Wednesday, February 11, 2015

On Location: Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World

During PGA Merchandise Show week in Orlando, I spent an afternoon playing golf, enjoying lunch at the clubhouse and taking a brief tour of this luxury resort property.

Opened in August 2014, the Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World has been creating lots of buzz, especially among leisure luxury travelers, golfers and business meeting groups.

While Orlando has more than 115,000 hotel rooms, its upscale, luxury offerings are somewhat limited and the Four Seasons is a welcome addition for those who like a 5-star resort experience on and off the fairways.


Originally built in 1992 and designed by Tom Fazio in Disney's portfolio of courses (named Osprey Ridge), the resort's Tranquilo Golf Club was re-designed by Fazio as well.  His enhancements included renovating bunkers, expanding and re-positioning landscaping to enhance visibility and airflow and creating a completely new hole.

I liked the course as Osprey Ridge and like it even better as Tranquilo Golf Club. The golf experience encompasses varying elevation changes, some elevated tees, protected wetlands and numerous Southern live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. Fazio is one of my favorite designers because he has mastered the technique of making courses enjoyable for all skill levels, not just for power hitters and scratch players.

All the greens have been resurfaced with Tiff Eagle Bermuda grass. The new hole is the par three 16th, which measures 163 yards from the back tee. Interestingly, the course concludes with a 217 yard par three fronted by a large bunkers and a pond to the left.

The 6,901-yard course is a par 71 with four sets of tees to accommodate all skill levels.

"I am very proud of the transformation of the Tranquilo Golf Club golf course," says Tom Fazio. "Since the course opened more than 20 years ago, it has been considered among the best courses in the region, and the recent upgrades and improvements to the course will surely solidify that reputation for many years to come."


Designed in a Spanish Revival architecture style, the hotel has 443 rooms (including 68 suites). The lobby and common areas are luxuriously appointed with beautiful art, flooring and furniture.

The guestrooms feature tasteful soft, elegant colors (beige, teal and orange) with white furnishings. In the evenings, you can view the Magic Kingdom's nightly fireworks from your room.

Guestroom amenities include:

--Twice daily housekeeping service
--Hypoallergenic bedding
--Thick terry bathrobes
--Flat screen television
--Device charging station
--Marble mosaic bathroom with deep soaking tub, a separate oversized glass-walled shower, a separate WC and in-mirror T.V.

Resort amenities include:

--Adult-only pool
--Family pool with lazy river
--Full-service spa
--5-acre Explorer Island family playground with rock climbing wall, two water slides, sand volleyball and more
--3 Har-Tru tennis courts
--On-site Tom Fazio designed 18-hole championship course
--37,450 square feet of meeting space


For those tired of the same ol' hamburgers and wings at the clubhouse grill, the Four Seasons Orlando responds with Plancha, a Cuban American restaurant located at their golf clubhouse.

On my visit, I dined on empanadas, smoked bacon and black bean soup and marinated chicken followed by Tres Leches cake and a chocolate banana torta. My dining companions raved about their selections: The La Plancha burger with chorizo, maduro and smoked gouda cheese and the classic El Cubano grilled sandwich.

A unique touch is the outdoor smoking lounge area where you can enjoy an "apres golf"
cigar.  Better still, you can purchase a Plancha Cigar, which are hand-rolled and made exclusively for Tranquilo Golf Club. They also offer additional cigars from Davidoff, Padron and Romeo Y Julieta from their humidor.

Other dining options, include:

Capa--A 17th floor rooftop steakhouse bar with an open-kitchen and wood-burning grill.

Ravello--Features modern Italian cuisine, including pizza made in a wood-burning oven.

PB&G--A pool bar and grill with smokehouse grilled favorites like pulled pork sandwiches and smoked brisket burgers.


--It's only minutes away from Disney's theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom).
--Downtown Disney with Cirque du Soleil, House of Blues, Planet Hollywood and an AMC 24-screen theater is a five-minute drive.
--Other golf options within a 10 to 15-minute drive are Grand Cypress Resort, Marriott's Grande Pines, Celebration Golf Club, Falcon's Fire and Disney's other courses.
--Luxury shopping at Mall at Millennia is 15-minute drive away.


Four Seasons Orlando is situated in Golden Oak, Disney's new, private, luxury, residential community of upscale, custom homes. Hotel address: 10100 Dream Tree Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32836.


For more information, click to Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World or call 407-313-7777.