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Showing posts with label Spring Summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spring Summer. Show all posts

July 30, 2017

REVIEW: Marlow's Tavern Summer Menu Highlights

Photo: Marlow's Tavern
Marlow's Tavern has launched a fresh new summer menu featuring creatively trendy new dinner and drink offerings, as well as the decadent "sweet stuff" menu. Grilled salmon or chicken, roast chicken panini, tuna salad, and Marlow's Famous Hummus accompanied by refreshing side items like mint barley risotto,  orange and radish slaw with citrus vinaigrette, roasted fingerling potato, and grilled, toasty pita points are all so very tempting, but I rarely get the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy dessert because I have yet to locate a second stomach. This time around, I'm taking full advantage of being an adult. I'm breaking the rules and going straight to dessert - spoiling my dinner completely - because the "sweet stuff" genuinely warrants a spotlight of its own. Let's delve into Marlow's Tavern - Winter Park!

July 12, 2017

REVIEW: Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress



I can genuinely appreciate an array of hotels and resorts, as most really do have the potential to appeal - it's just a matter of finding those qualities that make it awesome, or seeking out the advantages it has over other locations. Every now and then however, you stumble upon something that takes absolutely no effort to appreciate, and no narrowed audience to uncover. That is the case with our latest Summer Series Spotlight Resort - Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress! Covering a vast 1,500 acre site, bustling with lush gardens and tropical features, the resort boasts 815 non-smoking guest rooms and suites with views overlooking Lake Windsong or the half-acre pool. Opened in 1984, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress underwent a $30 million renovation in 2013.

Click on any image for full-size


The wow factor is in full effect from the moment you drive up, and it kicks into high-gear as soon you enter the lobby. The main building is just stunning. It's an open-air atrium, awash in natural light. The elevators are walled in glass, allowing for tremendous views all the way up and down the building. Contemporary lighting and decor add just the right level of POP and style to every nook, cranny and landing.

Guests are offered a glass of champagne at check-in, providing the perfect excuse to roam the lobby for a cozy place to lounge out and soak it all in. Ample seating options beckon to locales flanked with fountains, televisions, lounges (of which there are three on-site, by the way), lush greenery, and a few other surprises.

July 9, 2017

REVIEW: Splitsville - Disney Springs

There's a lot of "combo" venues in the Orlando area - locations that kill two birds with one stone... er, visit. It's brilliant to maximize your time by combining your fun with your dining, for example, and one place that makes this appealingly possible is Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Disney Springs. Actually, if we're to be entirely technical - Splitsville is a triple threat... there's a gift shop, too.


Splitsville is abundant in options (and you know how much I LOVE options). Come for dining, bowling, drinks, or all of the above! If you're just strolling through Disney Springs with no real goals, you can even just stop for a quick song by the outside bar.

July 2, 2017

REVIEW: Planet Hollywood Observatory - Disney Springs

So much has been transforming in and around Orlando! Brand new venues are springing up, and familiar icons are unveiling dramatic aesthetic overhauls and revamped menus. I've always been a fan of Planet Hollywood, and I was thrilled to see the final product of the yearlong, $25 million remodel to its flagship "Observatory" location at the ever-evolving Disney Springs.


There's enough glitz and glamour within this colossal space to leave you feeling like an A-lister from the moment you enter! So, what's new at Planet Hollywood Observatory? 



For starters - a fresh paint job and spiffed-up facade can make a world of difference! The new exterior is just as eye-catching, but they went with a cleaner, more modern upscale look - toning down the loud, somewhat gaudy display put forth since the original opening in 1994.

The building serves as a four-story bar, restaurant, shop, and museum - to put it simply. New features include a 4,500 square-foot video wall incorporating innovative 3D technology, a 5,000 square-foot outdoor, open air terrace bar, and of course - a reimagined menu with feature contributions from celebrity foodie, Guy Fieri.
(Don't panic, Planet Hollywood loyalists... the Cap'n Crunch Chicken is still on the menu!!)
When you enter, you're immediately greeted by the impeccably courteous staff, sleek double stairway, and a few tantalizing bits of memorabilia to gawk at. As you reach the second level, take a moment to pause and discover the encased wardrobe tributes on display. I immediately honed in on Dorothy's gingham dress from
The Wizard of Oz beside a Walter White original from Breaking Bad, but then... something happened...

June 26, 2017

REVIEW: Studio K - Orlando

Our Spring/Summer Series focuses primarily on restaurants and hotels, but we do make room for those exceptional fun spots that need to be worked into your spring/summer plans. Studio K (a strikingly original dance studio, run by an equally remarkable woman) is a bit different for us, but easily a fast favorite! Regardless of your age, size, experience, or even your status as a local or a tourist - you may be surprised to find that Studio K is absolutely perfect for YOU!


Photos: Studio K

First, a little background as to how we came to find Studio K. This was actually a fateful stumble upon as I was trying to help Sierra find a ballet class. We quickly discovered that this was no easy feat! Call after call - and everyone seemed to have classes for three types of people: beginners who were toddlers and young children, adults who had been dancing since diapers, or the very wealthy who could invest in high-priced private instruction. Sierra is a beginner, 20 years old, and a retail cashier, so none of these opportunities fit her at all. Then, I found Studio K. Something about the philosophy displayed on the Studio K website really spoke to me, and I knew I had finally struck gold! As I perused the class schedule, I was stunned to discover that some of the classes even intrigued ME, and I had absolutely no interest in dance at all. I am the furthest thing from graceful, and I am not the picture of youthful fitness. No way could I (or should I) be trying to dance in a public place, where people could actually witness such a debacle! BUT... Studio K has lightsaber fitness! How could I pass up the opportunity to share that with our readers? I decided it was worth the sacrifice of my dignity to give it a shot.

June 25, 2017

REVIEW: The Florida Hotel - Orlando

This "Spring/Summer Series" spotlight takes us back to our home turf in Orlando. Originally opened as a Crown Plaza more than thirty years ago, The Florida Hotel is a 511-room facility with the distinction of being recognized by TripAdvisor as Orlando's "Friendliest Hotel". 



The Florida Hotel is anchored to The Florida Mall - a nearly two million square foot, indoor, shopping center that is home to a wide variety of retailers, dining establishments, and unique attractions like The Crayola Experience and M&M World. Designated parking is fenced off and separated within the mall parking lot. Valet parking is available for $20 per night. The hotel's location is more centralized than the majority of the area's accommodations - nearer to the airport than most tourist zones, but still within 15-25 minutes of our theme parks and the culture-rich downtown district.

May 22, 2017

Destination: Clearwater - East Shore Resort

This year's "Spring/Summer Series" ventures beyond our Orlando borders to explore some nearby destinations to consider when you need a little getaway from the hustle and bustle of Orlando. You may be surprised to discover a whole new world just a short drive from theme park paradise. Speaking of paradise... we discovered a nice little slice of it, less than two hours west of Orlando, in Clearwater Beach!


It's immediately obvious how Clearwater Beach earned its name... crystal clear waters. Paired with that pure white, soft Gulf Coast sand, it's the kind of combination that you just can't resist. Growing up in Texas, I have always had a special love for Gulf Coast beaches, so this was a sight to behold!