While you may be visiting Orlando for business, the good news is that you can stay at a resort hotel that includes a luxurious spa experience. Within steps of the lobby at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando is a haven of tranquility and wellness (also accessible without leaving the building for anyone staying Hilton Bonnet Creek).

“We try to blend health and wellness,” explains Valerie Maloff, who has been spa director for the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Spa since it opened in 2009.

Experience the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Spa:

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Maloff’s perspective is an understatement. The spa offers facials, body sublimation, hydrotherapy, harmonizing massages, hand and foot therapies, beauty treatments and a boutique. It has 22 treatment rooms in 24,000-square-feet of space (including a tea lounge, steam room and jacuzzi). Their therapists begin each treatment with a systematic analysis and precise skin diagnosis to reveal each guest’s primary focus, whether it’s nutritional, environmental, emotional or physical.

While my business and personal schedule required me to split my time in the spa and fitness center over two days, if you have the time, I’d recommend a full day at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Spa:

  • 7:00 a.m. – Breakfast at Harvest Bistro
  • 8:00 a.m. – Take advantage of the morning sun by the pool
  • 9:00 a.m. – Workout at the spa fitness center
  • 10:00 a.m. – Loosen up in the spa wet area, including the whirlpool
  • 10:45 a.m. – Unwind in the tea lounge prior to your treatment
  • 11:00 a.m. – Enjoy an 80 minute treatment of your choice
  • 1:00 p.m. – Receive a second treatment (e.g., manicure/pedicure)
  • 3:00 p.m. – Depart refreshed and relaxed

I completed my workout the night before, but I was able to check off this during my two-days at the hotel.

An interesting encounter along the way: After reading the paper in the morning by the pool in my spa robe, I went upstairs to change for breakfast and ran into a family by the elevator. They were on its way to the bistro before they were clearly headed to Disney for a family day. The wife/mother quickly took note of my attire and commented that she’d much rather have the day that was on my schedule instead.

Waldorf Astoria Orlando Fitness Center

To fully enjoy the fitness center, check-in at the spa and use its changing facilities (and wet areas). You can also gain direct access to the fitness center itself at any time of the day or night. The fitness center is a 4,000-square-foot facility that includes a mix of Precor cardiovascular (ellipticals and treadmills) and circuit machines, as well as a free-weight station. You get to workout with views of the grounds, pool and golf course. I found time to go there just before dinner and only a couple of other guests were also keeping up with their routines.

Waldorf Astoria Orlando Spa Wet Areas

Connected to the changing facilities, the wet areas include showers each with an enclosed changing space to hang your towel and spa robe. Then, there’s a whirlpool area with a sauna and a single experiential shower. When you’re ready, you can head prepare yourself for the relaxation room before you’re taken to your treatment(s). I used the wet areas twice: the first was after my late afternoon workout and the second was in the morning before my morning spa treatments.

Waldorf Astoria Orlando Spa Massage Therapies

One of the most popular spa services is the massage, and you have a full menu of choices: Swedish, deep tissue, couples massage, lymphatic drainage, prenatal and reflexology. Most are available in either 50 or 80 minute options. I’ve learned long ago that it takes me a bit of time to relax, so I always recommend any longer treatment whenever possible.

I had the silk stone caress (80 minutes). My therapist Dale used hot stones placed along different energy points to promote relaxation and increase circulation and energy within the body. He’s an excellent therapist who did a great job using the stones to break through my layers of stress and tension, achieving a deep tissue massage.

Waldorf Astoria Orlando Spa Pedicure & Manicure

The spa’s salon is where you get your nail and foot therapies. Quiet as it’s kept, more guys are spending the time they need to maintain their nails so they’re perfectly groomed, and you’ll find the privacy you need to feel comfortable here. Ranata was my technician. She’s a well-informed and worldly personality, able to talk politics, business and sports. She also lived for a while in Chicago, so we also had that in common.

I had the Waldorf signature pedicure (50 minutes). It begins with a warm hydrobath, followed by a revitalizing scrub and a masque for your ankles and feet. Warm stones are incorporated into a foot massage using a cream, so the foot file exfoliation process is gentle. This is followed by a cuticle service, clipping, shaping of the nails, filing and then a shine buffing.

This was followed by an express manicure service (30 minutes). Like the pedicure, your hands receive their equivalent — get a relaxing massage and masque and paraffin application. This is followed by the cuticle eliminator, shaping of your nails, filing and shine buffing.

After both services, my hands and feet felt smooth and relaxed, and my cuticles and nails were in great shape. Guys, manicures and pedicures will help complete your professional appearance — they will also be noticed on a more personal level by those close to you.

The salon is full service, so you can get hair styling, cutting, color, makeup and related consulting services. Ladies, you’ll also be happy with the results.

The Verdict?

Previously a Guerlain Spa (until 2013), the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Spa offers a luxurious experience that is tailored to your needs. When visiting Orlando, most people don’t expect the trip to include an amazing spa day. But that’s changing in this city that has historically been known mostly for Disney and Universal Studios. This Waldorf Astoria Spa focuses on personal wellness so you’ll return home feeling relaxed, offsetting the time you may be spending in the convention center for business or the theme parks with your family.

What’s nice about the spa and fitness center is that the overall footprint allows for lots of privacy. And the spa uses excellent products for its classic treatments, including top of the line products from Carita Paris for skin, body, hair and beauty products.