Less than 24 hours ago my family and I left Indianapolis at midnight and headed south for family vacation. I’m sure it will come as a giant surprise to no one that we were heading to Orlando and Walt Disney World. Hoping to have some other travel posts related to this trip published soon, but want to pop this one out about our first night’s hotel stay.

Our First Night of Vacation at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, FL.

Rosen Shingle Creek - Orlando, FL

First things first, we didn’t have any awareness of this hotel prior to making it to Orlando. We ended up leaving sooner than I had expected to get to Florida since we don’t check into Walt Disney World until Saturday. We left thinking we’d drive as long as the two of us could and then just Priceline a hotel wherever we were at and crash for the night and wrap up the drive the following day.

My wife and I (and the kids) have become troopers at this type of thing and we finished the drive in  about 15 hours, and that included a couple of hours of stops for meals, gas, bathroom breaks and driver switches. So during a late lunch while stopped at a Taco Bell with free wi-fi I fired up this laptop and waited to see what we could get.

I won’t tell you what amount I used to “name-my-own-price” with the Priceline.com Negotiator app, but let’s just say it was a fraction of the standard room rate for the property.

Note: I’m not sure why people who travel don’t use Priceline for all of their hotel reservations. Anytime I’m in a location with 4-5 star hotels, I’ll always use Priceline and see what I get. Sometimes you save a few bucks, other times you save a ton (like tonight).

First let me list the positives:

  • gorgeous property, high-end luxury resort feel and atmosphere
  • great customer service
  • beautifully appointed rooms
  • great pools (4 of them with hot tubs and kiddie pools too)
  • comfortable beds
  • inventory available via Priceline

A few negatives:

  • parking cost more for my car than it did per person to sleep for the night – I understand hotels in large cities that have to charge a parking fee for access to a garage, but hotels that charge parking while sitting on 230 acres seems a little much
  • $9.95/day or $24.95/stay for high-speed (wired/wireless) Internet – again, I know there’s costs to providing Internet access, but to visibly charge for it seems counter productive. I would say this especially for a hotel that has a convention center attached that obviously attracts a lot of business customers.
  • shower didn’t get very hot

As you can see, not much to comment about and two of the three come out just because I’m a cheapskate. Here I am complaining about a few additional charges when I got a fantastic deal on the room. But getting a great deal on the room and then paying a significant portion of that same amount for other amenities just rubs me the wrong way. I say add a few bucks to every room rate and offer free wi-fi and parking and promote that amenity.

Having spent a number of years in the travel industry and not recognizing the “Rosen” brand, I started doing a little research. It turns out that Harris Rosen, was recently named Central Floridian of the Year. He appears to be quite the philanthropist. I also found it interesting that he operates the majority of his hotel properties with almost zero debt. He’s personally and privately funded a number of public initiatives for his community as well as a variety of great sounding programs for his employees and associates.

So, here’s the final line. Definitely put this hotel in your sites for your next visit to Orlando. Use Priceline and I think I can safely say that regardless of the price you pay, you’ll be getting your money’s worth.

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