“ 6500 International Dr - Orlando, FL, United States „
Booking a hotel in Orlando is a bit of a gamble, unless someone recommends a place to you, or you've been there before. No amount of research can really tell you everything about the place you are going to stay at. As it happens, we read many reviews of a number of different hotels before settling on the Ramada lakeside for our two week break in Florida.
Snuck between the 'Sports Dominator' and a row of smaller gift shops on International Drive, the Ramada is quite small by Orlando standards. At 14 storeys, with over 140 rooms, the hotel seems big, but in the whole scheme of things its quite small fry.
The small reception boasts a set of sofas and a PC with access to the Internet. The staff upon arrival were helpful and friendly and gave us over two cards to our room on the first floor. The hotel is in fact a 'motel', with direct access for everyone to every room from the side of the hotel. We were originally placed in room 110 which was on the ground floor.
The room was large in size with two double beds and a grand view of the lake and Wet n' Wild. The first thing I noticed about the room was the rattling of everyone's cases as the went by our room. The flooring outside the room can only be described as 'cobblestones' and the rattling became very irritating. This irritation was added to b y our disorientation through jet lag and we went straight to sleep. I was rudely awoken by the sound of cleaners outside our room talking and laughing. Hilarious. Their cleaning room was situated right outside our room. This, added to the 'cobbles' was the last straw, so as soon as we were sorted, we went to reception to complain.
We were quite annoyed, but the receptionist was happy enough to change our room to a room on the fourth floor, which was much better. The room was basically the same, two double beds, large bathroom with shower and a nicer view of the lake.
The room was nicely furnished, if a little 'flowery'. The room had plenty of drawer space for clothes, but had an open hanger system near the door. The room had a lockable safe, which we used to keep our passports in. This was charged at $2 a day. The room had a small table with two seats next to the window. The room also had a fridge and a microwave.
On the whole the staff were friendly and helpful, without being too overbearing. It was a bit unfortunate then that when looking at the photos on the Internet, things looked a lot 'bigger'.I would have to say though that the cleaning ladies came quite early, around 9:30 and seem to be there most of the day, until at least 4:30, which was a bit annoying as we were still getting ready to leave when they wanted to come in and clean.
Firstly, the breakfast room was very, very small. A continental breakfast is included with your stay, but you'll be lucky to ever get in there and have a seat. Served from 6:30 until 8:30 am, this consists of muffins, toast, cereal and doughnuts as well as a few pieces of fruit. We never managed to eat in the small breakfast room and took what we could get our hands on back to our room. In fact, I would recommend going to the local 'Sizzler' for an all you can eat breakfast for the very reasonable $3.99.
The hotel also has quite a small pool. I never saw the pool very busy, but we used it twice on a couple of our 'down' days and found it to be good - if a little cold. The pool and its surround were kept very clean throughout our visit. The sun catches the pool area from around 9am until early afternoon, so this is when its best to go there.
The hotel also provided a free shuttle service to Disney which was quite useful, if a little busy. We found that it went around the houses quite a bit and picked up a a number of other hotels. This made it difficult on some days when we had to stand all the way to Disney. It also wasn't that prompt, usually being around 20-40 minutes later than scheduled. I would definitely advise hiring a car, I think we would definitely do that next time.
Other amenities included a 'games' area, which consisted of Tekken 3 and an ancient Terminator video games machine. There was also a free ice machine and two vending machines which we never got to work. There was also a washing machine and tumble dryer on floor 5 (woe betide anyone whose room was near that racket!), which when I used it made my clothes dirtier than when I put them in.
On the whole, The Ramada lakeside was a good choice for the budget traveller. It wasn't anything special, but it was clean and tidy and very close to Universal and Wet n' Wild, which were easily within walking distance. We didn't spend a huge amount of time at the hotel really, but it felt comfortable and although we had a number of issues, these were promptly sorted out.
Having visited Orlando now, I wouldn't mind shelling out a little more to get a really decent place at a Universal or Disney resort, but for the budget traveller who likes things on their doorstep, then the Ramada is a good place to consider.
This was the first hotel we stayed at when we went on holiday to Orlando in 2003, it was then known as the Wellesley Inn but I think changed to Ramada in 2004. It is well situated on International Drive, Orlando for all the attractions and restaurants on this 1 mile long stretch. The room was extremely large with 2 queen sized beds and plenty of space to move around. It had a sectioned off wash area and bathroom with shower over the bath, microwave, safe, fridge, iron, ironing board, hairdryer, desk etc.
Unlike some hotel rooms in Orlando the bathroom was a separate room, some of the others had a room with bath/shower and toilet which was lockable, but the washing area was just sectioned off, meaning you had to warn other people in the room that you were about to wash your "bits." To make matters worse this area is positioned by the front door (luckily the maids knock - they have probably had their fair share of "not very pretty sights" before).
The rooms were very clean, at the time it was in the process of being refurbished so all the carpets, furniture and beds were new. A maid came in daily to tidy and make the beds. The sheets were changed every other day. From our room (all the rooms face the same direction) we had a great view over a lake and Wet n' Wild, one of the water parks in Orlando. If you looked closely you could sometimes see the turtles swimming in the lake.
We booked this holiday with First Choice and the hotel was given the equivalent of 2/3 stars, this was well deserved in respect of room size and cleanliness, but the amenities were somewhat limited. There was a swimming pool, but to swim from end to end would not expend much energy and take about 2 seconds! The games room was an open air corridor between the lifts and the swimming pool with approximately 2 or 3 machines and a cold drinks machine. A free breakfast was on offer but after poking our noses in and seeing just croissants, toast and juice we declined and went to Sizzlers instead (I feel another review coming on!), where for just $3.99 approximately £2.50 you could eat all you want from the breakfast buffet. This was ideal for us because it sets you up for the day and you really don't need (I said need not want!) anything else until the evening. Gives you a chance to burn off those pancakes and maple syrup too!
The style of the hotel, which is generally the same for all the hotels in Orlando, is that you access the rooms from outside the hotel, so anyone can get in the lift and walk along the balconies even if they don't have a room in the hotel. In my opinion, it makes you feel slightly unsafe, but all the rooms have spy holes in the doors so that you can check who is outside. But let you children know that they must never open the door without checking with you first.
The hotel didn't run a shuttle service to the Theme Parks, or it didn't when we were there, fortunately this wasn't a problem for us as we had hired a car. However you can always get the trolley bus that runs the length of International Drive and will take you to Seaworld, Wet n Wild (you could walk there its only 5 minutes away) and Universal Studios. Disneyworld is an approximately 15 minutes away by car.
All in all this hotel would be fine for a couple without children, but if you have children you would be better suited staying in a hotel like the Holiday Inn, which is just over the road, as it is much more family orientated with great swimming pool, games room etc. In the evening you have to find your entertainment along International Drive or elsewhere as there is no bar or entertainment at the hotel.