Where endless sunshine and vacation mania meet, Orlando – a city in central Florida – is home to more than a dozen theme parks ranging from the world-famous Disney World to the more recent addition, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The sunny city is also home to arguably the highest concentration of the most playful and unique hotels in the world. To help you choose one for your next vacation or city break, from quirky boutiques to sprawling resorts, here are my personal favorite picks for the best cool and unique hotels in Orlando, Florida…
Our Top 3 Best Cool and Unusual Hotels
Gaylord Palms Resort
One of the best Orlando hotels, The Gaylord Palms Resort features a huge 4.5-acre glass-enclosed atrium and a theme that represents the best of Florida – Key West, the Emerald Coast, St. Augustine, and The Everglades.
Celebrating Florida’s history, culture, and natural beauty in both architectural style and landscape design, the sprawling 1,406 room hotel showcases the old-world charm of St Augustine, the gently rising mists of the Everglades to the funky and vibrant island revelry of Key West to the Spanish-infused.
A place that has to be seen to be believed!
Natural landscape design
Nine on-site restaurants
Outdoor South Beach Pool
Minutes away from Disney World
Wi-Fi is extra
Tight parking space
Lake Nona Wave
Art, high tech and lush gardens come together to create luxurious spaces at the Lake Nona Wave Hotel, close to Orlando International Airport.
Art lovers will love the world-class collection of futuristic outdoor sculptures in the garden, and can choose one of the 18 artistic suites, most of which also have balconies.
All rooms and suites have sweeping views, state-of-the-art technology with 65-inch HD smart TVs, digital concierge via tablets, voice- and app-controlled in-room control, View glass smart windows and lighting and temperature control.
There are thoughtful touches like complimentary parking and EV charging, and stylish amenities including two bars, a pool with colorful cabanas, and Technogym fitness studio.
The BACÁN restaurant with a menu drawn from the Americas and a dramatic open kitchen overlooks a stunning garden, and the Haven serves up drinks and Mediterranean dishes done Florida style in three different settings.
High-tech artistic accommodations
Technogym fitness studio
Six miles from the airport
Small shower area
No in-room microwaves
Slow pool service
This boutique hotel is one of the most interesting and unusual hotels in Orlando. Located close to the city center, Castle Hotel is known for its castle-like exterior, Bavarian-inspired interiors, and many modern amenities.
Each room is filled with a mixture of contemporary furniture, and ornate Bavarian-inspired decorations. Most pieces of furniture feature a decorative or artistic design, which is quite distinctive compared to other hotels.
This chic boutique hotel is more reminiscent of a luxurious European hotel than a hotel you would find in Orlando.
Each room features modern amenities including marble bathrooms, high-speed wireless Internet, large flat screen televisions, and room service. Castle Hotel also has an excellent restaurant, a bar, and a small pool.
Instagrammable boutique interior
Limited breakfast choice
Some weak water pressure
B Resort and Spa
The B Resort and Spa is a popular 394-room resort located a short drive from Disney World. It is a newly renovated resort that features some incredible amenities including a huge zero-entry pool, AVEDA full-service spa, and a world-class restaurant.
The interiors of the resort have received a spectacular renovation. The public spaces look like the office of a high-profile technology company more than a traditional Orlando resort.
You will enjoy the eclectic and colorful furniture, gorgeous lighting, and polished white surfaces. The rooms are colorful and somewhat playful, with splashes of bright colors on the floor and walls.
All guests can enjoy a complimentary shuttle to all Walt Disney World Theme Parks and the Downtown Disney area. There are also several large retail centers nearby, which makes the resort a great choice for shopaholics.
Eclectic modern interior
A zero-entry pool
AVEDA full-service spa
Short drive from Disney World
No in-room microwaves
Limited restaurant menu
Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel
The Hard Rock Hotel in Universal Orlando Resort comes with some special perks like skipping the theme park lines with FREE Universal Express Unlimited and early park admission an hour ahead of the crowds.
Plus it’s got all the rock-themed fun in a knockout tropical setting with a building in the grand style set amid swaying palm trees and blue waters.
