I must say this is a first-time for me: I have never written before a hotel review (unless you consider my Caribbean hotels guide a review). In fact, you guys know I haven’t stayed in many hotels in my life. Fortunately, my last time in Orlando, Florida, I was able to stay at the Avanti Palms Resort & Conference Center. This was a good experience since it’s one of my first experiences and also because it gave me the chance to explore a known destination from another perspective. As you guys know, I am a hostel person. Let’s say that this is a hotel review done by a newbie, or by someone who does not have as many experiences with hotels.
Let’s talk a bit about Orlando…
There isn’t a most common destination for Puerto Ricans other than Orlando. As you guys know, the Puerto Rican community in the city is growing at a fast pace (and even faster after Hurricane Maria). It’s becoming common for many of us to visit the city more than usual since our family and friends are living there.
My first time visiting Orlando was in 2007 during my Senior Trip. I must admit it: I totally hated it. Based on the fact that many friends live there, I gave it a second chance and went back in 2015 just for a concert. In 2017, I ended up in Orlando when I had my situation in Spain. Thanks to that reason, I had to go back in July 2018 since most of my stuff was stored there. This was the time I was lucky enough to stay in the Avanti Palms Resort & Conference Center.
Avanti Palms Resort & Conference Center
I couldn’t believe I had the chance to stay in a hotel like this. Avanti Palms Resort & Conference Center is located right in the center of International Drive, which is one of the main tourist sites in the city. From the hotel you can walk for different dining options, touristic attractions such as Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, the Orlando Eye, and the Titanic Experience. You can also take a bus or Uber for options such as the Outlets or the Universal Studios Parks.
The hotel has two towers and rooms around the garden and poolside. I had the chance to stay in a tower room with the view of Universal’s Volcano Bay (though this time I didn’t have the chance to visit it!) Avanti Palms Resort & Conference Center count with meeting rooms. The hotel has more than 20,000 square feet of space for special events. Other amenities are a beach volleyball court, an amazing pool with an on-site bar and shuttle services to Universal Parks and Walt Disney Parks.
Do I recommend Avanti Palms Resort & Conference Center?
I certainly recommend staying in this hotel if you are planning a family trip to Orlando or either if you are a traveler like me, who needs to walk around the area you are staying in. I believe that this location and the amenities of the Avanti Palms Resort & Conference Center make it perfect if you are traveling to visit the parks with your family. Even though in Orlando renting a car is highly recommended, I believe that from this location, you can do the most with the shuttle services and Uber.
For us, hostel lovers, backpackers, travelers who love to walk, what makes this hotel perfect is all the options you can find around. On my first day there, I felt happy because I was able to find a Dairy Queen right next to it (Sorry guys, we don’t have Dairy Queen anymore in Puerto Rico) and I needed a blizzard. There are also several dining options and also, where to shop souvenirs or anything you need.
Where to Eat around Avanti Palms Resort & Conference Center
Café Mineiro is an amazing Brazilian buffet that I truly love. It’s located right in front of the hotel and the prices seemed reasonable for me. Definitely, my favorite thing from Café Mineiro was the Pao de Queijo. Trust me, if you ask me, this would be one of the main reasons for me to go back to Orlando.
I only went to Black Angus Steakhouse for breakfast but I totally loved their buffet. For $11, I had the most amazing breakfast including eggs, waffles, ham, french fries, pancakes and coffee. This si definitely my recommended spot in case you are looking for a place to have breakfast.
Attractions around Avanti Palms Resort & Conference Center
Magical Midway is totally walkable from Avanti Palms Resort & Conference Center. This is an amazing and unexpensive option if you are travelig with your family since it has free admission. It has an arcade, go karts, star flyer and a sling shot. I must admit that I really didn’t visited it (remember I’m not a park person) but, due to its closeness with the hotel should definitely worth it.
Another option close to the hotel if you are looking for walking distance fun around. As it happened with Magical Midway, I really didn’t had the chance to visit it but definitely, it’s location makes it worthy.
What are my favorite things to do in Orlando?
As I already mentioned, there are a lot other destinations that I prefer to go rather than visit Orlando. I am not a park person, so, this list will include some of the things I do in the city rather than going to parks. Thanks to my amazing friends who are the ones that have shown me most of this places just because, being a local makes it way easier. Write down these if you are definitely looking to do something awesome in Orlando.
Gideons Bakehouse: The best cookies I’ve had in my life.
Walk around Winter Park: It’s a now town where you can find cool and local stores
Downtown Orlando: Definitely, my favorite part of the city.
The Prime Outlets: Because, shopping!
The Florida Mall: Same as above!
Black Rooster: Their Mexican food is totally awesome.
Rocco’s Tacos: Their nachos are glory!
Savoy: The loveliest gay bar I had ever visited.
Nona Blue: Hands down, thanks to my friend Francoise this is my favorite bar in Orlando.
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