Finding that elegant boutique retreat in the sea of fun that is International Drive isn’t a mirage anymore. Behold – The Castle Hotel. The Castle, a Kessler Hotel, is a part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Walking through the front doors bring you to stained glass, medieval armor, chandeliers, and those famous mask chairs bedecked with mirrors – all of which create a vibrant lobby atmosphere.

img_3238There is a fine array of jewelry available for purchase, which are elegantly displayed. Two giant amethyst geodes also stand in the main lobby (so large it took nine men to bring them in). This isn’t your average hotel, this is an aesthetic harbor.

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The Castle is a collaborative marvel of artistic know-how – that includes not only the interior design, but the way the hotel is managed. The Customer Service is genuine and exceeds expectations. As a wonderful addition, there is a personal touch to everything at the Castle. The paintings in the ballroom were taken by Mr. Kessler on his iPhone. Mr. Kessler subsequently provided the photographs to an artist to render and voila! Beautiful paintings of ballerinas dot the walls of the ballroom.

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In terms of amenities, nothing is left to be desired. The gym is fully equipped with free weights. Headphones are provided free of charge, and fresh fruit was waiting on the table inside.

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As well as a business center, there is also a laundry room available on-site. The amenities, in combination with the location, make the Castle not only great for families and tourists, but for business people as well. Last but not least, the Poseidon Spa offers services to melt away any theme park, or business-induced stress.

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We enjoyed lunch at the Garden Bistro. The Chicken Tacos were fun, fresh, and aromatic. We had the opportunity to meet the congenial Chef of all the restaurants at the Castle. We recommend dining at the Antler’s Lounge, the Garden Bistro, and poolside.

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The Castle is located between the Orlando Eye and Pointe Orlando. The landmark Orlando Eye is practically next door. As a result of the Castle’s location, which also happens to be near Disney World and Universal Studios; you can enjoy fireworks from both parks on the rooftop terrace of the hotel. These two terraces provide quite the view. The sunrise and sunset are also said to be spectacular from the terrace. Consider bringing your cocktail or ordering room service and enjoying the view.

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Soak in the Florida sun and take a dip in the cool waters of the pool. At the Pool, you can also order food and beverages. We enjoyed a Florida Berry Mojito poolside. There is ample space to enjoy your afternoon here, and you won’t feel guilty for spending the day at this play place. In the evening, the pool and hot tub also remain inviting.

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Any occasion can be celebrated at the Castle. The main ballroom is palatial, followed by a medium-sized courtyard ballroom, and there is also the more intimate Bavarian Room for meetings. Consider celebrating a wedding, birthday, or baby shower at the Castle.

The Room

We stayed in an executive studio. Complete with a vanity and lounge area, the spacious executive studio lent itself to a fantastic stay. The room was an ideal hideaway from International Drive. The bathroom, with its marble tiling, was a handsome addition to the serene space.  The vanity area was also roomy, which provided an optimal spread.

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Our room provided a beautiful view overlooking the pool. You wouldn’t surmise that the hustle and bustle of International Drive was merely steps away.

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The current Renaissance of International Drive, which includes the Orlando Eye, Mango’s, and Del Frisco’s to name a few, creates an exciting atmosphere which calls to both Central Floridians and Tourists alike. The Castle is a part of this Renaissance. Indeed, Universal Studio’s new water park is another harbinger of rebirth of the general area, and of course, so is the Castle Hotel. That being said, as inviting and enticing International Drive beckons, you’ll be reluctant to leave your stylish and cozy room. Thank you for hosting us.

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Enjoy the fun that awaits you on International Drive, and absorb the magic of the Castle Hotel – your elegant boutique retreat.

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