You can choose rooms and suites with garden or pool views and many extra features like a performance stage for the kiddies, a separate entertainment area, and the superlative Graceland suite with a fireplace, baby grand piano and whirlpool tub worthy of The King himself.
There are plenty of dining options like The Kitchen with New American cuisine, and comfort food, the Palm which is a classic steakhouse, and the world’s largest Hard Rock Cafe.
There’s live entertainment at Velvet Sessions Orlando, Hard Rock Live, and much more.
Rock musical-themed rooms
A separate entertainment area
Palm-lined swimming pool
Authentic American cuisine
No free water in rooms
Some rooms are a bit compact
Hilton Bonnet Creek
Nestled in the 482-acre Bonnet Creek nature preserve, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is one of the most scenic accommodation options in Orlando.
It is a huge resort with more than 1,000 beautiful rooms and suites available. Despite the large size of this resort, it is a very relaxing and serene location. You can enjoy a walk through the nature reserve, a swim in one of the many large pools, or enjoy a day at the spa.
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is a short walk from Disney Springs — an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complex in Walt Disney World Resort. it is also a short drive from Disney World and other major theme parks. The resort has an incredible 3-acre lazy river pool with a water slide, which is ranked as one of the best resort pools in Florida.
Floating down this huge pool while enjoying the Florida sun is a wonderful treat. There are also twelve restaurants and a championship golf course to enjoy on the grounds of the resort.
Sleek contemporary accommodation
An on-site spa
3-acre lazy river pool
A championship golf course
Food a bit pricey
This sleek, modern downtown hotel is close to Camping World Stadium, Florida Mall, Amway Center, Church Street Station and all the shopping, nightlife and excitement of Orlando.
The light-filled rooms in muted colors with earth tones are perfectly organized for comfort, with sleek workstations and outlets exactly where you need them.
There are hydration stations on all floors and a unique DIY Lavender Turndown with sachets available in the lobby for a relaxing bedtime ritual.
A European-style breakfast is served every morning in the AC Kitchen and the AC Lounge, which is a shared workspace by day, serves drinks and tapas in the evenings.
The SkyBar Rooftop Terrace is another favorite hangout, with its stunning 360° city views and creative cocktails.
Sleek sophisticated interior
Daily European-style breakfast
SkyBar Rooftop Terrace
Stunning 360° city views
No on-site pool
Close to Orlando’s theme parks yet a world of understated luxury of its own, the ette wellness hotel has been winning superlatives from guests since it opened a few months ago.
From the Italian marble lobby to the Tuscan-style courtyard enclosing the swimming pool and the tranquil spa, no detail has been neglected.
The sleek rooms are furnished in calm earth tones, with Frette linens, exclusive lighting fixtures and really plush robes. Wellness suites have a Peloton bike and Technogym weights, and there’s a PENT gym for all guests.
Amping up the luxury factor is the Mediterranean eatery Salt & The Cellar by celebrity chef Akira Back, along with Asian haute cuisine at LIPA and a rooftop mixology bar and restaurant.
On-site pool and spa
Rooftop mixology bar
No in-room microwaves
Pricey restaurant food
Breakfast starts late
Whether you’re in Orlando for business, vacation or just to catch a concert at Camping World Stadium, this 54-room boutique hotel in South Orlando is close to everything, including the Amway Center, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios / IOA, and Orlando Science Center.
The focus is on comfort and convenience, with tech playing its part in the form of in-room tablets, digital concierge, mobile keys, automated room controls and more.
The restful, calm neutral palette in earth shades in the rooms and workstations make it easy to relax and prepare for the next day, and the gourmet coffee and herbal bath toiletries will keep you energized and grounded. There are complimentary EV charging stations for guests.
A meal at Delaney’s Tavern is a must, with a New American menu and amazing cappuccinos.
Quirky chic interior
Complimentary EV charging stations
No in-room microwaves
Street rooms are a bit noisy
The spectacular Aventura Hotel is just a short walk to Universal’s Volcano Bay, and there are free shuttle buses to all other parks, plus guests get special perks like early park entry.
The minimalist room design makes good use of the space, with furnishings in earth and sky colors like blue, grey and beige with wood accents and floor-to-ceiling windows with endless views.
