My life is a strange conglomeration of paradoxes. I often make this statement to my friends: one week I can barely afford to pay my rent, and the next week I’m being whisked off on luxurious trips to fun destinations.
I like the variety of experiences I have along the way, including accommodations. I’m pretty happy in a hostel, but every now and then I want a mint on my pillow, goddammit.
In Orlando, I was fortunate enough to stay in an incredibly upscale suite at the Westin Imagine, an Aeroplan partner hotel. I arrived disheveled and tired after losing my luggage, and was so happy to just retreat to my room.
Perhaps that’s what I loved the most about this whole Orlando experience: it was a true escape. Other than a couple of planned activities, I had a full week to myself. And with the hotel being so amazing (and unbelievably quiet), I was quite content to spend a day or two unwinding by the pool or catching up on writing from my balcony overlooking the resort.
The pool, by the way, rocks. I was feeling mildly self-conscious about swimming alone, but a text from my friend Glassman saying, “Seriously, how often do you get the opportunity to swim in an outdoor pool?” snapped me out of my attitude. If I could be a mermaid and live in the water, I would.
For the first time in weeks, I also took the opportunity to wake when I FELT like it. Imagine that! And then I’d simply stretch out in my king-sized bed and turn on the TV for some morning news.
Wine and dine
The Westin Imagine also made me confront that awkward feeling you get when eating alone. I brought a book with me to look less like a loser at the swanky Fiorella’s Cucina Toscana, but I’m not so sure it helped. I couldn’t figure out what to do with the crumbly cheese on my dish, and accidentally spilled half of it in my lap.
The restaurant, however, was pretty damned good. I ordered the lobster ravioli the first night and then a whole slew of other dishes for the following nights. And beer. Cannot forget the beer.
All class, all the time. New blog slogan.
Good service goes noticed
My favourite part of the hotel? The service was exceptional. Employees were incredibly kind to me when I lost all my stuff, and even replaced half my toiletries. Then when I wanted some information for the area, they went out of their way to help me out. Even the pool staff were crazy nice.
The maids even learned my morning coffee habits, and brought me extra packets. Bless them!
WiFi is a MUST, and so are other tech-friendly options
My least favourite part? Being a hotel largely focused on the business traveller (the insanely big convention centre is directly across the road), I had to pay $15/day for Internet. Yes, I ended up spending over $200 for Internet, and sometimes for only a couple of hours a day. Free WiFi is SO important! Dishing out that cash broke my heart.
You’d be wise to get a rental car, especially if you’re here for the theme parks. Orlando has a lot of freaking sprawl.