Suit More than a

For a busi­ness con­ven­tion ho­tel, the hy­att re­gency or­lando of­fers more lux­ury and hu­mour than you might think

Virtuozity - - Destination -

It might be known as a sim­ple con­ven­tion ho­tel, suited mostly to busi­ness trav­ellers, but the hy­att Re­gency or­lando is much more than a desti­na­tion for stuffy suits.

Si­t­u­ated on In­ter­na­tional Drive, and con­nected to the or­ange County Con­ven­tion Cen­tre (OCCC), cer­tainly the ho­tel has plenty of cre­den­tials as a busi­ness-friendly desti­na­tion. but any­one at­tend­ing a con­fer­ence at the OCCC would be pleas­antly sur­prised to find they’re stay­ing at such an in­trigu­ing and pleas­ant ho­tel as the hy­att Re­gency.

Con­structed in 1986, the ho­tel was orig­i­nally called the Pe­abody or­lando, a brand ex­ten­sion of the well-known Pe­abody ho­tel in mem­phis, ten­nessee. the ho­tel was ren­o­vated to the tune of $450 mil­lion in 2010, with the ad­di­tion of a 32-storey wing that dou­bled the num­ber of rooms. the ex­ten­sion tower, stand­ing at 130 me­tres tall, is the se­cond-tallest build­ing in metropoli­tan or­lando.

Cer­tainly, the num­bers speak of a stan­dard busi­ness ho­tel, but they only tell half of the story. the Pe­abody ac­tu­ally built its rep­u­ta­tion as a ho­tel where con­fer­ence go­ers could un­wind in the lap of lux­ury af­ter a tough day. not only were the fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vice fan­tas­tic, but the prop­erty had some­thing of a sense of hu­mour about it, too. one of its hall­marks was the daily duck march (no, that’s not a mis­print). twice a day, at 11am and 5pm, a pa­rade of ducks marched to and from the ho­tel’s foun­tain, guided by ‘duck masters’. the ducks crossed a red car­pet lead­ing to a pri­vate el­e­va­tor, link­ing their lav­ish rooftop en­clo­sure with the lobby foun­tain, specif­i­cally de­signed for them.

It was a tra­di­tion that took place ev­ery day from open­ing day on 1986. to­day, the ducks are gone, thanks to the fact that the prop­erty was bought by the hy­att group in 2013—for a cool $717 mil­lion—and

re­named the Hy­att Re­gency Or­lando. Hap­pily, though, de­spite the loss of the ducks, the ho­tel gi­ant has man­aged to pre­serve the prop­erty’s warm feel­ing and sense of oc­ca­sion.

The ho­tel fea­tures a large, im­pos­ing drive­way adorned with mar­ble, lead­ing up to an equally large foyer, glass-walled and floored with plush, lux­u­ri­ous car­pet. In­side, the ho­tel uses its size to its ad­van­tage – the lobby stretches up for sev­eral storeys, cre­at­ing an airy and re­fresh­ing feel. How­ever, the use of dark colours and fur­ni­ture crafted out of heavy woods bal­ances the light feel, pro­vid­ing a warm and wel­com­ing am­biance—much ap­pre­ci­ated when the state’s char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally heavy rains hit.

The ho­tel fea­tures 1,639 gue­strooms, in­clud­ing 192 spa­cious suites de­signed for ei­ther busi­ness trav­eller or hol­i­day­ing fam­i­lies. The con­tem­po­rary dé­cor, made up of pas­tel-coloured shades, goes well with the ameni­ties, and cer­tainly suit the larger suites. The so­phis­ti­cated 780-square-foot Metropoli­tan Suite of­fers a sep­a­rate work desk area and floor-to-ceil­ing views of the grotto or pool, while the 1,357-foot Premier Suite is the ul­ti­mate res­i­den­tial-style re­treat in Or­lando. All of the suites fea­ture 42-inch flat screen TV’S, ipod dock­ing sta­tion, and mod­ern spa-like bath­rooms with TVS in the mir­rors.

The ho­tel it­self is equally well equipped; the Or­lando Spa of­fers a col­lec­tion of mas­sage, fa­cial, full-body es­capes, pro­fes­sional sa­lon ser­vices and fit­ness classes. And the 24-hour fit­ness cen­tre of­fers three sep­a­rate stu­dios for strength, car­dio and core con­di­tion­ing, as well as ad­di­tional stu­dios for group ex­er­cise and in­door cy­cling.

Else­where, there are three sprawl­ing pools, cas­cad­ing wa­ter­falls, slides, and a Pool­side Bar and Grill. The ho­tel’s lux­u­ri­ous Grotto and Ter­race Pools are re­served for ho­tel guests.

As for din­ing, the orig­i­nal Pe­abody was al­ways well known as a desti­na­tion for fine food, by both res­i­dents and tourists. And the Hy­att Re­gency has hap­pily pre­served that tra­di­tion. The fresh­est se­lec­tion of Florida seafood and coastal cui­sine is avail­able at Ur­ban Tide, and the Co­conuts Pool­side Bar serves up some of the state’s finest cock­tails. For a more tra­di­tional fine din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, opt for the Fiorenzo Ital­ian Steak­house, which com­bines the charm of an au­then­tic Ital­ian restau­rant with a re­fined se­lec­tion of steaks, chops and seafood—all served in gi­ant, Amer­i­can-sized por­tions so you can eat un­til you burst.

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