Florida Guide > Other Activities
Gaylord Palms – Don’t be afraid to go!
One of the most imposing buildings viewed from Interstate 4, situated near Junction 65, must be Gaylord Palms.
This magnificent hotel and conference centre was a huge success from the very start. We drove past this building many times, not really sure what to make of it, before we were fortunate enough to be taken to dinner by an American friend of ours.
On your arrival you will pass a security gate, just say you are having dinner at one of the restaurants situated in the atrium, a vast glass covered area of 4. 5 acres. There is a parking charge, but if you do have dinner, have your parking ticket validated by your waiter and this is normally waived when you leave.
Walk between the hotel and conference centre, past one of the two beautiful pool areas, up a flight of steps to the connecting bridge and into the atrium. You will not believe you are indoors and fully sheltered from whatever the Florida weather may throw at you. There are three themed areas for Key West, St Augustine and the Everglades. The atrium has several restaurants, shops, piano bar, replica fortress, wedding chapel, lake and the Everglades come complete with alligators, turtles and snakes.
Enjoy fine food from one of several restaurants. Our favourite is the Villa de Flora, which is not your average buffet. You pay a little more than for a normal buffet, but the choice and quality of the food is remarkable and the service is amazing. We have been several times with friends who have intolerance to certain foods. We simply mention this to one of the waiters and before you know it the head chef is giving you a personal tour of the many buffet bars explaining exactly what is on each. He will even cook food especially for you, if you are unable to eat the food on offer. Whatever you do, save room for the desert bar. In addition, there is a fish restaurant, Sunset Sam’s Fish Camp, with meals being served on a boat on its own lake! There is also a very fine steak restaurant, The Old Hickory Steakhouse, for those who really enjoy their meat.
After your meal, relax and spend time exploring the atrium’s many winding pathways through and around the fortress, past streams with koi carp, alligators and turtles, and lose yourself in the Everglades. It’s great fun, not only for the kids, but adults as well, who can marvel at the atmosphere created by the attention to detail. Finally, check out the shops, as you never know what bargains you might find.
Live entertainment is often provided in the atrium and Gaylord Palms is famous for the annual extravaganza ‘ICE’ around Christmas time.
In conclusion, Gaylord Palms is an experience not to be missed, especially for that extra special occasion, but you may want to come back again and again.
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