Site Visit: Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

The five-year-old, 1,001-room Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is one of Hilton’s flagship convention hotels for the brand’s new wave of high-tech properties and among the frontrunners to have digital check-in and straight-to-room technology that allows guests to unlock their room via smartphone. From the lobby to the outdoor meeting pavilions, meeting professionals have more than 132,000 square feet of event space to work with. “The property has a very high-fashion feel to it,” says Glen Winsor, general manager. “Think of the way you feel when you walk into a Neiman Marcus. You feel that way when you walk through our doors.”

While the property is located within the confines of Walt Disney World and has complimentary shuttles to and from the parks, it is not affiliated with Disney, maintaining a separate brand and identity. This makes it a sought-after location for planners looking for a sophisticated meetings property with easy access to popular off-site venues like Downtown Disney or Animal Kingdom. Plus the hotel’s partnership with its luxury next-door neighbor Waldorf Astoria Orlando gives attendees access to the amenities at both properties, which means 12 dining options, a golf course, the Waldorf Astoria spa, two pools and a lazy river.

Another highlight of the Hilton is its propensity for imaginative and delicious food, which has helped attract events like the International Conference on Forensic Nursing Science and Practice, National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Combining the brainpower of a creative meeting planner with a food and beverage director (and former pastry chef) who’s passionate about food science results in impressive banquet menus: think a build-your-own paella station with options like Florida Spiny Lobsters, gulf shrimp, scallops, surf clams and Spanish Mussels. “We are in the business of helping the meeting planner create their best event yet,” says Winsor, “and if we don’t do that then we’ve failed.”

Insider Tip Host a welcome reception on the hotel’s 25,000-sq.-ft. Signature Island. Surrounded by a flowing creek and adjacent to the Rees Jones-designed golf course, it showcases Central Florida natural beauty, gators and all.