Conrad Orlando Review

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The Conrad Orlando was one of the most anticipated luxury properties in Orlando. It finally opened in January 2024, so I was excited for an opportunity to vist. First off, this property is absolutely stunning. The man-made lagoon is as blue in real life as in the pictures. As far as first impressions are concerned, you won’t be disappointed.

Staying at this property was important to me because I wanted to see how it compared to other luxury properties in Orlando. In addition, I’ve stayed at Conrad hotels in Asia, so there’s a high bar. Read my Conrad Orlando review now for the full details.

Conrad Orlando – Location

The Conrad Orlando is located at 1500 Eastbeach Way, Orlando, FL. While a bit isolated on its own, the hotel is a short drive to all of the major Disney theme parks. If you want to visit non-Disney attractions, you will need a rental car. Alternatively, you could take Uber or Lyft to get you to your destinations.

The hotel is the anchor tenant of the Evermore Resort. Evermore has two competing accommodations in multi-room condos and private villas. The good news is that Conrad guests have exclusive access to a pool and beach. 

There is a free shuttle service to the Disney parks for guests that take off about every hour. Unlike traditional Disney bus transportation, this luxury shuttle bus has much more comfortable seats. Some guests don’t even realize this service is available since the buses take off from the meetings and events side of the resort.

Conrad Orlando – Room type

The Conrad Orlando has 433 guestrooms. I originally booked a Double Queen Nature View (the back of the hotel) but was upgraded to a Lagoon View. This was a welcome upgrade, completely changing my perspective of the property. Having an obstructed view of the lagoon was breathtaking. It’s worth noting that you can see the nightly fireworks at Epcot from any room with a lagoon view, which was a nice bonus.

Conrad Orlando review lagoon

The standout feature of the room is undoubtedly the balcony. I believe every room has a balcony, so even if you don’t have a lagoon view, you’re still getting a nice private outdoor area where you can relax.

The room felt a bit bigger than other luxury hotels I’ve stayed at in Orlando, but this might be because I got an upgrade. It wasn’t super huge, but there was a big closet, a table with two chairs, additional stools for sitting, a mini fridge, a coffee machine, and a TV.

The washroom was very spacious. What I liked most was that the toilet was completely separate from the shower, so multiple people could get ready at the same time without feeling awkward. Byredo soap, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are provided.

Like other luxury properties in Orlando, the Corad offers daily turndown service. Two paper cartons of water are provided daily, but you can also ask the front desk for more anytime. I liked how you just pushed a button for privacy settings. There’s no need to hang anything on your door to ensure you’re getting privacy or need housekeeping.

Conrad Orlando – Amenities

Most people reading my Conrad Orlando review will want to know about the amenities. You get a nice mix of exclusive and unique amenities.

The pool is heated and rather big. I never found it too crowded (I visited in early April). I liked the pool because you could walk in from any area. Since there was no truly deep area, I wasn’t as worried about my daughter being too far away from me. While there is a children’s play area, it’s really just some water that shoots up from the ground. There are plenty of lounge chairs available and cabanas for rent. Children may also find the play area with bean bags and a giant Connect Four to be fun.

It’s worth mentioning that on the other side of the lagoon, Conrad guests can access the waterslide that’s available to all Evermore guests. This slide accommodates four people at a time but is pretty basic. I thought there would be another slide for such a vast property, but this is the only one.

The lagoon has multiple beach areas and the Conrad has exclusive access to one part. When you arrive, a staff member will ask for your room number. Once you’re checked in, they’ll provide towels and set up an umbrella for you. You can access the lagoon from the beach, but I should note that the water isn’t heated, so it’s quite cold. The water is also sectioned off, so you can’t enter the deeper areas.

Even though Conrad guests get exclusive access to their own beach section, it’s still worth exploring what the lagoon has to offer. That’s because there are other lounge options, such as hammocks and swings. There are also multiple bars where you can get refreshments. Note that refreshments charged on the Evermore side can’t can charged to your room.

Conrad guests also get free access to kayaks and paddleboards. Equipment is limited, so the lagoon never feels busy. For morning exercise, you can walk or run around the lagoon. 

