It may sound absurd to try to accommodate every guest’s needs, but it is possible. At Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida, groups and families have space and activity options, and couples can have intimacy and relaxation.
Natural lighting streams in through the glass dome encompassing 4.5 acres of waterfalls, gardens, restaurants, shops and even a fort. Each section of the resort represents a unique piece of Florida, from the streets of St. Augustine to the flavors of Key West all in a relaxing air-conditioned environment. It’s easy to forget that you are actually inside.
The central atrium is reminiscent of St. Augustine with its labyrinth of landscaped pathways, Koi ponds and waterfalls leading to a replica of Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest Spanish fort in the New World, and the popular wedding pavilion. Children can play king of the hill or hide’n’seek on its many levels, while couples can enjoy the serenity of a waterfall from a secluded bench. The architecture of St. Augustine comes to life with shops and sidewalk cafes in front of the Fountain of Youth.
A melody of swamp sounds surrounds you in the Everglades. Cypress trees dripping with Spanish moss line the boardwalk around the stilted Old Hickory Steakhouse restaurant. Small pools teem with catfish, and a hut with native snakes, baby alligators and rocking chairs lets you get up close and personal to Florida wildlife. The Everglades ends at the 4- star Relâche Spa. Outside in the true Florida heat, lies South Beach Pool, the adults- only pool where we enjoyed watching the birds steal French fries from unsupervised food baskets. Two hot tubs, a Bocce ball court, sand volleyball court and mini-golf course also lend themselves to relaxation or some friendly competition.
On the other side of Gaylord Palms central atrium, is a little taste of Key West. The Southernmost Point Marker directs you towards Sunset Sam’s Fish Camp, a seafood restaurant and bar on a huge sailboat, the S.S. Gaylord, floating in a salt lagoon with tarpon below. Just outside, Clearwater Cove, the family pool area with an octopus water slide and other marine life create a water oasis for children of all ages. Parents can even watch their kids from Cantina del Sol Poolside Bar and Grill while enjoying a margarita. Cantina del Sol is located directly in between Clearwater Cove and South Beach pools.
Each of the six restaurants was designed to accommodate different sized parties or provide an intimate environment for couples. For dinner, we sat at the chef’s bar at Sora, the chic sushi restaurant, talking and watching the chefs expertly prepare and roll each course selection.
Our spacious suite was located on the 7th floor overlooking the Fort San de Marco in the central atrium where we had a beautiful view of the nuptials taking place at the Wedding Pavilion. The suite contained a living and dining room area, a large dining room table that could seat 8 people, and separate bedroom and bath.
A true oasis from the Florida elements, Gaylord Palms is located minutes away from major attractions, but you may find that there’s no reason to leave. Whether it’s for a romantic getaway, family vacation or attending a conference, Gaylord Palms is large enough to accommodate all, but secluded enough to offer an intimate experience.