The No. 1 Meeting Destination in the Country Continues to Go Above and Beyond
Orlando remains on top of Cvent’s list of Top 10 Meeting Destinations in the U.S. for many reasons: easy accessibility to Orlando International Airport (MCO), the award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), a vast collection of branded hotels offering more than 7,600 hotel rooms within a mile of the OCCC, and an array of entertainment options including theme parks, live music, speakeasies and much more.
Orlando’s dining scene is always evolving, and this commitment to creating innovative and fine dining experiences has not gone unnoticed. The prestigious MICHELIN Guide recently awarded four Orlando restaurants with one of the world’s highest culinary honors in addition to numerous other restaurant accolades.
“MICHELIN’s recognition of 34 Orlando restaurants, including four starred venues, seven Bib Gourmands and 23 Recommended, confirms what we in the destination have known all along—that Orlando has an exceptional culinary community,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando.
Even with so many world-class restaurants, there is always room for new and remarkable eateries such as the MICHELIN Guide Recommended Four Flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. Close to Walt Disney World Resort, its curated menu includes fresh-caught surf, fire-grilled turf and cocktails blended with tropical flavors and local ingredients, including native fruits, vegetables, seafood and more.
Close to the convention center on International Drive (aka I-Drive), new restaurants at ICON Park include Gordon Ramsay’s eponymous Fish & Chips and the legendary Key West saloon, Sloppy Joe’s, offering live music and island-inspired food and libations. At Pointe Orlando, also on I-Drive, Kavas Tacos + Tequila is set to open this year, dishing up a menu paying tribute to Mexico’s rich culinary history, featuring savory comfort food, fresh tableside experiences and recipes hand-crafted from the freshest ingredients. JoJo’s Shake Bar, a Chicago original, combines extravagant sweets and old-school diner ambiance with a modern-day vibe.
While the culinary scene continues to grow, new hotel builds, renovations and infrastructure expansions continue throughout Orlando, with wide-ranging amenities that cater to meeting groups.
Orlando’s International Airport’s (MCO) ongoing development includes Terminal C, the largest expansion project in the airport’s history. Scheduled to open in September 2022, the new terminal will add 15 gates, shops, restaurants and lounges.
Orlando welcomed several new hotel properties in 2021, including AC Hotel by Marriott Orlando Downtown. This stylish hotel offers a true high-rise experience in the heart of the city with 180 contemporary guest rooms and a rooftop bar guaranteed to inspire selfies set against breathtaking views of the city.
Lake Nona Wave Hotel features 216 guest rooms, 16 one-bedroom suites and two penthouse suites with tech-forward amenities such as voice-automated in-room controls. This luxury property inspires guests with two restaurants offering curated dining experiences—including the MICHELIN Guide Recommended BACÁN—and two mixology-driven bars serving tempting tapas and master mixed cocktails. The adjacent Lake Nona Sculpture Garden, set on 50,000 square feet of picturesque outdoor space, boasts more than 400 pieces of iconic art. A focus on holistic wellbeing is offered at the neighboring Lake Nona Performance Club, providing guest access to the world’s first Chopra Mind-Body Zone.
Another distinct addition to Orlando’s existing hotel inventory includes The Walt Disney World Swan Reserve. This 14-story, 349-room hotel tower opened at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in late 2021. Just a short stroll to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT, this unique property features exclusive rooftop event space and an elevated tropical pool deck for outdoor events. Amare, a Mediterranean eatery, serves breakfast, lunch or dinner. To burn that off, a full-service health club and stunning outdoor 90-foot-long pool await.
Also new on the block is the Tuscan-inspired, 126-room ette Hotel Orlando. Located close to Walt Disney World, this wellness-focused, alcohol-free property offers culinary experiences in partnership with award winning Chef Akira Back. For a complete relaxation experience, The Spa at ette pampers guests with a range of deluxe services from the modern minimalist to the unruly naturalist.
This year, the Drury Plaza Hotel will open near the Disney Springs Resort area and showcase 602 spacious guest rooms and two-room suites, 10 total meeting rooms, and prefunction space totaling 17,000 square feet. Amenities include free hot breakfast, 5:30 Kickback® with evening snacks and cold beverages, free Wi-Fi throughout the property, numerous dining options, a resort style pool, and an arcade.
In 2023, the Evermore Orlando Resort and Conrad Orlando at Evermore will become great additions to Orlando’s always-growing hotel portfolio. Conrad Orlando at Evermore will feature 433 guest rooms, 40,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, a tranquil spa and numerous dining options including a signature rooftop experience.
Orlando welcomed an amazing array of wondrous venue experiences for groups in 2022, including Steinmetz Hall at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando. Opened in January, Steinmetz Hall hosts Orlando’s Philharmonic Orchestra, the best of the city’s performing arts, and more.
Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort and Cirque du Soleil premiered Drawn to Life, a live acrobatic journey of Disney animation and awe-inspiring performances, including 10 unique acrobatic acts. What’s more, it’s the first-ever collaboration between Cirque du Soleil and Disney.
With everything new that has come to Orlando for meeting groups to experience, the destination’s high spot on Cvent feels secure for the foreseeable future.
*Sponsored by Visit Orlando