We stayed here in 2009 on our fourth trip to Orlando, after booking we were a bit worried as we read some very worrying reviews of the hotel. We arrived right in the middle of the hotel refurbishment and were allocated one of the newly decorated rooms. Two extremely comfortable double beds, tv, free wifi, large wardrobe and set of drawers. There is a bathroom with shower and toilet, outside of which is where the sink is allocated along with fridge, microwave and hairdryer, there were 2 adults and 2 children staying in the room and we never felt cramped.
The staff were lovely and friendly and felt very safe with the security patrols. The hotel has 3 good sized swimming pools which can get busy but we could always find a sun lounger at one of them.
The location of the hotel could not be better, situated at the quieter end of International Drive there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance and Pointe Orlando Centre straight across the road.
We absolutely loved this hotel, so much so we have booked to visit again next year!
~~~ Background ~~~
I went to Florida with my boyfriend last year. I had been before but he had not. We wanted a hotel on International Drive because it is so central for all of the attractions, but I was aware of how tacky some areas of the drive could be. Imagine my surprise when we ended up staying down at the bottom end of the drive which is comparatively classy compared to the garish, blackpool-esque top end of the drive! We stayed at the Quality Inn Plaza from the 21st August until the 4th September 2010 and we had a wonderful holiday.
~~~ Introduction ~~~
On arrival we were placed in a room facing the back of the building, away from International Drive. At first glance, this may seem like a good thing, being away from the main tourist area...WRONG! If you are in a room at the back of the building you are facing the I4 which is a very busy 8 lane interstate. It's busy 24 hours a day. On entering the room we realised instantly that we could hear the roar of the traffic over the air conditioning. So we went down to reception to ask to be moved. In typical American fashion, this was not a problem and we were instantly moved to another room on a side area of the hotel...but still towards the back. We could still hear the traffic. My boyfriend looked at me hopefully, thinking it would be alright. But, after a nine hour flight and a 4 hour diversion to Tampa, I was in no mood to take half measures. It was 10pm I wanted a quiet room!!! So we went back down and my boyfriend bravely approached the desk for the second time. Again, this was not a problem, the placed us in a lovely room on the front of the building in block C.
On entering the room we were relieved to find that we couldn't hear a single sound from outside. Success! We collapsed in a heap, followed by nice cool showers after the Florida heat!
~~~ The Room ~~~
The rooms have been refurbished between 2009 and 2010 and some were still being refurbished when we were there.
The room is your typical motel room. You open the door and are looking towards the back of the room which has a sink area, dressing area and bathroom. On your left or right depending on where the room is, you will find a large window with good, heavy, blackout curtains and lighter net curtains. Under the window is the individually controlled air conditioning unit - an absolute must if you are visiting Florida. We used to set the A.C. so cold that we would wake up shivering during the night!
The room had two twin beds with mustard coloured top sheets and lovely soft feather pillows. The beads had large, dark wood headboards. All of the furniture in the room matched this dark wood and the overall look of the room was clean and modern. None of your old style mish mash of colours on the beds and curtains!
On the wall opposite the beds there was a large standard lamp, a desk, a large TV unit with flat screen TV and a chest of drawers and a large wardrobe. All the storage space you need! There was also a nice armchair by the window and beside tables and lamps between the beds. The bedside tables had a radio alarm clock, plug points and a cupboard underneath which is where the room safe is located.
The room was very clean, neat and tidy. It was larger than we needed and would comfortably accommodate a family of four. We were very impressed. It has clearly been refurbished recently and everything was brand new.
The beds were fairly hard compared to your own bed at home but were remarkably comfortable! It was wonderful to have proper feather pillows!
~~~ The Bathroom and Dressing Area ~~~
The bathroom area is closed off from the rest of the room by sliding doors of the same dark wood as the rest of the furniture. This is really handy as it allows the sink area to be used as a wee dressing room. The sink area had a large mirror and a marble worktop. The area was large enough to use as a dressing table or to shave at. There is also a hairdryer, a small fridge, a microwave, and a coffee maker with coffee etc there ready to use.
The bathroom was fairly small and a little bit stuffy, but it was very clean. There is a door which separates it from the large sink and kitchen area. There was a bath with a shower over it, a toilet, and a sink. Each room was provided with a 4 large bath towels, 4 smaller hand towels and a 4 face cloths. The towels were changed daily which was really useful as I usually had two showers every day, one in the morning and one before going out for dinner.
These bathroom and sink areas were very useful as they were closed off. This allowed me to get up and get ready earlier than my boyfriend and stand and blast my hair dry with the hotel hair dryer (hair takes an age to dry in the humid Florida air!)
