During the Second Seminole War, Fort Gatlin was built near what would one day become Orlando. However, the fort was abandoned shortly after the war ended, and there was little population in the area. Eventually, though, settlers began establishing cattle ranches in the surrounding area, and a small settlement sprung up sometime in the 1850s. It was initially called Jernigan, after the town's first permanent settler, Aaron Jernigan. Soon, however, the inhabitants began calling their town Orlando, after Orlando Reeves, who operated a sugar mill and plantation about 30 miles (50 kilometers) to the north. He had carved his name into a tree near where the town was established, and thinking it marked his grave, people called the area "Orlando's Grave," and eventually just "Orlando".
Between 1875 and 1895, the area became the center of Florida's citrus industry, and cattle ranching became less important to the local economy. In the 1920s, Orlando experienced a real estate boom, but it never became an important city.
However, in 1965, Walt Disney announced plans to build Disney World near Orlando. He chose the city for its inland location, making it less susceptible to hurricanes than Florida's larger coastal cities. In 1971, Disney World opened and Orlando immediately experienced explosive economic and population growth. Tourism quickly became the basis of the local economy, and Orlando is now consistently ranked as one of the top vacation destinations in the world. The metropolitan area has more theme parks and entertainment attractions than anywhere else in the world. With over 52,000,000 tourists per year, Orlando has the second-largest number of hotel rooms in the United States, after Las Vegas. The city is also one of the most popular places for conventions and conferences.
Nowadays, the Orlando metropolitan area has about 2,720,000 inhabitants, making it the third-largest in Florida, after Miami and Tampa.
If The Price Is Right
My wife, son and I stayed at this hotel between 23rd September/7th October 2004.
We have enjoyed many vacations throughout the USA, 20+ in Florida. We normally choose 3* hotel/motel accommodation, Holiday Inn, Quality Inn for example. We are out all day and only require somewhere to sleep at night so as long as the room and pool are clean and well maintained and the staff friendly I’m happy. I see no point in paying for hotel facilities we will never use.
The Barcelo is advertised in UK brochures as 4*. This is misleading. If you book this hotel you will be allocated a “Standard” room. The Barcelo’s standard rooms are typical 2*+ hotel/motel accommodation. In our opinion the rooms are in need of a facelift.
To obtain a “Deluxe” room in one of the hotel’s towers you will be required to pay a negotiated upgrade fee.
We stayed in a deluxe room on the 6th floor. The rooms are reached by bright internal corridors nicely carpeted and air conditioned. The room was clean, bright and well maintained. There was a 28”/30” screen TV, microwave, fridge and chest of drawers contained in one large unit, writing desk, two phones, chairs, an armchair, coffee table, two double beds, bedside draw unit and built in wardrobe containing a safe, ironing board and iron. In the bathroom was a bath with shower unit, hand basin and toilet. On the wall to one side of the hand basin was a hairdryer, on the other side, a coffee maker. There was an extractor fan in the ceiling.
The air conditioning was temperature controlled automatically from a panel on a wall near one of the beds.
**Note** The integral air conditioning was very quite!! A duct in the wall supplied either hot or cold air on demand depending on the temperature set and the temperature of the room.
Our view from the window [no balcony] was pleasant, overlooking International Drive and beyond.
Our maid service was excellent. Every day the room was well made up, the bathroom cleaned and restocked with plenty of hand and bath towels, face cloths and toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. Of course there were plenty of toilet rolls, tissues and ……….. coffee for the machine.
I reported a damaged and leaking shower head. A new one was fitted within the hour. I also requested 3 extra pillows which were on our beds when we returned to our room that evening.
To my knowledge there were 3 coin operated laundry rooms situated on the 2nd/5th/7th floors. There was only one washing machine and tumble dryer in the room we used costing $2.00, each. This was not a problem as we never saw any one using them and did our washing as and when. Washing powder was available from a coin operated vending machine. There was an extractor fan to keep the room steam free. The entrance door was kept locked and opened by inserting your room “Key” [credit card type].
The hotel’s pool and hot tub were OK with plenty of clean dry towels to hand. There was also a pool bar. Hotel guests have free use of the YMCA’s indoor pools and fitness centre next to the hotel.