Even if you’re not tech savvy you’ll find it easy to use the tablet that controls TV and room settings, which you can also use to order pizza, and you will love the cute room service robot named Relay.
Top class amenities include the rooftop Bar 17 Bistro with a stunning view, a refreshing swimming pool with a splash zone for kids and nearby fire pit area, a fitness center and market-style dining options at The Pantry.
Fun upscale family resort
Room service robot
Splash zone for kids
Rooftop Bar 17 Bistro
WiFi is a bit intermittent
No valet parking
Universal’s Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
As you can guess from the name, Sapphire Falls Resort is a tropical paradise with a Caribbean island feel, complete with lush gardens, blue waterfalls, and music in the air.
The sprawling, spectacular building is built around a 16,000 square-foot swimming pool with two sand beaches, cascading waterfalls and even a ruined stone tower from a pirates’ castle.
It’s right next to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, plus the Universal CityWalk, and guests get all kinds of exclusive benefits like early admissions and free shuttle buses and water taxis. The rooms have a breezy, coastal decor and smart room technology, mini fridge, coffee makers and a host of other amenities.
There’s a fitness center and four restaurants and lounges with varied menus including seafood and Caribbean dishes, and spectacular views to go with your meals, and you can also order room service.
Tropical Caribbean theme
Seafood options available
Onsite fitness center
000 square-foot swimming pool
Food can be a little pricey
No kettle in rooms
No in-room microwaves
If you thought Orlando was all about theme parks and family-friendly hotels, think again. It is also home to the Grand Bohemian Hotel— a stylish and sophisticated hotel located in the heart of the city.
While the exterior of the 15-storey Grand Bohemian Hotel has a modern and clean design aesthetic, the interiors of the building are opulent and luxurious.
You will enjoy many beautifully finished rooms featuring an eclectic range of furniture and color palettes. Many public spaces are clean, chic, and modern, while others have a classic design aesthetic with plush leather chairs, chandeliers, and oak tables.
You will constantly be surprised and delighted as you explore the many rooms within the Grand Bohemian.
The Florida boutique hotel is also home to more than £5 million ($6.5m) of art from Richard Kessler’s private collection. In addition, there are many original sculptures and carvings in the hotel’s public areas. The Grand Bohemian is well-located and is a short distance from some of Orlando’s best restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
It is also very close to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the Amway Center if you are coming to the city to see a play or musical. The hotel has many modern amenities including a fitness center, rooftop pool and whirlpool tub, spa, restaurant, and bar (the amazing Bösendorfer Lounge).
A stylish pet-friendly boutique hotel
On-site fitness center
A rooftop pool
Pool usually booked for private events
A huge fun and funky resort where the term ‘vacation’ is taken very seriously! The new and already popular Orlando upscale 4 star hotel is located in Kissimmee near many of the most popular Florida attractions.
The Margaritaville Resort is an island-inspired Caribbean-themed paradise where you can expect vibrant and colorful decor, a fun vibe and a palm-lined outdoor pool, and as well as a waterpark.
The funky and bright rooms offer flat-screen TVs and minibars and some have balconies and pool views too. If you’re staying a bit longer or have a family then there are extra beds and suites with kitchens on offer as well.
Caribbean themed interior
Palm-lined outdoor pool
Seafood options available
No room service
Busy pool area
Pricey food at the restaurant
Marriott’s Harbour Lake
Have you ever wanted to experience a Caribbean holiday without traveling to the Caribbean? If so, Marriott’s Harbour Lake is the perfect choice for your next holiday to Orlando!
It is a large tropical resort designed to resemble a Caribbean town, with buildings designed in a colorful Key West cottage style. It is quite a magical place guaranteed to enthrall children and adults alike.
There are both rooms and spacious one or two-bedroom villas available. The villas have fully equipped kitchens, screened balconies, and large living areas. The design aesthetic is modern contemporary with a splash of Caribbean color throughout.
There are plenty of fun activities to enjoy at the resort, including a 22,000-square-foot miniature golf course and WaterWorks (a huge water playground).