~~~ The Hotel Facilities ~~~
The Quality Inn has a little shop called the Lite Bite Deli. It sells all of the usual essentials like water, juice, snacks, fruit etc. However, it is very expensive and I would avoid using it if possible. There are a number of other options which I will discuss in the next section.
There is also a restraint in the hotel called the Plaza Garden. We did not eat here as there were so many other choices which were cheaper and more inviting. As well as the restraint, the hotel has a gift shop selling T-Shirts and postcards and toys. It's very nice and there's great variety, but you tend to buy these sorts of things when you are out and about anyway so again, we didn't use it.
There are computers with pay as you go internet, phones, a post box etc all located in the reception area. One of the most helpful things we found is that there is a kiosk in the reception area where you can book various trips. We used this to book our day at NASA and Kennedy Space Centre. The girl there is very helpful and can tell you about various options for park passes and the iTrolly etc. She is a mine of information and I would recommend speaking to her about anything at all you have questions about!
The hotel also has three swimming pools. They are relatively small but absolutely lovely. They never seemed too busy, although, it being Florida, no one comes to sit by a pool. We went to the pool after a water park one day and it's lovely. The water is a nice temperature, it's quiet and secluded. Very relaxing away from the Florida Buzz.
There is a small play park at the back of the hotel but I doubt it is used often. The hotel has excellent parking space and a beautiful reception. The rooms are cleaned each day and at the end of the holiday it is generally accepted that you should leave the cleaner a tip as they are taxed quite highly and they really do a good job. We left about $30 (£20) which worked out at $2ish a day. This seems to be the generally accepted amount.
~~~ Hotel Information ~~~
Address: 9000 International Drive Orlando, FL 32819
Check in: 4pm. Check Out: 11am.
The hotel has 1020 rooms which are spread across six buildings just off of International Drive. It is rated as 3 star since the renovations and all rooms have wifi.
The hotel is about an hours drive from Orlando Sanford Airport and about 15 minutes drive from Orlando International.
The hotel provides free shuttle buses to Universal, SeaWorld and Wet 'n' Wild. It also provides a bus to the Disney parks but there is a small fee for this.
The hotel is pet friendly providing it is a small animal (less that 50lbs) which is kept on a lead at all times. They charge £10 per night per pet.
The hotel provide a variety of seasonal packages and activities. Most hotels in Florida will be affiliated with either Universal or Disney. This one is affiliated with Universal.
If you want to see photos of the hotel, here is a link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/52505735@N05/sets/72157624609400068/
~~~ The Hotel Location ~~~
The hotel is at 9000 International Drive. This is at the bottom end of International drive across from Pointe Orlando. This is generally regarded as the classier end of International drive. It is certainly quieter and has much nicer restaurants.
Right infront of the hotel you will find your breakfast provider for the two weeks...Sizzler. $5 for a buffet breakfast. This is perfect for a busy holiday like this one, however, you are best to arrive early (before 8am) or late (after 10am) otherwise you have to stand in a queue before you are seated and the buffet is very busy. The food on offer is your general buffet fayre but tastes great and there's loads of fruit in the fruit bar and cereals as well as the cooked food.
The hotel is near a number of great restraints. The Olive Garden is just up the street, this is a lovely family Italian. There is also the Pointe across the road. This is a wonderful area full of great eateries! We ate here several nights. Our favourite restraint of the whole holiday was a 5 minute walk from our room - Maggiano's. It's a big, noisy, family Italian restraint. It serves massive portions for great prices and all of the food is absolutely wonderful. While we were there there was a giant Italian wedding going on in one of the function rooms. If you stay at the Quality Inn Plaza you simply MUST eat a Maggiano's. It's wonderful! There are also more upmarket black tie restaurants in this area such as the Oceannairre Seafood Room which is really divine - we loved out waiter John - but very very expensive.
As well as being perfectly located for food, the hotel is only a 20 minute drive to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Both of these parks are worth two visits each! Please do not try to get around both in the one day, YES you can walk between them, but it's not worth it, you will miss things out! It's an easy drive too, up I.Drive, turn left, turn right and you're there. It is also only a 15 minute drive in the other direction to Sea World and Aquatica.
Disney is a slightly longer drive, probably about 40 minutes depending on which route you take. Still, it's reasonably straightforward to get there. You pass under the Disney sign after about 25 minutes driving, but it takes a further 15 minutes once inside the Disney boundary to get to your chosen park gates and then to park. The Disney Parks are Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. All of them are worth at least one visit! I'd suggest do the Magic Kingdom twice to really take it all in.
