Four Seasons Orlando - Better Than You'd Expect!

Discussion in 'Luxury Hotels' started by NYBanker, Feb 27, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Overview: A luxurious Disney-adjacent property that delivers a proper Four Seasons experience
    Strengths: Service, outdoor water activities, kids’ program, rooms
    Drawbacks: Location and resulting transit burden, not considered “on property” at Disney, no rollaway beds, fairly low cap on FSPP/Virtuoso upgrade categories

    Full report here: http://sitinfirst.com/2015/02/four-seasons-orlando/

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  2. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Fascinating read and photos, I was surprised about the "breakfast situation" and the "rollaway bed" non-offerings. Glad you and your family enjoyed the FS Orlando. Cheers. As for myself, the hotel doesn't "scream" Disney, but this is supposed to be a good thing, plus for a "true luxury" property the transportation arrangements sound too complicated. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    I didn't know you updated the look of your blog, NYB.

    I'm surprised by the lack of rollaway beds and the breakfast situation as well. It's disappointing when hotel guests don't get prioritized for breakfast at these properties. The property itself looks nice, especially the pool area
     
  4. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Indeed, the property looks nice, but there isn't a "sense of place", to stay at Disney or near Disney is supposed ot be fun, don't get this from the interior or exterior, while the pools and areas look beautiful, the cold lazy river, aka "shiver river" would be a problem for myself, especially when I had family and would take them there. Overall, it's a beautiful property, but I hope they fine tune service a bit incl. their transportation schedules, the breakfast situation, rollaway beds etc... Cheers.
     
  5. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    I agree. I stayed at a property recently with a cold pool and it wasn't great at all. Since I don't have a family yet or plan on visiting WDW anytime soon, I doubt I will visit this property for quite some time...

    Either way what's with all this talk about D'Yquem? I know it's a wine but is it that good?
     
  6. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Agreed on the cold lazy river, and yes, it's not good to have access to a "cold" pool either IMHO.

    Regarding the wine, I guess @NYBanker will help here.
    This remembers myself, a few years ago in Paphos, Cyprus in a hotel restaurant there was a gentleman who was served wine and the server / sommelier wanted his opinion about the wine, the gentleman said..."It's Wine"....:)
     
  7. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Lol no kidding. Get me a cheap bottle of decent white wine then I'm set. If I want to drink the more expensive stuff, I can just wait till my next F award ticket. :p
     
  8. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Hear! Hear! Enjoy your weekend. Cheers. :)
     
  9. NYBanker
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    Thinking further, I suspect it was all or nearly all house guests at the character breakfasts. Just with 400+ keys, impossible to accommodate all.
     
  10. NYBanker
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    D'Yquem is a "sticky," or a dessert wine. It is produced in the southern part of Bordeaux. In the 1855 Napoleanic rankings, it was flagged as a premiere grand cru (the highest ranking) and was considered to be the top. You would have this wine with foie gras, pâté or at the end of your meal.

    It really is a special wine, one that is easily differentiated blind even when compared to other top Sauternes.

    Sadly, I'm unaware of it being served on any airline. :(
     
  11. ?so I should go
     
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  12. pricesquire

    pricesquire Silver Member

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    Good review NYBanker. I also reviewed the property recently (right when it first opened actually), and you can find that review HERE.

    It seems we agree on most of the hotels ups and downs. FWIW, my review was much more of a hard-product review, so you'd probably no more about breakfast, service, wine, etc.

    That said, a few notes:

    1) Never experienced this cap on FSPP/Virtuoso upgrades you mention. This may come across as a solicitation (it's NOT), but I've routinely had clients upgraded from Cat. 1 rooms to entry level suites. Tip: tell your travel advisor to email the sales team before you arrive :D (*even without reaching out, I've still had routine upgrades from Cat. 1-3, and I had one guy upgraded to a Cat. 2 suite as well). I think the upgrade situation 100% depends on occupancy rates, period. Furthermore, when they first opened I asked about caps on upgrades and they replied in the negative. YMMV.

    2) I agree the no rollaway bed thing may irk some, but I think the rooms are set up so that a family of 4 (if the kids are YOUNG) can fit in an entry level room (Golden Oak View King Room). Why? The queen pullout sofa...Again, YMMV.

    3) I did not use the large lazy river, but I did hang out by the adults only pool. I really, really liked the vibe.

    4) Re: location/transit burden: I 10000% agree that the location and transit is horrific.....in relation to the rest of MCO. That said, for Disney goers, I don't think it gets much better. I've stayed at the Waldorf down the road (and the Hilton) and it seems to be identical in terms of transport/location. THAT SAID, I have a client who seems to agree with you.

    This is what he said:

    I think its a great option for people travelling on business or on a combination business / family trip. It might also be a great option for people looking for a Disney-lite vacation. The pool looks incredibly nice and I think kids would love it. The adult pool-only also looks really nice.

    This is a world-class property, from my perspective. Its exceptionally nice, especially for Orlando. Its much nicer (and clearly a better location) than the JW / RC combo and I have to think its better than the Waldorf.