There is a large pirate ship with water cannons located in the middle of WaterWorks for children to play on. Adults can enjoy the many excellent restaurants and bars located around the resort.
On-site water playground
A miniature golf course
A bit noisy rooms
Early check-out time
Aloft DownTown is a modern hotel located in central Orlando. It is one of the more unusual hotels in the city because of its ultra-modern design and interesting lighting.
One of the highlights of the Aloft Downtown is the WXYZ Bar and the Re:Mix Lounge. They are wonderfully decorated spaces with a mix of quirky and colorful furnishings.
The rooms are modern, bright, colorful, and chic. Expect to see a mixture of decorative couches, timber paneling, colorful carpet, and modern appliances. Most rooms are quite large and have excellent views of the city.
Holiday Inn Resort Suites
If you are looking for a fun-filled accommodation option that the kids will love, look no further than the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites – Waterpark. This unique resort combines all of the features of a modern hotel with a huge water park and children’s playground.
It takes about 30 seconds to step out of your hotel room and step onto a waterslide! There are also multiple children’s activity centers with swings and rides, a 3,000-foot arcade, movie cinema, food court, and the Batman Laser Challenge.
Disney World is only one mile away and the hotel provides free shuttle buses. Suites in the resort are modern, bright, and airy. They come with modern amenities including big-screen televisions, kitchenettes, pillow-top beds, and WiFi.
There are many family-friendly suites available that include kids’ rooms with colorful wall decorations, bean bags, and televisions. It is the perfect place to stay if you will be traveling with your children or you are still a big kid yourself!
Modern fun vibe
Waterpark and playground
Disney World is a mile away
No daily room service
Lake Buena Vista Resort Village
The Lake Buena Vista Resort Village makes our list of cool and unusual hotels in Orlando simply because of its gigantic pirate ship! The pirate ship sits in the middle of the resort and contains a slide that drops guests into a large pool.
After you have pretended to be a pirate jumping overboard a few times, you can also enjoy the poolside bar, Frankie Farrell’s Irish Pub, or the Reflections Spa/Salon.
Did we mention that Disney World is only 2 miles away? Rooms feature a contemporary design which is quite comfortable and homely. The resort is surrounded by many open green spaces, which provide wonderful views.
Frankie Farrell’s Irish Pub
A large pirate ship in the pool
Can get booked up
Pool not heated
Universal’s Endless Summer Resort
Smack in the middle of Universal Orlando Resort, this hotel has a surf and beach theme, so guests can take a dip in a giant surfboard-shaped pool and unwind with a cocktail by the pool bar.
The Surfside Inn has 2-bedroom suites that can sleep up to 6 people, making it ideal for family breaks.
Also ideal for families is the fact that the resort offers early access to some rides in the theme park, such as The Wizarding World of Harry PotterTM and Universal’s Volcano BayTM, plus complimentary transport to these parks.
You can also show your room key to get other perks around the resort. There’s always somewhere open for food too, as their food court is open between 7am- 11pm, offering So-Cal inspired food.
Bright contemporary interior
Giant surfboard-shaped pool
On-site food court
A pool bar
Average food quality
Limited wardrobe space
Delta Lake Buena Vista
This luxurious four-star hotel is situated in one of the most sought-after parts of Orlando. It is walking distance to Disney Springs, which is packed with dozens of restaurants, bars and shops, and a short distance from Disney World.
The Delta Hotel makes our list because of the pirates landing splash zone — a thrilling pirate ship with water cannons that is located in one of the pools. The hotel also features a kid’s games room, fitness center, outstanding restaurant, and bar. The rooms are another stand out feature of Delta Hotels Orlando.
They are sophisticated, luxurious, and extremely comfortable. Most rooms also feature wonderful views across Orlando or of the surrounding green spaces.
Large hotel with guest room balconies
Kids game room
Pool with pirate ship
No in-room microwaves
Limited breakfast menu
Rosen Shingle Lodge
Rosen Shingle Lodge is one of the most impressive resorts in Orlando. It is a AAA Four-Diamond hotel with 1,500 rooms and suites overlooking a spectacular 18-hole par 72 championship golf course. The rooms are luxurious and quite spacious with a focus on comfort.
