Sep 15 2008

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Westin Imagine Orlando hotel a best bet for business travel

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Orlando_hotels
By Samantha Chapnick

If I were a business traveler and needed to choose among the Orlando hotels, the Westin Imagine Orlando would be one of my top choices.

For starters, a little more than half of the rooms are one-bedroom suites. These are particularly well suited to business travel as they have a feature that is so intuitively smart, I wonder why few hotels have implemented it. The bathroom has two doors — one that opens to the living room and one that opens to the bedroom. People in either one can access it without disturbing the privacy of the other. In my mind, it’s a really important feature for anyone who plans on sharing a room with someone else — or anyone who has a partner, spouse or child who gets up earlier or stays up later then they do.

Second, I think the location is ideal. We’re talking tranquility and proximity. The convention center is literally across the street, and Universal Studios and CityWalk are a few minutes away by car or the hotel’s free shuttle. Plus, it’s an easy, traffic-free drive from Highway 4 and close to the part of International Drive that has the upscale restaurants and shops, but it’s far enough from the main roads and Disney World that there is virtually no noise from the city or families seeking mouse-made fun. 

Third, this hotel is an incredible deal. Thanks to its three-star rating, prices hover around $200 per night even during the high season, if booked in advance. However, in my book, the hotel we experienced was more of a four-star property.

The decor is lovely and all that, but it’s the service that earns my extra star.

Each staff member seemed to take personal responsibility for our happiness during our stay. I made several requests from housekeeping and the front desk, all were responded to literally almost immediately. Around 11 p.m., I asked for extra blankets and sheets to make up the sofabed. The housekeeper was there in under 3 minutes and insisted on making the bed himself. When I called the front desk with a time-sensitive Internet access problem, the hotel’s IT manager was in the room within (yes, literally) two minutes. When we were not able to get a good resolution from the telephone support  agent, he called the president of the company and his local sales rep and worked at it until someone came to physically fix the wiring in the hotel. While the problem was not solved as quickly as I would’ve liked, they did the best they could under the circumstances and made up for it by pro-actively reimbursing me.

if I were going to Orlando for a convention, the Westin Imagine Orlando would be my first choice of accommodations.

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Samantha Chapnick is a New York writer who scours international destinations looking for what hasn’t been found.

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