DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld is at the center of it all on International Drive. One may easily miss the fact that this resort is 28 lush acres on International Drive. Indeed, once you step through the lobby you never need to leave the resort, except to go to SeaWorld, Aquatica, or other theme parks nearby.
The lobby has an “Oceanic/Floridian” feel to it. It exudes a freshness with wooden beams and wood-lined walls dotted with pictures of sea life. Sonoma, a wine bar centrally located in the lobby, is nicely placed. Sonoma has happy hour everyday. That’s right- not just Monday to Friday. The Resort has even gone far enough to ensure that you won’t miss happy hour by having the usual happy “hours” of 4:00- 6:00 p.m. which resume again from 10:00 p.m. until Midnight. This is the perfect ending to a fun-filled day spent at the Resort or at a nearby theme park. There is even a piano to boot.
Speaking of theme parks, SeaWorld and Aquatica are merely a stone’s throw away from the Resort. There is a walking path from the Resort to each park, or one can choose to take one of the timed shuttles from the Resort. As an Official SeaWorld Hotel, there are also perks that Resort guests can enjoy at SeaWorld with an Exclusive Benefits Card, such as early entry to SeaWorld and Aquatica on select dates, complimentary quick queue at SeaWorld, complimentary transportation to SeaWorld, Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and Universal Orlando, 10% off dining options at SeaWorld and Aquatica, and 10% off purchases of $50 or more at select merchandise shops at SeaWorld and Aquatica. In addition, every Sunday Brunch at Laguna Restaurant includes a character breakfast by the cast of SeaWorld.
All your needs will be met by this Hotel, which boasts an in-house UPS Store, an Expedia Local Expert to assist with any travel plans, and Thrifty Car Rental. Recreational options include Hideaway Cove, (which is an activity center for children), an arcade, a 24/7 fitness center (equipped with free weights), mini-golf, giant checkers, and two outdoor billiard tables (shaded of course). The Hotel also includes the L’Espirit day spa, a putting green, and three pools.
The three pools include two family oriented pools and third pool geared towards adults and couples. The main pool, called Lagoon Pool, is located behind the lobby and provides a great opportunity to watch the children swim and enjoy a cocktail at the Barefoot Bar. The Lagoon Pool shows “Dive-In” movies on select evenings.
The Family Fun Pool is closer to the family activity center called Hideaway Cove. Hideaway Cove includes two resident turtles who enjoy spending time with children who choose to play and engage in activities such as the craft of the day. There is also a daily scavenger hunt! By being near Hideaway Cove, the Family Fun Pool is also closer to the onsite mini-golf, giant checker board, outdoor foosball table, outdoor billiard table (one of two onsite), ping pong, playground, bike rentals, and hot tub. (Interestingly, there is a kid’s night at Hideaway Cove on select evenings that includes games, crafts, and dinner for the little ones).
Lastly, the Serenity Pool is more secluded and quieter which makes it perfect for couples or adults. Although the Serenity Pool isn’t near the Barefoot Bar, one can simply text to order food and drinks to be brought poolside.
Besides the other amenities, there are also two grand ballrooms and over 60,000 square feet of flexible indoor/outdoor meeting space that may be used for conferences, weddings, receptions, and more. These spacious rooms are a bonus and great for those who wish organize an event and stay at the Resort.
There is a variation of rooms to choose from at the Doubletree. One can stay nearer to the pools on one of the ground floors or one can choose to stay at one of the rooms in the Tower. We stayed in a suite on the 16th floor of the Tower. The room had spectacular views, and in the evening we could see the surrounding fireworks from various theme parks. The room itself was spacious with a sizable flatscreen TV, plugs for any of your electronic needs, and a monitor to link your laptop for a larger display. There of course were nice toiletries, a strong shower that could be altered to one’s liking, and a bath. Our room also had a lovely foyer, an elegant sitting area with two chairs and couch, and a closet and safe. Last but not least, the room possessed an undoubtedly comfortable and cozy bed that guaranteed a good night’s rest with sweet dreams.
Dining at the Resort
Doubletree offers a variety of dining options. One great benefit of being an official SeaWorld Hotel is that the Laguna Restaurant offers SeaWorld character breakfasts during Sunday Brunch. We dined at the Laguna Restaurant during the evening. The atmosphere welcomes both families and couples. The service was sincere. We started off with a Caesar Salad with Grilled Jerk Chicken and Gidia Shrimp. The Gidia Shrimp was Shrimp sautéed with Tomatoes, Garlic, Butter and White Wine. In addition, we chose to add Jerk Chicken to our Caesar Salad, (one may add Chicken, Steak, Shrimp or Salmon to any of the salads). To note, the Caesar Salad would make a fantastic meal on its own.
For our entrées, we chose Lobster Ravioli and Filet Mignon. The Filet Mignon was accompanied by Fingerling Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, Red Wine and Mushroom Sauce. The Filet Mignon and Sauce was tasty and palatable. The Lobster Ravioli was made with Heirloom Tomatoes and Spicy Cream Sauce. The Lobster Ravioli was neatly ribboned, and we were glad to hear that the pasta is made onsite. This was followed by Key Lime Pie and Coconut Raspberry Cake for dessert. Overall, Laguna Restaurant remains a great dining option for guests who don’t want to leave the DoubleTree Resort.
Other dining options include the Crazy Squirrel, The Pantry, and Barefoot Bar. The Crazy Squirrel and Barefoot Bar are places where you can also indulge in Happy Hour from 4:00-6:00 p.m. and then from 10:00 p.m. until midnight.
Additionally, the Market is open until Midnight and is the best place to grab a snack. The Market offers food, drinks, and Starbucks! The word snack is a bit of a misnomer as the flatbreads offered at the Market are very filling and appetizing for just a “snack.”
Whether vacation or staycation, it’s the little things that matter, and DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld makes sure that the resort is both family friendly and couple friendly as well. With the Resort’s excellent location on International Drive, perks, and wealth of activities to do onsite, DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton Orlando SeaWorld is truly a great place to stay at the center of it all.