I should also mention here that there are a number of shops near the hotel which are cheaper than the hotel shops. There is a Walgreen's across the street. This is kind of like a Boot's pharmacy crossed with a convenience store. They sell everything (socks, toys, booze, digital cameras, make up, toys, towels, souvenirs, sweets, proper food, sunglasses, coffee, stamps) and are fairly cheap compared to theme park prices or hotel shop prices. We bought our water and root beer and stuff here.
~~~ Conclusion ~~~
If...no... WHEN I go back, I plan to stay in this hotel again. It is clean, tidy, friendly and very convenient. It's in the nice bit of I. Drive and away from the tackiness of the top end. There is an I.trolly stop (No 23) right outside the hotel so it's convenient even if you don't have a car. However, I would recommend a car, it's just so much better to be independent. We got a sat nav which made driving pretty simple.
This is a perfect base hotel for sleeping in and getting ready. It is wonderful to come back from a hot, sticky, busy and stressful day at a theme park and enter an icy cold room with a crisp, fresh bed to spread out on. It's not a luxury hotel by any standards, but it has everything you need for a magical holiday in Florida. I would not hesitate to go back to this hotel. Infact, I'd go back tomorrow!
The Quality Inn Plaza has been taken over by the Rosen Corporation who have a very good name in terms of hotel/motel quality. There is another Rosen hotel next door and I think you can now use some of their facilities too.
If you visit Florida, I cannot recommend a better budget hotel. It costs what a budget hotel should cost, but the quality and location make much higher than a simple budget hotel.
I booked to stay in this hotel with my boyfriend in March 2009 for 2 weeks through Virgin Holidays and after reading several not so good reviews about the hotel I was a bit worried about going. I couldn't have been more wrong!
The hotel is in an excellent central position down International Drive and is right opposite Pointe Orlando and Wonderworks, a short walk down the drive from the hotel you have got Pirates Cove golf, Walgreens, Subway, Dominos etc.
The hotel itself is very big and has 1020 rooms within about 7 blocks named A-G, If you are in block G be prepared for a long walk from reception to your room but in the florida sunshine this isn't a bad thing!
As like a lot of american "motels" the rooms all have massive windows at the front which people can just walk by and look straight through and see in to your room, so I would suggest keeping your net curtains closed all day. To be honest you are never in your room so this isn't a problem, it is just better to keep them closed so people can't nosy at what you have in your room.
The rooms have recently been renovated and look really lovely and modern, you can go to their website to see the pictures www.qualityinn-orlando.com. When we stayed we were in the old rooms which to be honest were in need of modernisaton but they were totally adequate for what you needed them for. The rooms are very clean and spacious and the bathrooms are also very clean. In your room you get:
two double beds, chair, bedside table, long set of draws, TV, fridge, coffee maker, microwave, clothes rail, great air conditioning unit, bath/shower, sink, large mirror.
A lot of people moan about the rooms saying they are too basic etc but in Florida you don't want anything fancy, you are never in your room you are always out at the parks till late or shopping etc. All you want is a clean room, comfy bed and somewhere to have a nice shower and that is what you get at the Quality Inn Plaza.
The restuarant is an all you can eat buffet and the breakfast is lovely and only costs $8 for as much as you like. In the evening they have different themes american night, italian night etc and the food also looked really nice but we didn't ever eat there as we were always out.
There are three outdoor swimming pools of which two are heated and they all have quite a few sunbeds around them, we went here usually at about 3:00pm for an hour just to relax before going back to one of the parks.
They have also got a little supermarket and deli etc but I would suggest walking down to the road and going to Walgreens as it is a lot cheaper than the hotel shop. The day you arrive I would suggest going to Walgreens and getting some milk, cereals, fruit juice etc and stick it in your fridge in your room, it is nice to come back after a long day at the park to a nice cold drink and some Fruit Loops :D There is also a Pizza Hut in the hotel park which is very handy, if you don't fancy going out after a long day just ring up and order your pizza then go pick it up and take it back to your room. The maids take your pizza boxes the next day for you.
You get free transportation to Universal, Seaworld, Aquatica etc from the hotel and I think the times are 8am, 10am, 12pm, 2pm but I am not 100% sure. Transport to the Disney parks is available but this isn't free and costs about $18 return. If you go to the ticket desk in the hotel reception and ask about local buses you can get to Disney for a lot cheaper than $18. That is what we did we got the i-ride to a local bus stop then got on a certain bus that took us straight to disney for about $2, you can't go wrong.