They are beautifully furnished with lovely timber furniture, decorative prints, plush chairs and couches, and attractive light fixtures.
The more expensive suites are opulent and reach a level of luxury that most 4-star hotels cannot match.
There are many amenities to enjoy including a large pool area, excellent restaurants, large bar/lounge areas, concierge service, spa, and hot tubs. It is the perfect accommodation for golf lovers and travelers who enjoy luxurious hotels with world-class amenities.
A championship golf course
Spa and hot tubs
Restaurants and bars
Pricey breakfast buffet
No drinking water in rooms
Magic Village Views
An Orlando vacation is all about relaxation and letting the days unfold without hurry and stress, which makes the condos and villas at Magic Village the perfect place to explore this piece of paradise.
The lush surroundings and nature-inspired decor offer privacy and comfort, with three-room and four-room floor plans available.
Condos are equipped with luxury linens, stainless steel kitchens, laundry machines, floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to the gardens, and private patios with BBQ grills.
Some units have hot tubs as well, and there’s a New York style steakhouse for when you don’t feel like cooking.
The location in the heart of Orlando is close to all the shopping, dining and entertainment, and next to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and other parks.
Private patios with BBQ grills
Need more utensils in the kitchen
Weak water pressure
No room service
Comparison of Best Hotels in Orlando
The following table draws a deep comparison in the Top 21 Cool and Unique Hotels in Orlando.
|Hotel Name||Location||Price Range (per night)||Fitness Facilities||Distance to Attractions (km)||Nearby Restaurants|
|Gaylord Palms Resort||6000 West Osceola Parkway||$363-$1051||Yes||10.0||3|
|Lake Nona Wave||6100 Wave Hotel Drive||$351-$623||Yes||14.0||3|
|Castle Hotel||8602 Universal Boulevard||$145-$235||Yes||11.0||3|
|B Resort and Spa||1905 Hotel Plaza Boulevard||$156-$258||Yes||10.0||3|
|Universal's Hard Rock Hotel||5800 Universal Boulevard||$591-$703||Yes||8.0||3|
|Hilton Bonnet Creek||14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane||$313-$503||Yes||10.0||3|
|AC||333 South Garland Avenue||$314-$393||Yes||1.8||3|
|ette||3001 Sherberth Road||$325-$496||Yes||13.0||3|
|The Delaney||1315 South Orange Avenue||$214-$303||Yes||1.6||3|
|Universal's Aventura||6725 Adventure Way||$266-$311||Yes||9.0||3|
|Universal's Loews Sapphire Falls Resort||6601 Adventure Way||$295-$900||Yes||9.0||3|
|Grand Bohemian||325 South Orange Avenue||$314-$365||Yes||1.6||3|
|Margaritaville Resort||8000 Fins Up Circle||$210-$295||Yes||15.0||3|
|Marriott's Harbour Lake||7102 Grand Horizons Boulevard||$252||Yes||10.0||3|
|Aloft Downtown||500 South Orange Avenue||$201-$275||Yes||1.6||3|
|Holiday Inn Resort Suites||14500 Continental Gateway||$133-$212||Yes||8.0||3|
|Lake Buena Vista Resort Village||8113 Resort Village Drive||$775-$989||Yes||10.0||3|
|Universal’s Endless Summer Resort||7000 Universal Boulevard||4167-$219||Yes||9.0||3|
|Delta Lake Buena Vista||12490 South Apopka Vineland Road||$113-$181||Yes||9.0||3|
|Rosen Shingle Lodge||7430 Brooklyn Drive||$737-$820||Yes||13.0||3|
|Magic Village Views||7430 Brooklyn Drive||$782-$873||Yes||13.0||3|
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Becky Moore – Owner, writer and photographer
My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my ex Athens street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Borneo, Finland, Greece, Berlin, Laos, California and the surreal and beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.
I’ve been quoted in Forbes, National Geographic, The Times, Yahoo Travel, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Thrillist, British Airways Magazine, Entrepreneur, express.co.uk, Wanderlust, Telegraph Travel, Daily Mail and metro.co.uk. Find me on Linkedin or Facebook.