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  • Charles I. Guarria

Gaylord Palms at Christmas and Beyond

Updated: Jan 2

The Gaylord Hotels are known for their creature comforts, great service, and luxurious rooms. Donna and I went to the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center twice this holiday season. The four-star hotel is a mere three minutes from Disney World and 20 minutes from downtown Orlando Florida; however, the resort's hometown is Kissimmee.

Atrium View Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center. Orlando, Florida

I am happy to report that, for the most part, Gaylord Palms is keeping up the high standards the Gaylord brand aspires to represent.

On the cleanliness front, I've noticed all hotel's post Covid are a little more unkempt than before the pandemic. Since 2020 we have stayed in Kimpton Boutique Hotels (Chicago and Pittsburgh), Gaylord Resorts (Nashville and Orlando) and the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. At many of these stays, I observed the common areas, not the rooms, is where the upkeep isn't as great as in the past, especially from the standpoint of vacuuming.

I reason it is a lack of staff as the lockdowns forced people to rethink how they work. Make no mistake, these hotels are still more beautiful than most, but not as clean looking as they were before Covid.

Vacuumed or not, the Gaylord Palms hallway carpeting can use an upgrade. The design is a little dated.

Wreckers Sports Bar

No matter where you eat at Gaylord Palms, and we have tried every restaurant, the food and service are always great. For lunch, Donna and I hit Wreckers Sports Bar. Everywhere you look, there are big screens to view the hottest sporting events while enjoying the food. The Wreckers' Super Food Salad (GF) with Key West Shrimp paired with a Sartori Family Pinot Grigio was a delight. Wreckers has a lively, fun atmosphere.

Villa de Flora

We left the resort to visit friends and family for dinner. The next day's breakfast was at Villa de Flora. Villa is a Mediterranean-styled restaurant that specializes in buffets. Not our first time at Villa de Flora, we are well versed in the wide variety and high-quality food they offer. Donna and I were equally impressed this breakfast morning.

What might have been most impressive about Villa was the attentive nature of our waiter. He went out of his way to make sure Donna had the tea she had asked for. He left Villa de Flora, went to the Starbucks, about a five-minute walk, got the tea and brought it back to our table. Outstanding.

For a quick bite, the newly reopened Emerald Bay Café & Market is very good.

Gaylord Hotels typically have holiday-themed alcoholic beverages. For instance, we went to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, during Halloween in 2020. There I found a specialty bar serving Halloween-themed drinks. I had a drink that had a marshmallow in it that looked like an eyeball. It was weird but tasty.

Back in Orlando, at Gaylord Palms, there are stands serving drinks with Christmas themes. I tried the Green Nog as it had so much that I like in one drink, Baileys Irish Cream, BACARDÍ Rum, Crème de Cacao, and Monin Mint Syrup. It wasn't what I was hoping it would be; I wouldn't order it again.

On our second visit, I indulged in the Gingerbread Mule, a combination of SVEDKA Vodka, Monin Gingerbread Syrup, Lime Juice, and Fever-Tree Ginger Beer. It did not disappoint. A gentleman in our party tried the Kringle Old Fashioned and responded, "I loved it." The Kringle Old Fashioned consists of Wild Turkey Bourbon, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, and Simple Syrup.

With beautiful rooms, great food and excellent drinks, one would think Gaylord Palms has done enough.

Our Terrace Atrium View. The Ship Is A Part of The Seafood Restaurant Moor.

But there is more.

Every holiday season Cirque du Soleil holds residency with a mesmerizing show. Long-time visitors like to reminisce about the days when the show was free. It is worth every penny of the admission price. The acrobatic moves made by the performers are unbelievable and, at times, scary, as you are not quite sure what will happen next! The upper body and core strength that the performers have is impressive. I was less impressed with the Sunday afternoon crowd, The performance was not as full as I thought it should have been, but nonetheless, the show was fantastic.

As is ICE!

ICE! took a hiatus due to Covid but is back in 2022, featuring more than two million pounds of sculptured ice depicting How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the annual sculpting of the nativity scene. Both are fascinating.

Gaylord Hotels is part of the Marriot Bonvoy collection of fine hotels and resorts. There are six Gaylord's within the United States. Whether for a day trip or an overnight stay, I recommend checking in, not just for the holidays, rather for any time of the year. You will not be disappointed.

The sights at Gaylord Palms

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See ya soon!


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