Four Seasons Resort's $15,000-a-night suite helps set Orlando's only 5 Diamond hotel apart

Four Seasons Resort's $15,000-a-night suite helps set Orlando's only 5 Diamond hotel apart


ORLANDO, Fla. - The 16th-floor balcony of the $15,000-a-night suite at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando gives guests a bird's-eye view of the features that help make the hotel a destination for the super-rich and powerful.

Guests can see the clubhouse of the resort's 18-hole Tranquilo Golf Course, which will host an LPGA Tour event this month. They can watch the winding path of the lazy river, where they can lounge and relax while sipping margaritas.

Or, off in the distance, basketball courts for those staying at the 443-room resort who want to be more active at the complex just southeast of the Magic Kingdom of Disney World.

In short, the amenities abound at the Four Seasons, Orlando's only AAA Five Diamond-rated hotel, a prestigious and rare rating that the resort won when it opened in 2014 and still holds.

"This is the highest volume market, in regard to rentable rooms, in the U.S.," said GM and Regional Vice President Thomas Steinhauer, referring to the Orlando market, home to more than 500 hotels and 125,000 rooms. "If you open a brand-new property within it, you're very easily trapped into this, 'We are just another hotel' stigma. It was important when we walked into a market like this that we delivered on the promise we make across the whole brand."

The travel club AAA sends thousands of inspectors - which include former hotel managers and food and beverage professionals, among others - to the 27,000 hotels rated by the agency each year.

Of those properties, 121, or about 0.5%, were awarded the top rating after the unannounced visits last year. AAA, which has rated hotels and restaurants since 1937, plans to release this year's rankings early next month.

"For some hotels, it's all they want," said tourism professor Deborah Breiter of University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management. "It's the cache. It costs a lot of money to be a Five Diamond property because you're talking about things like 24-hour room service, certain specific amenities."

Although hotels often inform AAA that they'd like to be inspected for the designation, there is no fee for receiving it, AAA Mark Jenkins spokesman said.

To achieve the high ranking, a hotel must provide an added level of service to a guest's stay, doing things such as having a well-known chef or providing spa and massage services.

Last year in Central Florida, Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona Beach, Copper Creek Villas and Cabins in Lake Buena Vista and Walt Disney World Dolphin in Lake Buena Vista received AAA's Four Diamond Award for the first time.

But the Four Seasons remains the only Five Diamond hotel, with the 3,300-square-foot Royal Suite and 2,750-square-foot Presidential Suite topping the luxury resort.

The Royal Suite, which costs $15,000 a night and includes a master bedroom, media room, private office and a kitchen, set with granite and limestone floors and crystal lighting, can expand to become a nine-bedroom residence.

The $14,000-a-night Presidential Suite's American walnut flooring runs throughout the suite, which can become a four-bedroom residence.

For those who can't afford that, the least expensive rooms at Four Seasons could be rented for $995 per night over the weekend, nearly eight times the average hotel room in Orlando last year, according to industry tracker STR.

Keeping standards high requires an education program that all employees must take part in, Steinhauer said.

"It's a challenge when you're a larger resort," Steinhauer said. "But employees need to know what they are doing, so we have technical training. We teach how to deal with different mentalities or different cultures. You have to know how to defuse a situation."

Four Seasons draws a clientele that expects the best: celebrities. Steinhauer would not specify who had stayed at the hotel for privacy reasons but said it wouldn't be difficult to connect the dots.

"If you think about the amount of celebrities - whether it's sports or entertainment - that you have heard about them visiting Orlando, quite a big number of them stayed here," he said. "Pricing may be a bit higher here, but it's all-inclusive, and we don't nickel and dime people. That has made us successful."

Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at


Need to get away?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Need to get away?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

It is also celebrated in Canada and Britain. Philadelphia's National Constitution Center celebrates the anniversary of the 15th Amendment with an entire month of programming, including "The Road to Freedom," an interactive program that examines slavery, key events and important historical figures from the time of the Constitutional Convention to the Civil...

  • 8 min to read

GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, Calif. - I recently violated federal law high in the Marin Headlands overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. How? By riding an electric bike for a mile along the Julian Trail, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The trail is popular with hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. It was an accident. That old fire road is part of a vast regulatory ...

There's an oasis where people from around the world come to soak in warm mineral springs, where locals and tourists alike search for shark teeth on the beach and perhaps kayak into the sunset alongside friendly dolphins. The sunshine is usually abundant for visitors, snowbirds and residents of Venice - Florida, not Italy - looking to enjoy any number of the city's nature-based recreation ...

  • Updated

Get ready for growls and howls. Watch out for whimpering and whining. Be prepared for snappishness and snarling. The federal Department of Transportation is proposing new rules for emotional support animals, and those regulations may be coming to an aircraft near you. Some of you will applaud; some of you will be appalled. Of one thing I am fairly sure: Everyone will have an opinion by the ...

LAS VEGAS - Resorts rise, resorts fall (or get strategically imploded). Brands are born, go dim, then sometimes are reborn. So goes business as usual in Las Vegas, which draws more than 40 million tourists annually and will be unveiling new hotels, a new football stadium and an expanded convention center in the coming months. Here's a roundup of this and more. Before plunging ahead, a note ...

If you're planning an airline trip this year, for the lowest economy class airfare on a domestic flight, buy your ticket 77 days in advance and fly on a Tuesday in January, September or October. That's the nominal take from the latest "when to" study. This one is from, an upcoming and innovative online travel agency, and it's based on extensive mining of...

So will snow resorts and Orlando because spring breaks are so staggered through March and Easter. It isn't the same as everyone trying to get away at the same time, say Thanksgiving, Christmas or the Fourth of July. With our friends at Family Travel Forum, we've compiled Spring Break Ideas to Meet Every Family's Wish List-- and ones that won't bust the budget,...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News