The i-ride is a great way of getting around International Drive and is so cheap there are stops all the way down the i-drive and one directly outside the hotel. It costs about $16 for a 2 week pass and you can then use the i-ride as much as you want during that time, it takes you all the way down to the premium outlets, it is well worth the money.
I have stopped in the Holiday Inn International Drive before and Parc Corniche but I would defantly stop in this hotel again. It is in an excellent position, really reasonable, the rooms are prefectly adequate (even more so now they have been renovated) and the staff are all very friendly. Please don't take notice of any bad reviews you won't be disappointed!
Weve stayed at this hotel twice now...once in 2003 and again in 2009 - and both times we havent been left disappointed.
Most hotels in Orlando (or america in general) are of the room only, motel variety and all have pretty much a standard layout and style... and to be honest - the Quality Inn Plaza is no different than the layout of the Holiday Inn or The Ramada. However, the good thing about this hotel is its location.
You have to drive everywhere in Orlando. Fact. You cant get about without some for of vehicle transport. Which means a constant designated driver. The beauty of the Quality Inn is that after a day of trekking around and driving to and from the parks - your right on the doorstep of a number of restaurants and bars and shops that everyone in your holiday party can enjoy without having to get back into the car. Across the road is Pointe, Orlando - filled with family bars and restaurants and shops galore (Sizzler, Johnny Rockets and Pizza Hut to name but a few).
Its also equidistant from Sea World as it is to Universal Studios.... both of which again, you need to drive to. And it has easy signed access to Disney world.
Whilst you arent going to get a different room at this hotel than youll get at a number of others... i would definately reccommend this hotel for its location.
Me and Boyfriend decided to stay at this hotel after reading the reviews which were 80% good and the price alone was a decider - £200 pp for 2 weeks in April 2009 great stuff!. When we arrived at the hotel I was pleased with the service and the room was very clean along with sky tv!
Another great point with this hotel is the location, placed on International Drive with Bars and restaurants across the road and directly infront of the hotel was the I Ride Stop. For those of you that have never been here this is a little tram that takes you up and down International Drive as it is huge! This tram also takes you to the Prime Outlets (great for shopping!)
The hotel also provided complimentry shuttle transfers to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and to Sea World. The hotel can also arrange transfers to Disney World...you do have to pay for this as its about 45 minutes, the cost of this was $16 return but was the quickest and cheapest price around to get there so we took the shuttle with them to get there and they provide many return time slots, which was also great!
The hotel has 3 swimming pools which were all very clean along with a sports bar, shop and restaurant on site!
Can I also recommend across from the hotel is Millers Ale House, we found ourselves in here most nights! The food was delicious and very cheap and they also had great offers on the drinks! So would highly recommend going there for drinks and food if you stay at this hotel!
If i ever visit Orlando again I will definitley return to this hotel!
Myself and my wife stayed at the Quality Inn Plaza International in September 2008 for 6 days. The location of the hotel is its best feature. It is pretty much opposite Pointe Orlando shopping mall (with numerous shops, restaurants and a cinema). It is about a 5 minute walk from Ponderosa which is a great place to go for a buffet breakfast in the morning. It also is about a minute walk from Pizza Hut and TGI Friday.
We had a car but I think the hotel may put on a shuttle bus to the main theme parks (most hotels on i-drive do). The rooms are very basic but acceptable. They contain 2 queen size beds, tv, fridge and bathroom. The rooms are very typical for the hotels in the area. We didn't use the pool at all as there was so many other things to do so I can't comment on that. If you want to shop, there are numerous outlet centres in the area. Premium outlets and Prime outlets are the two best. Also visit Florida Mall if you have a car (do not attempt by bus, we did once and it took us about 1hr 15 mins to get there when it is around a 10 min drive by car!!).
A no-frills hotel that does the job. Don't expect luxury.
we stayed at the QIP june/july 07 and was so impressed we have just booked to go this year.The hotel is in prime location on i drive ,the eateries are out of this world ,our favourite was the ponderosa.the hotel is cleaned daily,includes a laundry,3 pools and regular entertainment and a 24 hour deli .Never ate here but supposed to be good.They provide free transport to seaworld,universla studios,islands of adventure and wet n wild but make sure you book this in plenty of time as places go quick .
This was a great base for our Florida holiday, great spot on International drive, lovely heated pool and clean rooms. We did not taste the food as it is across the street from the Golden Corral resturant which is out this world. Easy to drive to the parks as they are all well signposted. There was entertainment on 3 nights a week but we were all too tired to go and watch it. (think it was singers).