Orlando Luxury City Guide: As one of the largest cities in Florida, Orlando is big on fun. It has blossomed from being a major citrus grower into a top a tourism destination. Founded some time in the 1830s, Orlando was originally a hub of Florida's large citrus industry. Now it is home to a wide assortment of theme parks, including Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort. It is also the location of University of Central Florida, one of the country's largest colleges in terms of student enrollment.
The city of Orlando conjures up good times with its wide array of theme parks and family amusements, which make it one of the most visited cities in the nation. But Orlando is quickly becoming a luxury destination as well, thanks to some exceptional restaurants, and high-end shops.
Winter Park is where winter-dwellers live in Orlando. The neighborhood is filled with grand homes on cobblestone streets and oak trees covered in Spanish moss. Conveniently close by are some of Orlando's cultural gems, like Charles Hosmer Museum of American Art with a large collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Nearby Park Avenue provides some of the city's finest dining options, as well as ethnic eateries and specialty boutiques.
Close to downtown is the College Park neighborhood, so-called for its streets named after Ivy League schools like Princeton, Harvard, and Yale. Although many of the area's inhabitants have lived in the area for years, the homes in the area are rather expensive, thanks to the neighborhood's walkability. Stroll through Loch Haven Park, eat at hip restaurants and shop at trendy boutiques. Don't miss writer Jack Kerouac's former home, where he wrote much of On the Road. The home now it allows aspiring writers to stay for three months rent-free while they work on their great works.
Must Sees and Do's:
Since its reinvention as a tourist destination in the 1970s, Orlando has grown to encompass over 100 attractions, including the world famous Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort.
At Walt Disney World, enjoy a breakfast with Mickey and his pals with the kids. Then get away from it all with a massage at the Mandara Spa at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel. At night, hit up Downtown Disney's Pleasure Island and get into seven hot clubs for the price of one.
In the SeaWorld Orlando Resort, experience the lost city of Atlantis with an invigorating ride on the water coaster that takes you on an adventure. Universal Studios Florida gets the family animated, with a new take on an old favorite with The Simpson's ride. If theme parks are kid stuff, then head to the Orlando Ballet for an evening of dance and culture. Or hit some balls at the Eagle Creek Golf Club.
Wining and Dining:
After a long day of shopping in The Mall at Millenia, get your groove on at the Blue Martini lounge and dance the night away as you sip away at some very creative concoctions. Orlando's Restaurant Row, located on Sand Lake Road, provides over 20 upscale places to enjoy fine dining and entertainment from live music to dancing. Popular places include Timpano Italian Chophouse, Vines Grille & Wine Bar, and Seasons 52.
Many of the best places to eat are found within the resorts themselves, like Todd English's bluezoo at the Walt Disney World Dolphin. Or, for a luxurious meal of steak and lobster, head to The Palm at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort. Celebrity Chef Emeril Lagasse has brought his New Orleans flavors to Orlando, with Emeril's Orlando at Universal CityWalk Orlando and Emeril's Tchoup Chop, located at Royal Pacific Resort, a Loews Hotel at Universal Orlando.
For the VIP:
As Orlando continues to grow, it also continues to expand its luxury offerings. Check out these special ways to indulge like the VIP you are:
The Mall at Millenia and The Florida Mall not only offer upscale shops and department stores, they also offer special services. These include valet parking, full-service concierge, foreign currency exchange, gift wrapping, a taxi stand and even complimentary personal shopper services by appointment.
Orlando's hospitality extends beyond just exciting things to do, it also offers a wide array of spas to relax. Whether you're traveling with kids, the guys or the gal pals, Orlando offers a luxurious spa for you. Choose from the healing hands at The Spa at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, Spa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort or even The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Grande Lakes Orlando, to name a few of the most luxurious spas in the Orlando area.
The JustLuxe City Guides have been created for you, our discerning readers, to highlight the most sophisticated, the most popular and the most elegant locations in every destination.
Our local concierge continuously strives to ensure we feature the best of the best in luxury services, dining, hotels and more. Every city offers new things to enjoy, cultures to immerse yourself in and sights to see. We have sought out the best places to see, be seen or just be.