Disclosure: This post is part of a hosted stay and my stay at the Gaylord Palms Resort was complimentary for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
The first hotel in my Florida hotel tour was the Gaylord Palms Resort, a hotel I’ve passed by numerous times on my trips to Central Florida. I’ve visited some of the other Gaylord Resorts before, but the Palms is in a unique situation – they have to cater to families that are already spoiled by some of the best family attractions in the world. My stay was absolutely perfect, and I can’t wait to return with my whole family. With all of the fabulous things the resort has to offer, I was most impressed with the staff of the hotel – all of whom seem to love their jobs and are so eager to make your stay just perfect.
Gaylord Palms Review
The Food at the Gaylord Palms Resort
After checking in to the resort and dropping my stuff off in my room, I headed to Wreckers Sports Bar to meet with Jeff, the PR Director of the resort. I wasn’t necessarily expecting great food at the sports bar, but was very impressed with both our warm pretzel appetizer and my blackened fish sandwich. The atmosphere of the bar is excellent, and the bar includes some authentic Key West memorabilia and a two-story television screen. It’s definitely a family-friendly spot, despite being a sports bar.
Over the course of my stay I also ate at Sona and the Old Hickory Steakhouse. My meal at the Old Hickory Steakhouse was easily the food highlight of my trip – and I ate very well all four days. My server, Javier, was fabulous, and offered me lots of suggestions of what to order. Since I was dining alone, we chatted a bit and I could absolutely see his passion for working at the Gaylord Palms. This was definitely a running theme during my stay – all of the employees seemed very happy there.
I started my dinner with a sampling of appetizers from the chef. My favorite part of the meal was the cheese course – Javier wheeled over the cheese cart and I selected my preferences based upon his suggestions. I also tried the delicious lobster bisque, before my perfectly-cooked steak – oscar style – arrived. The chef provided me with a sampling of the sauces, and my personal favorite was the Bordelaise. I was completely stuffed, but I also tried a sampling of the desserts, which were also excellent. It’s a great place to dine for a special occasion – even if you aren’t staying at the Gaylord Palms.
On my second evening, I dined at Sora, a sushi bar located in the lobby of the hotel. My drink, a watermelon mojito, was the perfect refreshing drink to go along with the delicious rainbow roll.
The Rooms at the Gaylord Palms
The Gaylord Palms Resort boasts 1,291 rooms and 115 suites – many of which offer views of the atrium. I had a king-bed room with atrium view, and if it’s in your budget, I’d highly recommend springing for it. I really enjoyed people watching while sitting on my balcony, and it was a great spot to eat my room service breakfast. Kids will definitely love looking out into the atrium.
The rooms are very spacious and comfortable. Free internet access, along with two bottles of water, are included in the resort fee. My newly-renovated room was cleaned early each morning, and the hotel also offers turndown service in the evenings. Despite the proximity to the atrium, my room was very quiet in the evenings, and I slept well. That’s especially important for a busy family vacation where you’ll be exhausted by the end of each day.
Activities and Amenities at the Gaylord Palms Resort
The Gaylord Palms offers loads of family-friendly amenities and activities. These alligators pictured above are located in the Everglades section of the resort, and are managed by Gatorland. Depending on when you visit, you may also even be able to catch an alligator feeding! There’s also a fish pond in the Key West section which is fun to watch.
The Gaylord Palms recently unveiled a brand-new pool area, which offers an adult-only pool, water slides, a splash area, and a large family pool. In the evenings, dive-in movies are offered at the pool. Families could easily spend the entire day at the pool – there’s even a snack bar with food. It’s a great option if you want to plan a relaxing hotel day among the busy theme park days.
(Note that Gaylord is no longer featuring DreamWorks characters) – Like other Gaylord Resorts, many of the popular DreamWorks characters can be seen throughout the resort. On the weekends, there’s a breakfast hosted by Shrek (the Shrek-fast), and characters including Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Puss in Boots can be seen in the evenings. Unlike the other Gaylord resorts, these characters are at the hotel year round. (Note that the Gaylord Resorts no longer feature DreamWorks characters).
For the adults of the group, the Relache spa cannot be missed. I visited on my first day for a massage, and it was fabulous. The spa offers a tea room, relaxation rooms, a sauna, a steam room, and amazingly relaxing digital showers. There’s also a spa gift shop.
What do you think? Have you been to a Gaylord Resort before?