The health club is located on the third floor, the same level as check-in. It’s not always easy to find as you must walk outside and past the spa to access it. However, the gym is massive, with plenty of machines and free weights. There’s also a room with bikes that hosts group workouts.

Speaking of the spa, this Conrad features the first official Conrad branded spa. Although I didn’t partake in any spa treatments, I was told there are multiple plunge pools with different temperatures. There are also rooms indoor and outdoor where you can get your treatments. Even though the property just opened, the hotel is already reconfiguring the spa area to make it even more luxurious. 

Another feature I loved is the Tipu Lounge. If you arrive early or need to stay a bit later before you depart for the airport, you can hang out in this little lounge. You can store your luggage, take a shower and enjoy the resort grounds until your room is ready or you depart.

One thing the hotel lacks is an outdoor play structure for kids. You’d think a property this large would have a playground, but it doesn’t. That said, the Conrad does have a kid’s lounge where kids can play. Parents can even drop off their kids as staff can watch over the little ones.

Conrad Orlando – Dining

The Conrad Orlando has five dining options on-site. In addition, you can access the food hall and restaurant across the lagoon. The restaurants on-site are as follows:

  • Ceiba – The Conrad’s signature restaurant that serves high-end Mexican cuisine.
  • Sophia’s Trattoria – This is the main restaurant that is Italian-inspired and open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Papaya Club – A great outdoor spot for quick bites and drinks. 
  • Apéro Your traditional lobby bar.
  • Little Spoon – A grab-and-go option for light fare and snacks.

I ended up dining at four of the five options, so I think I have a fairly good idea of the offering. Without a doubt, the food and beverage is where the Conrad may need some work.

Papaya Club

I arrived at the hotel at 3 PM and was looking for a late lunch. Papaya Club was the only sit down dining option open, so we headed there.

A quick look at the menu shows that the restaurant is Asian-inspired. Since I was only looking for a light snack, I ordered the octopus. My wife didn’t eat much on the plane, so she went for the ahi tuna toast. The server advised my wife that the portion was small, so she suggested ordering something else. My wife went for the pork gyoza.

The presentation of my octopus was excellent, and it was cooked perfectly. However, the price was steep at US $28 (CAD $39). I understand that is a luxury hotel, so prices are expected to be inflated, but this was incredibly expensive.

Conrad Orlando review

My wife’s tuna toast was more like tuna crackers. They tasted excellent, but US $18 (CAD $25) for about six bites of food is a bit much. Her single-bite gyozas weren’t much better at US $15 (CAD $20). Ironically, those were the cheapest parts of her meal. She ordered a cocktail in a tiki cup that cost US $20.

The real kicker for me was the kids’ menu. They had nothing printed out, so the servers had to repeat it for every guest. We ordered a hot dog and fries for my daughter at US $20 (CAD $28), which was insane. 

Ceiba

My next meal was at Ceiba. After the prices and portion sizes at Papaya Club, I was slightly worried, but Ceiba was easily the best on-site restaurant and one of the best Mexican meals I’ve had in the city. The restaurant is on the eight floor, so you get great views of the lagoon, pool, and golf course. There is an outside dining area, but it can get windy and cold, so ask for a seat indoors.

The staff at Ceiba were excellent and attentive. They were very clear about how the menu works and what to expect. Essentially, Ceiba serves modern Mexican cuisine in a high-class setting. Oddly enough, I thought the prices for the food were perfectly reasonable for the quality and service. That said, I did come across a guest who told me he couldn’t believe he paid US $58 (CAD $80) for a specialty tequila. He said it tasted good, but not US $58 good.

We ordered a few different appetizers since I was dining with a friend. We had the guacamole, carne apache, and ensalada de esquites. The presentation and flavours of each dish were absolutely stunning.

As for the mains, we had the barbacoa de cordero (US $48), enchiladas verdes de pollo (US $31), and al partor tacos (US $21). Even if you don’t like lamb, you may want to consider the barbacoa. With their flavours and cooking methods, you don’t get the gamey taste you normally get with lamb. I personally love tacos and have no complaints. The enchiladas were a very generous portion since you get four. 

