As someone who spends a lot of nights away from home every year, I admit I’m a little jaded when it comes to hotels. Whether it’s a Four Seasons or a Motel 6, to my mind they’re all pretty much the same—a rectangular box with a bed, shower, and cable TV. Which makes it all the more surprising how impressed I am with the Nickelodeon Family Suites here in Orlando.
The 777-room property is unique in a number of ways. Not the least of which is the fact that—as far as I can tell—it’s the world’s only hotel with a theme based on a kids television network.
For starters, all of the property’s rooms are suites. While all-suite hotels aren’t that unusual, the two- and three-bedroom KidSuites that allow parents and kids to have their own space are a truly brilliant idea I’ve never encountered before. My 10-year-old son went wide-eyed when he saw his room included bunk beds, a six-foot-tall mural of Nickelodeon’s Jimmy Neutron character, and his own television and video game system. As parents, my wife and I appreciated the small refrigerator, microwave, sink, and flat-screen TV in the living room, and the way the whole place looks bright, cheerful, and super clean.
As you might expect from a network that’s all about keeping kids entertained, there’s no shortage of amusements here. Outside there are two humongous family-oriented pools that are actually mini- waterparks, complete with countless ever-watchful lifeguards and more than a dozen really cool waterslides (I admit I actually enjoyed these almost as much as my son). There’s also a central “mall” area with kid-friendly eateries, a huge arcade, and entertainment ranging from 4-D movie theaters to family karaoke. There’s even a “Kids Spa” where young’ns can be indulged with everything from elaborate hair braids to temporary tattoos.
I’ve stayed at several nearby Disney hotel properties over the years and, while they’re nice enough places, I’m not sure they can compare to the Nickelodeon Family Suites. Based on my recent visit, I can honestly say that—for families with kids—this is one of the few hotels I’ve encountered that actually qualifies as an extraordinary experience.