Other hotel facilities include a reception area, small shop and games room, café, smallish bar, restaurant, pool table [half size I think?], guest services, stamp machine, vending machines, telephones, etc., etc…
**Note** When checking in, pick up a free welcome pack [on top of reception desk]. Free newspapers are available from a small stand to the left of the reception desk. Restaurant food looked good but fairly expensive. Drinks from the bar were reasonably priced. The pool table was a disappointment, cloth worn out and torn. The Café is good for a snack and a “Starbucks”.
**Hurricane Jeanne** On the day of the hurricane, the hotel was full. Radisson had a captive audience and could have charged whatever they liked. To their credit they laid on an all you could eat buffet [3 course + soft drinks and coffee] for $10.00, per person including tax. Good value and a nice gesture.
The hotel staff we talked to were friendly and polite. For those requiring it there was an express checkout service.
How much you like this hotel will depend on how much you have paid for your accommodation. I put together my own vacation package and paid Radisson £26.00, per night [$45.50 including tax] for a “Standard” room and negotiated a “Deluxe” room for an extra £6.40, per night [$11.20 including tax].
**Note** There appears to be no fixed deluxe room upgrade charge. I saw documentary evidence that hotel guests were being charged £12.80/£19.20 and £25.60 [$20/$30 and $40.00 + tax] per night. You have been warned!!
For a total of £32.40, [$56.70 including tax] per night for a deluxe room, we thought the Radisson Barcelo was good value for money.
We rated this hotel [with deluxe room] overall as a 3*+
Take the upgrade! Thankfully I had read Trip Advisor reviews of this hotel before arrival and upgraded. There are two different buildings on the property. Stay in the newer one as its rooms are large, clean, and comfortable. (Though they should consider adjusting the air conditioning to thaw their guests a bit.) Our waiter at dinner was exceptionally nice and attentive, though the meal was pricey. They have a coffee and pastry counter near the front desk. Bottles of iced-tea were more than $2 each.
Commiunication needs to be better
We stayed in the Radisson Bareclo on international drive last week for a week, the accomodation i was booked into was old and dated, i was shown there second complex in the grounds ( delux) which is what i would agree as ok but had to pay an extra $20 suppliment a night.
On the 3rd night the fire alarm went off at 11pm the building was cleared and after 1hr and 30 min we got the all clear but there was none/poor communication of how to clear a building and to do a role call ( none took place) no one took control of the situation .(no fire a flight attendent from a well known airline had put a clothes hanger into the sprinkler headin her roomon the 6th floor)
At 1.05am the alarm went off again my family was terrified , this time the building was not cleared and about 20 people went outside until the alarm was turned off. There was no one to answer querys/questions and after 40m people went back to there rooms after talking to reception where they indicated that this was a false alarm.
The key learning for this Hotel and its staff is Fire training and people communications, more so in these times
very good base
stayed here for two weeks from june 12 2004 stayed the resort part room on the car park side and found it fine,room nice and big cleaned and towels changed everyday great base to stay at opposite the mecardo centre which has open air entertainment everynight .The hotel itself has an excellent large heated pool hot tub although a bit hot payed £390 for the fortnight and it was worth it.
Hotel without a soul
The older block of this hotel is in dire need of refurbishment. Its only good point is the generous size of its rooms. With the rooms opening out onto a shared external balcony coupled with dingy access facilities you could be in a cheap motel rather than a supposed up market hotel chain.
Good location, great disappointment
I have just returned after staying in this 'motel' and agree with other guests who state it is in dire need of a general upgrade. I noticed after sleeping in my bed, the first night, that there were three dirty brown stains on my sheets and pillows. I requested that they were changed immediately and whilst housekeeping agreed, there was no apology just a grunt of 'okay'. A drawer was broken, the bathroom door was covered in white splashes, which i assume was bleach. I was also short changed $50 from a $100 traveller's cheque and when I challenged the bartender at the cabana bar (poolside), he was not eager to check so I insisted. I did get it back, although no apology again. Two positives for me were the location (although there's plenty other motels/hotels nearby) and we did receive $20 compensation as a maid had taken one of my t-shirts, which had been rapped in a towel to dry. The service here was quite good, although it was after a full weeks hounding! My advice would be to look elsewhere!
Very good for the money
Stayed in the radisson for 7 nights and found everything above average. The staff where very helpful, the room was surprisingly good, always cleaned everyday. The pool area was great(check out the spa). Can't think of anything to camplain about. I would definetly recommend it.
Standard room in need of refurbishment, price on the high side even for International Drive. I have had better for less.
Only became ok after upgrading to tower room, still very pricy though. poor value for money won't use again.