This review is based on my experiences at the hotel, for facts and figures I always suggest visiting the hotels website: http://www.swandolphin.com/
The Grounds and Location
Located right between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood studios, the location is excellent. It is a two-minute walk over a little bridge to Disney’s Boardwalk and you can see the nightly fireworks from both parks at the resort. Because the resort is 34 years old, the gardens are lovely, there are soaring palm trees and at sunset, it is just a magical place to be. The pools are fantastic too, there is a grotto pool with a waterside and daily activities and there is also a calmer quiet pool, the pools were never too full, there was always, places to sit. There were towels available and very attentive staff. Poolside bar service is prompt and affordable which of course makes me happy.
I had a fantastic room on the 6th floor overlooking Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the “quiet” pool, the view at night was simply spectacular and we loved being able to watch the fireworks from our balcony. I strongly suggest ensuring that you stay in a room with a balcony. Our stay would have been totally different if we were cooped up in a room without access to the outdoors. The room itself was pretty small, 340 sq feet but does have a small fridge, which I loaded up with food and drinks from near-by Wal-Mart, when the fridge gets low, you can visit the General Store at the Boardwalk for supplies. The beds are excellent, it is a hotel managed by Westin and their signature “heavenly beds” never disappoint. The room was a little tired and the bathroom is defiantly cramped, I would say that I would have been pretty disappointed had I not had a balcony, as the awesome view and nightly fireworks show made up for any shortcomings. I do believe the hotel is doing some room renovations soon. It was super quiet in the room at night, which for me is really important.
Being a foodie I have to admit that this hotel really won me over with their food! Most of you know that I love Sushi more than just about anything, so imagine my delight when I discovered that the hotel had their very own highly rated Sushi restaurant, “Kimonos.” I ate here two out of seven nights. It was incredibly good, the sushi was fresh and beautifully prepared, the service was excellent and they had an awesome Karaoke party every night which I thoroughly enjoyed. I would probably stay at this resort again, solely based on this great sushi restaurant. Great job, Kimonos you were amazing.
Cabana Grill: We arrived on the 4th of July Weekend, which is one of the busiest times at Disney, our room wasn’t quite ready so we went to the Cabana Grill for a late lunch. The food was amazing and the service very good. Loved the fish tacos and lets just say the burger was unreal!
Il Mulino: I picked up some take out from here one night, it was quick and excellent. Really good. Our friends had dinner here the one night and said the side spinach was fantastic. We didn’t have time to stay for full dinner service and wanted a snack of calamari to eat so we got it as take out, it took maybe 10 minutes and then ate it as we watched the fireworks on our balcony.
Java Bar: This is where I got my coffee every morning, it was good coffee, but pretty pricey.
The overall service at the hotel
I had a couple of service issues that I brought to the hotels attention and were quickly remedied. Juan in guest relations did a very nice job, dealing with some of my issues. Overall I would say that the Swan Resort did a great job ensuring my needs were met. I think that I would definitely stay here again, the close proximity to the parks, reasonable rate, great view from my room and of course, the Sushi made it all magical.
Tips and suggestions
1) On your first day, visit the near by Publix grocery store to stock up on food and beverages for your room. We went to Wal-Mart and it was a bit of a horror show with literally hundreds of people jamming the isles. Publix is a far more sensible place to shop, the prices are almost the same, you just don’t have as much selection. We pretty much ate breakfast everyday in room to save time and money.
2) Bring a small kettle. I bought one at Wal-Mart for $10 to make instant oatmeal and ramen noodles for the kids as snacks.
3) Bring a wine opener! (Enough said!)
4) Get the room with the balcony, I looked at balcony rooms overlooking the other side of the hotel (looking at Epcot) and they were just as nice as mine.
5) Visit the gym. Even if you don’t want to use the work out equipment, the gym stocks great “walking trail” maps that show everything from 1.6km – 4.8 kms trails through the resort. I took this photo of it on my phone for quick reference. Next review….. The Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme parks.