great holiday. There's more sincerity here too than you'd get at the Sheraton in downtown San Francisco. The staff at Lake Buena Vista have been bitten by Disney.
Breakfast buffet is tasty and fresh, but not particularly extensive and at $15 is a bit overpriced. However, given the location of the hotel across the street from an IHOP, there are alternatives. Also on the subject of expensive, there's a mandatory 'resort fee' (whoever invented the concept needs shooting - this should all be in the price of the hotel stay!) - which covers things like parking and internet. Unfortunately the speed of the internet is so appalling that I often have to resort to using my own MiFi to get email, which is irritating as the non-optional resort fee should be providing a service I should be able to use.
The 'ugly' part of my review headline has to refer to the buildings themselves. Four slabs of unattractive tower blocks surround the pool area. Very concrete housing estate feel to whole place with unsightly common areas in need of a lick of paint. When I first checked in, a broken bar fridge had been abandoned outside my room with no apparent explanation, just adding to the ambiance of arrival.
I think, overall, this is a 3 star hotel with a couple of 4 star features and some 2 star infrastructure. The air conditioning needs replacing with something that doesn't keep guests away; the internet should be made usable and the common areas could do with a makeover and better lighting so you don't feel you're walking into a sink estate.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located just a few blocks from the Downtown Disney entrance to Walt Disney World Resort, our Orlando Resort features a full service spa, family suites, two pools, kids activities, complimentary Wi-Fi, and free transportation to all Disney Theme Parks. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sheraton Safari Orlando
- Sheraton Orlando
- Orlando Sheraton
- Sheraton Safari Hotel
- Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort Orlando, Florida