Greetings from Orlando, where I’m on a short family vacation before five nights back in DC and then on to Africa. I don’t usually review my random domestic hotel stays, but I’m making an exception for this one as I think it might be interesting, and is illustrative of the meaninglessness of elite status these days.
Back in the summer, my sister had mentioned bringing her family down to Disney World for Presidents’ Day week. So when I saw a deal for the B Resort and Spa in Orlando on ExtremeHotelDeals.com that was good for that week — and was fully cancellable — I jumped on it and booked two consecutive one-night reservations. I knew I wouldn’t be able to take the whole week off, but since I had Monday off, I figured Sunday and Monday nights would be good.
The deal was hardly bargain mistake rate territory, with rates of about $75 a night. When you add in taxes and the Orlando-area ubiquitous resort fee (plus parking since I rented a car to get from the airport and for one day), it came to over $130 a night, but it was still a good deal. This is mostly because of the specific property. There are so many hotels in Orlando that booking far in advance $150 a night would be nothing special. But the B Resort is one of the Disney Springs hotels (nee Downtown Disney hotels nee WDW Village hotels), seven hotels on Disney grounds but not Disney-operated. The benefits of these hotels, include proximity, including walking distance to the Disney Springs complex, a very regular shuttle to the parks, and some other perks about restaurants and tee times that didn’t matter to me. In planning, I knew my sister’s family would be staying on property, so I thought that this would be convenient and not require a rental car. (Incidentally, I had stayed at one of the Downtown Disney hotels (then a Courtyard by Marriott, now a Holiday Inn) on my last trip to Disney World — Spring Break in high school in 2001, for much of the same reason.)
The B also had good reviews and seemed like a nicer hotel than many of the chains on International Drive, with a large gym and a nice pool area, good for a solo uncle. The other Disney Springs hotels are affiliated with big brands (3 Hilton properties, a Holiday Inn, a Best Western, and a Wyndham). B itself is a small chain with a few other Florida properties (Fort Lauderdale and the Keys), plus one in Savannah and one in New Orleans. It definitely aims for an upscale, hip boutique feel (perhaps the B is for boutique??).
The trip turned into a whole family adventure with my paren...Read More