Sophia’s Trattoria

We had Sophia’s Trattoria before departing on the day we checked out. As a Hilton Honors Diamond member, I get a food and beverage credit of US $25 per person per day. However, the breakfast buffet is US $45. Admittedly, that’s on par with other luxury hotels in Orlando. Although the buffet has your standard scrambled eggs, potatoes, two proteins, a continental section, a dessert section, and a fresh omelette station, I did find it a bit lacking.

That’s not to say the quality of the food is bad. In fact, the food is excellent. However, if you’ve ever been to a Conrad or any Asian luxury hotel, the breakfast options are about three times the size. They also serve both Asian and Western food. Of course, hospitality differs in Asia, but frequent travellers can’t help but compare. Again, the quality of food was great, but I’ve been to other hotels in Orlando that had more options at their breakfast buffet. This hotel doesn’t have a Mickey Mouse waffle machine, which was disappointing.

We decided to order a la carte. My wife got avocado toast, and I got steak and eggs. At US$21 (CAD $29) and US $32 (CAD $44), respectively, that was about right for a hotel of this quality. Oddly enough, my daughter’s breakfast of one egg, a choice of protein, and a hashbrown for US $18 (CAD $25) was arguably the best value.

Little Spoon

With high food prices, I made a few stops at Little Spoon. Although prices were slightly more reasonable, some things made me think twice. It’s worth mentioning that this stop gets incredibly busy in the morning as it’s the only place to grab coffee quickly.

The prices on some of the items were so high, that some of the guests were absolutely shocked. For example, one day, while I was in line, someone asked how many muffins came with the “assorted muffins” since it was US $10. When they realized it was just one muffin, they just got a coffee. A similar thing happened the next day. Someone asked how many cinnamon buns came with the US $12 “cinnamon buns.” They were equally shocked to find out it was just one. A bottle of Coke cost me US $6.50. In addition, a 10% tip is added to all orders here.

Apéro

I didn’t dine at Apéro, but I did get some shots of the bar.

Conrad Orlando – Cost

A quick look at the Hilton website shows nature view rooms for about US $650 a night. Pool and lagoon views will cost about US$50 – 70 more. That’s not crazy expensive by luxury hotel standards, but it’s more costly than the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, which I stayed at recently. 

Note that the daily resort charge of US $50 is included in the room rates, but not tax. There’s also a daily valet parking rate of US $50 (no self-parking available), so additional costs must be considered. While resort fees are common in Orlando, they’re still annoying Trying to explain to travellers that the resort fees are for things such as internet, fitness classes, and non-motorized water rentals is a bit silly. 

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Since the Conrad is a Hilton property, you can use your Hilton Honors points for free nights. If you hold a Hilton credit card that gives you a free annual night certificate, using it on the Conrad is a no-brainer since it offers incredible value. 

However, if you want to use your points, you need to think things through. A nature view room costs US $669 but only 90,000 Hilton Honors points, whereas a lagoon view will cost you 247,000 points per night but has a cash rate of US $737 a night. In other words, using points on a basic room is a good value, but you may want to skip the upgrade.

The points angle for Canadians is a bit different. The only way to get Hilton points is to transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points over at a 1:1 ratio. Using the base room as an example, you’d need to transfer 90,000 American Express Membership Rewards points to get 90,000 Hilton Honors points. Those Amex points have a cash value of $900, but US $669 is about CAD $924, so you come out slightly ahead with the transfer. Since hotel prices are dynamic, you always need to do the value calculation when you’re about to book.

Final thoughts

My Conrad Orlando review is positive. The property is a worthy addition to Orlando’s luxury hotel scene. Since this is an actual resort, visitors should plan to spend as much time as possible on-site. As in, don’t come here just to sleep after spending all day at a theme park. The resort is best enjoyed when you don’t have any other plans.

The lagoon and property are stunning, but you’re isolated if you don’t have a car unless you take one of the shuttles to Disney Springs. In addition, the food prices are insanely high. Yes, this is a luxury hotel, but quite a few guests I spoke to said it’s too much for what you get.

Would I stay here again? Definitely for the overall experience and relaxation. However, except for Ceiba, I’d be in no rush to return to any restaurant.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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