    All of that being said - from a purely Disney perspective only - its not the best place to stay. If you have a family or a couple looking to spend a solid part of their trip park hopping, then Grand Floridian, Contemporary and Polynesian are going to be better options for them, even though from a luxury perspective, they aren't even REMOTELY in the same zipcode.

    The two big issues for Disney park hoppers is (1) no extra magic hour benefit (this is huge) and (2) the limited amount of bus service to the parks. The bus is timely enough for Magic Kingdom (and actually Epcot, but they don't properly advertise it) in that it makes a round trip every 30 minutes, which is roughly the same schedule you'd get at a Disney resort. However, that bus drops guests off at Ticket & Transportation, which isn't great because you then have to hop on a monorail to get to the park. Then, some buses pick up from Magic Kingdom and then stop at two more parks before going back to the Four Seasons. Its really inconvenient.

    All in all, great review. I think I like this property so much because I live two hours north and MCO has never really had a TRUE lux property.

    Keep up the good work :)
     
  13. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Chateau d'Yquem will be possibly be available on domestic airlines when the seats sell for ~$10,000 a piece!
     
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  14. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Sounds yummy then. I love dessert wines and ice wines. :)
     
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  15. NYBanker
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    We're approaching $7k on AA transcon F....and we aren't close to D'Yquem! ;)
     
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  16. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Thanks for the kind words.

    On the upgrades, the caps are now listed on the FSPP welcome letter. This must be a change from when you visited. I was in the third category of suite, which per their letter isn't upgraded to, let alone from. There was availability at check in (per their website 2 hours prior) in each higher suite category.

    It was fine as I pay for the suite category I wanted, but frustrating to see non-specialty suites excluded from their published program.

    I have been upgraded beyond stated caps (at the FS PB, for example), but I was a bit of a regular there for a while, which surely factored in. This was some time ago, now, too.
     
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  17. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Night Train Express? :p
     
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  18. NYBanker
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    I guess you could take the red eye!

    Here is a representative fare. Safe to say the wine is not D'Yquem.

    aafare.JPG
     
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  19. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Who pays for these fares out of their own pocket? :eek: I agree, well worthy of being served Chateau d'Yquem or Mouton Rothschild! :cool:

    Non-refundable business class on Delta for the same dates is $3,334.20, refundable bc is $4,624.20. On US, it's $4,441.00 and ~$5,035.00 for the same.
    If I book these flights for you, can I pocket the difference? :p

    FWIW, those same dates on WN out of EWR are as little as under $400! :rolleyes:
     
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  20. I really need to go
     
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  21. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:
     
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  22. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    The US fare you are quoting is for J, on the AA plane. AA offers a 3-cabin service on the transcon; I was quoting F fares. AA pitches F as being much better than their J. Having flowing it on the 321s twice now, the F service is only so-so.

    DL is also J (not F) and on most of their planes that service this route, not lie-flat, either. (DL is phasing in lie-flat J, however.)

    As to who pays, that is a good question. Some companies in finance and entertainment still include first class in their travel policies. When I was at Merrill, I could choose any class. My company now, of which I am the largest individual owner, offers flexibility on travel. Being owners, we aren't wasteful...but make the best decision based on the menu available at the time. Often our travel comes about suddenly and I am forced to pay last minute fares. In the case of my two recent transcon F flights, for one, the fare difference between J and F was $200 or so one way. Say $2,800 vs $3,000. For that small of a percentage difference, no big deal. The other flight the difference between J and F was about $1,000 for a one way. I bought a J ticket and used 15,000 miles (plus $[150]?) to upgrade on that one, about a 5cpm valuation, net of the foregone incremental bonus miles. :)

    AA's F offers one thing none of the other transcons offer - privacy. DL and UA (and AA J) are all 2+2. While lie-flat, you're unambiguously with someone. B6's J product offers several pseudo-suites. While nice in theory, the walls are much lower on B6's seats than the AA F reverse herringbone seats (which are commonly known as J seats on CX, BR, US, and even AA international!) and I think the AA product offers much more privacy. You don't pick any of these carriers for the food or service. And certainly not the wine! ;)
     
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  23. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    O.K., the "corporate account" pays for the airline seating, and this is not privately funded travel. And as a company owner, you have the ability to justify your choice of seating, with the company covering the expense. And you prefer F rather than J seating, or "F light". All understood, and you're able to accommodate your wishes. ;)

    Obviously, my viewpoint is quite different, and a result of working in a different industry, and not that of a company owner. I was fortunate to have the travel folks at my previous job purchase full fare coach seating on long-haul TATLs, where that I could try my best to upgrade to J, and was quite happy when this worked. :) I can't imagine spending $7K for a cross-country flight. And if I could do that, I'd certainly buy a few cases of my own Chateau d'Yquem! :D
     
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  24. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:
     
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  25. NYBanker
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    Each dollar spent on travel at the company is a dollar less in dividends for the owners. I definitely think of it as my own dough.

    While I rarely fly to SFO or LAX for leisure, I do fly to SEA for leisure. In those cases, we pay cash for a forward cabin seat.
     
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