Calm In The Eye Of The Storm :: Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, FL

When I exited the mayhem and hubbub of Orlando’s theme parks, I was ready for a melt down. Luckily, I found a more soothing alternative. A mere 10-minute drive away was a tranquil oasis where service and attention to detail reign supreme.

Occupying a 230-acre site along Shingle Creek, the headwaters of the Florida Everglades, the new 1,500-room Spanish Revival-style Rosen Shingle Creek Resort offered a full service nine-room spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, award-winning championship golf course (named “One of the Top 40 Best New Courses�? by Golfweek Magazine), four outdoor swimming pools, 12 dining and lounging options (including 30-flavor ice cream counter), and an array of nature-focused activities, including hiking, bird watching and fishing.

My room featured elegant dark wood furnishings, a plush king-size bed with Egyptian cotton sheets, an in-room lap top safe, robe, iron and ironing board, hands-free blow dryer and custom cedar and citrus in-room amenities. Plus there was high-speed Internet access, a 32-inch flat screen TV, and vibrant photos of Florida flora and fauna by the resort’s VP Garritt Toohey to brighten the walls.

Harris Rosen, president of the hotel and owner of six other Orlando properties is known for getting the details right. So, you can imagine my shock when I opened my mini-bar and found it empty. Later, I found there was a reason for this. Going to the hotel’s lower level, I came across the 24-hour deli, 18 Monroe Street Market (named after owner Harris Rosen’s childhood address in the Bowery) that was stocked to the ceiling with snacks as well as a wide assortment of gourmet sandwiches, beers and bottles of chilled wine. Rosen had come up with the perfect solution for someone like me who always pulls out mini-bar bottles so I can chill the treats I’ve purchased on my own.

Another surprise was pastry chef David Ramirez, who is a chocolate wizard. I had to look twice at his decorative sculptures of birds and flowers in the restaurants before realizing they were not made of bronze, but entirely of chocolate!

Other Shingle Creek services that put this property in a class of its own were: BAGS, a Transportation Security Administration-approved remote skycap service that allows guests to receive their airline boarding passes and check their luggage directly from the hotel; complimentary scheduled transportation to Universal Orlando’s theme parks and to Sea World; and — my favorite — an upscale guest laundry room, open 24 hours!

Thank you Rosen Shingle Creek. You thought of everything.

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