During my last trip down to the World I had the chance to stay at the Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort as well as the Walt Disney World Dolphin (ready my review). Our first stay was at the Hilton Bonnet Creek during the marathon weekend, my first stay at the resort. I initially didn’t have much interest in staying at the Hilton Bonnet Creek honestly because I didn’t really know much about it but I ended up really enjoying my stay.
After doing some research about the resort it started to look more appealing and I’m happy now that I had a chance to experience the hotel. This is one of the unique hotels that are actually on the Disney property but not actually operated by Disney themselves.
The hotel is located in the Bonnet Creek section of the property which also is home to Wyndham Bonnet Creek and the the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. For reference Bonnet Creek is just next to the Pop Century, Art of Animation and the Caribbean Beach Resorts near Epcot and Downtown Disney.
Since it’s not an official Disney operated hotel you do lose out on some perks, most notably the extra magic hours. Since we were going at a low time of year that didn’t bother me too much but if you are going during a busier time of year that’s an important negative to be aware of.
Since I never pay full price for hotel rooms I went straight to the HHonors website to see how many HHonors points I would need for three nights. The Hilton Bonnet Creek is a category 6 hotel meaning that it requires 40,000 points or 16,000+$65 for a free night. Paid rates during our stay were running approx. $149/night so I would be saving about $450 total by using HHonors points for this stay. I chose to go with points + cash since it was a better value.
Our flight into Orlando would be arriving around 9am so I called the day before to request an early check-in which they didn’t guarantee but said it shouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately because of flight delays we didn’t really need the early check-in but were able to get into our rooms just before 3pm.
The lobby area is very modern, sleak and I would say very non-Disney but nice. Everything was very modern and clean with the lobby full of business people probably attending some type of convention. There was a large bar/restaurant area off of the main lobby, a breakfast/coffee bar and two restaurants.
Check-in was smooth and we were quickly on our way to the upgraded room because of my Hilton Gold status. We were upgraded from a standard view room to a high park view room which did have a beautiful view of Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot if you looked to the right. You can also see the Swan/Dolphin and Tower of Terror off in the distance in the picture below.
The room was comfortable, clean and modern. Our room came with a small refrigerator, coffee maker, flat screen TV and other usual amenities. The spacious bathroom had a shower/tub combo and large vanity and mirror. I was really surprised by the size of the bathroom compared to the room size, I was expecting something smaller but it had a good size to it.
Other than that it was a basic room that was nice but nothing special. The best part of the room was the view that we had and the large bathroom.
Unfortunately during the few days we were staying at the Hilton Bonnet Creek we were dealing with a winter “chill” I was not able to take advantage of the amazing pool that is on the properly. It’s almost big enough to call it a miniature water mark with the lazy river, bridges, waterfalls and other fun water elements.
Even though the pool was heated the wind and cold make it just too cold to try it out. The pool area/mini-waterpark alone makes this a great spot for families who want to stay here, it’s probably the best selling point of this hotel.
The hotel has four restaurants attached in addition to the breakfast/coffee bar and the outdoor pool bar/restaurant. We only had time to have breakfast at the Harvest Bistro because we received a free breakfast buffet for our gold status. The buffet had a great spread of common breakfast items – meats, pastries, bagels plus a full omelette bar.
I’m not sure how much the buffet would have cost full price but for free I’ll take it!
Down next to the Harvest Bistro was a nice sized gym with cardio equipment, weights and a small free workout area. I didn’t actually use any of the gym equipment during my stay but everything looks very nice in the gym. Next to the gym was also a spa which looked nice but I didn’t take advantage of.
If you are a big golfer you may want to take a look at this hotel because of the Waldorf Astoria golf course that backs right up to it. You do have to go next door to the Waldorf Astoria hotel to get your round in but that’s a short 4-5 minute walk.
Since the Hilton Bonnet Creek isn’t an official Disney hotel we didn’t have use of the Disney transportation to/from the parks but the hotel did provide their own shuttle. The main downside was the schedule, you did have to adhere to a more strict schedule because busses didn’t run regularly.
Overall I really enjoyed my stay at the Hilton Bonnet Creek. It feels much more like a “normal” hotel that you would find outside of Disney but a very nice on at that. The best feature of the hotel by far is the outdoor pool area which looked like a lot of fun – too bad the weather didn’t cooperate for us. If you are a big golfer (which I am not) this hotel would be a good spot because of it’s location pretty much on a golf course which looked really nice.
For families the main selling point for this hotel is no question the pool or small waterpark as I would categorize it. For those of you who are in the points game this hotel gives us a unique opportunity to use points to stay actually on property.
The few downsides I did see were the higher food prices, the more limited park transportation schedule and no ability to take advantage of extra magic hours. I would definitely consider staying here again in a future trip!