Our Becca told us about a special being offered for the Celebration Hotel (a few weeks ago) and that was the inspiration for me to plan a Valentine's Day suprise weekend stay for Herself.
Herself really enjoys staying in hotels, and as I travel for work quite a bit, we've gotten away from having little stays as often as we'd like, so the special combined with the (then) upcoming Valentine's Day weekend seemed like a good reason to try out the hotel, and surprise Herself in the bargain!
So! We both arrived home after work Friday (the 13th ) at exactly the same time, how perfect is that? We rushed around packing a few things (I did have to tell Her that we'd be "doing something away from the house, so pack a few things...) and drove the short way to Celebration (just off 192 west). As we turned into Celebration, Herself did figure it out of course, but was kind enough not to say anything.
Arrival at the hotel was uneventful. Parking is on the street (although there was a sign for Valet parking at $13 per day) and we were lucky enough to find a spot quite close to the hotel.
Check in is at one of two desks, rather old world in design. The woman who checked us in was very professional and dignified, but not too warm and fuzzy. We were given room 349, and two tickets for breakfast buffet!
We made our way to the room, and it is quite lovely. I've taken photos and will post them once I download them. There is a king bed, a comfortable seating area with a chair and an architecturally interesting ceiling. (A bit like a garret roof on one side of the room, so it makes it seem a bit cozy). There was an odd noise (portent of things to come) and we tracked it to the fan of the AC. We turned the speed down, and the noise went away. All is well... (or so we thought).
The toiletries, Gilchrist and Soames seem quite nice, and the coffee for the coffee maker is Starbucks. (Not my favorite, but I'll survive). There are white robes hanging in the closet (a la cruise ship) that bear tags saying they are for sale.
After stopping by the room, we then went back to the car and brought in our luggage (all this for TWO nights? ). We were offered assistance by the front desk, but politely declined. If you need help, it is readily available.
After unpacking we did a short walk around the main part of "downtown" Celebration. The economy has struck here, too. One of the little places we used to really enjoy (a tea shop) has closed. The bookstore has closed, and the grocery which closed some time ago still remains empty.
As we strolled we read the menus on the several restaurants we passed. Everything looked good so we must have been hungry. There was a lovely full length angora sweater coat (pale sand color) with a matching neck scarf at one shop. I think I "need" that for my winter travels to the northeast. There is no price tag attached to it, however.
We stopped in the Tavern for a pre-dinner drink where Herself had the obligatory red wine and I threw caution to the winds and had a Bloody Mary (well, they call it a Bloody Jack)! The thing came with a meal on a stick! There was a steamed shrimp, an olive, a pepperoncini, a slice of hot pepper and a grape tomato!
We enjoyed our drinks, chatting merrily away (although there were two older men at the end of the bar who clearly had had too much to drink... problematic only because one was shouting into his mobile for what seemed like forever). There were some folks at the bar ordering light suppers. The choice of the day seemed to be fish and chips, or a fish sandwich both of which looked (and smelled) very good!
After our drinks we headed back to the hotel for our "special" dinner. ($99 per couple, pre-tip and additional wine). The floor manager remembered having spoken with me on the phone when I made the reservation for this evening! I guess all my questions made an impression. :spring: I though her remarking on it though made for a nice feeling of being welcomed.
The Plantation Room is the name of the dining room. It is small, but very comfortable with lovely linens and dark wood. The host is a very sweet gentleman who found it necessary to baby us. We were more than happy to have his care. After being (a little to!) ceremoniously seated, our server approached and introduced himself as Ramon.
As we are looking at him (with those mental wheels turning) he asked us if we had eaten there before. When we said no, he looked a bit confused and said we seemed very familiar. Light dawned. I asked if he'd ever worked at YSH and yepper! He was "our" Ramon from there! LOL.
The dinner special was three courses of which we made one choice per course. It included a complimentary bottle of champagne, white or red wine. We chose the champagne, and Herself had a glass of red along with her dinner. The champagne was nice enough, but a bit too sweet (I prefer brut). We did manage to drink the entire bottle, though.
First course for us consisted of a salad of mixed greens with oranges, apple and walnuts for me, and grilled romaine and balsamic strawberries for Her. There was also a she-crab bisque and a chicken with lemon grass soup offered.
We chose the filet mignon for our main course. It was served with a potato cake (a bit like a thick latke) and a truffle butter. Grilled asparagus was the accompanying vegetable.
The other choices were blackened grouper, free range chicken, or double cut pork chop.
Our desserts were creme brulee for me, and chocolate raspberry lava cake for Herself.
The salads were nice, but nothing too remarkable, as were the main courses. The filets were a bit overcooked, but nothing to get in an uproar over. Mine was nicer looking than Her's. That always makes me wonder about the kitchen staff, eh? Why would you send two totally different appearing filets to a table where both are having the same thing? Can't help but be compared (and in this case unfavorably). But again, no huge issue. THe potato cake could have been hotter (but you know me, I want my food smokin'! ) but it was pleasant enough.
The desserts were a bit of a disappointment. The creme brulee was served (made) on a plate instead of in the traditional ramekin which resulted in it being unpleasantly thin. It had a pronounced egg taste instead of the cream flavor that I far prefer. I did wonder if the problem was due to the thinness of the brulee...perhaps the torch used to burn the sugar had started to curdle the dessert? I don't know. Not nasty, but surely not delicious.
The chocolate raspberry lava cake was served without the accompanying french vanilla ice cream. A small oversight that Herself chose to ignore. We were more focused on conversation than worrying about dessert, eh? It tasted nice, however it was more of a very moist cake than a lava, as there was no chocolate "lava" in the center.
Overall it was a decent meal, but nothing outstanding or overly delicious. The service was good, not the excellence that is provided by YSH. :wink: Ramon did ask us who our favorite server at YSH was (an odd question we thought) and we both replied, "RICARDO!" He agreed that Ricardo is a gentle, sweet person who takes extreme pride in his work.
The atmosphere at the restaurant is delightfully adult. There were no guests under 30! Music was provided by a piano player who played quietly in the background. (Lara's Theme and the like).
After dinner we stopped by the small hotel bar and bought yet another red wine, and a split of champagne and headed to our room. The fan noise was back...so we again turned the speed of the fan down and it went away... until about 4:00 am when it woke me. I ended up shutting the AC off and turning on the overhead ceiling fan...which made noise...so then! Awake at 5:00 and I'm not going back to sleep.
I will be reporting the noise to the front desk later this morning and explaining that it interfered with our sleep. Hopefully they will send someone to fix it. I'll let you know.
There is a shuttle to the Disney parks from here. I don't know much about it, but I intend to find out. We most likely would drive ourselves anyway, but sometimes we do like to become true tourists so I'll inquire.
One other thing I want to mention is the "scent" in this hotel. It's a pronounced heavy flower scent (jasmine? gardenia? a combination?) and it's a bit of a problem for us as we are both sensitive to that sort of perfume "stuff." We may end up needing to take allergy meds! LOL!
Oh, and Herself said that the Celebration Hotel sign reminds her of the Tower of Terror Hotel! Now THAT'S romantic!!!
If you've stuck with this report...thank you! Hope you found it interesting!